Royals Week 2 recap and awards

As bad as the week started for the KC Royals, that is how good it ended. They started the week on a three-game losing streak, losing their first two games of the season at home. However, the Royals won the series finale with Oakland and then swept the LA Angels. The Royals play their first Interleague Series tomorrow (two games) with the SF Giants before heading back out on the road.

TROPHYWe saw right-hander Jake Junis make his big league debut on Wednesday night with a scoreless inning of relief. However, he was sent back to Triple-A following yesterday’s game. Lefty Scott Alexander was also promoted on Wednesday.

Triple-A Omaha went 4-2 last week to even their season record to 5-5 (they are last in the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division). The Storm Chasers finish up their homestand this afternoon before heading out on the road for eight games. Twice last week, Omaha had one-hit shutouts.

The Storm Chasers had some roster movement last week, as lefty Matt Strahm was sent down from the big leagues to iron out his mechanics. In three appearances with Omaha (five innings), he allowed two hits and struck out five. They also received right-handed starter Kyle Zimmer (he started on Friday) and catcher Parker Morin from Double-A, as reliever Andrew Edwards and catcher Brayan Pena were placed on the DL.

Double-A NW Arkansas went 2-4 last week and fell to 3-7 on the season (last in the Texas League North Division). The Naturals have two more games in Corpus Christi before heading back home.

The Naturals received catcher Allan de San Miguel from extended spring training and lefty Luis Rico from High-A. Outfielder Terrance Gore also was sent back from the big leagues, making his debut on Thursday. Infielder Carlos Diaz was “sent” to rookie level Idaho Falls.

High-A Wilmington went 4-3 last week and is in the midst of a three-game winning streak. They improved to 5-5 on the season and are in the middle of the pack in the Carolina League Northern Division. The Blue Rocks begin a road series in Salem tonight.

Outfielder Brandon Downes was placed on the DL after breaking his hamate bone in his left hand. The Blue Rocks received both reliever Jacob Bodner and outfielder Tanner Stanley from extended spring training.

Low-A Lexington went just 2-5 last week and are in the midst of a three-game losing streak. They are in last place at 3-8 in the South Atlantic League Southern Division. The Legends begin a three-game series against Greenville tonight.

 

Now to the awards…

Royals Hitter of the Week: Outfielder Lorenzo Cain hit .500 last week (10-for-20) in six games. He doubled twice, scored three runs, and drove in two. LoCain also walked as much as he struck out (4 to 4). Oh and he stole two bases.

Royals Pitchers of the Week: A week after the starting pitching left a lot to be desired, this past week the starters stepped up. However, they only earned two wins. Ian Kennedy allowed two runs on eight hits and four walks over 14 innings (two starts). He struck out 14. Jason Vargas pitched 7.2 shutout innings, allowing just four hits and a walk while striking out eight.

Danny Duffy allowed a run on three hits and two walks over seven innings. He struck out six. Nate Karns allowed a run on four hits and two walks over six innings. He struck out three.

 

Whit Merrifield

Whit Merrifield at the plate during a big league spring training game in 2015 (Jen Nevius).

Minor League Hitter of the Week: In nine games so far this season, Whit Merrifield has five multi-hit games. Last week, he went 9-for-18 (.500) with two doubles, a home run, three runs scored, and three RBIs.

Honorable Mention: Dean Anna‘s hot hitting now has him in Omaha’s every day lineup. Last week, he went 7-for-16 (.438) with a double, two runs scored, and two RBIs.

Third baseman Wander Franco saw his eight-game hitting streak to start the season come to an end on Saturday for the Blue Rocks, but then went 3-for-5 on Sunday. Last week, Franco went 10-for-28 (.357) with a triple, two runs scored, and three RBIs. It will be interesting to see if the Blue Rocks best hitter in terms of average moves up from the seventh spot in the order.

First baseman Kort Peterson has gotten off to a hot start for Lexington. Last week, he went 10-for-27 (.370) with three doubles, six runs scored, and three RBIs.

Jonathan Dziedzic

Jonathan Dziedzic during spring training 2015 (Jen Nevius).

Minor League Starter of the Week: Lefty Jonathan Dziedzic won both of his starts last week for Omaha, but carried a perfect game into the sixth on Sunday. He left after 6.2 no-hit innings. Overall last week, Dziedzic allowed six hits and walked one over 12.1 innings. He struck out 11.

Honorable Mention: The other one-hit shutout was started by Josh Staumont on Thursday for Omaha. He won his first Triple-A game, allowing just that one hit over six innings. He walked two and struck out 12 (which tied a career-high).

Minor League Reliever of the Week: Lefty Jake Kalish returned to Wilmington to start the season and has been dominant. In three appearances, he has yet to allow a run. Last week in two outings totaling five innings, he struck out eight and did not allow a base runner.

Honorable Mention: Bobby Parnell was part of both one-hit shutouts in Omaha. On Thursday, he earned his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth, though he did walk a batter. On Sunday with a no-hitter still in tact, Parnell struck out two over 1.1 innings.

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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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