Your weekly minor league update returns. It was not a good week for the minor league system. Kane County has tried to make up some ground, but is still struggling with their young squad. The Naturals have hit some tough times with little offense and suspect pitching, and Omaha is finally starting to feel the hit of losing some players to the big league club. Hopefully the younger players in the leagues start to mature and get more consistent so they can move up and get these holes filled on these teams.
Here’s how the teams stand:
Kane County Cougars (Low A): 26-34 (7th place)
Wilmington Blue Rocks (High A): 30-28 (2nd place)
Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Double A): 26-28
Omaha Storm Chasers (Triple A): 33-27 (1st place)
Low A (Kane County):
6/3/2011 – Kane County Cougars 0, Fort Wayne TinCaps 5
Sugar Ray Marimon – 6 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 4 SO
Ryan Stovall – 1/3, 1 2B
Nearly no-hit by the TinCaps, the Cougars seemingly reverted back to their early season ways with this matchup. A solid performance from Low A All Star selectee Ray Marimon does no good as the team can’t get enough offense to come through for him.
6/4/2011 – Kane County Cougars 6, Fort Wayne TinCaps 4 (11)
Leondy Perez – 3.1 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 2 SO
Cheslor Cuthbert – 2/4, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
A suspect performance by Perez was overcome by some good offense and a couple of late runs to get Kane County the victory. Cuthbert continues his strong start to his time Kane County.
6/5/2011 – Kane County Cougars 1, Fort Wayne TinCaps 7
Leonel Santiago – 6 IP, 6 R, 6 ER, 11 H, 0 BB, 4 SO
Ryan Stovall – 2/4, 1 R, 1 2B
Not much to say here. The Cougars got mollywhopped here.
6/6/2011 – Off Day.
6/7/2011 – Kane County Cougars 3, Bowling Green 0
Yordano Ventura – 5 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 SO
Ryan Stovall – 2/3, 1 R 1 2B, 1 RBI; Cheslor Cuthbert – 1/3
This is a great game for the Royals future. Right now the attention is on Hosmer, Moustakas, Myers, Montgomery, Duffy, and Lamb, but if, God forbid, those players aren’t able to be signed back then the Royals need more talent on the way. For that talent you need to look towards the lower levels of the minors and looking at this game is a good indicator. Yordano Ventura figures to be a big factor in the Royals future pitching staff, especially if the problems with Lamb, Monty and Dwyer continue. Further, Cuthbert is the first major hitter to emerge at the lower levels. Since being called up Cuthbert is off to a heck of a start hitting .327 through 55 AB’s with 3 HR’s, and he is only 19 years old. 2-3 years from now when Hosmer and moustakas are in their prime it will be quite nice to have a strong hitter like Cuthbert coming up behind them.
6/8/2011 – Kane County Cougars 7, Bowling Green Hot Rods 13
Jason Adam – 2.1 IP, 8 R, 8 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 3 SO
Travis Jones – 2/4, 1 R, 1 HER, 4 RBI
That’s not a football score, it was actually how this game played out for the Cougs. Adam had his first coming back down to Earth game of his young career. Not to be unexpected for a 19 year old, but he should be able to right the ship in his next start.
6/9/2011 – Kane County Cougars 4, Bowling Green Hot Rods 6
Sugar Ray Marimon – 6 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 8 H, 4 SO
Jacob Kuebler – 2/4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Kane County dropped another one to the Hot Rods. All-Star Sugar Ray Marimon didn’t have his sharpest outing but kept the team in the game, although they weren’t able to close it out.
High A (Wilmington):
6/3/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks 1, Potomac Nationals 5
Noel Arguelles – 5 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 1 SO
Rey Navarro – 1/4, 1 RBI
Arguelles put his team in position to win but the bullpen let him down and the Blue Rocks came away with the loss. Not much going offensively as they were not able to bring runs in and the offense has cooled off considerably since the start of the season.
6/4/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks 0, Potomac Nationals 3
Elisaul Pimentel – 8 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 5 SO
Joey Lewis – 2/3
Pimentel pitched an excellent game through 8 innings and, as has been the story lately, the bullpen let him down and the Blue Rocks take the loss. Some promotions have depleted the Blue Rocks bullpen and they will need some offensive help if they are going to come out of this funk.
