The weekly update of the Royals minor league system that I know you’ve all been waiting for is here. The affiliates have come back down to Earth and normalized a little bit. The two most talented teams, the Blue Rocks and the Storm Chasers, continue to stay in 1st place, the Naturals are hovering in second and the Cougars continue to struggle. Once the rookie leagues start up they will no doubt reveal some talent that will move up and help the Cougars, not to mention Brett Eibner cooming back from injury. Now, what will probably hurt the Blue Rocks will help the Naturals as Jake Odorizzi and Noel Arguelles will most likely be up there by the all star break. Now, here is how the afiliates stand:
Kane County Cougars (Low A): 11-24 (7th place)
Wilmington Blue Rocks (High A): 18-14 (T-1st place)
Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Double A): 14-14 (2nd place)
Omaha Storm Chasers (Triple A): 19-15 (1st Place)
Low A (Kane County):
5/6/2011 – Kane County Cougars drop to the Quad Cities River Bandits, 6-1
Leondy Perez – 8 IP, 5 R, 2 ER, 10 H, 0 BB, 7 SO
Ryan Stovall – 2/4, 1 2B
The Cougars were light on offense yet again. Ryan Stovall tried to do all he could the Cougars but just couldn’t make up the ground. Kane County has gone from ‘slow start’ to ‘really struggling’ in a pretty quick timeframe. I imagine once the rookie leagues start and some players start making noise they will get a little help.
5/7/2011 – Kane County Cougars drop to the Peoria Chiefs, 6-1
Robert Penny – 5 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 2 SO
Brian Fletcher – 1/4, 1 RBI
Another night where the Cougars are just overmatched. The Chiefs held them in check on offense and were able to hit around Penny pretty well. The Cougars don’t have much talent at the moment and will need some help in the future.
5/8/2011 – Kane County Cougars lose to the Peoria Chiefs, 4-1
Greg Billo – 6 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 8 SO
Gerard Hall – 2/4, 1 R, 1 3B
The Cougars got a solid pitching effort from Billo who is really having a solid start to his year. However, as has been the theme, the offense was not able to pick him up and they dropped another one here to the Chiefs.
5/9/2011 – Kane County Cougars lose to the Peoria Chiefs, 4-0
Leonel Santiago – 7 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 2 SO
Yowill Espinal – 1/3
The struggles of the Cougars continue. They got a solid outing from Santiago but their tepid offense wasn’t able to help their pitching out as the Cougars drop yet another one. The Cougs really need some help, and soon.
5/10/2011 – Kane County Cougars finally win one over the Beloit Snappers, 8-4
Sugar Ray Marimon – 5 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 7 SO
Brian Fletcher – 4/4, 1 R, 2 2B, 4 RBI; Geulin Beltre – 3/4, 1 R, 1 2B
The Cougars finally end their skid and pick up a win getting them to 10 wins on the year. Brian Fletcher had a great game offensively although it ended too soon as he had to come out with a muscle pull. No word yet on how severe the injury is, hopefully he gets back soon as Fletcher is a big part of this Cougar offense.
5/11/2011 – Kane County Cougars defeat Beloit Snappers, 8-2
Leondy Perez – 6 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 7 SO
Alex Llanos – 2/5, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI; Yowill Espinal – 1/2, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI
The Cougars are on a winning streak! With another great outing from Leondy Perez the Cougars rode it to a victory. Perez has gotten off to a real solid start this season with a 2.79 ERA and a 30:8 K:BB ratio, a bright spot on the otherwise dim season so far for the Cougars. Hopefully, after putting together a couple of wins they are able to turn things around.
5/12/2011 – Kane County Cougars get smoked by the Beloit Snappers, 10-3
Dusty Odenbach – 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 BB, 1 SO
Ryan Stovall – 2/3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
The Cougars unfortunately return to their losing ways as they just can’t corral the Snappers offense. The Cougars still won the series though and hopefully this is a good start for them to try and get things together. Let’s all not forget that Brett Eibner will return to the lineup after he is back from his injury and they will eventually get some help from people who outgrow the rookie clubs like Robinson Yambati and Yordano Ventura and Jason Adam.
