Results tagged ‘ Northwest Arkansas Naturals ’
The Royals announced their 2014 minor league staff assignments, promoting three managers within the organization. Northwest Arkansas (AA) manager Brian Poldberg was named to the same position at Omaha (AAA), replacing Mike Jirschele, who was named Major League coach with Kansas City last week. Wilmington (A-Advanced) manager Vance Wilson will take over managerial duties at Northwest Arkansas, while Surprise (Rookie) manager Darryl Kennedy will assume Wilson’s former role with the Blue Rocks next season.
Poldberg, a resident of nearby Carter Lake, Iowa, completed his sixth season at Northwest Arkansas in 2013. The only manager in Naturals history, Poldberg led the club to a Texas League championship in 2010 and earned the Dick Howser Award in the same season. He spent the 2004-07 seasons serving on the Royals’ Major League staff as the bullpen coach (2004-05), first base coach (2006) and third base coach (2007). Joining Poldberg in Omaha will be pitching coach Larry Carter, hitting coach Tommy Gregg, athletic trainer David Iannicca and strength coach David Kathmann.
Wilson, who makes his home in Springdale, Ark., the home of the Naturals, just completed his second season as the manager at Wilmington and third in the Royals’ organization, after debuting as the manager with Kane County (A) in 2011. His staff at Northwest Arkansas will consist of pitching coach Jim Brower, hitting coach Andre David, athletic trainer Masa Koyanagi and strength coach Austin Driggers.
Kennedy returns to Wilmington after four seasons as the manager at Surprise. He also served as skipper of the Blue Rocks in 2008 as well as managing at Burlington (2007) and Idaho Falls (2009) within the organization as well as at Frisco (2005-06), the double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. His staff includes pitching coach Steve Luebber, hitting coach Jose Castro, bench coach Justin Gemoll, athletic trainer James Stone and strength coach Joe Greany.
Brian Buchanan will begin his second season at Lexington and fifth in the Royals organization after previously managing at Kane County (2012) and Idaho Falls (2010-11). He will be joined on the bench by pitching coach Steve Merriman, hitting coach Abraham Nunez and bench coach Glenn Hubbard as well as athletic trainer Mark Keiser and strength coach Aaron Reis.
The Royals announced that their 2014 Rookie League affiliates will be Idaho Falls in the Pioneer League and Burlington in the Appalachian League. KC will not field a minor league team in Surprise, Ariz., during the 2014 season.
Manager Omar Ramirez led Idaho Falls to the Pioneer League championship this season and will be in his third year at the helm of the Chukars in 2014. His staff will consist of pitching coach Mark Davis, hitting coach Damon Hollins, bench coach Julio Bruno, coach Willie Aikens and athletic trainer Robbie Oates.
Manager Tommy Shields returns to Burlington for his third season managing the Rookie-level Royals. Shields led Burlington to the Appalachian League championship series in 2012. His staff will include pitching coach Carlos Martinez, hitting coach Nelson Liriano, first-year bench coach Scott Thorman and trainer Sab Hagihara. Thorman comes to Kansas City after spending 11 seasons in the minor leagues as a player, retiring in 2011. He played two seasons (2009-10) in the Royals’ system at Omaha as well as parts of two seasons in the Major Leagues with the Atlanta Braves (2006-07).
The Royals’ Dominican Academy will be led by field coordinator Victor Baez and staff members Rafael Roque, Juan Guadron, Miguel Benard, Ramon Martinez, Onil Joseph and trainers Martin Berroa, Manny Plaza and strength coaches Jose Rosario and Reymundo Sido. The manager of the Dominican Royals will be named at a later date.
Kansas City’s Coordinators and Roving positions for 2014 include Field Coordinator Tony Tijerina, Advisor to Player Development Chino Cadahia, Senior Pitching Advisor Bill Fischer, Special Assistant to Player Development/Hitting Jack Maloof, Special Assistant to Player Development John Wathan and Special Assistant to the General Manager/Pitching Coordinator Steve Foster. Terry Bradshaw will be the hitting coordinator and Milt Thompson will be the outfield/bunting/base running coordinator. Other organizational positions include Chris DeLucia as medical coordinator, Tony Medina as Latin America medical coordinator, Garrett Sherrill as strength and conditioning coordinator, Luis Perez as Latin America strength and conditioning coordinator, Justin Hahn as rehabilitation coordinator/physical therapist, Carlos Reyes as rehabilitation pitching coach, Jeff Diskin as cultural development coordinator, Nick Leto as manager of Arizona operations, Will Simon as minor league equipment manager and Freddy Sandoval as mental skills coach. New to the organization are Sandoval and Hahn, while Diskin begins his first full season in the Royals’ organization. Sandoval played eight seasons in the minor leagues within the Los Angeles Angels’ system, reaching the big leagues for parts of the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Hahn, a physical therapist from Lakeville, Minn., was the Royals’ physical therapist fellow in 2013, working out of the complex in Surprise, Ariz. Diskin, who started his position as the cultural development coordinator last June, is a former teacher and varsity baseball coach at Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City.
