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TWitM: Brewer Hicklen seals 20-20-20 season and Freddy Fermin is POTW

This Week in the Minors: Fermin hits six dongs, Hicklen hits 20th double, Collins on a hit streak, Tolbert steals four more bags

Two baseball players in light blue Omaha Storm Chasers jerseys exchanging a low five. One has his back to the camera and is wearing jersey #4. The other is facing the camera and wearing a hat and sunglasses.
Freddy Fermin (#4) and Brewer Hicklen low-fiving.
Minda Haas Kuhlmann

‘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 23 to Sunday, August 28.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (58-64)

schedule | roster

The Storm Chasers hosted the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (NYY) for the first time in roughly 30 years, and split the series 3-3.

Catcher Freddy Fermin had seven hits this week, and six of those left the yard at Werner Park. He had two two-homer games, and was named the International League Player of the Week for his efforts. Fermin has been hot all month, not just this week: in August, his slash line is .346/.435/.731.

At the start of the week, outfielder Brewer Hicklen needed three doubles to reach a rare milestone, and he hit the third of those on Sunday. Hicklen now has a 20-20-20 season, with 20+ home runs, stolen bases, and doubles. In addition to doing something only four Omaha players have done in the modern era, Hicklen went 9-for-21 on the week, with three homers, a triple, and the three doubles. He was also plunked three times and stole three bases.

Shortstop Maikel Garcia hit well this week too, going 8-for-27 with a double and two homers. One of those dongs was a grand slam.

Catcher Jakson Reetz just joined the Storm Chasers as a minor league free agent this week, and announced his presence with authority in his first action on Sunday. Reetz piled up five hits in the team’s doubleheader, including a homer and a double.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (50-69 overall; 19-32 in second half)

schedule | roster

The Naturals split their series 3-3 with the Springfield Cardinals (STL).

Jonathan Bowlan pitched five shutout innings on Sunday, and was named Texas League Pitcher of the Week.

Outfielder John Rave had six hits and seven walks this week to give himself an OBP of .565 on the series. 1B CJ Alexander went 6-for-19 with two doubles and a homer.

Adv-A Quad Cities River Bandits (48-72 overall; 22-32 in second half)

schedule | roster

Quad Cities started their series against the Dayton Dragons (CIN) with a pair of wins, but then dropped the remaining four games.

Left fielder Darryl Collins kept his hit streak alive for the whole series, now with hits in 18 consecutive games, including 16 at the Advanced-A level. In this series, Collins went 8-for-24 with one of each kind of extra base hit and 10 RBI.

Among shortstop Tyler Tolbert’s seven hits were two doubles and two triples. And in classic Tolbert fashion, he also stole four bases and did not get caught. He’s up to 76 steals since he was last caught on July 17, 2021.

CF/2B Peyton Wilson went 7-for-21 with a double and a homer, and six walks.

Righty Adrian Alcantara, who turned 23 yesterday, struck out a career-high 11 batters in Tuesday’s start. Alcantara threw 6 23 innings, allowing just one run on four hits and one walk.

Left-hander Parker Harm added 4 13 innings to his shout streak with two appearances this week. In 14 13 innings, Harm has struck out 18 and walked nine, with four singles allowed.

In his second start back from an injury, lefty Noah Cameron threw three shutout innings with five strikeouts, with just one hit allowed.

Single-A Columbia Fireflies (48-71 overall; 30-23 in second half)

schedule | roster

The Fireflies went 4-2 against the Salem Red Sox (BOS, of course) to keep the gap between them and first place Charleston at 3.5 games.

Lefty Frank Mozzicato threw the best game of his career on Wednesday, striking out seven batters in six shutout innings. He allowed four hits, all singles. For the first time, he only walked one batter.

The next night, the Fireflies won in 13 innings. Left-hander Jack Aldrich threw hitless innings in the 11th, 12th, and 13th to hold the fort until Columbia scored for the win. Long relief when each inning starts with a runner on second is quite a challenge.

Righty Ben Hernandez started Friday’s game with five shutout innings, allowing three hits and three walks and striking out five. Shane Panzini followed with six strikeouts in four innings on Saturday, with just one run allowed. Luinder Avila capped off the pitching week with five shutout innings to start Sunday’s win.

Catcher Carter Jensen walked 12 (!) times in 28 plate appearances, while also going 5-for-16 with two doubles. That’s good for an on base percentage of .607 on the week.

Sunday saw the end of an 11-game hit streak for second baseman Lizandro Rodriguez. During the streak, the 19-year-old racked up 15 hits while striking out only five times.

Outfielder Jean Ramirez stole four more bags this week to bring his season total to 35. Ramirez also walked seven times and went 5-for-13 to give himself a .600 OBP in his five games.

Up for discussion: Unionize the Minors.