Your weekly minor league update is here. With the exception of Kane County the afiliates are all moving in the direction we thought they would be. The Storm Chasers have won 9 straight, Wilmington continues to dominate and Northwest Arkansas is maintaining their hold on the Texas League. This is what you would expect from the best farm system in the majors and it only gives credence to the excitement we all feel waiting for these guys to come up. Here are the standings:
Kane County Cougars (Low A): 7-14 (7th place)
Wilmington Blue Rocks (High A): 12-7 (1st place)
Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Double A): 10-8 (2nd place, 0.5 games behind)
Omaha Storm Chasers (Triple A): 13-7 (1st place)
Low A (Kane County):
4/23/2011 – Postponed due to rain.
4/24/2011 – Kane County Cougars defeat the Clinton LumberKings, 10-3
Leonel Santiago – 6 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 6 SO
The Cougars won their first series of the year with this victory against the LumberKings. It was a big 4th inning that propelled the Cougars to victory in which they sent 12 batters to the plate and scored 8 runs which eventually led to a 10-3 victory.
Kane County Cougars fall to the Clinton LumberKings, 3-2
Crawford Simmons – 3.2 IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 4 SO
The Cougars were trailing 3-0 after the third and tried to make a game of it after getting 2 runs in the 6th but the LumberKings were able to close them out to preserve their victory.
4/25/2010 – Kane County Cougars fall to the Cedar Rapids Kernels, 6-1
Ray Marimon – 2.2 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 SO
A rainy night in Cedar Rapids and less than impressive pitching led the Cougars to another defeat. The Cougars drop to 7-11 and send Leondy Perez to the mound for the next game in hopes to get back on the winning track.
4/26/2010 – Kane County Cougars lose to the Cedar Rapids Kernals, 8-4
Leondy Perez – 0.1 IP, 6 R, 5 ER, 5 H, 1 BB
The Cougars jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first but Leondy Perez couldn’t even get two outs before giving up 6 runs in the bottom of the first. The game was over from there as the Kernals cruised to victory dropping the third straight for the Cougars.
4/27/2011 – Kane County Cougars lose fourth straight to the Cedar Rapids Kernels, 5-4
Keaton Hayenga – 6 IP, 5 R, 5 ER, 9 H, 2 BB, 4 SO
The Kernels jumped ahead early as they have most games in the series and the cougars could not figh theyr way back. Yowill Espinal and Ryan Stoball continue to try and take this team on their back offensively, but as has been the case most of the season it wasn’t enough. The Cougs stand at 7-13 on the year.
4/28/2011 – Kane County Cougars fall to the Burlington Bees, 6-4
Greg Billo – 4 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 6 SO
Billo gave a solid outing and left with the lead but the Cougars coughed it up late in the game losing a 4-3 lead in the 8th as the Bees went on take the victory.
High A (Wilmington):
4/23/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks defeat the Winston-Salem Dash, 10-2
Arguelles gave another solid outing for the Blue Rocks leading them to victory in the rain shortened 7-inning game. Arguelles continues to impress in his outings and it would not be surprising to see him make a move to Double A by mid-season. Michael Mariot actually got credit for the win though after the game was tied when he took over and then the Rocks scored 4, 3, and 2 runs in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings.
Wilmington Blue Rocks lose to the Winston Salem Dash, 3-2
Jake Odorizzi – 6 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 10 SO
Nick Francis – 2/4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Odorizzi had another solid outing showing good command and solid strikeout stuff. He and Arguelles continue to give strong outings with anchoring this exciting staff. However, despite the 10 K’s and keeping his team in the game the Blue Rocks were not able to hold on for the win losing in the 8th.
4/24/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks defeat the Winston-Salem Dash, 11-10
Elisaul Pimental – 6 IP, 5 R, 5 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 5 SO
Jon Whittleman – 3/4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI; Nick Francis – 3/5, 4 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
The Blue Rocks got off to a strong start and the Dash finished strong, but not strong enough as the Rocks were able to hold on to win in an exciting Easter day contest. The offensive numbers were stacked and Whittleman had a huge game with 5 RBIs. The Dash were able to hold Rey Navarro in check for the most part and it seems that the rest of the team is finally starting to wake up offensively.
