Your weekly minor league update has arrived. It will be noted that the shortened league rookie ball seasons have started and I will track their records for you all but I won’t be doing game recaps as, quite frankly, it would take more time than I am allotted for my blogging tasks. Regardless, we have another solid week for the affiliates. Despite a bomb of a night by Mike Montgomery, there were some good showings by some solid players and all the teams appear to be making strides heading to the midway point of the season. Here are where they stand:
Burlington Royals (Rookie): 0-3 (4th place)
AZL Royals (Arizona): 1-2 (4th place)
Idaho Falls Chukars (Rookie Advanced): 2-2 (2nd Place)
Kane County Cougars (Low A): 28-41 (7th place)
Wilmington Blue Rocks (High A): 1-0 (2nd place – Wilmington and the Carolina League have started their second half season)
Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Double A): 1-1 (2nd place - NWA/Texas League has started their second half season)
Omaha Storm Chasers (Triple A): 41-34 (1st Place)
Low A (Kane County):
6/17/2011 – Kane County Cougars 1, Clinton Lumberkings 0
Leonel Santiago – 6 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 0 BB, 6 SO
Orlando Carlixte – 2/3, 1 RBI
Santiago put together his best performance of the season and continues to roll right along. His record might not show it at 5-6 but he is putting together a pretty solid season. Two bad outings have given him a pedestrian line but he has shown some good signs so far this year.
6/18/2011 – Kane County Cougars 2, Clinton Lumberkings 4
Yordano Ventura – 5.2 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO
Brian Fletcher – 2/4
Ventura got touched up a bit in his 7th outing of the year. This marks the first earned run he’s given up in his last 3 starts and only 6 in his last 5 starts. For a 20 year old, he is still on track as he has shown some great flashes so far this season.
6/19/2011 – Kane County Cougars 0, Clinton Lumberkings 1
Jason Adam – 5 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 5 SO
Cheslor Cuthbert – 1/4
Adam put together another solid outing only giving up 1 run, but his offense couldn’t come through and the Cougars got taken out in a 1-run game.
6/20/2011-6/23/2011 – All-Star Break
High A (Wilmington):
6/17/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks 10, Winston-Salem Dash 5
Noel Arguelles – 4 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 SO
Arguelles continues to march right along with a sub-3.00 ERA. Arguelles is showing good command and is keeping the ball down and in the park. Coming back from an injury it is good to see that Arguelles hasn’t slowed down and despite a few very minor speedbumps has had a very good season to this point in his first full season in the minors.
6/17/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks 1, Winston-Salem Dash 3
Jake Odorizzi – 5.2 IP, 2 R, 0 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 11 SO
Yem Prades – 2/3, 1 2B
Odorizzi continues to dominate and yet doesn’t get any help from his defense or offense in this outing. Odorizzi had recently struggled and the assumption was that it was due to him working on some of his secondary pitches. I take his bounceback as a good sign that he has worked out some of the kinks of some of those pitches and can still dominate with his old.
6/18/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks 7, Winston-Salem Dash 2
Justin Marks – 6.1 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 12 SO
Justin Marks had his best outing as a professional in this game. Showing great “stuff” getting him 12 strikeouts show that he has some ability and if it’s cultivated the right way, perhaps the Royals could glean some value out of him.
6/19/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks 2, Winston-Salem Dash 3
Elisaul Pimentel – 6 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 11 H, 0 BB, 6 SO
Rey Navarro – 1/4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Pimentel had a bad outing a couple of games ago where he gave up 9 runs in under 3 innings and that has inflated his season stats but he has put together a pretty solid year so far. Rey Navarro also must be pretty happy to be a part of the all star game as he has hit 3 HRs in his last 2 games.
