‘This Week in the Minors’ is our weekly look at notable performances from all over the system, from big-name prospects and less-heralded guys alike. The mission is to answer this simple question: “Who had a good week?”
This Week in the Minors: Tuesday, July 12 to Sunday, July 17.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (45-44)
Omaha went into the break with a series split that left them one game above .500, as guests of the Rochester Red Wings (WAS).
The scoreless streak of Andrés Núñez is officially in bonkers territory, if it wasn’t already. Núñez made two more shutout appearances this week, each for two innings, and he struck out four in each. The Streak is now up to 24 1⁄3 innings in 20 games, with 31 strikeouts and four walks.
Lefty Josh Dye is cooking up a shutout streak of his own, with 14 1⁄3 shutout frames over his last nine appearances.
Center fielder Drew Waters, who was just acquired in exchange for the 35th draft pick, hit the ground running with his new team. He hit in every game, tallying eight hits that included a double, a triple, and two steals. He did strike out 10 times, though.
Drew Waters so far this week:— Royals Farm Report (@RoyalsFarm) July 17, 2022
- 7/21 (.333)
- one 2B, one 3B
- 9 K, 1 BB
- at least one hit in every game
- two 3 K games
Shortstop Iván Castillo went 6-for-20 with two doubles, and drew five walks.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (38-48 overall; 7-11 in second half)
The Naturals won two out of six at the Corpus Christi Hooks (HOU).
Nick Loftin did a bit of everything at the plate and on the bases, going 8-for-22 with two doubles and a homer, seven (!) walks drawn, and two stolen bases in three attempts. He played center field the whole series, after splitting much of the previous month-ish between CF and 2B.
Nick Loftin went home to Corpus Christi this week and he is just showing off. He is 4-5 tonight with a pair of doubles and this, his 11th home run of the season. He’s got his OPS up over .800 for the season. pic.twitter.com/qGtwq3SOZh— Royals Farm Report (@RoyalsFarm) July 16, 2022
Logan Porter played five games at catcher this series, and came away with eight hits that included two doubles and two homers. Porter has also played both corner infield positions recently.
Also piling up eight hits this week were outfielder Tyler Gentry and first baseman Robbie Glendinning. Glendinning now leads the Naturals in homers with 15, and has hit .279/.375/.509 on the season.
ROBBIE GLENDINNING YOU BEAUTY @robglen2's team-leading 15th home run of the season is a GRAND SLAM and the Naturals lead by 10 ‼️— Northwest Arkansas Naturals (@nwanaturals) July 18, 2022
▲ 8 | #NWANaturals 12 Hooks 2
LHP Dante Biasi had a nice start on Sunday, with five shutout innings. He allowed four hits and two walks, but struck out five. Right-handed reliever Andres Sotillet has a shutout streak going, with no runs crossing the plate in his last seven appearances. In that time, he has struck out 12 and walked four.
Adv-A Quad Cities River Bandits (33-54 overall; 7-14 in second half)
Quad Cities dropped the first four games to the Great Lakes Loons (LAD), but finished with a pair of wins.
Right-hander Adrian Alcantara pitched possibly the best game of his pro career on Saturday. In a 7-inning game, Alcantara went the whole way, allowing no runs and just two singles and a walk. He struck out seven, and threw just 83 pitches. It was the first 7-inning outing of his career, and the highest Game Score per Baseball Reference.
The other game of that day’s doubleheader was started by Rylan Kaufman, who got stuck with the Loss despite allowing only one run in five innings, with seven strikeouts and two walks.
The nature of this column is working with small sample sizes. A week is small, no matter what! Sometimes that makes for fun parallels, like how outfielder Juan Carlos Negret and shortstop Tyler Tolbert both had a .462 on-base percentage this week, but they arrived at that number from totally different directions.
Negret went 9-for-23 with two doubles, and drew three walks. Tolbert only managed three hits in 26 plate appearances, but he drew nine (!) walks. And while on base, Tolbert stole three more bags, without getting caught - bringing his season total to 38 steals and a 100% success rate.
Catcher Luca Tresh went 6-for-19 with a homer and a double, and four walks.
Single-A Columbia Fireflies (31-56 overall; 13-8 in second half)
The Fireflies visited the Down East Wood Ducks (TEX) and won two of the six game series.
A few of the exact same batsmen as last week shined in this series as well. Left fielder River Town went 7-for-21 with five walks and two steals. He homered twice to take the team lead in dingers with 12 on the season. Town overtook the team lead from catcher Carter Jensen, who hit one home run this week to bring him to 10 on the season. Jensen also doubled twice, singled thrice, and walked four times.
Outfielder Jean Ramirez and third baseman Enrique Valdez each hit their first triples of the season this week, and they hit a home run apiece as well.
For the fourth start in a row, righty Luinder Avila turned in a noteworthy performance. This time, Avila struck out eight in five shutout innings, with just two singles and two walks allowed. This four-start string represents an incredible bounceback for Avila, after he got pulled in the second inning in a rough start a month ago.
Right-handed reliever Luis Barrio picked up saves in both the Fireflies wins, allowing just one total baserunner in two inning-long appearances.
Ben Hernandez was good in his start on Sunday, allowing just one unearned runs on a series of miscues in the 6th. Otherwise, his book closed with no earned runs, one hit allowed, three strikeouts, and no walks.
Up for discussion: what roster shuffling do you see as most likely now that the Draft is done? Did you go to any games?