4/25/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks defeat Lynchburg Hillcats, 8-1
Tim Melville – 7 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 1 SO; Manauris Baez – 2 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 3 SO
Carlo Testa – 2/4, 1 R, 1 3B, 2 RBI; Rey Navarro – 3/5, 1 R, 1 RBI
Tim Melville gives his second strong outing in a row as the Blue Rocks continue their winning ways against the Hillcats. Rey Navarro was not to be kept down for long as he had another great day aided by Carlo Testa and his 2 RBIs. 2 more RBIs by Joey Lewis propelled the Rocks to their 8-1 blowout.
4/26/2011 – Game Suspended due to rain.
4/27/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks lose to the Lynchburg Hillcats, 3-2
Tyler Sample – 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 SO
Rey Navarro – 2/3, 1 2B
The Blue Rocks got a solid but short outing from Tyler Sample but Bryan Paukovits came in and was not able to pick Sample up and the Rocks fell 3-2. Rey Navarro continues to hit very well stroking .420 now on the season. Unfortunately for him with Colon and Bianchi at AA, and Giavotella above them in AAA, it will be a bit before he gets to move on from Wilmington to see if he can prove he can do it at higher levels.
Wilmington Blue Rocks drop third straight to the Lynchburg Hillcats, 5-2
Justin Marks – 6 IP, 5 R, 5 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 1 SO
Nick Francis – 1/2, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Wilmington gets swept for the first time this season Justin Marks gets touched up by the Hillcats offense. The pitching for Lynchburg has shut down the solid Wilmington bats and that has been the key to their success in sweeping the Blue Rocks.
4/28/2011 – Off Day.
Double A (Northwest Arkansas):
4/22/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals lose to the Arkansas Travelers, 6-4
Will Smith – 4 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 10 H, 1 BB, 3 SO
Will Smith has just not looked sharp this year as he got touched up again for 4 runs. He has just not looked as solid as you would like to this point. The offense was pretty bleak with a couple standouts. Will Myers was out of the lineup and Lisson showed up big but it wasn’t enough. Interesting note, Baseball America’s #1 prospect Mike Trout was held to 1/4 with no RBIs.
4/22/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals defeat the Arkansas Travelers, 6-1
Heath Rollins – 3 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 SO
The Naturals got back to their winning ways in the second matchup of the doubleheader. Rollins gave a solid 3 IP and the offense picked him up from there as 3 HRs from the squad propelled them to victory.
4/23/2011 – Postponed due to rain.
4/24/2011 – Postponed due to rain.
4/25/2011 – Postponed due to rain.
4/26/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals defeat the Springfield Cardinals, 4-3
Edgar Osuna – 5 IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 7 SO
A solid outing was given by Osuna as he struck out 7 putting the Naturals in a good position to win the game. Osuna was helped out later by a solo HR from Perez and the blast propelled the Naturals to victory in the first of their double header to make up for all the rain delays.
4/26/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals drop one to the Springfield Cardinals, 3-2
Chris Dwyer – 6 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 SO
Anthony Seratelli – 1/3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI; Nick Van Stratten – 1/3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
In a late night game to make up for a rain delay the Naturals go down to the Cards after getting a solid pitching effort from Dwyer. Dwyer has struggled some in the early going so it’s good to see him have good command in 6 solid innings and put his team in a position to win, which they would have had it not been for an error resulted in 2 runs allowed.
4/27/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals lose to the Springfield Cardinals, 4-3
John Lamb – 5 IP, 2 R, 0 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 4 SO
Jamie Romak – 1/4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
A late homerun by Jamie Romak in the 9th inning tied the game up as they were able to make up for 2 runs that scored on an error earlier in the game. However, a suicide squeeze in the bottom of the 9th sealed the victory for the Cardinals. After a couple rough starts Lamb has strung together a couple solid outings and is finally looking like the pitcher we know he is. If he keeps performing like this he will be in line for a promotion to Omaha later in the year when Monty and/or Duffy get called up.
