Final weekly recap and awards

The KC Royals went 4-3 last week, but are 12.5 games back of Cleveland (who has won 12 in a row) in the American League Central. The Royals are also 2.5 games back of the second Wild Card spot, which is held by Minnesota (with five teams in front of them). The Royals continue their road trip in Detroit tonight.

Right-hander Andres Machado made his Major League debut on Saturday in Minnesota. He came on in the first inning and got out of the jam, but struggled in the 2nd inning (2/3IP, 4H, 6R, 3BB, 0K). That came after Onelki Garcia made his first start with the Royals (1/3IP, 4H, 4R, BB, 0K).

Lefty Brian Flynn was placed on the DL and fellow lefty Eric Skoglund was back up.

The Royals also claimed pitcher Sam Gaviglio off waivers from Seattle. He has not made his Royals debut yet. They released reliever Neftali Feliz and activated Trevor Cahill from the DL. They also called up catcher Cam Gallagher, infielder Raul Mondesi, and outfielders Terrance Gore and Paulo Orlando on September 1st.

TROPHYTriple-A Omaha finished their 2017 season by going 5-2. Unfortunately, the Storm Chasers overall record was just 69-72.

Two starters made their Triple-A debut last week. Jace Vines started on Monday (up from High-A Wilmington), going six innings. He allowed just two runs on six hits while striking out three. Arnaldo Hernadez, up from Low-A Lexington, made two starts. Over 10.1 innings, he allowed two runs on nine hits and four walks while striking out six. Hernandez picked up the win yesterday.

Right-hander Yender Caramo was activated from the DL and pitched twice to end the season (2.2IP, 2H, R, 0BB, 0K). Infielder Carlos Diaz returned to Omaha after once again bouncing around the minor league system. He went 0-for-3 with an RBI yesterday.

Infielders Garin Cecchini and Ruben Sosa, along with catcher Luis Villegas were also activated. Cecchini went 6-for-19 with an RBI. Sosa went 4-for-17 with a pinch-hit two-run home run in the 8th inning on Sunday to give Omaha the lead. Villegas went 3-for-10 with two RBIs.

Double-A NW Arkansas went 4-4 to end the regular season, but finished with a 28-42 second half record. They also finished with just an 8-28 second half road record (worst in franchise history). The Naturals won the Texas League North Division first half title and currently are the only Royals team in the postseason. They open up the Division Series at home against Tulsa on Wednesday night (they just went 2-2 in Tulsa).

Infielder Jack Lopez returned from paternity leave after the birth of his daughter and went 4-for-15 with a home run and three RBIs. Pitcher Ashton Goudeau returned from the DL to make one appearance (2IP, 4H, 2R, BB, 3K).

Reliever Walker Sheller made his Double-A debut last Monday (up from High-A Wilmington). Over three appearances (totaling six innings), he allowed three hits and walked three while striking out five.

High-A Wilmington finished the season on a down note, losing all seven games of their homestand. The Blue Rocks finished the second half at just 28-41 and had just ten wins over their final 31 games.

Reliever Cody Nesbit finally made his High-A debut on August 30th, after being with the team for over a week. In two appearances, he allowed four runs on four hits and a walk over three innings. He struck out two. Anthony Bender made his High-A debut in Sunday’s Game 2 start, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks over four innings. He struck out three.

Low-A Lexington lost eight in a row to end their season, as the Legends finished the second half with just a 28-40 record.

Third baseman Emmanuel Rivera won the South Atlantic League batting title with a .310 batting average. He also led the league in hits with 144.

Rookie level Idaho Falls is the only minor league team still in regular action, but they were eliminated from postseason play in the Pioneer League with just a 14-19 second half record (31-40 overall).

Rookie level Burlington finished the season with a 29-39 record in the Appalachian League.

The AZL Royals finished the second half with a 13-15 record (26-30 overall).


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Final regular season minors recap

Triple-A Omaha won their season finale, beating Iowa, 7-3.

omahaWith two outs and nobody on base in the top of the first, the Storm Chasers scored four runs on four hits and a walk. Ruben Sosa capped the scoring with a two-run double. Leadoff hitter Billy Burns went 2-for-5 with an RBI. Frank Schwindel and Garin Cecchini each had two hits in the win. Schwindel drove in two runs, while Cecchini scored two runs.

That made a winner of starter Arnaldo Hernandez, who picked up his first Triple-A victory in his second start. He allowed a run on five hits and a walk over 5.2 innings. Hernandez struck out four. He left with two runners on base in the 6th inning in favor of Mark Peterson, who allowed an RBI double to the first batter he faced.