6/20/2011 – 6/22/2011 – All Star Break
6/23/2011 – Wilmington Blue Rocks 10, Lynchburg Hillcats 7
Tim Melville – 5.1 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 5 SO
Whit Merrifield – 2/5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI; Yem Prades – 2/5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI
Tim Melville puts together another solid outing. In 5 of his last 7 outings Melville has allowed 2 or less runs in 5 or more innings of work. He had two consecutive starts in there where he really struggled and his ERA, while going down, is still a pedestrian 4.50. Word from the organization is that he is very close to pulling it all together and if he can get his WHIP under control things will fall into place nicely for him. However, I still feel his destiny lies in the bullpen for the big league club.
Double A (Northwest Arknasas):
6/17/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals 15, Springfield Cardinals 6
Will Smith – 5.2 IP, 5 R, 2 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 3 SO
An offensive explosion made up for 3 errors by the Naturals and 5 runs given up by Will Smith. Perez continues to improve his hitting at the AA level, reach .270 now, as does Christian Colon who is just under .260. Hopefully these two can continue to improve and possibly reach AA sometime in August and start there next year.
6/18/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals 1, Springfield Cardinals 3
Kyle Davies – 6 IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 4 SO
Mario Lisson – 2/4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Kyle Davies have up 3 runs on 5 hits in a AA game and this is the guy the Royals are dying to get back up to the big leagues so that they can move Danny Duffy down. Ridiculous.
6/19/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals 15, Springfield Cardinals 10
Zach Miner – 4 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 2 SO
Another offensive explosion. The Naturals don’t seem to have a clear cut offensive leader but they get some good explosion from a varied roster. It is good that the players are showing the talent to blow up but inconsistency is hurting this team and these players.
6/20/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals 0, Tulsa Drillers 2
Chris Dwyer – 5.1 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 3 SO
Jamie Romak – 2/4; Will Myers 1/3
After a very, very rough start, Dwyer has reigned it in and is finally starting to look like the prospect we all thought he would be. I don’t want to speak too soon here, but his last two starts have been solid outings and things might finally be starting to click for him. This is especially impressive against a first place Tulsa team whom the Naturals are fighting for the 1st half crown. Dwyer most likely will spend the rest of the season in AA, but if he can continue to put outings like this in, then he might start next season at AAA.
6/21/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals 10, Tulsa Drillers 2
Buddy Baumann – 6.1 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 8 SO
Will Myers – 3/4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI; Anthony Seratelli – 1/5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI; Christian Colon – 2/4, 3 R, 1 2B; Jeff Bianchi – 1/5, 1 2B, 3 RBI
Buddy Baumann is an unheralded prospect but he has quietly put together a solid season. In his last 10 starts he has a 1.88 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. This includes only giving up 3 runs in his last 3 outings, the last two of which he pitched 6+ innings. Baumann was a 2009 pick that has had success at every level and in a year when he was supposed to be overshadowed by the likes of Chris Dwyer and John Lamb, he has been the Naturals best and most consistent pitcher. It will be interesting to follow his development the rest of the year.
6/22/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals 6, Tulsa Drillers 2
Will Smith – 6 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 3 SO
Mario Lisson – 2/5, 1 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI; Ben Theriot – 1/3, 2 RBI
The Naturals continue their march toward a first half crown. Beating the Drillers and their next series against the Arkansas Travelers will help sew up the crown as we near the halfway point in the season.
6/23/2011 – Northwest Arkansas Naturals 8, Tulsa Drillers 12
Edgar Osuna – 4 IP, 6 R, 6 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 3 SO
Tim Smith – 3/5, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI; Nick Van Stratten – 1/4, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
In their rally to the mid season crown the Naturals hit a bit of a snag against the Drillers with a poor outing from Osuna that didn’t give them much of a chance. It should be noted that Will Myers and Kelvin Herrera have been selected for the MLB Futures game. Myers currently has a .291/.361/.417/.778 line, which includes a June of .299/.365/.442/.806, and he is still getting his feel coming back from his injury.
Triple A (Omaha):
6/17/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers 4, Round Rock Express 0
Luis Mendoza – 8 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 SO
Giavotella and Lough continue their tandem assault on AAA pitching. As does Lorenzo Cain who is on a HR hitting tear recently. Cain has hit 4 HRs in his last 5 games and is has been in the .295-.305 BA range for about a month now. He is ready to be moved up if you ask me and they just need to make room for him by trading Melky.