High A (Wilmington):
5/6/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks lose to the Frederick Keys, 2-1
Elisaul Pimentel – 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 SO
Rey Navarro – 2/4
Navarro continues to hit above his head, but his bat alone is not enough as the Blue Rocks drop an old fashioned pitchers duel here. Pimentel gave a real solid outing. You want the BB:K numbers to be a little bit better, but he put the team in a position to win and his offense was not able to come through for him.
5/7/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks drop to the Frederick Keys, 3-1
Tim Melville – 6 IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 7 SO
Whit Merrifield – 2/4, 1 R, 2 2B
Tim Melville pitched a solid outing here. After a horrible outing in his last start Melville gave the Rocks a chance to win that they could not pick up going anemic on offense again and dropping a low scoring affair.
5/8/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks lose to the Frederick Keys in 13 innings, 3-2
Tyler Sample – 5 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 2 SO
John Whittleman – 2/4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Sample came on in relief and kept the Rocks in the game but ultimately gave up the winning run. A third low scoring, hard fought affair in a row that ended in a loss for the Blue Rocks. They are still the class of the Carolina League but you have to imagine that will slowly decline over the year as their players get called up. Kelvin Herrera is already gone to AA and you can bet that Odorizzi, Arguelles, and Navarro, in all likelihood, aren’t far behind.
5/9/2011 – Off Day.
5/10/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks defeat the Salem Red Sox, 3-1
Jake Odorizzi – 6 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 3 BB, 13 SO
John Whittleman – 3/4, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI
The Jake Odorizzi show continues to chug along. He can’t have many more starts left in High A as he is just blowing away the competition. Odorizzi has 41 strikeouts in his last 4 starts and went 5 innings before giving up a hit. As a hard throwing righty with great movement on his fastball he will no doubt garner comparisons to Zack Greinke if he continues to dominate. If you’ll indulge me for a second, how great would that Zack Geinke trade look if he got a RHP comparable to Greinke, plus a gold glove shortstop, legit CF, and reliever who hits 100 MPH on the gun. That would go down as one of the best trades in history, not Royals history, MLB history. This is a big IF because maybe Odorizzi won’t even pan out, but that trade is looking good right now.
5/11/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks defeat the Salem Red Sox, 3-2
Noel Arguelles – 5.2 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 2 SO
Adrian Ortiz – 1/4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Arguelles had yet another solid outing only giving up 1 run en route to a victory. Arguelles and Odorizzi make for a killer 1-2 punch, especially at the High A level. Don’t be surprised to see both of them moved up to AA before the year is done.
5/12/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks lose to the Salem Red Sox, 5-4
Elisaul Pimentel – 5 IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 2 SO
Nick Francis – 3/4, 1 2B, 1 RBI; Whit Merrifield – 2/3, 1 R, 1 RBI
The Blue Rocks were taken down by the Red Sox in a tight one. Pimentel continues to give unspectacularly decent performances that give the Rocks a chance to win. Unfortunately this time they were not able to come through and take the victory.
Double A (Northwest Arkansas):
5/6/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Natruals defeat the Springfield Cardinals, 10-4
Heath Rollins – 5 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 4 SO
The Naturals continue to improve offensively and laid some wood on the Cardinals. Rollins gave them a very solid five innings and that’s all the Naturals needed as they jumped out to a lead and never looked back. Christian Colon is starting to heat up and Jamie Romak continues to surprise offensively.
5/7/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals get smoked by the Tulsa Drillers, 15-3
Eduardo Paulino – 2.2 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 H, 3 BB, 2 SO
Kurt Mertins – 2/3, 1 2B, 1 RBI
The Naturals got jumped all over in this game. Tulsa started out the game scoring 10 runs in the first 4 innings and the Naturals never had a shot after that.
