Daily Royals Minor League Recap, July 9, 2017: Foster Griffin Pitches for Team USA in All-Star Futures Game

All-Star Futures Game:

Royals LHP prospect Foster Griffin is having an outstanding season at AA Northwest Arkansas, carrying an ERA of 2.47 with a 7:2 K:BB ratio in 47.1 IP. Griffin’s season ERA now sits at 2.68 in 104 IP between High-A and AA.
Griffin, arguably the Royals top pitching prospect, was rewarded for his outstanding season by given a roster spot in the MLB All-Star Futures Game played in Miami, FL, on Sunday afternoon. Griffin faced two batters on the World team, getting both batters out and striking out one of them.

Griffin continues to impress at every level. The 21-year old lefty stands about 6′ 3″ and his velocity sits in the low-90’s. He features a +CB and a changeup that’s still developing. His control continues to impress and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended the year in Omaha.

AAA – Omaha Storm Chasers (40-48)

Final Score: Iowa Cubs 9, Omaha Storm Chasers 4

Jake Junis made the start for Omaha tonight against the Cubs’ AAA affiliate, and gave up 4 ER in 5 IP. He struck out 6 and walked none, which is encouraging.

Kyle Zimmer continues to struggle, as he gave up 3 runs in less than 1 inning in relief.

Miguel Almonte had yet another scoreless outing in relief. He continues to look really good out of the bullpen for Omaha and will probably be in the ‘pen in KC soon.

Raul Mondesi left the game during his first at-bat for Omaha when he tried to get out of the way of the first pitch he saw Sunday afternoon. Corey Toups took his place in the lineup and finished the day 2-5 with an RBI.

Ryan O’Hearn hit his team leading 15th home run, and finished the day 2-5. His average has climbed up to .253 on his current hot streak. He’s hitting .270 with 5 HR in his last 10 games.

Dean Anna also went deep Sunday afternoon for Omaha, his 4th of the year for the Storm Chasers.

Ruben Sosa added 2 hits of his own and is now hitting .247.

Bubba Starling doubled in his first at-bat of the afternoon. He finished 1-2 with a BB.

AA – Northwest Arkansas Naturals (48-39)

Final Score: San Antonio Missions 6, Northwest Arkansas Naturals 1

Jack Lopez continued his torrid pace on Sunday evening by going 3-4 in the Naturals loss to the San Antonio Missions. Lopez is now hitting .287 at AA Northwest Arkansas.

Catcher Nick Dini doubled, and is now hitting .373.

SS Humberto Arteaga has struggled a bit lately, but added a hit of his own in Sunday’s game and is still hitting .293.

Donnie Dewees also had a hit in tonight’s game. He has rallied from a dreadful April and is now hitting .257. Kansas City acquired Dewees in a trade with the Cubs this offseason for RHP Alec Mills.

Emilio Ogando and Yunior Marte both allowed 3 runs on the mound tonight for NWA.

A+ – Wilmington Blue Rocks (47-41)

Final Score: Wilmington Blue Rocks 4, Potomac Nationals 1

Cristian Castillo continues to dazzle on the mound for the Blue Rocks. Castillo lowered his season’s ERA to 2.61 for the Blue Rocks as he threw 8 innings of shutout baseball Sunday. Castillo struck out 6, walked none, and only gave up 3 hits in his stellar outing. Castillo has an ERA of 2.20 in his last 10 starts dating back to May 18, striking out 45 batters in 57.1 innings and only walking 17.

The 22-year old has succeeded at every level during his time as a pro. In 2015 he posted an ERA of 2.67 in 67.1 IP in the DSL. In 2016 his ERA was 3.13 in 72 IP for the Burlington Royals. Now this season his ERA of 2.61 in 96.2 IP is set to be a career best. He may be looking at a promotion around the same time as Foster Griffin……….

Offensively for Wilmington, Nick Heath went 2-4 with 2 RBI. D.J. Burt and Wander Franco each added singles to give the Blue Rocks 4 hits on the day.

A – Lexington Legends (44-42)

Final Score: Greenville Drive 6, Lexington Legends 5

The Legends offense had a good day Sunday, scoring 5 runs against Greenville starter Darwinzon Hernandez who has been really good this year for the Drive.

Khalil Lee just keeps hitting, as he finished 2-4 with a run scored Sunday. His average is now up to .254 with a .365 OBP. Lee continues to show why he is considered a top prospect in this organization.

Gabriel Cancel and Marten Gasparini both homered for Lexington. For Cancel, it was his 9th HR of the year and Gasparini hit his 7th.

Gasparini is one of the more under rated prospects in the Royals system. A 2013 international signing out of Italy, Gasparini made headlines as arguably the best baseball prospect to ever come out of Europe. He’s now slashing .260/.310/.413 with 11 SB in what’s been a bit of a bounce back season in Lexington. I wrote an article about Gasparini earlier this year, that you can read right here.

Emmanuel Rivera continues to hit the ball well for Lexington. He finished the day 2-4 with a triple, an RBI, and a run scored. He’s now hitting .298 on the campaign and .308 in his last 10 games.

Justin Camp threw the ball well out of the ‘pen for Lexington, throwing 2 scoreless innings striking out 3. His ERA is 0.00.

Rookie – Idaho Falls Chukars (9-12)

Final Score: Orem Owls 14, Idaho Falls Chukars 4

The pitching staff for Idaho Falls continued to struggle Sunday evening. After surrendering 51 runs in their last 4 games, the Chukars pitching staff combined to allow 14 runs Sunday, 10 of them unearned. The lone scoreless effort of the night came from 2B man Tyler Straub.

Cristhian Vasquez, Julio Gonzalez, and Jake Wakamatsu led the way for the Chukars offensively, each contributing 2 hits to the Chukars’ tally. Vasquez hit his 1st HR of the year for Idaho Falls Sunday evening.

Vance Vizcaino finished the night 1-3 with 2 BB for Idaho Falls, raising his average to .288 on the season.

Rookie – Burlington Royals (5-12)

Final Score: Danville Braves 5, Burlington Royals 4

Michael Messier has struggled as a starter so far this year for Burlington. Today he threw 3.1 innings out of the bullpen and only surrendered 1 run. Hopefully he has started to get things squared away in his 2nd professional season.

Royals 2017 4th round pick Michael Gigliotti continues to hit the ball well, as he doubled, walked, and scored a run Sunday afternoon. He’s now slashing .293/.418/.519 as a rookie.

Jose Marquez went 2-4 with 2 RBI for the Burlington Royals, including a triple.

Seuly Matias was 1-3 with 2 BB Sunday afternoon after returning from a bit of an injury bug. 

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