Hernandez set to finally make Double-A debut

It took longer than some expected, but outfielder Elier Hernandez is finally set to make his Double-A debut tonight for NW Arkansas.

Elier Hernandez HR

Elier Hernandez hits a homer on April 23, 2017 (Jen Nevius).

After earning a July 2015 promotion to High-A Wilmington from Low-A Lexington (where he hit .290), it had pretty much been a struggle for Hernandez offensively. He hit .232 with just 12 RBIs in 50 games with the Blue Rocks in 2015, but just .226 with 34 RBIs in 124 games in 2016.

Things did not start out well for Hernandez in starting his third season in Wilmington, as he had just two hits in his first 26 at-bats in 2017. But then things started to click. Starting April 17th, he had just three hitless games (one came in a pinch-hit appearance).

Hernandez is currently 17 for his last 46 (.370) with ten RBIs and has an eight-game hitting streak. This stretch is the best I have seen him play. In seven May games, he is hitting .441. Overall, Hernandez hit .306 in 30 games with the Blue Rocks. He hit seven doubles, three triples, and four home runs. Hernandez scored 15 runs and drove in 27.

After managing Hernandez for the last two seasons, what did it mean to Blue Rocks manager Jamie Quirk to tell Hernandez he was moving on up?

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May 11th Minors Recap

Triple-A Omaha won their series opener in Las Vegas, 5-1.

Josh Staumont

Blue Rocks right-hander Josh Staumont on May 4, 2016 (Jen Nevius).

The Storm Chasers scored two runs in both the third and fourth innings. Paulo Orlando drove in two with a two out single in the third. In the fourth, Dean Anna doubled in two with one out.

Josh Staumont got the start and pitched five scoreless innings in earning the victory. He allowed just four hits and struck out ten, but also walked five. Yender Caramo was next up and threw two scoreless innings before allowing a home run in the eighth.

The Storm Chasers got the run back on a Raul Mondesi two out home run in the top of the ninth (he went 3-for-4 with his seventh stolen base). Ramon Torres went 2-for-4.

Malcom Culver struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth on 18 pitches.

*In roster news, outfielder Terrance Gore was promoted from Double-A. He made his debut as the leadoff hitter, while playing center field.

 

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May 10th Minors Recap

It was a light day in the KC Royals farm system with the two upper levels teams enjoying Wednesday off. The Royals did make some roster moves, with more expected in the minor leagues tomorrow.

High-A Wilmington played a doubleheader with visiting Potomac.

The Blue Rocks lost the first game, 6-1. They took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third on an Anderson Miller RBI single, which extended his on-base streak to 24 games.

Unfortunately, it was too much Taylor Gushue, the P-Nats catcher. He hit two, two-run home runs off Blue Rocks starter (and loser) Scott Blewett: one in the fourth and one in the sixth. Blewett allowed all six runs on eight hits over 5.2 innings. He struck out three. Franco Terrero struck out two over 1.1 hitless innings of relief.

Travis Maezes

Blue Rocks first baseman Travis Maezes at the plate on April 23, 2017 during Game 2 versus Winston-Salem (Jen Nevius).

For the second straight night, the Blue Rocks walked off against Potomac, as they won Game 2, 4-3 in 11 innings (the game was scheduled for seven innings).

With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 11th inning, Travis Maezes drove in two runs with a single to right. Miller scored the first run, as he extended his on-base streak to 25 games with a one out single.

It was a back-and-forth affair all night.

The Blue Rocks took a 1-0 lead in the second on a Maezes two out RBI single. The P-Nats would tie the game in the top of the fourth against Blue Rocks starter Colin Rodgers (4IP, 3H, R, 0ER, BB, 8K).

The P-Nats took a 2-1 lead in the top of the eighth against reliever Jake Kalish (2IP, 2H, R, BB, 2K), but the Blue Rocks re-tied the game in the bottom of the inning on a Cody Jones sac fly (Maezes scored the tying run).