4/28/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals defeat Springfield Cardinals, 5-2
Will Smith – 7.1 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 8 H, 4 SO
Jamie Romak – 1/4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI; Mario Lisson – 1/3, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
The Naturals finally get a solid performance from Will Smith going 7+ innings and striking out 4. He was picked up with two homers from Romak and Lisson to seal the victory. The big story here is Will Myers, he hasn’t been in the lineup for close to the last week and I am not sure why. Speculation of a few nagging injuries or possibly just letting him clear his head to get away from his slow start. Hopefully he gets healthy and gets back to making good things happen for the Naturals.
Triple A (Omaha):
4/22/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers defeat the Memphis RedBirds, 3-2
Another solid outing from Mike Montgomery as he continues to settle down and get his pitches under control. It will be good for him to get some more seasoning for another couple months in the minors before he gets his shot at the major league level. Blaine Hardy came in and carried home the victory. Offensively the Chasers were spurred by 2 solo shots from the Alabama Slamma Clint Robinson. The question still remains about what this organization is going to do with Clint Robinson.
4/23/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers destroy the Nashville Sounds, 9-0
Vin Mazzaro – 7 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 SO
Vin Mazzaro had a big time comeback game here. Pitching 7 shutout innings with 5 K’s Mazzaro was possibly telling the franchise he is ready for that spot in the rotation they were reserving for him. His great day on the bump was bolstered offensively with solid days from the big 3 of Moos, Hos and C Rob. Moustakas has extended his hitting streak to 11 games as of this outing, although he has only had one hit in each of those games.
4/24/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers defeat the Nashville Sounds, 7-3
After a shaky first start Jeff Suppan has pitched well, which is to be expected down at AAA with a veteran pitcher like Suppan. Lorenzo Cain has seemingly gotten back in the ‘swing’ of things (pun very much intended) after the injury with two solid games in a row here. Moustakas extended his hitting streak to 12 games with yet another one hit game.
4/25/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers defeat the Nashville Sounds, 2-1
Eric Hosmer – 3/4, 1 R, 1 RBI; Johnny Giavotella – 2/4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Eric Hosmer continues to rake getting another 3 hits on the day. Moustakas continues to struggle going 0-4 and dropping his average to .225 on the season. Perhaps it’s the weather that is bothering him, but either way, it’s disconcerting that Moustakas continues to struggle the further we get into the season. It seems with all the preseason hype that he might be pressing a bit and I have heard similar rumblings from those who have seen him play. Hopefully he settles down and starts to hit like the masher we saw last year.
4/26/2011 – Postponed due to rain.
4/27/2011 – Off Day.
4/28/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers defeat the Iowa Cubs, 7-0
Danny Duffy – 6 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 8 SO
Eric Hosmer – 4/5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI; Mike Moustakas – 2/5, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI
This is what the Royals are hoping for in about 2 years. Duffy was as dominant as you can be, Moos and Hos hit back to back blasts in the 5th inning and got some solid offense from others on the team as well. Steven Shell, Greg Holland, and Jesse Chavez came in for one inning a piece, held the Cubs scoreless and kept Duffy’s shutout victory intact. This is the dream scenario for the Royals to have this type of game play out frequently in the coming years.
Pitcher of the Week – Danny Duffy – Week Stats: 6 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 8 SO; Season Stats: 20 IP, 4 BB, 24 SO, 0.90 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 2.91 FIP
Danny Duffy has been nothing but lights out all year. Below 1.00 ERA, below 1.00 WHIP, big time strikeout numbers, good control, basically everything you want to see from a pitcher at this level. I think the plan was for him to wait until June or so but if he continues to play at this level he will be forcing the hand of Royals.
Hitter of the Week – Lorenzo Cain – Week Stats: 8/21, 4 R, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI; Season Stats: .261/.346/.413/.759, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 RBI
Another piece of the Greinke trade, after starting the season on the DL, Cain was a slow starter but has awakened his bat this week. His line is still not that impressive but if this week shows what he really is we can all expect those numbers to jump moving forward. Continuing his solid hitting would only solidify Cain patrolling CF for the Royals for years to come.