Tag: Matt Strahm

Chukars Notebook: Raul Mondesi highlights Royals’ prospect rankings


Since returning from 50-game suspension, Raul Mondesi has been all over the place.

The Kansas City Royals shortstop prospect was suspended on May 10 after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. Mondesi returned on June 25 as a member of the Wilmington Blue Rocks, Kansas City’s Advanced Single-A affiliate. On July 4, he moved up to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where he played prior to the suspension. And finally, Mondesi was called up to Triple-A Omaha on Friday.

That’s not quite all. Baseball America came out with its midseason top 100 prospects list the same day Mondesi moved up to Omaha. No. 55 on the list? Mondesi. He’s one of several former Idaho Falls Chukars on various prospect lists.

Mondesi is the only Royals prospect to make Baseball America’s midseason list, and he actually moved down 26 spots from the website’s preseason list (fellow Royals prospect Kyle Zimmer was No. 85 on that list).

Mondesi is still ranked No. 1 on almost every online Royals prospect rankings. Zimmer is Kansas City’s consensus No. 2 prospect, and he also played for the Chukars. The right-handed pitcher threw 4.2 innings for Idaho Falls in 2014, posting a 1.93 ERA. Mondesi spent all of 2012 with the Chukars, hitting .290 with a .733 OPS in 207 at-bats.

The next highest former Chukar on MLB.com’s Royals prospect list is shortstop Marten Gasparini. The Italy native is ranked No. 8 on MLB’s list and No. 7 on Baseball America’s, although most other scouting websites are not that high on him. Gasparini is hitting .197 with a .587 OPS for Single-A Lexington this season. He batted .259 with a .752 OPS with the Chukars last summer.

Northwest Arkansas first baseman Ryan O’Hearn is No. 5 on FanGraphs.com’s Royals list, which is also high compared to most rankings. Unlike Gasparini, O’Hearn has produced at just about every level. His career minor league batting average is .300 and his OPS is .898. O’Hearn was named the Pioneer League Player of the Year with the Chukars in 2014, thanks to a .361 average and a 1.034 OPS.

MLB.com ranks Northwest Arkansas lefty Matt Strahm No. 10 in the Royals’ system. Strahm pitched 30.1 innings for I.F. in 2012 and 19.2 in 2014, posting 5.64 and 2.29 ERAs, respectively.

One current Chukar made the top 30 of MLB.com’s rankings. Shortstop Ricky Aracena is No. 25.

Some other notable former Chukars:

Omaha third baseman Hunter Dozier (played for I.F. in 2013) is ranked N0. 10 on Baseball Prospectus’ Kansas City rankings.

Omaha righty Alec Mills (I.F. 2014) is No. 13 on MLB.com’s list.

Wilmington righty Josh Staumont (I.F. 2015) is No. 17 on MLB.com’s list.

Lexington outfielder Amalani Fukofuka (I.F. 2015) is No. 19 on MLB.com’s list.

Righty Brooks Pounders (I.F. 2014 and 2015) is No. 28 on MLB.com’s list. Pounders made his MLB debut on Tuesday at Toronto. He’s allowed one earned run in three relief innings for Kansas City so far.

Roster move

July 5: Chukars first baseman/catcher Colton Frabasilio moves up to Advanced Single-A Wilmington. Frabasilio’s call-up stemmed from an injury to Zane Evans of the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals, according to the Chukars. Evans was placed on the disabled list, which led to a promotion for Wilmington catcher Luis Villegas. Frabasilio filled Villegas’ vacant roster spot.

Frabasilio hit .348 (16 for 48) with a .936 OPS in 12 games for I.F. this summer.

Standings update

The Chukars improved to 12-10 with their 10-8 win over Orem on Saturday. I.F. now sits two games behind the Owlz (14-8) with 16 games left in the first half.

Who’s hot?

3B Manny Olloque

Olloque was named the Pioneer League Player of the Week for his performance from June 27 through July 3. He hit .429 (12 for 28) with three doubles and two home runs during the week.