In the top of the 11th inning, Gabe Cramer allowed a two out RBI single to give the P-Nats the lead again before Maezes’ heroics. Cramer struck out eight over three innings to pick up the victory.

 

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Royals make flurry of moves

After using up six of their seven available relievers in Tuesday night’s 12 inning victory in Tampa Bay, the KC Royals called on some reinforcements.

However, to make room for those reinforcements, the Royals had to make some roster moves.

They added relievers Seth Maness and Al Alburquerque to both the 40-man roster and the big league 25-man roster. Both had been pitching well with Triple-A Omaha.

Christian Colon

Royals infielder Christian Colon warming up in Cleveland July 2014 (Jen Nevius).

The Royals designated both infielder Christian Colon and outfielder/first baseman Peter O’Brien for assignment. CC hasn’t seen much playing time this season (just seven games) and hopefully he gets a fresh start with tons of chances somewhere else. O’Brien had been awful so far this season in Triple-A, hitting just .162 with three home runs and six RBIs. He struck out 31 times in 27 games.

Jake Junis, who just got to Tampa Bay yesterday and earned his first big league victory in relief, was sent back to Triple-A Omaha.

 

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May 9th Minors Recap

Triple-A Omaha lost their series at Salt Lake, as they lost the finale, 9-1. After enjoying Wednesday off, the Storm Chasers will play four games in Las Vegas.

Eric Skoglund dropped to 1-3 on the season, as he allowed seven runs (six earned) on nine hits and a walk over five innings. He struck out seven, but allowed a two-run home run in the fifth.

The Storm Chasers collected five hits, two by leadoff hitter Ramon Torres. They scored their lone run in the 7th inning against former Royal Brooks Pounders on a Bubba Starling RBI single (three hits came in that inning).

*In roster news, starter Jake Junis earned his second big league promotion of the season, as lefty reliever Scott Alexander was placed on the DL. Junis is in line for his first big league victory, as he walked two and struck out two in a scoreless 11th inning against Tampa Bay. He struck out Evan Longoria to end the inning with the winning run on second base. Yender Caramo returned to the active roster.

 

nwaDouble-A NW Arkansas swept their four-game series over Arkansas, winning the finale, 3-1. The Naturals will enjoy Wednesday off before playing a four-game series at home against Tulsa.

Naturals starter Matt Tenuta made it past five innings for the first time this season. In earning his second victory, he allowed just four hits over six scoreless innings. Tenuta struck out four. Tim Hill earned his first save with two scoreless innings. He struck out three.

The Naturals collected just five hits, two of which left the ballpark. Frank Schwindel hit his sixth homer of the season to lead off the 2nd inning, while Zane Evans hit his second home run of the season to lead off the seventh. Schwindel added a sac fly in the fourth to give him 24 RBIs on the season.

 

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May 8th Minors Recap

Triple-A Omaha began their game in Salt Lake in a rain delay and then lost 5-3. They blew a 3-0 lead late.

Luke Farrell

Right-hander Luke Farrell during spring training 2016 (Jen Nevius).

Storm Chasers starter Luke Farrell carried a no-hitter into the sixth, when he allowed a single to Sherman Johnson. Two runs scored in that inning. In the seventh, the Bees chased him from the game as they tied the game at 3-3. Bobby Parnell escaped a bases loaded jam in the seventh, but then allowed back-to-back singles to start the 8th inning. In came lefty Eric Stout, who after a sac bunt, allowed a two-run single to former Royal Rey Navarro to give the Bees the lead.

The Storm Chasers out-hit the Bees, 12-8. Dean Anna went 3-for-4 with a triple and an RBI. Raul Mondesi, Paulo Orlando, and Ramon Torres each had two hits in the loss. Orlando hit two doubles and threw a runner out at second base from right field.

 

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Week 5 Recap and Awards

The KC Royals continue to be the worst team in baseball record-wise, as they are just 10-20. They went 3-4 last week at home and now head to Tampa Bay for four games beginning tonight (they are just 2-11 on the road).

