Royals weekly recap & awards: Week 14

The KC Royals went 6-1 last week, yet remain 4.5 games ahead of Minnesota in the American League Central heading into the All-Star break. They own the best record in the AL (52-34) despite a rotation in flux and the injury to All-Star left fielder Alex Gordon. The Royals get back in action with a DH in Chicago on Friday.

Third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert made his Major League debut on July 7th. He played four games and went 5-for-15 with a triple, two runs scored, and two RBIs. After being sent back to Triple-A, he was added to the All-Star Game in Omaha and played in Sunday’s Futures Game (0-for-2 at first base).

Triple-A Omaha went 4-2 last week and are now eight games back in the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division at 49-41 heading into the All-Star break. The Storm Chasers are back in action Thursday night in Nashville. Don’t forget the Triple-A All-Star Game is televised on MLB Network, Wednesday night at 8pm ET!

Kris Medlen continued his rehab assignment with the Storm Chasers in a start on Friday. He allowed three solo home runs over 5.2 innings. Overall, he allowed eight hits and struck out seven.

TROPHYDouble-A NW Arkansas has lost seven in a row and are in last place in the Texas League North Division in the second half (4-12). The Naturals finish up their home series with Midland tonight.

Infielder Angel Franco returned to action after not playing since June 2nd. He was promoted to Omaha for the weekend (1-for-3), but was sent back to NWA on Sunday (1-for-3 with a walk).

First baseman Frank Schwindel made his Double-A debut on July 7th and has gone 5-for-18 with two runs scored and an RBI. Infielder Ramon Torres also debuted, but a day earlier. He has gone 4-for-14

High-A Wilmington went 3-3 last week and remain in second place in the Carolina League Northern Division in the second half (9-7). The Blue Rocks finish up their series in Lynchburg tonight.

The Blue Rocks debuted four new players last week. Outfielder Elier Hernandez debuted on July 7th and has gone 3-for-18 with two doubles, an RBI, and one run scored. Infielder Humberto Arteaga debuted on July 8th and has gone 2-for-16 with a double and two runs scored. Catcher Luis Villegas debuted on July 10th in Lynchburg and has gone 1-for-7 with an RBI.

Zach Lovvorn (who starts tonight) made the July 8th start against Frederick. He picked up the win, going seven innings. He allowed four hits, including a three-run home run, while striking out five.

Low-A Lexington went 3-3 last week and dropped into second place in the South Atlantic League Southern Division at 9-6 (they lost two games last week to rain). The Legends head out on the road for seven games beginning on Tuesday night.

The Legends debuted two new players (with infielder Logan Davis and reliever Brennan Henry returning). Outfielder Alexis Rivera debuted on July 8th and has gone 2-for-16 with a walk. Lefty Eric Stout has made two appearances for the Legends (the 8th and 11th). Over six innings, he allowed four runs on seven hits (including a homer) while striking out three.

 

Now to the awards…

 

Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar at the plate in Cleveland on July 5, 2014 (Jen Nevius).

Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar at the plate in Cleveland on July 5, 2014 (Jen Nevius).

Royals Hitter of the Week: Shortstop Alcides Escobar went 13-for-31 (.419) with three doubles. Esky scored nine runs and drove in five. Hopefully he can continue the hot streak in tomorrow night’s All-Star Game.

Royals Pitcher of the Week: When the Royals needed a solid start, lefty Danny Duffy gave it to them. In a win on Friday night, he allowed four hits and walked three over six scoreless innings.

 

Minor League Hitter of the Week: Corey Toups of Lexington is in the midst of a 12 game hitting streak. Last week, Toups went 11-for-24 (.458) with three doubles and a triple. He scored seven runs, drove in four, and stole two bases.

Honorable Mention: While many thought utility man Whit Merrifield was finally getting the big league callup for the injured Alex Gordon, he instead continues to rake at Omaha. Last week, Merrifield went 9-for-23 (.391) with three doubles and a triple. He scored five runs and drove in two.

Blue Rocks starter Jake Junis pitching on May 13, 2015 (Jen Nevius).

Blue Rocks starter Jake Junis pitching on May 13, 2015 (Jen Nevius).

Minor League Pitcher of the Week: Blue Rocks starter Jake Junis made two starts last week, picking up no decisions in both. Over 13 innings, he allowed three runs on 11 hits and two walks while striking out seven.

 

League Honors: Right-handed starter Alec Mills was named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Month for June. In five June starts, he was 3-0 with a 0.99 ERA. The All-Star pitched in 36.1 innings and allowed 25 hits (.191 average) while walking just four. Mills struck out 28.

 

International Stars: First baseman Casey Kotchman has batted cleanup in both games for Team USA in the Pan Am Games. Though he has just one hit (an RBI single in the US win over Cuba on Sunday), Kotchman has walked five times (1-for-4 with two runs scored).

Casey Coleman made his first appearance on Sunday, walking one over two scoreless innings. He struck out one.

The US is 1-1 and plays Columbia this afternoon.

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About Jen Nevius

I first became a KC Royals fan way back in 1995 when I attended my first Wilmington Blue Rocks game. I fell in love with minor league baseball then and began following the Royals as former Blue Rocks clawed their way to the big leagues. 3+ years ago I started covering the Royals for Aerys Sports, but since the site has been shut down, I am going out on my own.
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