Olloque was a bit quieter this week. Then came Saturday, when he went 4 for 5 against Orem to extend his hitting streak to eight games. Olloque is now hitting .350 on the season with an OPS over .900.

Who’s not?

LHP Sam Selman

Selman joined the Chukars on a rehab assignment. He started the season with Northwest Arkansas and has reached as high as Omaha (in 2014). With the Chukars in 2012, he earned the Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year thanks to a 2.09 ERA in 60.1 innings.

Selman has not improved that resume with I.F. this summer.

Selman’s ERA with the Chukars dropped to 9.35 after 1.2 innings pitched on Friday at Orem. But he still allowed two unearned run on two hits.

The lefty allowed three earned runs in each of his first two outings with the Chukars, and his opponents’ batting average is .356. Selman has, however, struck out eight batters and walked only two.

Chukars eliminated from 2014 Pioneer League playoffs


Idaho Falls did its part to stay alive in the Pioneer League playoff chase Saturday night. Unfortunately, the Ogden Raptors didn’t play along.

Idaho Falls knocked 11 hits, stole five bases and got dominating relief pitching to beat Orem 5-1 in front of 2,698 fans at Melaleuca Field. But down in Ogden, Utah, the Raptors cruised to a 9-7 win over Grand Junction and eliminated the Chukars from the South Division second-half playoff face.

The Chukars played a complete game Saturday.

Brawlun Gomez led the offense, going 3 for 4 with a run scored, two RBIs and a stolen base. Corey Toups went 2 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI and DonAndre Clark was 2 for 4 with a run scored and two stolen bases.

Eric Stout and Matthew Strahm shut the door over the final five innings. Stout earned the win, tossing three scoreless, hitless innings. Strahm followed with two scoreless innings.

The Chukars (35-36, 15-18) finish the regular season with five games against Ogden, the first three in Utah beginning today with the final two at Melaleuca Field beginning Wednesday.

Soggy sweep: Chukars end series with 13-1, 2-1 wins over Rockies


The Grand Junction Rockies had their way at the plate in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader, but the Idaho Falls Chukars took over to sweep Friday’s doubleheader.

In a game resumed from Thursday, the Chukars (33-30, 13-12) pounded out 11 hits and held the Rockies (39-24, 16-9) off the scoreboard for five innings en route to a 13-1, seven-inning drubbing in Friday’s opener. I.F. then held on for a 2-1 win in the nightcap.

Chukars manager Omar Ramirez was not only glad for the wins, which moved the Chukars within three games of the Pioneer League South Division leading Rockies, but to get two games played after dealing with rain delays the three previous days.

“Finally, we got to play,” Ramirez said. “We’re still in the playoff hunt.”

The Chukars added to a 7-0 lead from Thursday’s rain suspended contest with timely hits and by taking advantage of two errors and a wild pitch by Grand Junction in the last three innings. Ryan O’Hearn’s one-out three-run homer soared over the right field wall in the bottom of the fourth extend Idaho Falls’ lead to 10-0. He had five RBIs in a 3-for-5 day.

“He has been the guy for us,” Ramirez said. “He’s the best hitter in the lineup.”

Grand Junction’s lone run came on Forrest Wall’s solo homer in the sixth. Corey Toups’ RBI double brought home Luis Valenzuela, a wild pitch by Rockies pitcher Alec Kenilvort allowed Brandon Downes to score and a sac fly by O’Hearn drove in Toups for the Chukars’ final runs in the bottom of the sixth. Idaho Falls ended the game with a 4-6-3 double play in the seventh.

Matt Strahm earned the win, giving up one run on two hits while striking out three and walking none in three innings for his first win of the year. He said the 7-0 lead gave him confidence upon taking the mound.

“Just staying ahead, trusting my defense,” Strahm said. “Just let your defense work.”

