Diamonds

Diamonds in the Rough: Weekend Recap

Peaking up – The Royals have praised right-handed pitcher Pedro Fernandez in the past and things seem to be going well of late in his new role at the back of the NW Arkansas Naturals bullpen. As a reliever, Fernandez is able to unleash his low to mid-90s fastball alongside his above average changeup and improved slider. The hopes were always that Fernandez would be able to work as a starter, but after running into problems holding up every five days, the move to the bullpen was made. One would expect a pitcher to dominate in a new role after the move but that doesn’t always occur and Fernandez was slow out of the gates in April, putting up a 4.50 ERA in April. Since then he has improved month to month to the point where he has dominated since June 1st, allowing a sub 1 WHIP and striking out 22 hitters in 20.2 innings.

With Pedro’s work the Naturals have at least three arms in their bullpen in Yunior Marte, Fernandez and Richard Lovelady that Royals fans should be very well aware of now as they could be in that Kansas City pen in the future.

Bullpen Rankings in Royals organization (No MLB experience)
#1 Richard Lovelady – Lefty peaking velocity into 98-100 range with plus control
#2 Kyle Zimmer – Velo is coming back now needs to combine it with the curveball for a devastating 2-pitch repertoire.
#3 Yunior Marte – Hard throwing, loose armed righty with multiple pitches
#4 Eric Stout – Solid lefty who has dominated left-handed hitters to a .169 average against at AAA
#5 Sam Selman – The control wavers still, but the fastball/slider combo is a vicious combination
#6 Pedro Fernandez – info above; fastball, change and slider combo that is similar to a starter arsenal
#7 Andrew Edwards – Big bodied righty has control issues but needs to harness upper 90s fastball/slider
#8 Gabe Cramer – Could be in the Top 3 on this list if he can get healthy. Upper 90s fastball

#9 Malcom Culver – A plus changeup with a low to mid 90’s fastball could get a major league audition in September.

#10 Franco Terrero – Similar to Pedro Fernandez as a smaller hard throwing righty with solid secondary pitches.

Sunday Omaha Storm Chasers 15 Nashville Sounds 1 Boxscore HR Frank Schwindel (10)
Saturday Nashville Sounds 11 Omaha Storm Chasers 5 Boxscore HR Garin Cecchini (4)

A big offensive day combined with solid pitching by Eric Skoglund was the highlight of the Chasers weekend.

Sunday Springfield Cardinals 6 NW Arkansas Naturals 0 Boxscore
Saturday Tulsa Drillers 7 NW Arkansas Naturals 6 Boxscore

The Naturals built a lead against uber-pitching prospect Walker Buehler on Saturday only to watch it slip away. The bats were dormant with just three hits on Sunday.

Sunday Wilmington Blue Rocks 2 Potomac Nationals 1 F/11 Boxscore
Saturday Lynchburg Hillcats 7 Wilmington Blue Rocks 4 Boxscore

After being dominated by Triston McKenzie once again, the Rocks bounced back with their fourth walkoff win in five tries on Sunday.

Sunday Gm 1 Lexington Legends 2 Hagerstown Suns 0 Boxscore Gabe Cancel (11)
Gm 2 Hagerstown Suns 13 Lexington Legends 2 Boxscore HR John Brontsema (3)

A doubleheader split after Anthony Bender and Travis Eckert combined for the shutout. The Legends are 3.5 games back of first place as they try to become the first Royals squad at Low-A Lexington to complete a winning season.

Sunday Idaho Falls Chukars 6 Missoula Osprey 0 Boxscore HR Jon McCray (4) Tyler Straub (3)
Saturday Missoula Osprey 15 Idaho Falls Chukars 11 Boxscore 

Starter Julio Pinto was outstanding on Sunday, striking out a career high 11 hitters while working seven shutout innings.

Sunday Pulaski Yankees 4 Burlington Royals 2 Boxscore
Saturday Burlington Royals 9 Pulaski Yankees 7 Boxscore

The Royals had an opportunity to win the first two games of the series with Pulaski but let a lead slip away in the ninth. They’ll go for the series win on Monday which would be the Yankees first series defeat of the season.

Sunday AZL Padres 17 AZL Royals 11 Boxscore HR Angel Medina 2

Just one game with the Royals getting knocked around and coming up short in their comeback bid.

Follow me on Twitter @ClintScoles

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