The KC Royals went 4-3 last week and sit a game up in the American League Central at 24-14 (second best record in the AL). The Royals play two Interleague series this week at home, beginning with two games against Cincinnati on Tuesday night.
Triple-A Omaha went 3-6 last week and dropped to 8.5 games back in the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division. The Storm Chasers finish their series in Memphis on Tuesday.
Andy Ferguson made his 2015 Triple-A debut on Friday, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and three walks over six innings. He struck out five.
Raul Mondesi returned to the Naturals after playing just six innings on Opening Night way back on April 9th. The Naturals also added veteran Rafael Furcal, catcher Zane Evans, and starter Luke Farrell from Wilmington. They did lose outfielder Bubba Starling to a hamstring injury for 3-4 weeks.
High-A Wilmington went 3-4 last week and are tied for first place in the Carolina League Northern Division. The Blue Rocks begin a seven-game homestand Tuesday night.
Low-A Lexington went 3-3 last week and are five games back in the South Atlantic League Southern Division (still in fifth place). The Legends continue their road trip with three games at first place Greenville tonight.
Now to the awards…
Royals Hitter of the Week: Shortstop Alcides Escobar has begun to get hot, as he went 10-for-28 last week (.357). Esky hit a double, a triple, and drove in five runs. He also scored six times.
Royals Pitcher of the Week: Joe Blanton was called up on Saturday and made his Royals debut that night. The veteran right-hander saved the bullpen by throwing four innings of relief. He allowed just one run (on a 9th inning solo homer) on five hits while striking out two. It was Blanton’s first appearance in the Majors since 2013.
Minor League Hitter of the Week: This was an easy choice, as Naturals 1B/DH Balbino Fuenmayor continues to rake in the Texas League. He is in the midst of a 14-game hitting streak (longest this season in the TL) and has six straight two-hit games. Fuenmayor upped his average to .370 (second in the TL) by going 12-for-27 last week. He hit five home runs to give him a TL-leading nine, along with two doubles. He drove in eight runs to give him 28 on the season (third in the TL).
Honorable Mention: Frank Schwindel went 9-for-27 (.333) last week for the Blue Rocks. He hit three doubles, a triple, and a homer, while also driving in five. Brandon Downes went 9-for-22 (.409) last week for the Legends, helped out by a 5-for-5 performance on Friday.
Minor League Pitcher of the Week: Miguel Almonte made two starts last week for the Naturals and has now not allowed a run in three straight starts. Over ten innings last week, Almonte allowed four hits, walked three, hit one, and struck out five.
Honorable Mention: Naturals reliever Mark Peterson pitched twice last week. Over 5.2 innings, he allowed two hits, walked one, and struck out two. He did allow two inherited runners to score. Kevin McCarthy made his High-A debut last week. In two appearances out of the Blue Rocks bullpen (totaling 5.1 innings), he allowed one run on two hits (one homer) while striking out seven.
Biggest hit(s) of the week: There were two big shots coming out of the Royals farm system this week. The first came on Saturday night, as Dexter Kjerstad hit a pinch-hit, three-run home run to give the Blue Rocks the lead (and eventual win) in the top of the ninth. It was the Blue Rocks first pinch-hit homer since 1998.
The following day, Hunter Dozier hit a walk off home run in the bottom of the tenth for NWA.