Continue reading “Soggy sweep: Chukars end series with 13-1, 2-1 wins over Rockies”

Chukars walkoff winners in 10 innings over Brewers


Idaho Falls Chukars short stop Corey Toups hits a foul ball during Monday's game against the Helena Brewers at Melaleuca Field. Toups has a batting average of .314. Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com

Visit the Melaleuca Field batters box and receive an all-expenses paid trip to first base.

Such was the failed on-field promotion presented by the visiting Brewers on Monday night at Melaleuca Field.

The Helena pitching staff issued a season-high 12 walks Monday and the Chukars took them up on their free-pass offer with an 8-7, 10th-inning win.

Idaho Falls gave up its third-consecutive five-run lead at home before Luis Valenzuela won it in walk-off fashion with a single down the first-base line in the bottom of the 10th.

Mike Hill trotted home from third on Valenzuela’s hit, and Valenzeuela was mobbed by his teammates between first and second base.

Idaho Falls got to Helena pitcher David Carver with patience, getting five walks from the Brewers starter over the first three innings. Two of those walks came back around to score.

Carver, who was just promoted from the Arizona League Brewers, had issued only three walks over 19 innings entering Monday’s game.

Continue reading “Chukars walkoff winners in 10 innings over Brewers”

Chukars rally again for 3-0 start to second half

At Ogden, Utah, the Idaho Falls Chukars have played three games thus far in the second half of the season. And for the third time in the second half of the season, they rallied for a win.

The Ogden Raptors pitching staff no-hit the Chukars (3-0 second half, 20-21 overall) through the opening five innings. But the Chukars scored three runs in the sixth inning and four in the seventh for a 7-4 comeback win.

Second baseman Carlos Garcia broke up the no-hit bid with a one-out double off the left-field wall in the sixth inning. An Adalberto Mondesi RBI infield single put Idaho Falls on the board, an error on a Nick Cuckovich grounder brought in another run and Parker Morin tied it with a groundball single through the right side of the infield. Continue reading “Chukars rally again for 3-0 start to second half”

Chukars held hitless for five innings in Helena

Exactly 24 hours after racking up four extra base hits against the Helena Brewers, the Idaho Falls Chukars had the script flipped on them in a 5-2 loss before 1,152 fans Friday at Kindrick Legion Field in Helena, Mont.

Brewers pitcher Brent Suter, who picked up the win for Helena (11-20), allowed no hits from Idaho Falls (13-18) for five of the six innings he pitched. Suter (2-2) struck out six and walked one.

The contest started out tight, as Brewers second baseman Chris McFarland knocked a two-run homer to deep right center field to give Helena a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first.

The Chukars responded in the top of the second with a solo homer from Rainer Bello to deep left-center field to get on the scoreboard. Bello’s homer would be the only Chukars run until the top of the ninth, as errors and wild pitches took their toll on Idaho Falls.

Alfredo Rodriguez scored off a wild pitch by Chukars starting pitcher Spencer Patton and Adam Giacalone scored off an RBI double by Rodriguez to give the Brewers their third and fourth runs of the game in the second and third innings.

Continue reading “Chukars held hitless for five innings in Helena”

Chukars bullpen can’t close out

Nick Cuckovich's bat fractures near his grip after connecting with a ball during the top of the fourth inning of Friday's game against the Grand Junction Rockies at Suplizio Field in Grand Junctiion, Colo. Gretel Daugherty / Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

At Grand Junction, Colo., the third strike proved the most difficult for Idaho Falls Chukars relievers Matt Strahm and Alec Mills on Friday.

The pair earned three 0-2 counts while nursing a one-run lead in the eighth inning. But neither could nail down the out or the win as the Grand Junction Rockies rallied with two runs in the inning for a 2-1 win at Suplizio Field.

The Chukars held a 1-0 lead in a rare Pioneer League pitcher’s duel, thanks to yet another sterling outing from right-handed pitcher Andrew Ferguson. Filling in for Zeb Sneed, who is out with a sore oblique muscle, Ferguson entered the game third in the league with a 1.62 ERA. He lowered that ERA to 1.14 Friday with seven shutouts innings, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out five as the first Idaho Falls pitcher to complete seven innings this season.

