Week 5 Recap and Awards

The KC Royals went 2-4 last week (15-15 overall) and dropped into third place in the American League Central after losing their weekend series in Cleveland. The Royals continue their road trip against the NY Yankees beginning tonight.

Lefty Brian Flynn made his Royals debut on Friday. He allowed two runs on three hits and two walks over the final four innings. Flynn struck out two. Third baseman Mike Moustakas went on the DL on Saturday and Cheslor Cuthbert was promoted. Cuthbert went 2-for-8 over the weekend with a Saturday RBI.

TROPHYTriple-A Omaha went 3-4 last week (17-12 overall), but still hold on to first place in the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division. The Storm Chasers finish up their series with Iowa today before welcoming Memphis to town for four games.

With Cuthbert in the big leagues, fellow third baseman Hunter Dozier earned a much deserved promotion to Triple-A. In his first at-bat, Dozier drove in two runs with a single (1-for-7 with a run scored, a walk, and three strikeouts). In need of a fresh arm, Omaha added right-hander Evan Beal from Wilmington (the Blue Rocks top reliever). Beal made his Triple-A debut on Sunday: 2.1IP, H, 0R, 0BB, 3K.

Double-A NW Arkansas went 5-2 last week and have won four in a row to move to over .500 for the first time (15-14). The Naturals play two more games at Arkansas before an off day and four games in Springfield.

First baseman Ryan O’Hearn made his Double-A debut on May 4th, hitting a two-run home run in his final at-bat of the game. O’Hearn has gone 7-for-22 with three doubles, four RBIs, and six strikeouts. Outfielder Terrance Gore was optioned to NWA and made his debut on May 5th as a pinch runner. Gore started the next two games, going 2-for-8 with a run scored and an RBI. However, he was picked off.

High-A Wilmington went 3-4 last week (9-20 overall), saw their 12-game losing streak come to an end, and won their first home series of the year. The Blue Rocks begin a seven-game road trip beginning Tuesday night in Frederick. With a sweep of the Keys, Wilmington would move out of last place in the Carolina League Northern Division.

First baseman Josh Banuelos made his High-A debut on May 3rd, going 1-for-4. Overall, he has gone 3-for-15 with two walks. With lefty Brennan Henry heading to the DL and right-hander Ian Tompkins being released, righty Jake Newberry was added from Lexington. Newberry made his debut on Thursday night, throwing a perfect ninth.

Top prospect Kyle Zimmer made his season debut on Saturday in the first game of the Blue Rocks’ doubleheader. He lasted 1.2 innings, striking out five. Zimmer did allowed two hits and walked two, as he left the bases loaded in the second (52 pitches, 31 strikes). More on him later today.

Low-A Lexington went 2-4 last week (12-18 overall) and sit two games out of last place in the South Atlantic League Southern Division. The Legends play two more in Greensboro before heading home for seven games beginning on Thursday (Charleston and Hickory).

Utility man Travis Maezes made his season debut on Monday, entering late as a defensive replacement. Maezes has played both second and third base for the Legends (an error at each position) and has gone 4-for-18 with a double, two homers, four runs scored, and four RBIs. Right-hander Daniel Concepcion made his season debut on Saturday night, allowing a run on one hit over two innings of work. He struck out one.


Now to the awards…


Royals Hitters of the Week: Centerfielder Lorenzo Cain and shortstop Alcides Escobar both hit .360 (9-for-25) last week with a double and three runs scored. LoCain drove in one, while Esky drove in two runs.

Royals Pitcher of the Week: The Royals only won two games last week and starter Ian Kennedy won one of them. On Saturday, Kennedy shut out Cleveland for seven innings, allowing just four hits and two walks. He struck out seven.


Corey Toups

Blue Rocks infielder Corey Toups at the plate on April 10, 2016 (Jen Nevius).

Minor League Hitter of the Week: It seems that now that his buddy O’Hearn is gone, Corey Toups has begun to heat up (or maybe it is now that the calendar has turned to May). The middle infielder went 9-for-25 (.360) with a double, three straight games with a triple, a home run, and five walks (to just three strikeouts). Toups, the Blue Rocks leadoff hitter, scored seven runs and drove in two.

Honorable Mention: Lexington first baseman Samir Duenez went 7-for-23 (.304) with two doubles, two runs scored, and four RBIs. Duenez also stole three bases to give him ten on the season (compared to being caught twice).


Minor League Pitchers of the Week: With so many good pitching performances this week, it was hard to choose just one, especially when there were no-hitters taken into the 5th inning three times. It started on Friday night in Lexington, as right-hander Corey Ray carried a no-hitter into the 6th inning. The only runners to reach base against Ray were via two errors (the first batter of the game and the leadoff hitter in the sixth). Ray ended up giving up an RBI double two batters into the sixth and then a walk. Two batters later, he allowed a two-run double (the Legends would lose the game).

On Saturday night in Wilmington’s second game of their doubleheader, right-hander Pedro Fernandez carried a no-hitter into the 5th inning when he allowed a one out single. Two pitches later, he was out of the inning with a double play. Fernandez would end up facing one over the minimum in the seven inning complete game, though he allowed two more hits (one was erased on a game ending double play).

On Sunday afternoon, right-hander Jake Junis carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning for NWA. He allowed a leadoff single (two hits in that inning around three ground outs). Over seven innings, Junis allowed just those two hits and two walks while striking out four. He also pitched well on Tuesday, with his week totals looking like this: 13IP, 5H, R, HR, 3BB, 12K.

Ashton Goudeau

Blue Rocks starter Ashton Goudeau on April 11, 2016 (Jen Nevius).

Honorable Mentions: I told you it was a good week for pitching and I cannot go without mentioning these two. In desperate need of some length, the Blue Rocks received eight scoreless innings from Ashton Goudeau on Thursday night to end their 12-game losing streak. Goudeau allowed six hits while striking out 11 (the innings pitched and strikeouts are a career-high).

Right-hander Christian Binford went into the 8th inning on Saturday night for the Naturals, allowing just five hits and two walks. He struck out eight. Two of the hits he allowed earlier in the game were erased on double plays and Binford was pulled in the eighth after allowing back-to-back one out singles. It was the longest game of his career.


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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