Outfielder Jorge Soler made his season debut after spending 11 games rehabbing in Triple-A. In two games in the big leagues, he went 0-for-6 with a walk and three strikeouts. Starter Ian Kennedy headed to the DL with a hamstring injury.

TROPHYTriple-A Omaha went 3-5 last week and ended their five-game losing streak with a victory on Sunday. They are 14-15 overall and 5.5 games back in the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division. The Storm Chasers continue their series in Salt Lake tonight.

Reliever Seth Maness made his season (and Royals) debut on Monday, allowing a solo home run in two innings of work. In three appearances last week (totaling six innings), Maness allowed four hits and a walk while striking out five.

Fellow reliever Onelki Garcia also made his season (and Royals) debut last week. On Thursday, Garcia allowed one hit over 2.1 scoreless innings.

Double-A NW Arkansas went 5-2 last week to improve to 16-12 overall (the best record in the Royals system). The Naturals are in first place in the Texas League North Division and continue their home series with Arkansas tonight.

Starter Miguel Almonte returned from his one day big league stint to start last night and had his finger nail rip off after facing one batter in the 2nd inning. He is expected to be okay.

High-A Wilmington went 4-3 last week and are now 12-18 overall (still in last place in the Carolina League Northern Division). The Blue Rocks open up a seven games in six days homestand on Tuesday night against division rivals Potomac and Frederick.

Reliever Jacob Bodner returned to the active roster and infielder Colton Frabasilio returned from the DL. Outfielder Tanner Stanley was placed on the DL.

Low-A Lexington went 3-3 last week and moved out of last place in the South Atlantic League Southern Division (still just 12-19). The Legends finish up their series in West Virginia tonight before returning home for three games against Greensboro.

Geoffrey Bramblett made his season debut on Saturday, earning the win in relief. Over 2.1 innings, he allowed a run on a hit and four walks while striking out three.

 

Now to the awards…

 

Royals Hitter of the Week: For all the bashing first baseman Eric Hosmer has taken from fans this season, he has started to heat up at the plate. In seven games last week, Hosmer went 10-for-23 (.435) with a double, two home runs, four runs scored, and seven RBIs. He also walked more than he struck out (four times to three).

Royals Pitcher of the Week: Starter Nate Karns rebounded from a rough start to his 2017 season to pick up his first win of the year on Wednesday. He allowed just one hit and a walk over six scoreless innings against the Chicago White Sox. Karns struck out seven.

Honorable Mention: Lefty Jason Vargas continues to be one of the game’s best starters in 2017 (an overall ERA of 1.17) and is gaining attention from would-be suitors. In two starts last week (12 innings), he allowed a run on nine hits and five walks while striking out seven.

 

Anderson Miller

Blue Rocks left fielder Anderson Miller on April 8, 2017 (Jen Nevius).

Minor League Hitter of the Week: Blue Rocks outfielder Anderson Miller is in the midst of a 22-game on-base streak, but he is also beginning to hit. In the midst of an eight-game hitting streak, Miller went 14-for-34 (.412) last week with a double, a triple, two homers, six runs scored, and nine RBIs. He has raised his average to a respectable .254 after hitting just .188 in April.

Honorable Mention: Legends catcher/DH Meibrys Viloria is starting to heat up. He went 8-for-15 (.533) last week with three doubles, two home runs, and four RBIs. Viloria raised his average to .247 after hitting just .186 in April.

 

Minor League Pitchers of the Week: Two starters made impressive debuts after a promotion. Emilio Ogando was promoted to Double-A to replace Miguel Almonte and had his best start of the 2017 season. Ogando earned the victory on Saturday night, allowing five hits and two walks over six scoreless innings. He struck out four.

Christian Binford was promoted to Triple-A and made the Sunday afternoon start. He picked up the victory, allowing a run on five hits and a walk over seven innings. He struck out four. That came after Binford allowed a run on five hits and two walks over seven innings in a start with NWA on Tuesday. He struck out five.

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