The KC Royals went 3-4 last week and saw their overall record drop below .500 for the first time since July of 2014 (18-19). They lost their series in NY and lost two of their five starting pitchers to the DL (the struggling Chris Young and Kris Medlen). They then needed 13 innings to win their series over the worst team in baseball (Atlanta) on Sunday. The Royals continue their homestand tonight, welcoming Boston to town for three games.
Side arming righty Peter Moylan made his Royals debut on Sunday against his former team (Moylan was added to the roster on Thursday). He struck out two in his perfect inning of work. Lefty Scott Alexander was also promoted on Thursday, but he pitched three times last week with the Royals. The most important of those appearances came on Sunday, as he threw three scoreless innings (a hit with four strikeouts).
Triple-A Omaha went 4-3 last week to improve to 21-15 overall (a 1/2 game back in the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division). The Storm Chasers continue their road trip with two more in Tacoma before heading to Reno for a four-game weekend series.
Omaha will need some reinforcements, as both lefties Brian Duensing and David Huff opted out of their contracts. Not sure where those arms are coming from because all levels have been short-handed all week.
Double-A NW Arkansas went just 2-4 last week and are back under .500 (17-18). After climbing into first place, they dropped to 2.5 games back in the Texas League North Division. The Naturals begin an eight-game homestand tonight versus Arkansas.
Lefty Mike Minor began his rehab assignment last week for the Naturals. In his Royals debut on Tuesday, he allowed three runs (two earned) on one hit and four walks over 2.2 innings. He actually cruised through the first two innings. Minor was much better on Sunday, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk over five innings. He struck out eight.
Right-hander Pedro Fernandez earned a much-deserved promotion from High-A, but did not make an appearance for the Naturals until Sunday (he was supposed to start for Wilmington on Friday night). In his first relief appearance since June 9, 2015, Fernandez took the loss yesterday, allowing three runs on three hits and a walk over 2.2 innings. It was just his second outing in 13 days.
A day after going 3-for-4, shortstop Raul Mondesi was suspended 50 games for testing positive for a PED on Tuesday. He will not be back until the beginning of July. Lefty Sam Selman, he of the 15.19 ERA and .379 opponents batting average, was placed on the DL (he had not pitched since April 27th).
Not sure why, but right-hander Christian Binford was skipped in the rotation after going a career-high 7.1 innings in his last start (May 7th). Maybe a promotion to Triple-A is coming?
High-A Wilmington went just 1-5 last week and continue to have the worst record in the Carolina League (10-25 and 13.5 games back). The Blue Rocks finish up their road series in Salem tonight before returning home for seven games (Frederick again and Carolina).
The Blue Rocks have a full roster for the first time since lefty reliever Brennan Henry was placed on the DL back on May 3rd (though he hadn’t pitched since April 26th). Henry returned from the DL on Sunday, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks over 1.2 innings.
Lefty reliever Kyle Kubat made his Blue Rocks debut on Friday and earned the victory in relief. He allowed three runs on six hits and a walk over three innings.
Right-hander Kyle Zimmer made his second start on Thursday, lasting three innings. He allowed a run on one hit and two walks while striking out four. The lone run scored on a first inning wild pitch. I would expect Zimmer to make another start on Tuesday.
Low-A Lexington went 3-3 last week and are 15-21 overall (7.5 games back in the South Atlantic League Southern Division). The Legends welcome Hickory to town for three games beginning tonight.
Right-hander Jake Kalish, a 32nd round draft pick last June, made his season debut on Sunday. He allowed two hits and struck out two over two scoreless innings of relief.
Now to the awards…
Royals Hitter of the Week: The Royals have gotten little from right field all season, especially since Jarrod Dyson was activated from the DL in the middle of April. Well, Paulo Orlando has given them a little spark over the last week. Orlando went 5-for-13 (.385) with two doubles and a run scored.
Honorable Mention: Lorenzo Cain hit three home runs in their loss against the Yankees on Tuesday. It was the team’s first multi-homer game of the season for a player. LoCain went 8-for-23 (.348) last week with five runs scored and eight RBIs. He also walked three times compared to five strikeouts.
Pitcher of the Week: Lefty Danny Duffy pitched twice last week, including three scoreless innings in Sunday’s start. Overall in five innings, he allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out seven.
Minor League Hitter of the Week: Outfielder Amalani Fukofuka is starting to heat up again for the Legends. In the midst of a seven-game hitting streak, he went 10-for-24 (.417) with a home run, two runs scored, and four RBIs.
Honorable Mentions: Since the turn of the calendar to May, infielder Corey Toups has heated up for the Blue Rocks. Last week, he went 8-for-24 (.333) with two doubles, two RBIs, five runs scored, and three stolen bases. He also walked four times compared to six strikeouts. Toups’ eight-game hitting streak came to an end on Sunday. He has also moved to the third spot in the order.
Outfielder Jorge Bonifacio is having his best season at the highest level he has ever played at. Last week, he went 9-for-27 (.333) with two doubles, a triple, and a homer. He scored eight runs and drove in three. Bonifacio’s eight-game hitting streak came to an end on Saturday.
Minor League Pitcher of the Week: I failed to mention above the Triple-A debut of right-handed reliever Andrew Edwards. After stalling in Wilmington in 2015 (he spent parts of three seasons there), Edwards is back on the fast track. After allowing just one earned run over 18 innings this season in his first crack at Double-A (including a two inning save on Monday night), he was promoted to Omaha on Thursday and pitched twice for the Storm Chasers. Edwards pitched four scoreless innings with Omaha, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out seven. He earned the two inning save on Sunday.