Opinion

Royals on the Farm: Reymond Fuentes, Jorge Bonifacio are on hot streaks

Reymond Fuentes.
Reymond Fuentes. jsleezer@kcstar.com

Welcome to another edition of Royals On The Farm, our weekly look at each level of Kansas City’s minor-league system. We’ll help you get to know the players striving to make it to Kauffman Stadium.

(Statistics through Tuesday’s games.)

Class AAA Omaha

Outfielder Reymond Fuentes, who broke camp with the Royals, was on a tear in his last six games before the Royals recalled him on Wednesday to replace the injured Brett Eibner. The former first-round pick by the Red Sox (2009, 28th overall) is 10-for-24 since May 20, raising his average 72 points to .302 in 63 at-bats. …

The Pacific Coast League has long been known as a hitters’ league and right fielder Jorge Bonifacio is proving that old adage in his first year with the Storm Chasers. After hitting .230 and .240 the past two seasons in the Class AA Texas League, Bonifacio sports a .308 average after 48 games. He’s a late-bloomer in the power department with nine home runs this season — including two on May 25 against Albuquerque. He only had four homers in both 2013 and 2014 before breaking out with 17 last season. …

First baseman Balbino Fuenmayor is hitting .378 (14-for-37) in his past 10 games, raising his average to .284 this season. …

Right-hander John Lannan posted another solid start Sunday in which he allowed two earned runs and eight hits over 7  2/3 innings against El Paso. The former Nationals pitcher has lowered his ERA nearly two full runs over his past five outings, giving up five earned runs in 25  2/3 innings. Keep an eye on Lannan in case the Royals suffer any more injuries on the pitching staff because the journeyman could fill a variety of roles.

Royals Yost discusses Fuentes, Orlando, Gore and Merrifield at spring training 

Class AA Northwest Arkansas

Center fielder Bubba Starling went 2-for-4 Tuesday night in his return after a nearly two-week absence from the Naturals’ lineup. The Royals’ 2011 first-round draft pick hadn’t played since May 19 due to a heel injury. Serving as the designated hitter against San Antonio, the Gardner-Edgerton product recorded just his sixth multi-hit game of the season to raise his average to .204. A lack of plate discipline has continued to plague Baseball America’s No. 3-rated prospect for the Royals. Starling has struck out at least once in all but four games this season and his 55 strikeouts are fifth-most in the Texas League (in nearly 50 fewer at-bats than the four players ahead of him). ...

Righty Ashton Goudeau, a 27th-round pick in 2012, has pitched well in three outings since his promotion from Wilmington. He allowed one run and scattered eight hits in six innings Tuesday in a 4-1 win over San Antonio, improving to 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA. The book on Goudeau after three-plus years in the minors is that he works in the strike zone (61 walks and 233 strikeouts in 244 career innings) but is very hittable (.286 opponents’ batting average). ...

The Natural have three starting pitchers who are in the top five in strikeouts in the Texas League and each owns an ERA of 3.00 or lower: Jake Junis (2.86 ERA, 58 strikeouts), Matt Strahm (3.00, 54) and Alec Mills (2.33, 52). ...

Outfielder Terrance Gore has eight stolen bases in his past 10 games, including three Tuesday night against San Antonio. He is tied for sixth in the league with 11 stolen bases, five off the lead despite playing 21 fewer games than the leader.

Class A Wilmington (Advanced)

Center fielder Alfredo Escalera continues to be the beacon of hope for a struggling Blue Rocks offense, hitting .385 over his past 10 games (15-for-39). His .271 batting average ranks as 15th-best among qualified hitters (2.7 plate appearances per team games) in the Carolina League. Wilmington is hitting just .236 as a team, worst in the eight-team league. ...

Shortstop Corey Toups is tied for third in the league with five triples. ...

To file under the hard-luck-loser category, righty Zach Lovvorn is 0-6 but has the 16th-best ERA in the league (3.86) in 49 innings. The former sixth-round pick struck out five and allowed two hits, one walk and an unearned run on Sunday at Myrtle Beach. He didn’t factor in the decision — a rare Blue Rocks win, 3-1 in 10 innings.

Class A Lexington

Catcher Chase Vallot is hitting .324 in his past 10 games (12-for-37) to raise his average to .291. The 19-year-old Louisiana native hit his team-leading eighth homer and drove in six runs Sunday at Hagerstown. ...

First baseman Samir Duenez is second in the South Atlantic League with 38 RBIs. The 19-year-old Venezuelan has been on fire lately, hitting .316 with 10 RBIs in his past 10 games.

Quirky promotions

One of the great things about minor-league baseball is the off-the-wall promotions used to lure in fans. The Lexington Legends had a DeMarcus Cousins bobblehead giveaway in April because, you know, why not? Everything revolves around basketball there.

But that’s tame compared to Wilmington’s upcoming “Wrestling Night” promotion on June 9 which features an appearance by former WWE star Matt Hardy as well as entrance songs and other themed contests. Hopefully the chairs are bolted to the ground at Frawley Stadium.

Jeff Patterson: 816-234-4767, @jeffpatt_KC

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