The Texas League announced last night that nine players from the Northwest Arkansas Naturals plus three members of the coaching staff will represent the Royals’ Double-A affiliate on June 30 at the Texas League All-Star Game in Midland, Texas.
More than half of the starting lineup of the North Division squad will be Naturals, as five Northwest Arkansas players were voted into the starting lineup: second baseman Johnny Giavotella, third baseman Mike Moustakas, outfielders Paulo Orlando and Derrick Robinson, and designated hitter Clint Robinson. In addition, left-handed pitchers Mike Montgomery and Edgar Osuna as well as right-hander Mario Santiago were selected to the North Division staff. Montgomery will not pitch after being activated from the 7-Day Disabled List yesterday with left elbow soreness. Naturals’ outfielder Tim Smith was added to the club due to an injury to Tulsa outfielder Jeff Kindel.
Northwest Arkansas manager Brian Poldberg, in his third year with the club, as well as hitting coach Terry Bradshaw and trainer Tony Medina will also represent the Naturals at the All-Star Game, serving in the same capacities for the North Division.
The 24-man All-Star rosters for the North and South Divisions were selected by a voting panel which includes the Texas League President as well as the league’s managers, coaches, radio broadcasters, and newspaper beat writers.
The Royals will have a trio of affiliates participating in playoff action starting tomorrow night.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals won the Texas League North Division in the second half and will begin a best-of-five series tomorrow against the Cardinals’ AA affiliate in Springfield.
The Wilmington Blue Rocks went 46-24 to win the Carolina League’s Northern Division in the second half. They will start a best-of-five series against Lynchburg tomorrow.
Burlington (Ia.) is a wild-card entry in the Midwest League. The Bees will start their title defense at home against Kane County on Wednesday.
Best of luck to our affiliates (and future Royals) as they begin post-season play! You can track their post-season games at their websites:
ATH would like to congratulate Royals farmhand and fellow blogger Chris “Disco” Hayes on his promotion to Triple-A Omaha. Hayes went 3-0 with a 0.98 ERA and 3 saves in 36.2 IP this season for Northwest Arkansas. Chris has impressed at every level since being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Northwestern. You can read about Chris in Issue 2 of Royals Gameday Magazine. By the way, Issue 3 will go on sale for the Arizona series. The new issue features a cover story on Coco Crisp and his family, so check it out!
Photo courtesy Tom Ewart – NWA Photography
The Minor League seasons are winding down. But with the end of the season come a lot of things that shed hope on the future. Yesterday we mentioned some of the post-season awards which have already been won, but today we have two more things to celebrate down on the farm.
September is next week and that means September call-ups aren’t too far away, and with so much success going on in the minors, we’re not even going speculate what might happen, but we can talk about the positives in the system right now. To do that, let’s go Around the Horn…
The first moment of celebration for the organization was the debut of Eric Hosmer (wearing No. 21) last night at Idaho Falls. Hosmer was hit in his first professional at-bat – as if to say welcome to the pros Mr. No. 3 overall pick. But Hosmer showed some of what earned him his draft position, ending the night 1-for-3 with a double, a run scored, a run batted in and a walk. Hosmer’s Chukars mustered 10 hits, but could not hold off the Raptors. ATH expects he’ll be back out there again tonight as Idaho Falls finishes its season series with Ogden. The Chukars have 10 games left after tonight, a five-game series versus the Orem Owls through the weekend and then five game in Casper to face the Ghosts (we still love that Casper nickname).
The other big celebration for the organization includes another First Rounder. 2007 first round pick Mike Moustakas and his Burlington Bees are in the playoffs. They officially entered the postseason on Sunday despite losing. They are still in contention for their division title but are guaranteed a playoff spot and a postseason series starting next week in Burlington. Moustakas leads the Midwest League with 21 homers, is second in total bases, sixth in slugging and is in the top 10 in hits and runs.
