It’s time for another Royals On The Farm report, our weekly look at each level of Kansas City’s minor-league system.
(Statistics through Wednesday’s games.)
Class AAA Omaha
Might the Royals be tempted to treat top prospect Raul Mondesi as a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency catalyst needed to spark a struggling offense?
Barring a trade, a promotion isn’t likely to come in the near future with shortstop Alcides Escobar manning Mondesi’s position in Kansas City. And even though he’s on the Royals’ 40-man roster, Mondesi has played just 10 games above Class AA.
In his first five games with Omaha, the 20-year-old shortstop hit just .143 with nine strikeouts in 21 at-bats.
In the five games since then, he’s hitting .368 with seven RBIs, five strikeouts and two walks in 19 at-bats.
On Tuesday against Las Vegas, Mondesi fell a single shy of hitting for the cycle and stole his 20th base of the season.
He is hitting .254 with seven home runs in 48 games at three levels this season.
Irving Falu passed Jed Hansen as Omaha’s franchise leader with his 663rd hit on July 15. Falu, a third baseman, is hitting .282 in 34 games with the Storm Chasers this season.
First baseman Balbino Fuenmayor hit a pair of home runs Wednesday night against Las Vegas and sports a .364 average in his last 10 games.
Former first-round pick Bubba Starling is in the midst of a 4-for-26 slump in which the outfielder has struck out nine times. He is hitting .233 in 17 games with Omaha and has just three extra-base hits.
Outfielder Orlando Calixte is hitting .341 in his last 10 games.
Class AA Northwest Arkansas
Right-hander Josh Staumont, a second-round pick out of Azusa Pacific in 2015, made his Class AA debut Sunday with the Naturals. In five innings at Tulsa, he allowed one earned run and five hits with four walks and two strikeouts.
Lefty Matt Strahm, one of the Texas League’s top pitchers, made his first relief appearance of this season Wednesday at Tulsa. A former 21st-round pick, Strahm took the loss after allowing two runs — one earned — in 1 1/3 innings. He has the seventh-lowest ERA in the league (3.61) and is second with 97 strikeouts.
Utility player Terrance Gore is hitting .294 since July 10 with six stolen bases.
Class A (Advanced) Wilmington
Zach Lovvorn is having his best season in the minors since the Royals drafted him in the sixth round in 2012. His record is 1-12 — the worst mark in the Carolina League.
The down-on-his-luck righty suffered another loss Tuesday against Lynchburg after allowing four runs in six innings. Despite a second-straight, four-run outing, Lovvorn has a respectable 3.05 ERA in his last 10 games. So what gives?
Lovvorn has made 17 starts this season and the Blue Rocks have averaged just 2.18 runs scored in those games. In his only win on July 8, Lovvorn got a solo homer from catcher Chad Johnson and made it stick for a 1-0 shutout against Myrtle Beach.
He could probably use a hug and some run support.
First baseman Samir Duenez is hitting .303 with four homers and nine RBIs in his last 10 games. In 26 games since his promotion from Lexington, he is slugging at a far greater clip with the Blue Rocks (.526) than at any other level (.381 career percentage).
Reliever Jake Newberry owns a 1.88 ERA in 19 appearances with Wilmington.
Class A Lexington
A.J. Puckett, the Royals’ first selection in June’s draft, suffered his worst outing as a pro Wednesday at Rome. Puckett, a 20-year-old righty, allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings, raising his ERA by more than two runs to 2.84.
Catcher Chase Vallot went 0 for 3 with a run scored Wednesday in his first game since being activated from the disabled list after getting hit in the face with a pitch last month.
Rookie Idaho Falls
Catcher Meibrys Viloria continues to wear out Pioneer League pitching. A 19-year-old Colombian, Viloria is hitting .462 with 12 RBIs and 12 runs scored in his last 10 games. He owns a ridiculous .472/.524/.865 slash line after 23 games.
Outfielder Nick Heath, a Junction City native, has a league-high 12 stolen bases and is hitting .333 in his last 10 games.
Left-hander Garrett Davila has the fifth-lowest ERA (2.00) in the Appalachian League after 27 innings pitched this season. The former fourth-round selection struck out seven batters and allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings Monday against Kingsport.
First baseman Chris DeVito is hitting .317 with three homers in his last 10 games.
Arizona Rookie League Royals
Outfielder Khalil Lee, a third-round pick in June’s draft, is hitting .351 with nine runs scored in his last 10 games.
Parkville native Grant Gavin allowed one unearned run in three innings Wednesday, maintaining a perfect 0.00 ERA in 19 1/3 innings.
Jeff Patterson: 816-234-4767, @jeffpatt_KC