‘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, April 25 to Sunday, April 30
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (10-15)
In a trip to play the Nashville Sounds (MIL), the Storm Chasers dropped four of the six games. Friday and Saturday’s losses were particularly aggravating, with leads being given up late and ending with walkoff losses.
Samad Taylor has been excellent this season, and this week he added nine hits, four walks, and four steals to his totals. Overall, Taylor is slashing .337/.404/.480 with 12 stolen bases, while splitting time between center field and second base.
After his demotion from the big leagues, Nate Eaton ignited at the plate for Omaha. In four games, Eaton went 6-for-15 with two doubles and a homer, and three stolen bases.
Nate Eaton... are you serious??!?!!— Omaha Storm Chasers (@OMAStormChasers) April 28, 2023
Eaton hits a home run in his first at-bat with Omaha this season. pic.twitter.com/WXgjCcE7ky
Lefty Drew Parrish had the best start of the week for the Chasers, with six shutout innings. He struck out five and allowed just one hit and two walks. It was Parrish’s best start since being promoted to Omaha last June.
I don't think you can really quantify how differently the #Royals pitchers in the minors are attacking hitters this season. No more nibbling, just straight-up attacking and elevating pitches.— Preston Farr (@preston_b_farr) April 28, 2023
Drew Parrish had three strikeouts in the first, all on pitches up in the zone. pic.twitter.com/97KZEoGGma
Fellow left-hander Austin Cox also pitched six shutout frames in his start this week. Cox walked three and allowed four hits, but kept the Sounds off the scoreboard thanks in part to a double play and one runner being thrown out at home.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (10-11)
In a road series against the San Antonio Missions (SD), the Naturals came away with a 3-3 split.
Anthony Veneziano was the Tuesday and Sunday starter, and was stellar both times out. On Tuesday, the lefty threw five shutout innings with seven strikeouts, two walks, and four hits given up. On Sunday, he allowed one run, but went one inning deeper, finishing with five strikeouts and no walks in six innings.
- RHP Jacob Wallace has yet to allow an earned run this season, in nine outings totaling 8 1⁄3 innings. Four unearned runs have scored with him on the mound, though.
- LHP Walter Pennington also has not given up any earned runs, but on top of that, no unearned runs have scored against him. Pennington has struck out 11 and walked four in eight appearances.
- In two games this series, RHP Noah Murdock gave the team five shutout innings with five strikeouts.
Second baseman Peyton Wilson went 7-for-20 with a triple and five walks. In 20 games on the season, Wilson is slashing .351/.407/.468. That batting average leads the team.
Peyton Wilson has wheels!— Jacob Milham (@JacobMilhamKC) April 30, 2023
I always underestimate his speed, for some reason. pic.twitter.com/H8F1uq5c38
Tyler Tolbert hit his first triple of the season this week, and then his second. The triples were part of a six-hit series for the 25-year-old shortstop.
Jimmy Govern has hits in nine straight games, including five in this series. Govern has split time pretty evenly between third base and left field, after playing 3B most days with Omaha last season.
Adv-A Quad Cities River Bandits (9-11)
The River Bandits went on the road, and dropped their series against the Lansing Lugnuts (OAK) 2-4. Good thing they were gone, because it was time for the river to flood everything but the stadium:
Modern Woodman Ballpark in Davenport, Iowa is surrounded by the flooded Mississippi River— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) April 29, 2023
It's home to Kansas City Royals High-A affiliate Quad City River Bandits
(h/t @seannymacc) pic.twitter.com/LcvcvpVxgj
RHP Luinder Avila struck out seven batters in five innings in his start on Thursday. One run scored on three hits.
Luinder Avila's final line today:— Preston Farr (@preston_b_farr) April 28, 2023
5.0 IP, 3H, 1ER, 2BB, 7SO.
He was up to 85 pitches, 50 for strikes. He had 15 swinging strikes, including one here on the slider. pic.twitter.com/BztqjrH7V5
Third baseman Cayden Wallace continued his excellent season with two homers among six hits and 10 RBI in the series. Overall, Wallace is batting .306/.414/.542.
This guy just does NOT STOP hitting! @cayden_wallace got it done in GRAND style yesterday!#BanditTogether pic.twitter.com/DDjgQhrv0b— Quad Cities River Bandits (@QCRiverBandits) May 1, 2023
Javier Vaz went 7-for-17 with two doubles and a triple this week, plus a stolen base. Vaz mostly plays second base, but has mixed in three games in left field as well. Outfielder River Town walked five times, along with four hits, to pull his series OBP up to .450.
Single-A Columbia Fireflies (13-8)
Columbia hit the road this week for an absurd EIGHT-game series at Augusta, including two doubleheaders from rainouts at the start of the season. And the Fireflies won six of those to vault up to a tie for first in the division.
Shane Panzini started off the series with a great start on Tuesday, picking up the Win thanks to six shutout innings with six strikeouts and two hits allowed. The 21-year-old righty came back up in the rotation on Sunday, but faltered a bit that day with just three innings pitched. (The team still won that one though!)
In Wednesday’s start, right-hander David Sandlin struck out 11 batters in five innings, allowed two runs on two hits, and walked two. On Friday, Ben Kudrna bounced back from a couple of rougher starts with five shutout innings. He allowed five hits - all singles - and two walks, and struck out four. By all measures, it was Kudrna’s best start of the season, and his first W.
Righty Adrian Alcantara made his first start of the season on Sunday, a tidy, 40-pitch rehab appearance in which he struck out six batters in three innings.
- RHP Mack Anglin, 22, made his full season debut this week. In two outings, Aglin struck out six in three total innings.
- RHP Samuel Valerio has not given up an earned run yet, in four outings.
- Steven Zobac Watch: Zobac pitched three no-hit, shutout innings with four strikeouts. His season K/9 is now down to 20.3.
On offense, David Hollie hit four home runs in one day to give himself an OPS of 2.005 for the series. The outfielder also drew four walks and got hit by a pitch, and stole two bases. Fun with tiny sample sizes: since homers don’t count as balls in play, Hollie’s BABIP for the week was only .167 despite going 5-for-12.
Local kid David Hollie is right at home in this doubleheader at Augusta.— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) April 30, 2023
After going yard in Game 1, the @Royals prospect drills three homers in the nightcap for the @ColaFireflies: pic.twitter.com/zfw7WkgOZk
Third baseman Brennon McNair had a stellar week at the plate, going 8-for-20 with three doubles, and his first triple and homer in full-season ball. McNair is 20, was drafted in 2021 out of high school, and played in the AZL until the start of this season.
First baseman Brett Squires had hits in all seven games that he played in the series, piling up 10 total hits that included a homer and three doubles.
Did you go to any games this week? Were there any cool promo nights or giveaway items?