While we’re mentioning high draft picks, this year’s sandwich pick is tearing up his first professional assignment. Michael Montgomery is throwing very well in Surprise for the Surprise Royals. He owns a 1.91 ERA in 37.2 innings and has 31 strikeouts to 11 walks. Opponents are hitting just .217 off him.
Finally, yesterday we devoted some space to Kila Ka’aihue, the slugging first baseman who won Double-A Texas League Player of the Year despite playing the last month in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. The pronunciation of the Hawaiian’s name has been a question mark among several media outlets. Well, we’ve got an official ruling on how to say his name. It’s Kila (KEY-luh) Ka’aihue (Ky-uh-HOO-A). Or, you can call him K.K., which is what manager Trey Hillman and the baseball operations people call him. And for those curious on his status because he left Sunday’s game after being hit by a pitch, Ka’aihue hit a double in going 1-for-3 with a run and two walks last night. He has walked 98 times this season and struck out 62 times and owns a .462 on-base percentage with a .635 slugging (combined Double-A and Triple-A stats).
Manager Trey Hillman has his rotation set – hopefully – for the remainder of the season. The current quintet is locked in to finish out. Tonight’s starter is Zack Greinke, with Brian Bannister throwing tomorrow. Kyle Davies will open the Detroit series on Friday followed by Brandon Duckworth on Saturday and last night’s starter Gil Meche draws Sunday’s assignment.
Hillman said he’s comfortable with the rotation as it is. He said last night Meche just didn’t have the same he has of late and it probably wouldn’t have mattered as much if he were facing a lesser hitting team. Hillman said tonight, Greinke needs to have all of his pitches working to have success.
This group has combined to start all but 35 games for the Boys in Blue this season. Duckworth is the low man on the totem pole, making his first start last Sunday, while Gil Meche leads the team with 28 starts.
Hillman said Kip Wells is probably stretched out the most in the bullpen and would merit the emergency start if need be, but that’s without knowing exactly which players will get the September 1 call-up. Triple-A Omaha finishes its season on Monday the 1st, an off-day for the big league Royals.
Currently nine players on the O-Royals are on the 40-man roster. Of those players, five are pitchers and four have spent time in the Majors this season (Jimmy Gobble – 31 MLB games, Tyler Lumsden – no MLB experience, Neal Musser – one MLB game, Josh Newman – four MLB games and Carlos Rosa – two MLB games). Although Rosa is on the 7-day D.L. and Gobble is finishing a rehab assignment.
Double-A Northwest Arkansas, which is still in the playoff hunt, has two players on the Royals 40-man. The lone pitcher is Julio Pimentel, who threw a scoreless inning in the 2008 MLB Futures game during the All-Star festivities. But with the Naturals entering today’s play tied for the division lead and fighting for the post-season, Around the Horn doubts the Royals will subtract any players from their roster on Sept. 1.
Two other quick Naturals notes: Pitching Coach Larry Carter was selected as the Texas League coach of the year…Veteran Minor Leaguer Cory Aldridge drove in seven yesterday with two homers.
David DeJesus knocked in his 58th run last night, tying his career high set last season…10 of John Buck’s last 15 hits have been for extra bases including six doubles, a triple and three homers…Alberto Callaspo collected his first RBI since before going on the Disabled List in late June. His last RBI was June 22 versus San Francisco…From Trey Hillman: He does not expect Alex Gordon back anytime soon. He told Gordon there is no timetable because there is no precedent for how the third baseman heals from an injury of this type since he’s never had one…Also from Hillman: With Gordon out and veteran Mark Grudzielanek out, Callaspo will see a the majority of the time at second…Last word from Hillman: He thinks instant replay will be a good addition and will take pressure off of umpire crews. He respects the umpire’s way of life, living on the road for the sixth-month season and anything that can help alleviate their stress and is good for the game is a good thing in Hillman’s opinion.
Yesterday we mentioned in passing the Hot Dog Derby contest. You, yes you, can sign up to be either Relish, Mustard or Ketchup. If you’d like the opportunity to don the color of your condiment, you can do so right now, all you have to do is enter.
The last weekend of the season, nine lucky fans will become hot dogs and compete for the ultimate glory – winning the Kauffman Stadium Hot Dog Derby Race. September 19-21 is your chance.
Today’s Official Game Notes.