5/8/2011 – Northwest Arkansas defeat the Tulsa Drillers, 9-8
A big 6th inning propelled the Naturals to victory in a back-and-forth matchup. Dwyer had another troubling start. His entire start to the season has been rough for one of the pitchers the Royals have high hopes for. With a 6.35 ERA he’s not going to impress anybody and needs to find a way to settle down and get his stuff together.
5/9/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals drop one late to the Tulsa Drillers, 6-4
John Lamb – 6 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO
Mario Lisson – 2/4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
The Naturals got hit around early as Lamb got beat up a little bit in the second, but were able to battle back and take it to extra innings. Buddy Baumann pitched 3 scoreless innings but it was the 4th that did him in as he wasn’t able to hold the Drillers in check and gave up two runs. The Naturals got a man on base to lead off the 10th but stranded him there as they were closed out by the Drillers.
5/10/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals defeat the Tulsa Drillers, 3-1
Will Smith – 6 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 4 SO; Kelvin Herrera – 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 SO
Will Myers – 2/4, 1 R, 1 RBI
Finally getting a high quality outing from Will Smith and the Naturals take advantage. Herrera performed well in his first work in AA and preserved the victory for Smith that Patrick Keating closed out for his 4th save of the season. Keating is another player who is starting to come on. After a couple rocky outing he has settled down and hasn’t given up a run in his last 7 innings. Keating is another option the Royals have in this system for a bullpen arm if they get in a pinch down the road.
5/11/2011 – Day Off
5/12/2011 – Postponed due to rain.
Triple A (Omaha):
5/6/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers drop a heartbreaker to the Oklahoma City RedHawks, 3-2
Jeff Suppan – 6 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 SO
Lance Zawadzki – 3/4, 1 RBI
Suppan put the team in a position to win the game but the offense wasn’t able to come through. With a late rally in the ninth the Storm Chasers came up short only scoring one run when they needed two to tie and the RedHawks were able to close out the win.
5/7/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers defeat the Oklahoma City RedHawks, 3-1
Lorenzo Cain – 2/4, 1 R, 2 2B; Lance Zawadzki – 2/4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
The Storm Chasers got another real solid outing from Pucetas, who has had a real nice start to his season. He is 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA, a 23:10 K:BB ratio, and a 0.97 WHIP. If he continues to pitch well he might find his way to the big league club. He has done well at every level from a W-L perspective but struggled a little bit on the Giants AAA team. If he can extend this streak of keeping it together he will have a spot in the big leagues whether it’s as a starter or a reliever.
5/8/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers smoke the Oklahoma City RedHawks, 10-2
Danny Duffy – 6 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 8 SO
Lorenzo Cain – 2/4, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI; Mike Moustakas – 2/4, 2 R, 2 RBI
A couple good things came out of this blowout here. Number one is Danny Duffy continuing his strong start and getting another quality win. His stat line looks like this 3-0, 2.25 ERA, 41:7 K:BB, 0.969 WHIP. He is giving every indication that he is ready to take that next step to the majors. This seems to be the theme as the player who we all thought would take a bit longer might come up sooner. Everyone thought Moustakas would get up before Hosmer and that didn’t happen, and everyone thought Mike Montgomery would get up before Danny Duffy and it looks as though that’s not going to happen either. Now, for the other good things from this victory, Lorenzo Cain continuing to put his slow start behind him and getting above .300 in the BA category, along with Moustakas starting to heat up a bit. Moos still is striking out too much and needs to have a little more discipline but his power is starting to show a little more with 5 HRs and 23 RBIs. His batting average is climbing but still not there yet at .250. Hopefully he can get some more consistency and find his way to the majors around June to be alongside his buddy Hosmer.
