The Royals organization can remain hopeful even on a day in which they received a stinker from starter Luke Hochever, who allowed seven runs to the Yankees while retiring just seven batters, and started (and led off) Jarrod Dyson, a 50th-round overachiever who has seized on Kansas City's center-field job because no one else seems all that interested in doing so.
That's because two of Royals' top upper-level prospects with Double-A Northwest Arkansas have performed admirably this season, particularly of late.
Righthander Jake Odorizzi, whose development could ultimately make or break the 2010 Zack Greinke trade, stymied Tulsa on Saturday, limiting the Drillers to one run on two hits over 7 1/3 innings. The 22-year-old finished with 11 strikeouts and one walk, matching the same ratio he posted two starts ago on April 23 versus Springfield. (That start was the seventh most effective by any Double-A hurler in the month of April, as measured by game score, but his effort Saturday actually resulted in a slightly higher game score, 80-79.)
Odorizzi ranks second in the Texas League in strikeout rate (11.6 per nine innings) and fourth in WHIP (0.97).
Northwest Arkansas has won three of its last four games, and in each victory the Naturals received a home run from Wil Myers, who on April 26 shifted from right field to center on an everyday basis. His home run on Sunday was his ninth of the season, giving him one more than he hit all of last season when he played in 99 games for the same Naturals club.
Myers has gone 5-for-17 with three homers and a triple in his last four games, and he leads the Texas League in hitting (.336), slugging percentage (.692) and runs scored (24), while his nine home runs are two off the pace set by San Antonio first baseman Nate Freiman.
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