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This Week in the Minors: Trevor Werner hits five homers

This Week in the Minors: Omaha chasing a franchise record, tons of great Fireflies pitching, and league POTW honors for 7th-rounder Trevor Werner

COLLEGE BASEBALL: MAY 25 SEC Baseball Tournament - South Carolina vs Texas A&M
Trevor Werner hit five homers this week for Columbia, after being drafted from Texas A&M earlier this summer.
Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

‘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 22 to Sunday, August 27

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (17-32 in second half; 55-66 overall)

schedule | roster

The Storm Chasers hosted the St. Paul Saints (MIN) as the first half of a 12-game homestand, and split the series 3-3.

Edward Olivares had another almost cartoonishly good week at the plate for Omaha, with three doubles and two homers among his seven hits. He also stole two bases, and was hit by three pitches.

Center fielder Bubba Thompson played in his second series with the Chasers since he was claimed off waivers from the Rangers earlier this month. He hit two homers and two doubles as part of a 7-hit effort overall.

Also clocking in with seven hits was infielder Clay Dungan, who also walked four times and stole two bases. The second of those brought the Storm Chasers total to a franchise record-tying 192 on the season.

Nick Loftin played four positions in the series and collected four hits. However, he drew eight (!) walks to put himself on base at a .462 clip. Another Chaser walking a lot these days is right fielder Tyler Gentry, who walked four times this series for a team-leading 64 on the season. Gentry has quietly had a solid August, slashing .283/.421/.450 so far this month.

In just his third Triple-A start, righty Andrew Hoffmann struck out a season-high nine batters. He picked up the W with two runs allowed in five innings, with two walks and four hits allowed. Hoffmann came to the Royals last summer as part of the trade with Atlanta that also brought Drew Waters and CJ Alexander into the organization.

Some bullpen notes, all right-handers:

  • Steven Cruz has not allowed a hit in his last five games, totaling 6.2 innings. He has struck out eight and walked three.
  • Jonah Dipoto pitched his longest outing of the year on Thursday, at three full innings with five strikeouts. He kept the Saints off the board, weathering six hits and a walk.
  • Jonathan Heasley closed out Sunday’s win with the first save of his pro career. It was the third time he pitched in the series, and the second day in a row he was the 9th inning guy. He didn’t allow runs in any of the three appearances.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (25-25 in second half; 54-65 overall)

schedule | roster

The Naturals hosted the Tulsa Drillers (LAD) and won two of the six. They don’t have any games left against first-place Wichita, but at just 3.5 games back, they’re more in the thick of things than any other full-season affiliate.

Mason Barnett turned in his third consecutive start with a game score over 60, in just his 4th start at Double-A. On Saturday, Barnett allowed just one run in five innings, and struck out six.

Right-hander Beck Way seems to have found something lately, as he has not allowed a run in any of his five appearances in the month of August. In those 14.2 innings, Way has struck out 15 and walked just four, and allowed five hits.

Lefty Drew Parrish picked up his second career save (the first was in May of 2019) with three shutout innings to wrap up Friday’s 7-0 win. That game was started by Noah Cameron, who went five scoreless innings, a really nice bounceback from his previous rough start.

Third baseman Cayden Wallace hit his first Double-A home run as part of a 6-for-18 performance in the series. He also doubled twice, walked four times, and stole two bases.

Javier Vaz stole three bases and walked four times, on top of collecting six hits in the series. Like Wallace, this was Vaz’s third series at the Double-A level.

Adv-A Quad Cities River Bandits (20-34 in second half; 52-68 overall)

schedule | roster

The River Bandits dropped four games in a series at the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (MIL).

Left fielder River Town stayed hot at the plate, going 9-for-22 with a double and a homer. He also drew six walks and stole five bases.

Carter Jensen muscled up in the series, piling up five extra base hits among his eight total knocks. His homer on Sunday was his second in the series and got him to 10 on the season.

Infielder Shervyen Newton has a 10-game hit streak cooking, during which he has 14 total hits, including three doubles, one homer, and one triple.

Outfielder Eric Kennedy was an undrafted free agent who joined the River Bandits at the beginning of the month. In this series, he went 7-for-18 with two doubles and four walks.

Single-A Columbia Fireflies (26-28 in second half; 61-58 overall)

schedule | roster

The Fireflies traveled to Zebulon, NC for a series against the Carolina Mudcats (MIL). They split the series 3-3, and remain nine games out of first place with no more games against first-place Charleston.

Small sample sizes are kind of the point of this whole column, but an OPS of 1.773 is still eye-popping. That’s what third baseman Trevor Werner ended up with this series, thanks to five (!) homers and two doubles among his 11 (!) total hits, plus four walks. Werner turns 23 next weekend. He was drafted in the 7th round this year out of Texas A&M, and is slashing .318/.408/.659 in his first 23 games in the organization.

First baseman Brett Squires went 8-for-25 with one of each variety of XBH. Squires has been outstanding in August, with a line of .333/.398/.607 on the month so far.

Columbia had a pretty good showing from the rotation, capped by seven shutout innings from 21-year-old righty Mauricio Veliz on Sunday. It was the third time Veliz pitched seven innings in the last month, and his fourth W in that time span.

Other good starts in the series:

  • Six strikeouts in five innings from RHP Henry Williams. He allowed two runs on five hits and was awarded the W.
  • Six innings with just one run allowed, with eight strikeouts, from righty Shane Panzini. He allowed eight hits but was able to limit damage.
  • Two runs in six innings, with four strikeouts and no walks, from Emmanuel Reyes.

Left-hander Jacob Widener, drafted this summer in the 9th round, made his Fireflies debut with two relief appearances. He pitched one inning in each, and hasn’t allowed a hit or a walk yet. He has struck out three batters so far, and also plunked two.

Righty Nicholas Regalado racked up seven strikeouts in 3.1 innings, after coming out of the pen twice. In August, Regalado has only given up one hit, zero runs, and three walks.

Some organizational promotions were announced yesterday: