‘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, August 9 to Sunday, August 14.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (52-58)
To follow the Storm Chasers this week was to have your heart broken over and over, with the Toledo Mud Hens (DET) coming from behind and walking off with wins in each of the first three games. Omaha won just once in the series.
The lone W of the week went to lefty Drew Parrish, who threw six shutout innings on Friday, with three strikeouts, three walks, and two hits allowed. It was Parrish’s best game in the 11 starts since his promotion to Triple-A.
Prior to his Monday callup to Kansas City, Maikel Garcia spent the week at Toledo hitting well. Garcia went 8-for-21 with two homers.
First baseman Logan Porter was promoted to Triple-A prior to the series, and he welcomed himself to the new level by going 6-for-20 with a home run and four walks.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (44-63 overall; 13-26 in second half)
The Naturals’ week included getting no-hit, getting shutout twice, and overall losing five of six. But let’s find the bright side!
Righty Zach Haake struck out nine in six shutout relief innings, split ‘twixt a pair of three-inning appearances. Haake allowed three hits, two walks, and one hit batter.
Outfielder Tyler Gentry went 7-for-18 with two homers and two steals. Since joining the Naturals via promotion on June 14, Gentry has hit a dozen home runs. That leads all of his teammates in that time span.
First baseman CJ Alexander hit three dingers, part of a 7-for-24 series. He did strike out 10 times, and walked just once.
Adv-A Quad Cities River Bandits (42-66 overall; 16-26 in second half)
The River Bandits got a moment in the spotlight on Tuesday, playing in (and winning!) the first MiLB game at the Field of Dreams movie site. That was the start of a 4-2 series against the Cedar Rapids Kernels (MIN).
Righty Chandler Champlain started the FoD game, and picked up the W with 6 1⁄3 innings pitched. Champlain allowed two runs on six hits, struck out seven, and walked nobody. Champlain, who turned 23 last month, came to the organization as part of the Andrew Benintendi trade.
The best pitching start of the week belonged to William Fleming, a righty who came to the Royals in the trade with Seattle for Carlos Santana. Fleming pitched seven shutout innings on Thursday, with seven strikeouts, one walk, and five singles allowed.
A couple of relievers on hot streaks:
- RHP Anderson Paulino has pitched 12 1⁄3 shutout innings across eight games, with 12 Ks and just three hits allowed
- LHP Parker Harm is up to nine scoreless frames in six games
- RHP Harrison Beethe hasn’t allowed a run in seven one-inning appearances
- LHP Patrick Smith’s streak is at 6 2⁄3 innings in six appearances
Left fielder Darryl Collins wasted no time upon his promotion getting in on the hitting action. Collins racked up eight hits this week, all singles, and also drew five walks and only struck out once. He also stole two bases.
Herard Gonzalez stole three bases this week, after getting on base by virtue of six hits and two walks. The steals hadn’t been a massive part of the second baseman’s game so far this season, as his season total was brought up to 10.
First baseman Dillan Shrum hit two homers and a double as part of a 5-for-15 series, and drew six walks.
Single-A Columbia Fireflies (40-67 overall; 22-19 in second half)
The Fireflies won four in their six-game set at Myrtle Beach (CHC). This leaves Columbia in 2nd place in their division, just three games behind Charleston (TB). The Fireflies and RiverDogs don’t play each other head-to-head until the final series of the season, so we are in for a couple weeks of scoreboard watching!
Two Fireflies pitchers notched seven strikeouts in a game this week. On Wednesday it was lefty Frank Mozzicato, who walked two and gave up one earned run (three unearned), and surrendered a solo homer in five innings.
Righty Wander Arias also struck out seven, but it was not in a start. Arias pitched the five final frames on Friday, and allowed three hits and one run. He was awarded a 5-inning save, and has previously recorded saves in the lengths of three and four innings.
Luinder Avila was the starter for the first and last games of the series - a common occurrence in the 6-game series format - and turned in dramatically different results in each. On Tuesday, Avila pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and two walks, with two strikeouts. It was the right-hander’s longest start of the season and the fourth time he has earned a Game Score of 70 or above. On Sunday, Avila pitched two innings and gave up three runs.
Right-hander Ben Sears made his full-season debut with two perfect innings on Sunday. Sears was drafted in the 14th round out of the University of Houston this summer.
Catcher Carter Jensen, barely a month past his 19th birthday, was the leader of the Fireflies offense for the week. Jensen went 9-for-15 with four doubles and a home run, plus three walks and a steal.
Two new draftees made their debuts for Columbia. Top pick Gavin Cross went 4-for-17 with a homer and two steals in four games. 2nd-rounder Cayden Wallace out of Arkansas played in three games, and went 5-for-11 with a double.
By my count, outfielder Jean Ramirez was on base nine times in the series, and stole seven (!) bases. That gives him 28 on the season, good for the team lead by a wide margin.
Up for discussion: Did you go to any games this week? Who stood out to you?