Week 9 Recap and Awards

The KC Royals went 3-3 last week and are now tied for last place in the American League Central with the Chicago White Sox at 24-31. The Royals no longer have the worst record in the AL (that belongs to Oakland at 24-32). They continue their homestand beginning tonight with four games against Houston, who has won ten in a row and is the best team in baseball.

Lefty Eric Skoglund made his Major League debut on Tuesday night against Detroit, winning 1-0. It was a different story on Sunday afternoon against Cleveland, as he allowed two, two-run doubles over the first two innings before the rain delay (Skoglund took the loss).

Reliever Kevin McCarthy was called up last weekend and he pitched three times, totaling four scoreless innings (H, BB, K).

Outfielder Billy Burns was called up on Saturday, as fellow outfielder Jorge Soler was sent to Triple-A to get more playing time. Burns came in late to both games this weekend, going 0-for-2 with a strikeout.

TROPHYTriple-A Omaha went 2-3 last week and are in third place in the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division with a 28-26 record (4.5 games back). The Storm Chasers open a seven-game homestand tonight, beginning with Nashville.

In order to get more playing time, Corey Toups was sent to Double-A. In six games, he is 8-for-26 (.308) with three doubles and three RBIs. However, he has walked just once and struck out 12 times. Ruben Sosa was promoted to Triple-A and in three games, he is 0-for-9 with an RBI.

After a one-day demotion to Double-A to also get more playing time, Parker Morin was back up with Omaha due to a hamstring injury for fellow catcher Cam Gallagher (though he has not been placed on the DL). In four games, Morin was 2-for-12.

Third baseman/outfielder Hunter Dozier continued his rehab assignment with the Storm Chasers (and then he was sent there after being taken off the DL). In five games, he has gone 2-for-15 (.133) with a double and two RBIs, but has struck out ten times.

Double-A NW Arkansas went 3-3 last week and are in second place in the Texas League North Division at 28-26 (one game back with three weeks to go in the first half). The Naturals return home for a nine games in eight days homestand beginning Tuesday night, as they start with five games against first place Springfield.

Starter Foster Griffin was promoted from High-A and made his Double-A debut on Tuesday. He won his debut, going six innings and allowing one run on five hits and a walk. Griffin lost on Sunday, as he allowed five runs on five hits (two home runs) and two walks over six innings. He did strike out six.

With Morin back up in Omaha and Zane Evans deciding to give pitching a try (something he did in college at Georgia Tech), the Naturals received catcher Nick Dini from Low-A. In three games, he went 4-for-9 (.444) with a double and two walks.

Reliever Reid Redman retired. High-A Wilmington and NWA swapped relievers, as Andrew Edwards earned the promoted and Jared Ruxer was sent back to Wilmington (Ruxer has not pitched yet). Edwards earned the win in relief in his first game on Saturday night (the suspended game). Over 2/3 of an inning, he allowed a hit and a walk while striking out two.

High-A Wilmington went 3-3 last week and are in third place in the Carolina League Northern Division at 29-27 (4.5 games back with three weeks to go in the first half). The Blue Rocks continue their road trip tonight at Down East.

The Blue Rocks received pitcher Matt Tenuta to replace Griffin, though Tenuta is now going to pitch out of the bullpen. In two appearances, he allowed a run on two hits and a walk over 4.2 innings. He struck out five (though he did allow an inherited run in his last outing).

Outfielder Brandon Downes was activated from the DL on Wednesday and has gone 5-for-19 with a double, two home runs, and five RBIs. Oh and he has only struck out three times. Fellow outfielder Tanner Stanley was released.

Low-A Lexington went 5-2 last week (they have won three in a row) and are in fourth place in the South Atlantic League Southern Division at 29-28 (5.5 games back with three weeks to go in the first hald). The Legends head out on the road for seven games beginning Tuesday night in Columbia, who is a 1.5 games ahead of them.

Pitcher Arnaldo Hernandez was activated from the restricted list after serving a 50-game PED suspension. He made his season debut on Thursday, as he allowed three runs on five hits over 3.2 innings. He struck out three.

 

Now to the awards…

 

Whit Merrifield

Royals utility man Whit Merrified during spring training 2014 (Jen Nevius).

Royals Hitter of the Week: Second baseman Whit Merrifield is in the midst of the longest hitting streak in Major League Baseball-19 games. He has raised his average to a team-best .307. In six games last week, Merrifield went 10-for-20 with three doubles, a triple, and a homer. He scored four runs and drove in five. Oh and he walked twice and did not strike out.

Royals Pitcher of the Week: Lefty Jason Vargas continues to be one of the best starting pitchers in the big leagues. He earned a complete games victory on Friday, as he scattered seven hits and a walk over nine scoreless innings. Vargas struck out three and threw 69 of his 103 pitches for strikes.

 

Minor League Hitter of the Week: Blue Rocks first baseman Chris DeVito hit for the team’s first cycle since 1999 on Friday night. Overall last week, he went 12-for-26 (.462) and is in the midst of a five-game hitting streak. DeVito hit four doubles, his first career triple, and a homer while driving in four runs.

Honorable Mention: Naturals shortstop Humberto Arteaga is having a similar season to last year. He struggled early and has raised his average a hundred points over the last month. This past week, he went 9-for-20 (.450) and is in the midst of an eight-game hitting streak. Arty doubled, drove in a run, scored three runs, and struck out just once.

Legends outfielder Rudy Martin is in the midst of a seven-game hitting streak (he has only played in eight games). Last week, Martin went 9-for-19 (.474) with three doubles, a homer, and six RBIs. He also scored five runs and stole five bases (two each in his last two games).

Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Week: Lexington’s Jace Vines won both of his starts this week to improve to 6-2 on the season. Over 13 innings, he allowed three runs (two earned) on ten hits (one homer) and two walks. Vines struck out 11.

Minor League Relievers of the Week: Richard Lovelady of Wilmington has not allowed an earned run since May 1st. He earned two saves last week, as he pitched three scoreless innings. Lovelady did not allow a base runner while striking out four.

Lefty Sam Selman also earned two saves last week, but with NWA. Over 3.2 innings, he allowed a hit and a walk while striking out five. Fellow lefty Eric Stout also threw 3.2 scoreless innings, but in Omaha. Stout walked two while striking out four.

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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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