Opinion

Royals on The Farm: Hunter Dozier on a power surge at Omaha

Hunter Dozier was congratulated by first-base coach Rusty Kuntz after a single in the fifth inning during spring training.
Hunter Dozier was congratulated by first-base coach Rusty Kuntz after a single in the fifth inning during spring training. jsleezer@kcstar.com

It’s time for another Royals On The Farm report, a weekly look at each level of Kansas City’s minor-league system.

(Statistics through Wednesday’s games.)

Class AAA Omaha

The Storm Chasers are running low on the Royals’ top prospects after Raul A. Mondesi’s promotion to Kansas City earlier this week.

Nevertheless, third baseman Hunter Dozier continues to crush Class AAA pitching. He has hit four home runs in his last nine games, including two at Nashville on Monday.

The former first-round pick is hitting .306 with 21 homers and 58 RBIs this season in 97 games in the minors.

First baseman Balbino Fuenmayor has an eight-game hitting streak in which he’s batting .483 with two homers and four RBIs. He’s hitting .296 with six homers in 77 games.

Right-hander Luke Farrell, the Royals’ sixth-round pick in 2013, had his second quality outing in three starts Wednesday at Round Rock. He allowed two earned runs in seven innings to improve to 4-3 with a 4.11 ERA this season.

Class AA Northwest Arkansas

Converted reliever Yender Caramo pitched a season-high six innings Monday at Arkansas, allowing one earned run and five hits. He has a 2-1 record and 1.50 ERA in his last 10 outings.

Lefty Matt Strahm has allowed one earned run and struck out nine in his last three relief appearances over 4  1/3 innings. The former starter has a 3.50 ERA this season.

Righty Josh Staumont has a 2.45 ERA with 19 strikeouts and 10 walks in 14  2/3 innings since his promotion from Wilmington.

The Naturals enter play Thursday with a one-game lead in the Texas League North Division.

Class A Wilmington (Advanced)

Righty Zach Lovvorn doubled his season win total Monday after striking out eight batters and allowing one run in five innings at Lynchburg. He improved his mark to 2-12 and lowered his ERA to 3.55 in the 6-2 victory over the Indians affiliate.

Left-hander Matt Tenuta struck out a career-high nine batters in six shutout innings Wednesday at Lynchburg. He has a 4-8 record with a 5.90 ERA in 19 games this season.

Class A Lexington

Gerson Garabito entered June with an 11.05 ERA. He entered the seventh inning on last Thursday in Rome, Ga., with a no-hitter. The 20-year-old righty gave up a two-out single and left the game one batter latter en route to a 9-1 victory. He allowed one hit with five strikeouts in seven scoreless innings and his ERA dropped to 4.99.

Catcher Chase Vallot has only two hits in 20 at-bats since rejoining the team on July 20. The 40th overall pick of the 2014 Draft is hitting .264 with the Legends in an injury-plagued season.

Righty A.J. Puckett, the Royals’ top draft pick in June, allowed one earned run and two hits in five innings Tuesday but didn’t factor in the decision against Columbia. He has a 2.63 ERA and .238 opponents’ batting average in 24 innings.

Rookie Idaho Falls

It’s been a longstanding tradition in this space to chronicle the exploits of Meibrys Viloria, who continues to mash in the Pioneer League. Viloria, the Chukars catcher, has 18 hits, two home runs and nine RBIs in his last 41 at-bats. He continues to pace the league with a ridiculous .457/.504/.793 slash line.

What makes Viloria’s breakout season even more peculiar is that he didn’t have an extra-base hit in 150 at-bats last season with Burlington. It was his first full season playing in the United States after signing with the Royals as a 15-year-old in 2013 and leaving his native Colombia.

Still, he hasn’t been particularly lucky according to advance metrics this season. Fangraphs.com rates Viloria’s BABIP (batting average on balls in play) about 40 points higher than his actual average this season, which has been the case at every level he’s played.

Lefty Reinaldo Cepin has allowed just one earned run and four hits in his last 9  2/3 innings pitched to lower his ERA by two-and-a-half runs to 3.60.

Rookie Burlington

Reliever Alex Massey, a 36th-round pick last month out of Tulane, hasn’t allowed a run in his last seven appearances. Massey, a 23-year-old righty, has a 2-1 record with a 1.06 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 17 innings.

Catcher Nathan Esposito, a 33rd-round pick in 2015, is hitting .382 with eight RBIs in his last 10 games.

Arizona Rookie League Royals

Third baseman John Brontsema is hitting .375 in his last 10 games.

First baseman Robby Rinn is hitting .316 with eight RBIs in his last 10 games.

Jeff Patterson: 816-234-4767, @jeffpatt_KC

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