NWA Naturals Week in Review: May 7-13

NWA Week in Review: May 7-13
Weekly Record: 5-1
Overall Record: 15-20
Standings: 4th (4.0 GB)
Weekly +/- : +10 (43 runs scored, 33 runs allowed)

Transactions:
5/10 – Alfredo Escalera to the DL
5/10 – Brandon Downes reassigned to NWA from Wilmington
5/12 – Glenn Sparkman reassigned to Omaha from NWA
5/12 – Jacob Bodner retired
5/12 – Andres Machado reassigned to NWA from Omaha
5/12 – Jared Ruxer reassigned to NWA from Wilmington

Overview.   The Naturals had their best week of the season going 5-1 and gaining 3.5 games in the standings on the Springfield Cardinals.  The Naturals also gave away a Mike Moustakas bobblehead Saturday night.

Nicky Lopez has brought his season average up to .316 after hitting .458 during the week going 11-24.  Lopez has a .429 average in 15 games since going 0-15 over a four game stretch April 24-27. Lopez continues to get a sprinkle of second base in but is cemented as the Naturals shortstop.  

Lopez’s counterpart, Erick Mejia, has been on fire recently as well including a two homer game this week.  Mejia had struggled early this year including an 0-22 from April 27 through May 3 with just 1 BB and 5 K. But in the last 9 games Mejia is hitting .421 with 3 doubles, a triple, and 2 home runs.  More impressively, he has an OPS of 1.211 with 4 stolen bases. Mejia is still struggling as a LHH with a .183 average. Mejia is hitting .395 as a RHH though with more power.

Elier Hernandez hit .381 while scoring 7 runs on the week.  Hernandez has been swinging it well over the last 22 games with a .329 average.  He still is striking out at a clip around 23% over that time.

Jecksson Flores had another good stretch hitting .421 during the week adding to his 9 game hitting streak.  Flores has played both LF and 3B for the Naturals and has quietly put together a solid start to the year hitting .320 with 7 stolen bases, 7 walks, and 8 Ks in 22 games.  

Donnie Dewees hit .333 over the week with a pair of doubles and three RBI.  Samir Duenez hit .353 over the week but didn’t produce any power numbers. John Brontsema hit .250 for the week in 4 games; 2 in LF, 2 at DH.  Luis Villegas caught just two games this week going 2-7 with a triple. Alex Liddi played in three games with week at 3B, 1B, and DH. Brandon Downes is 4-14 in his first 4 games with the Naturals with 2 doubles and a home run.  

Nick Dini has really had a rough transition back to NWA after exceling at Omaha but was a roster casualty due to Salvador Perez coming off the DL and pushing Cam Gallagher back to Omaha.  Dini has hit .204 since coming to NWA and just .118 for the week with 6 Ks.

Glenn Sparkman was promoted to Omaha this week but not before he lost an impressive streak.  With 2 outs in the 3rd inning on Tuesday, Chuck Taylor walked to the plate and then walked to first base.  Taylor was the first batter Sparkman had walked all season. This equates to 30.1 impressive innings without that free pass on four balls.  Sparkman has since walked two in Omaha to make an impressive 3 on the year in 38 innings. Sparkman also made a quality start this week for the Naturals.  

Emilio Ogando made two starts for the Naturals this week both lasting just 4.2 innings.  Ogando still can’t seem to find his command walking a combined 9 hitters. The other peripherals don’t seem to be bad on the surface, but a high pitch count and a large amount of free bases puts you in a bad situation as a starter.  

Foster Griffin went 7.0 innings in his start allowing 5 runs on 10 hits, 1 walk, and 5 Ks.

Zach Lovvorn went 6.0 innings in his start allowing 3 runs on 9 hits, no walks, and 2 Ks.

Scott Blewett had a rough start lasting just 4.0 innings allowing 5 runs on 7 hits, 3 walks, and 5 Ks.  

Jake Newberry notched 1 save on the week appearing in 3 games.  Franco Terrero threw 5.2 innings allowing just 1 run on 5 hits, 3 BBs, and 7 Ks.  Sam Selman threw in just 1 game in which he got the win in 1.1 innings of scoreless ball.  Walker Sheller allowed his first run of the season at NWA in two games and notched a win. Jake Kalish had a rough week allowing 4 runs in 2.0 innings out of the pen.  Yunior Marte had a scoreless week throwing 2.2 innings in 2 games. Luis Vasquez threw 3.0 scoreless innings amassing 6 Ks.

The Naturals have 8 games scheduled this week as they make up a rain out at Springfield on Sunday.  They will play 4 at home against the Travelers before making their way to Springfield for that five game series.  Another hot week and we could be talking about the Naturals jumping a few places in the standings.

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