The Omaha Storm Chasers (Pacific Coast League) went 2-4 over their last eight games and now sit at 27-18 on the season as they finish up a trip to the west coast. The Storm Chasers have the third best record in the PCL trailing Sacramento and Fresno, but lead their division by eight games.
Offensively for the Storm Chasers Tony Abreu and Clint Robinson each have continued to swing hot bats. Robinson is hitting .351 with 10 RBI over his last ten games. Abreu is hitting at a .324 clip over his last ten contests and has two home runs, six RBI, and seven runs scored in that time. Both players have been hot all season offensively with Robinson hitting .315 with 29 RBI, and Abreu checking in at .333 with 24 RBI. Will Smith has been getting things done on the mound in Omaha. He has allowed just three runs in 14.2 innings over his last two starts. Smith is 1-3 on the season with a 4.01 ERA in nine starts this season.
Jason Bourgeois has continued to struggle at the plate after being sent down to Triple-A. Bourgeois was one of the players acquired in Spring Training from the Houston Astros in exchange for left-hander Kevin Chapman. He is hitting .135 (5-for-37) over his last ten games with two RBI. Vin Mazzaro also had a tough outing his last time on the mound for the Storm Chasers. In his last Triple-A start Mazzaro went five and a third inning allowing nine hits and five runs, despite striking out seven.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Texas League) are now 24-coming off of their best road trip of the season. The Naturals went 5-3 on the trip, including a sweep of the Tulsa Drillers, that has pulled them within one game of the lead in the North Division.
Catcher Julio Rodriguez is more known for his defense than his offense, but he has had one of the hottest bats in the Texas League over the past week. Rodriguez is hitting .409 (9-for-22) over his last eight games with three runs scored and two RBI. Yem Pradesis seeing his bat heat up again as well going 6-for-16 (.375) over his last five contests. Prades also hit his second home run of the season during that span. On the mound for the Naturals Patrick Keating has been lights out in May. The right-hander has appeared in six games, tossing seven innings, and allowing just two hits, while striking out 10.
First baseman Johnny Whittleman has hit his first slump of the season. Whittleman is just 5-for-30 over his last nine games (.167), but when he has hit the ball it has been hard. He has hit two home runs over that stretch to give him seven on the season. Elisaul Pimentel had his strongest outing of the season in his first start of the year against Tulsa, but struggled his last time on the hill against the Arkansas Travelers. Pimentel went three and two-thirds innings allowing five hits and three runs in his second start of the season.
The Wilmington Blue Rocks (Carolina League) went 5-2 last week and are now 20-23 on the season and in second place in the Carolina League’s Northern Division. The Blue Rocks are trailing the Lynchburg Hillcats by four game and open the week with a series against third place Potomac.
Brian Fletcher and Kevin David have been providing the offense for the Blue Rocks over their last ten games. David is hitting .417 (10-for-24) with a home run and six RBI. The catcher has also scored four times in his last eight games. Fletcher is continuing to be a force at the plate hitting .325 in his last ten games with one home run, seven RBI, and eight runs scored. The outfielder has pulled his average up to .308 for the season with three home runs and 19 RBI in 42 games. Yordano Ventura has been hot on the mound for the Blue Rocks. The starting pitcher has gone 2-0 in his last two trips to the hill allowing only five hits and one run in 13 innings, while striking out 13.
Outfielder Geulin Beltre, who appeared in some spring training games with the Naturals, has gone 4-for-32 (.094) over his last nine games with one home run and two RBI. Tyler Sample continues to bounce back and forth between the hot and not lists. In his last two outings Sample has logged nine innings of work allowing 12 hits and nine runs.
The Kane County Cougars went 3-4 over the past week and they now sit at 23-22 on the season. The Cougars are in third place in the Midwest League’s Western division, but are just 5.0 games behind the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers for the division lead.
Infielder Michael Antonio has been hitting everything in sight over his last nine games. Antonio has gone 13-for-35 (.371) with eight runs scored, two home runs, and 10 RBI. Jorge Bonifacio is back on another one of his hot streaks as well. The young outfielder is hitting .341 (14-for-41) over his last ten games with nine runs scored, a home run and five RBI. On the mound for the Cougars Edwin Carl has continued to be one of the best pitchers in the Midwest League. In his last two outings Carl has logged 13 innings allowing 12 hits and three runs, while striking out seven. The right-hander is 4-2 on the season with a 1.79 ERA in 50.1 innings of work.
Shortstop Orlando Calixte, who was on the hot list just two weeks ago, has cooled off recntly. He is 4-for-34 (.118) over his last nine games. On the mound for the Cougars Kellen Moen is coming off one of his worst outings of the season. Moen allowed ten hits and five runs in four and two-thirds innings. He is 2-2 on the season with a 5.05 ERA in 46.1 innings of work.
Alumni Report (Former Naturals outside the Kansas City organization)
Ernesto Mejia is putting together his best month of the season, so far in May. The first baseman is hitting a blistering .357 (25-for-70) so far in May with four home runs and 17 RBI. He has 32 RBI on the season, which ranks him sixth in the International League. Outfielder Tim Smith, who was recently signed by the Atlanta Braves, was promoted to Double-A Mississippi last week. In two games with the Braves Smith has gone 2-for-4 with a run scored an RBI and two walks.
Josh Johnson who is now with Triple-A Syracuse in the Washington Nationals organization is 5-for-28 (.179) over his last nine games, but has managed to score eight runs and knock in four over that stretch. Chris McConnell, who is also in the Nationals organization with Double-A Harrisburg is struggling at the plate as well. He is hitting just .167 over his last seven games.
Kila Ka’aihue has been struggling recently in the major leagues with the Oakland Athletics. The first baseman is 3-for-20 in his last seven games, but does have two RBI, including a game winner over that stretch.