6/18/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers 5, Round Rock Express 7
Bruce Chen – 5 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 7 SO
David Lough – 2/4, 1 R, 1 B, 1 3B
Chen got what will be his final rehab start before joining the big league crew. It’s not the best sign to give up 4 runs in AAA, but he was mostly concentrating on rehabbing and not on pitching like he would in the majors. Hopefully, he comes back and is as good as he was in the early season.
6/19/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers 7, Round Rock Express 11
Mike Montgomery – 3 IP, 9 R, 9 ER, 10 H, 0 BB, 1 SO
Johnny Giavotella – 3/5, 1 RBI; Lorenzo Cain – 3/5, 2 R; Kila Ka’aihue – 3/5, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Just when you think Montgomery had it figured out, he drops an egg like this. I have asked and asked different people in the know but nobody seems to be able to figure out why Montgomery is having the issues he is having. At this rate, it is not likely that we see Montgomery in the major leagues this year.
6/20/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers 5, Round Rock Express 8
Mario Santiago – 5 IP, 7 R, 7 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 6 SO
Clint Robinson – 2/4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI; Lorenzo Cain – 1/4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI
Santiago gives his worst performance as a Storm Chaser. However, it should be noted here that this team currently only has 2 players that are batting below .300, and 3 players batting over .320. It is amazing as good as the offense is that they do not have a better record.
6/21/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers 7, Nashville Sounds 0
Jeff Suppan – 9 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 SO
Lorenzo Cain – 2/4, 3 RBI; Johnny Giavotella – 1/5, 1 2B, 2 RBI
Cue the random Royals fan that says “you know, if Suppan can pitch like this then he could help this team.” Don’t be fooled, Suppan should not reach the major leagues this season. But he deserves credit for a good game here.
6/22/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers 4, Nashville Sounds 5
Sean O’Sullivan – 2.1 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 2 SO
Paulo Orlando – 2/3, 1 R, 1 2B
Not an encouraging performance from SOS. Not that we were all expecting him to come back and dominate, but you would at least hope he could handle AAA hitters, but apparently not. We got a good run and a few games from him, so I guess we can’t complain too much.
6/23/2011 – Omaha Storm Chasers 8, Nashville 2
Vin Mazzaro – 6 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 6 SO
Lorenzo Cain – 2/4, 1 3B, 2 RBILance Sawadzki 1/5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Lorenzo Cain continues to tear through AAA pitchers giving more credence to the increasing feeling that the Royals are going to move Melky Cabrera. Cain needs to be up in the majors, the Royals could benefit from an injection of offense and the stellar defense that he plays as well.
Pitcher of the Week: Leonel Santiago – Week Stats: 6 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 0 BB, 6 SO; Season Stats – 86 IP, 33 R, 29 ERA, 16 BB, 72 SO, 3.03 ERA, 1.07 WHIP
Santiago was a mid-season all-star for the Cougars. Santiago was signed as an international signing in 2007 and since has had success at every level despite a small hiccup in 2009 in the AZL summer league. He leads the Cougars in innings pitched, strikeouts, 2nd in starters on ERA, 3rd amongst starters on WHIP, and leads the team in starts as well. While Santiago may not have the bright future that we once saw for a Montgomery or a Lamb, his track record so far has shown that he may very well have a future in this organization if he continues to put up solid and consistent numbers.
Hitter of the Week: Lorenzo Cain – Week Stats: 11/31 (.354), 1 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 9 RBI; Season Stats – .308/.370/.520/.890
Lorenzo Cain is really cementing his worth by tearing up June in Omaha. After a modest start coming back from injury and going for a .241/.339/.370/.709 line in April, he has been destroying June with a .333/.374/.619/.993 with 5 HRs and 19 RBIs. Coming near the trade deadline I would expect the Royals to make a move soon and get Cain up to the majors. He is doing more than Moustakas did in May and has earned a spot on the big league club.