Diamonds in the Rough: Stock Up and Weekend in Review

With another week in the books, it’s time to check in with those down on the farm who are seeing their stock trending up.

Chris DeVito – The slugging first baseman has shown little signs of slowing things down after his promotion to High-A with hits in his first three games on arrival. After each draft the past 5+ years, I talk to many of the college coaches of the players who were selected by the Royals. Some talk in hyperbole about a player’s skillset so you can’t be too sure if what you’re hearing is that or the true scouting report. Up to this point, Coach Birmingham’s report on DeVito has been true to form. “He’s special, he lets the ball travel deep and has a short compact swing that allows him to hit 96-98 mph velocity with a 60-70 power grade that is comparable to Alex Gordon.”

Promotions Coming?

The season is over a month in the books now for the full season minor league squads so who follow DeVito with a move to the next level?

Gerson Garabito – The Legends pitcher has been outstanding so far this season with the change he made from pitching in the windup to full time out of the stretch. The change has seen his control improve immensely (3.9 Bb/9 to 2.0), while helping his K numbers go up a full 2 per 9. The curveball appears far more consistent as is the overall control that he’s offering. The righty generally works in the low nineties, with a curve that appears future plus and a decent change that shows good arm side fade. The Royals recently moved him to another roster, but that could just be a paper move in anticipation of a future move.

Frank Schwindel – The DH/1B has been crushing Double-A pitching so far this season and appears to be ready to a move to Triple-A. Unfortunately for him, his position isn’t in need of an upgrade at that level with Ryan O’Hearn there and a glut of other infielders on the roster. Still, it could be said that the bat is ready when ,or if, a roster spot would ever open up.

Nicky Lopez – It’s been just 34 games with the Blue Rocks, but Lopez has played above the level and could be ready for another challenge at Double-A. The question coming into the season was with the bat, but he’s reached base in all but two games this season while reaching base multiple times in 16 of those game. The defense is there and so is the approach at the plate for Lopez, and a push to Double-A at the All-Star break seems very likely if this play continues. The other reality to any promotion is the player in front of another and currently, there isn’t anyone at Double-A that is likely to have a higher stock than Lopez at short.

Foster Griffin – The stuff isn’t what the Royals had hoped for at the time of his draft, but Griffin has shown he’s handling the High-A level with relative ease this season. If not for one start in Salem that got away from him, he would have a sub 2 ERA with over a 9 K/9 average. The lefty has been much more aggressive in his attack this season and has the stuff to get right-handed hitters out with regularity, holding them to a .170 batting average against for the season.

Anderson Miller – This one could be difficult after the Royals promoted Elier Hernandez, but it’s no secret that Miller is pushing his way through the league at High-A Wilmington. The 23-year-old outfielder has moved his on-base streak to 29 games while flexing his muscle with four home runs in his last ten games. The OPS has increased nearly 300 points in two weeks while rising into the Top-15 of OPS in the difficult hitting Carolina league.  The outfielder is one of the best outfield prospects in the system but with Hernandez, Donnie Dewees and a few others at Double-A, Miller may have to continue this run for at least another month to force the front office to give him another challenge.

Weekend Results.

Friday: Omaha 8, Las Vegas 51s 3 Boxscore  HR Roll Call: Paulo Orlando (1)
Saturday: Omaha Storm Chasers 7, Las Vegas 51s 3 Boxscore  
Sunday: Omaha Storm Chasers 8, Las Vegas 51s 4 Boxscore  HR Roll Call: Raul Mondesi (3)

The Storm Chasers came out big winners in Las Vegas, sweeping the Mets Triple-A affiliate in the four game series. The Chasers scored seven on Saturday night in the final two innings; then returned for eight more runs on Sunday. After running into struggles to start this month, the offense scored 23 runs over the final three games of the series.

The Chasers starting pitchers received a quality start in the final three games of the series including Luke Farrell’s six innings, two run start.

Friday: Tulsa Drillers 9, NW Arkansas Naturals 4 Boxscore 
Saturday: Tulsa Drillers 9, NW Arkansas Naturals 4 Boxscore  HR Roll Call: Mauricio Ramos (4) 
Sunday: Tulsa Drillers 10, NW Arkansas Naturals 2 Boxscore

The Dodgers Double-A team finished off a four-game sweep of the Naturals that knocked the Royals Double-A team into second place. The Naturals pitching staff gave up 37 runs in the four games after the bullpen gave up 14 runs over the final two games.

The middle of the order which has been strong during the season struggled in the series going just 2 for 17.

Friday: Wilmington Blue Rocks 2, Frederick Keys 1 Boxscore  
Sunday: Game 1 – Wilmington Blue Rocks 10, Frederick Keys 2 F/7 Boxscore  HR Roll Call: Roman Collins (3)
Sunday: Game 2 – Wilmington Blue Rocks 3, Frederick Keys 1 F/7 Boxscore  HR Roll Call: Anderson Miller (6) 

The Rocks swept away the Keys with a doubleheader victory on Sunday after a rainout Saturday night. The wins pulled Wilmington within three games of .500 and just 2 games back of second place. Eight of the nine Rocks hitters reached base in game one of the doubleheader, with the top four hitters in the order combining for 10 hits.

The Rocks received quality pitching in all three games with one of the better efforts coming from lefty Cristian Castillo on Friday. Known for his control and pitchability, Castillo earned 11 swinging strikes as part of his six K effort.

Friday: Lexington Legends 3, Greensboro Grasshoppers 1 Boxscore  HR Roll Call: Marten Gasparini (2)
Saturday: Lexington Legends 3, Augusta GreenJackets 2 Boxscore 
Sunday: Lexington Legends 7, Augusta GreenJackets 1 Boxscore 

The Legends salvaged the final game of their three games series versus Greensboro on Friday before taking the first two games of their four game series with Augusta. The Legends starters gave up just three runs in the three games with Jace Vines leading them in innings with six while Andre Davis struckout nine hitters in five innings on Friday.

The corner infield of Joe Dudek and Emmanuel Rivera paced the offense with a combined five runs driven in on six hits and a walk on Sunday.

For more Royals minor league and draft content follow me on twitter @ClintScoles.

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