6/5/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks 4, Potomac Nationals 5
Tim Melville – 5.1 IP, 5 R, 5 ER, 9 H, 1 BB, 4 SO
Rey Navarro – 2/4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI
Melville continues to struggle and even with the best attempt by the offense they couldn’t quite make up for it. It’s getting close to make or break time for Melville, he has some talent and I don’t think he’s gonna make it as a starter. As an organization they are gonna have to make a decision on how to best use what he has to offer.
6/6/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks 1, Kinston Indians 11
Tyler Sample – 4.1 IP, 8 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO
Yem Prades – 2/4
Sample is at the same crossroads as Melville. The Royals need to find a way to use his skills effectively to get any worth out of him in the future.
6/7/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks 8, Kinston Indians 2
Jake Odorizzi – 5 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 5 SO
The Blue Rocks came up with some offense, only issue is they might not have needed it as Odorizzi steamrolled another opponent showing yet again that he is ready for another challenge. There has been plenty of movement in the minors this year but the organizations refusal to move Odorizzi is puzzling. Dayton Moore says that they won’t move a player until they are ready, but once they are ready they won’t hesitate to move the player (see: Eric Hosmer), yet they don’t follow that mantra with Odorizzi. Quite strange.
6/8/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks 1, Kinston Indians 9
Justin Marks – 5 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 7 SO
Whit Merrifield – ¼, 1 R
The Blue Rocks v Indians series this year have been strange. Each game seems to switch back and forth with who dominates the game. Yesterday it was the Blue Rocks with an 8-2 victory, this game it was nearly the reverse. Hopefully tomorrow will turn out a bit different.
6/9/2011 – Cancelled rain.
Double A (Northwest Arkansas):
6/3/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals 5, Frisco Rough Riders 18
Edgar Osuna – 4 IP, 8 R, 8 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 1 SO
Nick Van Stratten – 1/2, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI
That’s not a typo, Osuna got rocked. NWA’s pitching has been up and down all season. I’m still not quite sure why Odorizzi remains in Wilmington when the Naturals are struggling like this pitching.
6/4/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals 9, Midland Rockhounds 16
Chris Dwyer – 4.1 IP, 8 R, 7 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 9 SO
A very strange statline for Dwyer, giving up so many runs but tossing 9 SO’s as well. However, overall, Dwyer continues to struggle mightily in AA. He may have some injuries still bothering him, but the future is not looking bright for Dwyer at the moment.
6/5/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals 8, Midland Rockhounds 3
Buddy Baumann – 3.2 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 1 SO
Tim Smith – 2/4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HER, 4 HR
The Naturals get off the slide with this win. Baumann pitched a solid start and the offense picked him up. The Naturals need to look for more games like this to stay in contention this season.
6/6/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals 4, Midland Rockhounds 3
Will Smith – 6 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 6 SO
Will Myers – 2/5, 1 RBI
The Naturals get another one from Midland. Will Smith continues to settle down a bit and put together some good outings. His command might be a little out of control still, but ultimately he has started to pitch well. It’s also a positive note to see Will Myers back in the lineup and hitting as he is now over .300 on the season. Perhaps he is a slow starter like Moustakas or it was the injuries but hopefully he is able to go on a tear and make it to AAA this year.
6/7/2011 – Off Day.
6/8/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals 1, Arkansas Travelers 4
Bruce Chen – 2 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 2 SO
Jeff Bianchi – ½, 1 2B, 1 RBI
In Chen’s first rehab start he got knocked around a bit and didn’t appear to be too impressive. As much is to be expected with a first start after being out nearly two months. The offense didn’t help him out much either as has been the case lately with the slow moving Naturals offense.
6/8/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals 1, Arkansas Travelers 7
Kyle Davies – 2 IP, 4 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 3 SO
Anthony Seratelli – 2/3, 1 R
Not be outdone by Chen, Kyle Davies started the second game of this double header and gave up 4 runs of his own. He ended up getting even less help from his offense and also took the loss.
6/9/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals 5, Arkansas Travelers 8
Zach Miner – 2 IP, 6 R, 6 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 1 SO
Will Myers – 2/5, 1 R; Anthony Seratelli – 1/3, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Myers breaks an 0-6 streak with his 2/5 performance today. Miner was not sharp struggling with his command and getting into far too much trouble in route to giving up 6 runs and taking the loss.
