Opinion

Royals on the Farm: Hunter Dozier moves up the doubles chart at Class AAA Omaha

jpatterson@kcstar.com

jsleezer@kcstar.com

For most Royals affiliates, it’s the final week of the regular season. Let’s take a look at how they’ve fared and whether the playoffs are on the horizon.

(Statistics through Wednesday’s games.)

Class AAA Omaha

Record: 57-78 (five games left)

Playoff chances: Eliminated

Third baseman Hunter Dozier hit his 36th double in 102 games with Omaha on Wednesday, tying for third-most in team history in a single season.

A former first-round draft pick, Dozier is hitting .298 with 23 home runs, 44 doubles and 75 RBIs overall in 128 games between Omaha and Class AA Northwest Arkansas this season.

Left-hander Jason Vargas will make his third rehab start with the Storm Chasers on Thursday night against Round Rock. Vargas is 0-2 with a 7.88 ERA.

Jorge Bonifacio is closing out the season on a torrid pace, hitting .412 with two homers and 12 RBIs in his last 10 games. A 23-year-old outfielder, Bonifacio has a .277 average with 19 homers and 85 RBIs in 129 games.

Omaha’s Joe Greany was named the Pacific Coast League’s strength and conditioning coach of the year for the fourth consecutive season.

Class AA Northwest Arkansas

Record: 62-73 (33-32 in the second half with five games left)

Playoff chances: Decent. The Naturals are tied atop the Texas League North with the Arkansas Travelers, a team they play host to for the final three games of the season. (The two division winners in each half of the season advance to the playoffs.)

First baseman Frank Schwindel helped turn the Naturals’ first triple play in five years on Wednesday and then delivered a game-winning single in the 11th inning of a 5-4 win over Tulsa. He is hitting .271 with a team-high 20 homers and 65 RBIs.

Outfielder Alfredo Escalera is hitting .302 with seven runs scored in his last his last 10 games.

Left-hander Eric Skoglund, a former third-round draft pick, allowed one run and struck out eight batters in seven innings Sunday against the Travelers. He is 6-10 with a 3.55 ERA in 26 starts.

Class A Wilmington (Advanced)

Record: 51-83 (five games left)

Playoff chances: Eliminated

Righty Todd Eaton is 1-2 with a 0.53 ERA and 18 strikeouts in his last 10 relief appearances (17 innings).

Second baseman Austin Bailey is hitting .281 in his last 10 games and .250 overall.

Class A Lexington

Record: 50-85 (four games left)

Playoff chances: Eliminated

Top catching prospect Chase Vallot has hit a rough patch, batting just .182 with 16 strikeouts in his last 33 at-bats. He has a .237 average with 12 homers and 42 RBIs in an injury-plagued season.

Righty A.J. Puckett, the Royals’ first pick in June’s draft, had his worst outing with the Legends on Saturday, raising his ERA by nearly a run. He gave up six runs and nine hits in three innings of a 6-2 loss at Delmarva. He is 1-3 with a 4.05 ERA in 10 starts.

Rookie Idaho Falls

Record: 35-33 overall (13-17 in second half)

Playoff chances: Not promising. The Chukars are 3  1/2 games out of first place in the Pioneer League South Division with eight games left to play.

Catcher Meibrys Viloria has had at least one hit in nine of his last 10 games, batting .395 with eight RBIs.

Left fielder Luke Willis, a 30th-round draft pick last year out of George Mason, is hitting .425 in his last 10 games and .355 overall.

Rookie Burlington

Record: 42-25 (one game left on Thursday)

Playoff chances: Clinched. The Royals will face the Princeton Rays, the East runner-up, in a best-of-three series with the winner advancing to play either the Johnson City Cardinals or Elizabethton Twins.

The Royals swept a doubleheader from the Danville Braves on Tuesday to clinch the Appalachian League East Division title for the second time.

Burlington has three of the top starting pitchers in the league in Cristian Castillo (6-3, 3.13 ERA), Garrett Davila (7-0, 2.77 ERA) and Geoffrey Bramblett (6-1, 2.17 ERA).

Rookie Arizona League Royals

Record: 31-24 overall (17-10 in second half)

Playoff chances: Advanced but already eliminated.

The Royals lost 5-0 to the Angels on Wednesday in the opener of a single-elimination tournament.

Jeff Patterson: 816-234-4767, @jeffpatt_KC

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