‘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, September 5 to Sunday, September 10
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (24-37 in second half; 62-71 overall)
The Storm Chasers won the first four and lost the last two in a road series against the Iowa Cubs (CHC).
Third baseman Devin Mann had his best series since joining the Chasers at the start of August. He went 7-for-17 with three doubles and a home run, plus six walks and two steals. This was just the second time all season that Mann got to play a full series at one position.
Like Mann, right fielder Tyler Gentry hit well and walked a ton on top of that. Gentry homered twice and doubled once, in addition to seven walks and two steals.
The Gentry Giant has 15 home runs on the year. He’s just so freaking good at baseball. pic.twitter.com/ruCMMIEFgR— Preston Farr (@royalsminors) September 10, 2023
Nate Eaton went 7-for-24 with three doubles and two home runs while splitting time among all three outfield positions. Look at this absolute bomb:
Nate Eaton sent this ball into orbit ☄️ pic.twitter.com/oZMC2k8VlN— Omaha Storm Chasers (@OMAStormChasers) September 10, 2023
Shortstop Angelo Castellano had six hits including two doubles and a home run. Center fielder Bubba Thompson piled up eight hits, with three doubles and a homer.
On Thursday, right-hander Andrew Hoffmann struck out seven and allowed two runs in a W. He walked three and gave up a solo home run. Righty Max Castillo followed that by holding the Cubs to one run in 6.1 innings on Friday. Iowa scattered seven hits against him, including a solo homer.
In the bullpen, Dylan Coleman pitched three times and ended up with three scoreless innings. Lefty Taylor Hearn walked four, but struck out seven and held Iowa scoreless in 4.2 innings across three games.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (32-31 in second half; 60-71 overall)
The Naturals have one more series remaining in the season, and won four out of six at Frisco, home of the Rough Riders (TEX) this week. Their elimination number is 4, with 6.5ish games left to play (their final series includes the conclusion of a suspended game).
The team got some unbelievable relief this week, so let’s turn to some BULLPEN BULLET POINTS:
- RHP Anderson Paulino pitched the 9th twice, and was perfect twice. This is after he also pitched two perfect 9th innings in last week’s series against Springfield, and four additional scoreless appearances before that.
- RHP Justin Anderson, pitching against his former club, pitched three shutout innings in two games.
- RHP Jacob Wallace pitched two perfect innings split between two games.
- LHP Rylan Kaufman, in his second outing at Double-A, picked up a 3-inning save with no runs and just one hit allowed.
- LHP T.J. Sikkema pitched twice, with 2.1 total innings and just one baserunner allowed.
- Ditto righty Anthony Simonelli, except Simonelli allowed to baserunners in his 2.1 shutout innings. But he also struck out five!
Third baseman Cayden Wallace homered twice among his seven hits in the series. First baseman Dillan Shrum was 5-for-16 with a homer, plus six walks. Shortstop Tyler Tolbert stole three bases to bring his season total to 50.
Adv-A Quad Cities River Bandits (23-43 in second half; 55-77 overall)
The River Bandits dropped all but one game in their series at the South Bend Cubs (CHC) to end their 2023 season.
Kale Emshoff played more of the week with Quad Cities than Omaha, so I’ll put him in this section. In his final three games with QC, the 25-year-old catcher went 7-for-12 with two doubles and two homers. Upon being promoted to Omaha, he doubled in a pinch-hit appearance and ended up scoring.
Righty Ben Kudrna went pretty deep in the game in his final start. He ended up with 6.1 innings, with one earned run allowed after his exit in the 7th. Kudrna struck out five, walked three, and allowed six hits.
Left-hander Ryan Ramsey struck out six and picked up the W on Thursday, with two earned runs allowed on four hits and three walks. He was relieved by RHP Cruz Noriega, who took over in the 6th and earned a four-inning save.
Single-A Columbia Fireflies (31-35 in second half; 66-65 overall)
With two wins in their road series against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (CHC), the Fireflies salvaged a .500+ record on the season.
After winning the Carolina League player of the week award last week and the week before, third baseman Trevor Werner stayed red-hot to finish off his first pro season. He went 9-for-22 with two doubles, a triple, and a grand slam, and also stole three bases in three attempts.
Trevor Werner is playing in his 29th game at Low-A. This is his 8th HR. A grand slam. pic.twitter.com/prezRYWHnQ— Preston Farr (@royalsminors) September 9, 2023
Right-hander Ben Hernandez had a nice game to finish off his season, with one run allowed on five hits in six innings. Hernandez, 22, only got to pitch nine games for Columbia after losing half the season to an injury.
Emmanuel Reyes was strong for six innings on Saturday, giving up a solo homer but no other runs, with four strikeouts and no walks. Overall, the 19-year-old righty pitched 37.2 innings for the Fireflies and walked just eight batters, while striking out 29.
I don’t think it’s at all an exaggeration to say that Emmanuel Reyes has the best command in the entire #Royals farm system. This guy lives in the zone.— Preston Farr (@royalsminors) September 10, 2023
52 pitches today, 38 for strikes and that was after a weather delay ended the second inning. pic.twitter.com/b4id1n0gl2
With the single-A affiliates both done, all that remains of the season is one more series for the Naturals, and two more series for Omaha. If you are in the Omaha area, the final home series of the season starts this afternoon.