But for the second night in a row, a strong start wasn’t enough. Continue reading “Chukars bullpen can’t close out”

Chukars fend off Ogden’s late rally

The Idaho Falls Chukars cruised through the first eight-and-a-half innings Monday in Ogden, Utah, padding their lead to seven runs heading into the bottom of the ninth.

Turns out the Chukars needed every one of those runs.

The Ogden Raptors rallied with five runs, but Idaho Falls burned through three pitchers in the ninth and held on for an 8-6 Pioneer League win.

Chukars pitcher stifled Ogden through the opening eight innings, limiting the Raptors to two hits and Alex Santana’s third-inning home run. Starting pitcher Andrew Ferguson surrendered just Santana’s home run while striking out six through six innings. Matt Strahm followed with two one-hit innings with four strikeouts.

But it all fell apart in the ninth. Continue reading “Chukars fend off Ogden’s late rally”

Complete team bios on all 32 Chukars

33 Kevin Allen

Position: RHP
Age: 21
Hometown: Kingwood, Texas
Last club: TCU
Acquired: 23rd round, 2012
Height/weight: 6-1, 205
Bio: The reliever earned second-team all-Mountain West Conference honors in his first season at TCU this spring. He tied for a team-best five saves and finished with a 2.97 ERA in 28 appearances. He has struck out 43 in 301/3 innings while holding opposing batters to a .202 average. …Previously played two seasons at Weatherford Junior College, earning a spot on the 2011 JUCO All-Star team. …Tallied more than 300 strikeouts in his high school career.

29 Bryan Brickhouse

Position: RHP
Age: 20
Hometown: The Woodlands, Texas
Last club: Woodlands HS (Texas)
Acquired: 3rd round, 2011
Height/weight: 6-0, 195
Bio: Ranked as the No. 16 prospect in the Royals’ system by MLB.com. … Opted to sign with the Royals late last summer for a $1.5 million bonus – higher than nine bonus in the first round of the 2011 draft – instead of accepting a scholarship to the University of North Carolina. … Will make his professional debut in Idaho Falls. … Has a fastball in the mid-90s, and a two-seamer at 92-94 mph. Continue reading “Complete team bios on all 32 Chukars”

I.F. pitching staff led by high draft picks

Northwest Nazarene's Zeb Sneed delivers a pitch during a game against The College of Idaho on March 6 in Caldwell. The Twin Falls High School graduate will make his professional debut with the Chukars this summer. Charlie Litchfield / Idaho Press-Tribune

The Kansas City Royals announced the 2012 version of the Idaho Falls Chukars’ pitching staff Wednesday, and the highlights include several high draft picks and a pair of former Chukars.

Sam Selman, a second-round pick and 66th overall selection of the 2012 MLB draft, highlights the class. The left-hander compiled a 9-3 record with a 3.55 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 76 innings for Vanderbilt this spring.

Selman, 21, is seen as a projection pick by the Royals.

“(Selman) was a guy who started to come on late,” Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg told the Kansas City Star. “He looked like he was heading in the right direction. We talk in scouting terms — he was an arrow-up guy.”

Third-round pick Bryan Brickhouse and fourth-round pick Kyle Smith from the 2011 draft join Selman as high draft picks in the rotation.

The Royals drafted both out of high school but didn’t assign them to an affiliate last summer. They will make their professional debuts in Idaho Falls, but the Royals have slated them for one start before moving up in the system.

The pitching staff will also have a local connection. Right-handed pitcher Zeb Sneed, a 2009 Twin Falls High School graduate, pitched for Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa this spring. He posted a 5.00 ERA this spring with 61 strikeouts in 662/3 innings pitched, and his fastball has been clock as high as 97 mph. Continue reading “I.F. pitching staff led by high draft picks”