Triple A (Omaha):
6/3/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers 6, New Orleans Zephyrs 4
Mike Montgomery – 6.1 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 H, 4 BB, 3 SO
Lorenzo Cain continues to impress as he continues to hover around .300 on the season. Mike Montgomery give a pedestrian outing but came away with a no-decision. Clint Robinson continues to mash and is still hitting above .350. I would really like to give him a shot at the majors at some point but it doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen with the Royals.
6/4/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers 4, Iowa Cubs 10
Mario Santiago – 4 IP, 5 R, 4 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 2 SO
Mike Moustakas – 1/4, 1 2B, 1 RBI; Johnny Giavotella – 3/5, 1 R, 2 2B, 3 RBI
Moustakas and Giavotella continue to hit well in May and it is quite certain that Moustakas’ days in AAA are numbered as he will most likely be up in the majors in a couple weeks. The only thing that may prevent this would be what the Royals are gonna do with Wilson Betemit.
6/5/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers 8, Iowa Cubs 9
Jeff Suppan – 7 IP, 8 R, 7 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 4 SO
Clint Robinson – 2/4, 1 R, 1 2B; Lorenzo Cain – 1/4, 1 R, 1 RBI
Suppan got knocked around again and I doubt he sees the majors this year, at least I hope he doesn’t. The offense tried to keep the Storm Chasers in the game but they couldn’t quite make it happen.
6/6/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers 3, Iowa Cubs 1
Luis Mendoza – 7 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 3 SO
David Lough – 1/5, 2 RBI; Jarrod Dyson – 3/4
The Storm Chasers get a second straight win here with a solid performance from Mendoza. The Storm Chasers didn’t have too much noteworthy in this game but it was a solid victory nonetheless.
6/7/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers 8, Iowa Cubs 6
Kevin Pucetas – 5.2 IP, 6 R, 6 ER, 11 H, 2 BB, 5 SO
Johnny Giavotella – 2/5, 1 R, 2 RBI; Mike Moustakas – 2/4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI; Clint Robinson – 1/3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI; David Lough – 2/4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Another offensive explosion for this offense heavy team. Moustakas continues to tick closer to that .300 mark and David Lough and Johnny Giavotella continue to be solid contributors hitting over .300 on the year. The real question here is Clint Robinson. C Rob is stroking .351/.438/.606/1.044 with 13 HRs and 43 RBIs. The Royals need to either move C Rob to get what they can for him, or give him a shot at the big leagues. C Rob is much better than Kila is and needs a chance to make a splash in the majors.
6/8/2011 – Off Day.
6/9/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers 3, Oklahoma City RedHawks 4
Mike Montogmery – 7 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 5 SO
Clint Robinson – 2/4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Robinson has now hit his 14th HR on the season and he’s now hitting .354. In the post Moustakas era in Omaha he still seems to be carrying the load well and more and more of that burden will fall on him for offense.
Demotions: Mike Aviles (Majors-AAA), Nick Francis (AA-A+)
Hitter of the Week: Clint Robinson – Week stats: 8/22 (.363), 1 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI; Season Stats – .354/.439/.618, 14 HR, 45 RBI
One thing that is frustrating about following the minor leagues as I do is seeing a situation like Robinson’s. If you put his stats on Mike Moustakas we would be thinking that we have the best hitter in the league on our hands, but Robinson was a 25th round pick and doesn’t have the hype so it’s just a small little bonus. Robinson won’t get a chance to see time in a Royals uniform this year but my only hope is that the Royals trade him so he gets a chance somewhere in the majors.
Pitcher of the Week: Yordano Ventura – Week Stats: 5 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 SO; Season Stats: 20.1 IP, 13 R, 12 ER, 22 H, 7 BB, 27 SO, 5.31 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 4.13 FIP
Ventura was signed when he was 17 years old in 2008 as a non-drafted free agent. At 20 years old he is having his first turn above rookie ball and he got off to a slow start but had a legit outing this week. Voted by Baseball America as having the best fastball in the Royals minor league system going in to 2011, Ventura is a solid prospect that factors into that ‘second wave’ category of pitchers that could come up after Montgomery, Duffy, Lamb, et. al. have their time in the sun. Hopefully he continues to pitch at this level and moves quickly from this year.