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September 3rd Minors Recap

Triple-A Omaha beat Iowa, 7-5 in comeback fashion. The two teams finish their series on Monday afternoon.

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First baseman Frank Schwindel during spring training 2016 (Jen Nevius).

Down 5-3 heading into the bottom of the 8th inning, the Storm Chasers hit three home runs. They started off the inning with back-to-back solo homers: Jorge Soler‘s 24th (his second of the game) and the 17th from Frank Schwindel (he went 2-for-4). With two outs, pinch-hitter Ruben Sosa broke the tie with a two-run shot.

That made a winner of starter Christian Binford, who allowed five runs (four earned) on ten hits over eight innings. He struck out six (throwing 110 pitches, 81 for strikes). Yender Caramo pitched a perfect ninth by inducing two ground outs (he threw just seven pitches).

Dean Anna went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Brayan Pena went 2-for-4 with a double.


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September 2nd Minors Recap

Triple-A Omaha lost to Iowa, 7-3.

omahaWith the score tied at 1-1, the Cubs took the lead in the top of the seventh on a bases loaded walk (one of six walks by reliever Eric Stout over just 1.2 innings). Later in the inning, a two-run single opened the lead. The Cubs added three runs in the ninth against reliever Kevin Lenik (2.1IP, 2H, 2BB, 3K).

In his second straight spot start, Pedro Fernandez was solid. He allowed a run on two hits and two walks over 3.1 innings. He struck out two. Mark Peterson stranded a runner in the fourth (1.2IP, H, 0R, 0BB, 0K).

Corey Toups tied the game in the third with a solo home run (he had two hits). Hunter Dozier added a solo shot in the ninth. Frank Schwindel, Garin Cecchini, and Luis Villegas all had two hits in the loss. Villegas drove in a run, but also allowed five stolen bases (he threw out just one).

*In roster news, outfielder Jorge Soler was activated from the inactive list.


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September 1st Minors Recap

Triple-A Omaha lost their series opener against Iowa, 5-4. The Storm Chasers had a 4-1 lead heading into the sixth.

omahaThe Cubs chased starter Jake Kalish in the sixth after a sac fly cut the Omaha lead to 4-2. Jake Newberry came on and allowed an inherited run to score. Granted, the Storm Chasers committed two errors in the inning that allowed two runs to score. Newberry then allowed a leadoff home run in the seventh.

Storm Chasers leadoff hitter Billy Burns went 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored. Dean Anna also had two hits in the loss. Corey Toups, playing left field, went 2-for-4 with an RBI and his ninth stolen base. He also had a costly error in the 6th inning. Ramon Torres, who had an error in the sixth, hit a two-run home run in the first.

*Utility man Zach Walters was activated from the Double-A DL and made his Omaha debut as a pinch runner in the ninth.


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Royals add five to roster, with one surprise

As I predicted, the KC Royals added catcher Cam Gallagher, infielder Raul Mondesi, and outfielders Terrance Gore and Paulo Orlando to the active roster today as part of the September callups. None were a surprise, as all four were already in the big leagues at some point in 2017.

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Blue Rocks starter Andres Machado on July 1, 2017 (Jen Nevius).

The one surprise was right-handed pitcher Andres Machado, who started the 2017 season (his sixth with the Royals) in the bullpen with High-A Wilmington (his first at that level). While he showed flashes early in the season, Machado really took off when he slid into the rotation at the end of May (to replace the promoted Foster Griffin).

More comfortable in the rotation, Machado excelled. He had two starts at the beginning of July where he was dominant. The first came against division rival Salem, where he struck out a career-high 14 and lasted a career-high seven innings. In his very next start, against division champ Lynchburg, he lasted a career-high 7.1 innings. In both of those games, he allowed a run on six hits while walking one total batter.

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August 31st Minors Recap

Triple-A Omaha had their series finale in Nashville rained out. The Storm Chasers return home for four games against Iowa starting Friday night.

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Infielder Jack Lopez during spring training 2016 (Jen Nevius).

Double-A NW Arkansas won in Tulsa, 6-2.

Down 2-1 in the eighth, the Naturals scored two runs, with Samir Duenez driving in the go ahead run with a two out single.

In the ninth with two outs, Jack Lopez hit a two-run home run and Ryan O’Hearn followed with a solo shot to add some insurance. Lopez went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBIs. Leadoff hitter Donnie Dewees went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and stole his 20th base.

Starter Foster Griffin improved to 11-5, as he allowed two runs on five hits over eight innings. He struck out seven. Griffin allowed back-to-back home runs in the 2nd inning.

*Apparently, reliever Walker Sheller never made it back to Wilmington, as he was added back to the Naturals roster today.


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