AA-Northwest Arkansas Naturals
23 years old
Weight: 185 pounds
Drafted by Royals in the 2nd round of the 2008 MLB Draft
Mike Aviles has a considerable lock on second base in the Kansas City Royals’ organization. But the Royals have a pretty good backup plan to Aviles down on the farm.
It’s Johnny Giavotella, one of the most interesting prospect in the minor league system right now.
At 5’8”, Giavotella is small for a big-league ballplayer, but second basemen on average are shorter than players at other positions. In fact, defensively, shortness is usually beneficial to second basemen.
Giavotella is no wizard in the field, though. He has his flaws. But he seems to be one of the most complete players in the organization.
And he’s really started to put things together at the Double-A level this year after two seasons in single-A. Through 405 at-bats this season, Giavotella has batted .306 with 171 total bases, 13 steals, 124 hits, 25 doubles and a .379 on-base percentage. He’s heated up of late, too, hitting .400 with a .576 slugging percentage over his last 10 games.
Giavotella is a likeable Southerner from Harahan, Louisiana, and he seems like the kind of guy Royals fans would love to root for.
Here’s the bottom line on Giavotella: at the very least, he projects to be a solid utility player for the Major League team, a Willie Bloomquist-type with only a little less versatility. At the high end, we could be looking at the next Dustin Pedroia.
Ahead of Giavotella in the organization is Kurt Mertens, a 24-year-old second baseman who has struggled since an early-season promotion to AAA-Omaha, batting a meager .235 over 196 at-bats for the O-Royals. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Mertens and Giavotella flip-flop next season, with Giavotella earning a promotion to AAA and Mertens heading back to AA-Northwest Arkansas.
Look for Giavotella to make an impact on the big league team by the 2012 or 2013 season.
MiLB WEEKLY ROUNDUP
AAA – Omaha Royals
Record to date: 60-53, fourth place in the PCL American North
The past week: 6-2, including a four-game winning streak
Transactions: Greg Holland was sent from Kansas City to Omaha; Anthony Lerew was promoted to the majors; Victor Marte was demoted from Kansas City; Lucas May was received in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Scott Podsednik; Manny Pina was demoted to Northwest Arkansas; Kila Ka’aihue was promoted to Kansas City; Edgar Osuna was brought up from Northwest Arkansas; Irving Falu was activated from the temporarily inactive list; Tim Collins was acquired in a trade from Atlanta; Matt Herges was placd on the disabled list; and Philip Humber was promoted to Kansas City.
Coming up: The O-Royals finish up with Portland today then host Tacoma starting Sunday before a day off then a road trip to Sacramento.
AA – Northwest Arkansas Naturals
Record to date: 24-16 in the second half (first place), 66-44 overall
The past week: 5-4 with a doubleheader split at Springfield
Transactions: Danny Duffy was received from Wilmington; Aaron Crow was sent down to the Blue Rocks; Manny Pina was sent down from Omaha; Jeff Howell was traded to the Minnesota Twins; Chris Dwyer was placed on the 7-day disabled list; Nick Van Stratten was activated from the DL; Mario Santiago was activated from the Temporary Inactive List; Ryan Eigsti was activated from the DL; Ben Theriot was demoted to A- Burlington; Chris Chavez was released; Mike Montgomery was activated from the DL; and Mario Santiago was placed on the 7-day DL.
Coming up: The Naturals host Arkansas over the weekend before traveling to Frisco and Midland to finish the week.
A+ – Wilmington Blue Rocks
Record to date: 21-19 in the second half (second place), 53-57 overall
The past week: A horrid 1-6, including losing five in a row
Transactions: Josh Worrell was sent down to Burlington from Wilmington; Aaron Crow was received from Northwest Arkansas; Adrian Ortiz was activated from the temporarily inactive list.
Coming up: The Blue Rocks finish up at Salem before coming home to host Winston-Salem and then Salem next weekend.
POSITION PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Mark Maddox, third baseman, AAA-Omaha Royals
.400 AVG, 7 runs, 3 doubles, 5 walks
Omaha’s other third baseman (besides Mike Moustakas) is quietly putting together a strong season. This week he was strong against Memphis, Nashville and Portland, outplaying Moustakas over the same stretch.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Everett Teaford, AA-Northwest Arkansas Naturals
1-0, 6 innings pitches, 0 ER, 9 strikeouts, 2 walks
Teaford was brilliant against Springfield this week, striking out nine and picking up his ninth win of the season, which leads the Royals’ minor league system. Teaford, 26, struggled in one start with AAA-Omaha but has settled in with a 9-3 record and a 4.31 ERA at Northwest Arkansas.