Welcome to another edition of Royals on the Farm, our weekly look at each level of Kansas City’s minor-league system.
The player we’ve featured prominently the last two weeks (Brett Eibner and Reymond Fuentes) was called up to the majors shortly after publication of this award-eligible article. So we fully expect Irving Falu to be in Ned Yost’s starting lineup Friday night against the White Sox.
(Statistics through Tuesday’s games.)
Class AAA Omaha
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Speaking of Irving Falu, what was that Jake Taylor line in “Major League”? Something about not cutting it in the Mexican League?
Falu did more than cut it there. The former Royal flat-out raked in a 52-game stint with the Guerreros de Oaxaca. He led the league with a .359 batting average and was second with 31 runs batted in.
After a three-year absence from the Royals, Falu, 33, signed a contract with the organization last week and rejoined Omaha, adding depth to a team raided by the big-league club in recent weeks.
“I’m so happy to see my family again here in Omaha,” Falu, a Royals’ 21st-round draft pick in 2003, told the Omaha World-Herald.
In his third game back Tuesday with the Storm Chasers, he went 2 for 4 against Nashville with a solo home run, his first for Omaha since Aug. 2, 2013.
A shortstop in the Mexican League, Falu has played in right field and at third base for the Storm Chasers.
“I play everywhere. I don’t care,” Falu told the World-Herald. “I try to do my best and try to help the team win.”
Falu hit .337 in 89 at-bats with the Royals in 2012-2013 before bouncing around in the Brewers, Padres and Reds organizations. He’s a career .281 hitter in 10 minor-league seasons and .277 in 119 major-league at-bats. Falu was with Omaha in 2004 and during 2009-2013.
The Storm Chasers have lost eight of their last nine games and 11 of their last 13.
Right-hander Matt Murray owns Omaha’s lone victory of the past week, allowing one run in two innings of relief Sunday against Nashville. It was Murray’s second game of the season after serving a 50-game suspension for a positive amphetamine test. The former 10th-round pick has allowed six earned runs with six hits, two walks and two strikeouts in six innings.
Righty Dillon Gee took the loss Monday in his first outing back with Omaha, allowing three runs and four hits in six innings.
Right fielder Jorge Bonifacio remains a reliable presence in the lineup, hitting .306 his last 10 games.
Class AA Northwest Arkansas
Center fielder Bubba Starling might be figuring things out at the plate now that he’s healthy. Since returning from a heel injury May 31, the former first-round draft pick is hitting .258 (8 for 31). The Gardner, Kan., native is a career .242 hitter in 456 games in the minors. Starling had perhaps his best day of the season Tuesday with three hits, three RBIs and a stolen base in a doubleheader at Tulsa.
Righty Jake Junis added to his Texas League-leading strikeout total (66) in a gem Saturday against Corpus Christi. He struck out eight and allowed two hits in six shutout innings, lowering his ERA to 2.59.
Infielder Terrance Gore is tied for fourth in the league with 13 stolen bases and is hitting .409 (9 for 22) in his last 10 games.
Shortstop Corey Toups is hitting .318 in 44 at-bats since his promotion from Wilmington.
Class A Wilmington (Advanced)
Righty Zach Lovvorn (0-6) had another quality start Saturday but yet again missed out on earning a win. The 2012 sixth-round pick allowed two runs and five hits against Winston-Salem to lower his ERA to 3.76.
Righty Josh Staumont, the Royals’ second-round pick last year out of Azusa Pacific, is third in the Carolina League with 60 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings pitched. However, his ERA sits at 5.21 despite a solid .227 opponent batting average. Walks have kneecapped Staumont, who has given up 37 in his last eight outings to give him a WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) of 1.78.
Lefty Matt Tenuta has allowed a Carolina League-leading 10 home runs.
Class A Lexington
Top catching prospect Chase Vallot was assigned to the Arizona League on June 2 after taking a hard fall the previous day, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. He is listed as day-to-day but is expected back with the Legends soon.
The 40th overall selection of the 2014 draft is hitting .289 with eight homers and 28 RBIs with the Legends.
Vallot and pitcher Emilio Ogando (4-5, 3.63 ERA) were named to the Southern Division roster for the South Atlantic League All-Star Game, which will be played June 21 in Lexington.
Jeff Patterson: 816-234-4767, @jeffpatt_KC