Week 18 Recap and Awards

The KC Royals went 2-5 last week, but are still just 2.5 games back of Cleveland for the American League Central lead. They also lead the second Wild Card spot by a 1/2 game. The Royals begin a home-and-home Interleague Series with St. Louis tonight.

Starting catcher Salvador Perez was placed on the DL on Sunday, prior to their doubleheader. To take his place, Cam Gallagher was promoted for the first time. He made his Major League debut in the first game, as he entered on defense in the top of the ninth. Gallagher made his first start in the second game, going 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

The Royals traded for outfielder Melky Cabrera and he made his debut on Monday. Last week, he went 8-for-25 (.320) with two doubles, a home run, and six RBIs.

TROPHYTriple-A Omaha went 4-2 last week, but are still in last place in the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division (15.5 games back). At 53-59, the Storm Chasers begin a four-game series against Memphis (who has the best record in the PCL) tonight.

Third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert restarted his rehab assignment on Tuesday and has gone 6-for-22 with three home runs and six RBIs since. After almost a month off due to a back injury, Raul Mondesi was back in the lineup (1-for-10).

Catcher Brayan Pena came off the inactive list and fellow catcher Luis Villegas as added from Low-A Lexington. Now they have two position player pitching options. Villegas started on Sunday, going 1-for-4.

Double-A NW Arkansas went 2-5 and were swept this weekend in Springfield. The Naturals are just 16-28 in the second half (last place in the Texas League North Division and 12 games back). The Naturals begin a six-game homestand on Tuesday night, welcoming both Midland and Frisco to town.

Outfielder Paulo Orlando restarted his rehab assignment on Thursday and has gone 2-for-12 with an RBI and three walks since. Third baseman Hunter Dozier began his rehab assignment on Wednesday and has gone 1-for-7 with two walks and five strikeouts since.

Reliever Mark Peterson is back, as the Royals resigned him on Tuesday. Peterson made three appearances last week (totaling 3.1 innings). He allowed a run on two hits while striking out three. Andres Machado, though promoted back to Triple-A on Sunday, made his Double-A debut on Thursday, allowing a run on two hits and two walks over three innings of relief.

Reliever Andrew Edwards cleared waivers and returned to the Naturals. Fellow reliever Matt Tenuta was back (promoted from High-A Wilmington) on Thursday and he allowed a run on three hits over 1.1 innings on Saturday.

High-A Wilmington went 3-3 last week and moved back into third place in the Carolina League Northern Division at 21-22 (4.5 games back). The Blue Rocks begin a six-game road trip on Tuesday, starting at Down East and ending in Salem.

Catcher Chase Vallot went on the DL and second baseman DJ Burt is in Kansas City getting x-rays on his hand.

Relievers Justin Camp and Jose Veras were promoted from Low-A Lexington. Camp made his return on Saturday, throwing 2.1 innings (0H, R, 3BB, 0K). Veras made his High-A debut on Sunday, throwing two hitless innings of relief (though he walked two).

Low-A Lexington went 5-3 last week, but dropped into a tie for fourth place at 20-22 (seven games back). That is because Rome has won 11 in a row. The Legends continue their road trip by starting a three-game series in Asheville tonight.

Starter Gerson Garabito was activated from the DL and made two starts last week. Totaling seven innings, he allowed just two hits while striking out five. Second baseman Gabriel Cancel was also activated from the DL on Monday and has gone 5-for-19 with two home runs and three RBIs.

Reliever Tyler Fallwell was activated from the DL on Wednesday and pitched a scoreless inning of relief. Michael Silva made his Low-A debut, pitching twice for the Legends (4IP, 2H, R, BB, 3K).


Now to the awards…


Jake Junis ST

Jake Junis during spring training 2016 (Jen Nevius).

Royals Hitter of the Week: Center fielder Lorenzo Cain went 10-for-24 (.417) with three doubles, five runs scored, and two RBIs. Oh and he stole four bases.

Royals Pitcher of the Week: As the 26th man for Sunday’s doubleheader, starter Jake Junis shined. He allowed just one run on four hits over eight innings to earn the win. He struck out seven. Of the 94 pitches he threw, 65 were strikes.

That came off his start with Triple-A Omaha on Tuesday, when Junis allowed a run on three hits and two walks over six innings. He struck out five.


Minor League Hitter of the Week: Omaha leadoff hitter Billy Burns went 10-for-25 (.400) and is in the midst of an eight-game hitting streak. Five of those games are multi-hit games. Burns tripled, scored six runs, and walked four times. He stole five bases in his last two games.

Honorable Mentions: Naturals outfielder Alfredo Escalera went 8-for-23 (.348) last week. He hit a double and a homer, scored three runs, and drove in five.

Jared Ruxer

Blue Rocks starter Jared Ruxer on July 26, 2017 (Jen Nevius).

Naturals first baseman Samir Duenez went 11-for-30 (.368) last week. He hit two doubles and a home run, drove in seven, and scored seven.

Minor League Pitcher of the Week: Blue Rocks starter Jared Ruxer was solid last week, despite not picking up a decision. In two starts (totaling 13 innings), he allowed five runs on 14 hits and just one walk while striking out four.

Honorable Mention: While he did allow an inherited run on Saturday, Blue Rocks reliever Franco Terrero was unhittable last week (despite being sick in his first appearance). Over 5.2 innings, he walked just one while striking out four.


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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