NWA Week in Review: June 25 – July 1
Weekly Record: 1-3
Overall Record: 37-41, 2-6 in the second half
Standings: 3rd (4.5 GB)
Weekly +/-: -8 (11 runs scored, 19 runs allowed)
6/25 – Carlos Diaz was sent on a rehab assignment to Arizona
6/26 – Jake Kalish reassigned to Omaha
6/26 – Arnaldo Hernandez assigned to NWA
6/28 – Nicky Lopez reassigned to Omaha
6/28 – Khalil Lee assigned to NWA
6/30 – Nate Esposito reassigned to Wilmington
6/30 – Corey Toups reassigned to NWA
The Naturals had a short week with the All Star Game on Tuesday. If you want to see how the individual’s did in the game, check out my write up here.
The Naturals also got a huge addition with the promotion of Khalil Lee. Lee is the Royals number one prospect and has had a solid year in Wilmington. Moving up to Omaha to make room for Lee was Nicky Lopez who has had an awesome year at NWA.
The Naturals lost a series with South Division San Antonio, the affiliate of the San Diego Padres. That Missions team is really good, featuring 5 Baseball America Midseason Top 100 prospects. Those players are Fernando Tatis (#4), Michael Baez (#44), Cal Quantrill (#53), Logan Allen (#87), and Josh Naylor (#90). Michael Baez dominated the Naturals all day long on Thursday. The Naturals got beat in extra innings on Friday. And just for the record, I hate how the minor leagues are using the international tiebreaker starting a runner at second base in extra innings. The Naturals avoided the sweep by walking off on Saturday with a victory in the bottom of the 9th after Allen held them down for 7.0 innings. Elier Hernandez got the rally going with a lead off walk before Kort Peterson lined a ball into the LF corner for a double. Kelvin Gutierrez followed with a ground ball single up the middle that scored Peterson. Anderson Miller followed with a hard grounder that Tatis backhanded on a slide. Tatis threw the ball away to put runners on 2nd and 3rd. Alex Liddi followed with a ground ball single up the middle to win the game and was rewarded with a Salvy Splash from Scott Blewett. This was the 6th walk off victory for the Naturals this season.
Adding to the list of top 100 players the Naturals faced on the mound Sunday was Corpus Christi Hooks RHP Corbin Martin who is ranked #82 on BA’s list. So to put it bluntly, the Naturals have seen three of the best pitchers in MILB in the last four games. That’s a tough stretch for anyone. Martin dominated allowing only 1 hit through 5.0 innings before cracking in the sixth. Martin gave up just two runs. After that, things didn’t get any easier as rehabbing RHP Joe Smith came into the game throwing one inning.
Hitting. It was a tough week to be a hitter for the Naturals facing all those top 100 arms. The Naturals are down to two catchers which is a change for them. The Royals have kept three catchers in NWA the entire year but this week changed that. Instead, they have kept an extra bullpen arm. It’ll be interesting to see if they keep this strategy over the next few weeks or bring back a 13th position player.
Jecksson Flores had the best week with the bat against the top 100 hitting .500 by going 8-16 in 4 games at second base. Flores had a double, solo home run, 3 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, and 4 K.
Nick Dini went 3-12 with a double, RBI, no walks, and 3 K.
Alex Liddi went 2-10 with an RBI, 1 BB, and 5 K.
Xavier Fernandez got his first hit at the double-A. Fernandez went 1-9 with a run and 2 K. He had some good contact but just didn’t get anything to drop.
Kelvin Gutierrez has shown he is a very good defensive third baseman who has some speed since being acquired from the Nationals. Gutierrez went 3-14 this week with 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, and stole 1 base in 2 attempts.
Erick Mejia went 3-15 with a double, RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, and a SB. Mejia has made all the starts at SS since Nicky Lopez was promoted to Omaha.
Elier Hernandez went 3-14 with a double, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, and was 0-1 in stolen base attempts.
Anderson Miller went 3-15 with a home run, 2 R, RBI, and 4 K.
Kort Peterson went 3-16 this week with two doubles, 2 R, 2 RBI, 0 BB, and 5 K.
Khalil Lee played in two games after his promotion and left Saturday’s game early after being hit in the head by a pitch. Lee is okay and should be back in the lineup tonight after sitting Sunday. Lee went 1-4 and had 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, and was thrown out stealing second. He made one throw from CF which I’m guessing was mid- to high-90s to third base but was unable to throw the runner out.
John Brontsema went 0-5 this week.
Corey Toups did not play in any games after being assigned to the team late in the week.
Pitching. Every pitcher on the Naturals roster made one appearance this week except for Scott Blewett who will be starting Monday.
Foster Griffin took a loss going 6.0 innings allowing 6 ER on 10 hits, 1 BB, and 4 K. Griffin has allowed 6 home runs in the last 3 games.
Arnaldo Hernandez made his NWA debut and looked good in 5.1 innings allowing 2 ER on 6 H, 2 BB, and 7 K. Hernandez was up to 96 with his fastball.
Zach Lovvorn got a no decision in 6.0 innings allowing 2 ER on 6 hits, no walks, and 5 K.
Emilio Ogando took a loss in 5.1 innings allowing 5 ER on 10 hits, 2 BB, and 6 K. Ogando allowed 3 home runs in his time on the mound.
Pedro Fernandez got a win going 3.0 innings allowing 1 ER, 1 hit, no walks, and 2 K.
Bryan Brickhouse took a loss in relief. Brickhouse went 1.1 innings allowing 1 ER which could have been unearned but for scoring on 2 hits, 3 walks with 2 being intentional, and 2 K.
Franco Terrero went 3.0 innings allowing no runs, 1 H, 1 BB, and 4 K.
Grant Gavin went 2.2 innings allowing no runs, 1 H, 1 BB, and 4 K.
Yunior Marte went 2.1 innings allowing no runs, no hits, 1 BB, and 3 K.
Walker Sheller went 1.0 inning allowing no runs, 1 H, no walks, and no K.
Andres Machado went 0.2 innings allowing no runs, no hits, 1 BB, and no K.
Gabe Speier went 0.1 innings allowing no runs, no hits, no walks, and no K.
This Week. The Naturals finish up their series with the Hooks on Tuesday and hit the road for San Antonio that night. A three game series at San Antonio starts Wednesday followed by a three game series at Corpus Christi which makes for a long and tough road trip. The Naturals will have an off day for travel the following week before hosting Tulsa.