5/9/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers lose to the Oklahoma City RedHawks, 8-5
Mike Montgomery – 6 IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO
It wasn’t a terrible outing from Montgomery and he actually left with the win in hand but the bullpen wasn’t able to stifle the RedHawks and they stormed back and took the win in the top of the ninth and closed it out from there. Mike Moustakas continues to heat up as he is now batting .261 on the season. His stat line in his last 10 games is impressive sitting at .308/.417/.462/.878 with 1 HR and 9 RBIs. Hopefully this is a sign that Moos is just a slow starter and we can expect him to heat up. He needs to keep this level of hitting going to stay on schedule and make it up to the majors by June.
5/10/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers love to the Reno Aces, 5-1
Blake Johnson – 3 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 2 SO; Everett Teaford – 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 SO
Mike Moustakas – 1/4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
The Storm Chasers were put behind the gun early on with Johnson giving up 4 runs early as he had a rough outing in his first start in AAA. Having to do a spot start after just getting called up is not an ideal situation so Johnson probably gets a pass on this one, but you never like to see pitchers get a rough start like this. Hopefully he can put this behind him quickly. Mike Moustakas provided the only offense with his solo homerun but I think what you see is what you get with Moustakas at this point. I don’t know that he will ever hit much higher than the .270-.280 range and he is gonna have a lot of strikeouts. The best part about his is I don’t think it is any one pitch or location that will get him so it will just depend on the scenario but I imagine we will see a lot of late game scenarios where he is the hero and equally as many situations where he strikes out and can’t get it done. However, if that means he will hit .275 with 130 Ks but get 35+ HRs and 100+ RBIs, I’m OK with it (think Ryan Howard like numbers). We will hopefully see in June.
5/11/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers defeat the Reno Aces, 6-5
Jeff Suppan – 6 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 3 SO
Suppan gives yet another unspectacular-but-solid-enough-to-win performance as the Storm Chasers get another victory. Clint Robinson had another huge game going 3-4 with a HR. Joaquin Arias had his first good game after coming off the DL, all while propelling the Chasers to victory.
5/12/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers lose to the Reno Aces, 11-3
Greg Holland – 1 IP, 0 R, 2 SO
David Lough – 2/4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
The Storm Chasers were out of this from the beginning trailing 8-3 after the third inning. Normally solid Kevin Pucetas gave up 8 runs in 5 innings of work. These things happen I suppose and despite as much help as David Lough could give, the Chasers were unable to put much more than a dent in the formidable Reno lead.
Promotions: INF Joaqin Arias (DL to AAA); RHP Kelvin Herrera (High A to AA); RHP Blake Johnson (AA to AAA)
Demotions: RHP Steve Shell (AAA – Released); OF Gegor Blanco (Traded to Washington Nationals for PTBNL)
Pitcher of the Week: Jake Odorizzi – Week Stats – 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 13 SO; Season Stats – 32 IP, 1.97 ERA, 0.937 WHIP, 1.26 FIP, 8 BB, 51 SO
What more really needs to be said about Jake Odorizzi? The pitcher of the week for the second week in a row, as soon as the Royals start moving pitchers expect him to be bumped up to NWA to help out that staff.
Hitter of the Week: Brian Fletcher – Week Stats: 8/19 (.321), 1 R, 1 2B, 5 RBI; Season stats – .328/.376/.491/.867, 2 HR, 19 RBI
Fletcher was selected by the Royals in the 18th round in the 2010 Draft. His first year in the system out of Auburn Fletcher seems to finding his way quite nicely. His father played 15 seasons in the majors (Scott Fletcher) and is currently a roving infield instructor for the Rockies so he has a solid pedigree. He seems like he would be a solid player and, with the way the team is structured now, would most likely only be a 4th outfielder. If he continues to hit and play some solid D in the outfield, he could be packaged in a trade if need be. With the crowded outfield the Royals have right now and projecting into the future (Gordon, Cain, Francoeur, Dyson, Myers, Lough), and his age coming out of college (he’ll be 23 in October) it’s not likely he sees time in the majors with the Royals.