Hochevar tops this week's Hot List

Hochevar

Each Friday this season, Royals Corner will release our Hot List, ranking the 10 hottest prospects in the organization. By winning his fourth straight decision and lowering his ERA to a tidy 1.44, Luke Hochevar claims the top spot on this week's list. Who else made the Hot List this week? Look inside to find out.

1. Luke Hochevar
Hochevar made just one start last week, but it was good enough for him to take the top spot on this week's Hot List. The 25-year-old right-hander shut down the Oklahoma City RedHawks on Monday, surrendering just one unearned run on four hits in six innings pitched. Hochevar struck out a season-high seven batters while improving his record to a Pacific Coast League-leading 4-0. Hochevar's 1.44 ERA ranks third in the league, and opposing hitters are batting just .239 against him.

2. Jeff Bianchi
Bianchi jumps to the second spot on the Hot List after another excellent week, in which he went 6-for-19 (.316) with five RBIs, a double, two stolen bases, and his second home run of the season. On the year, the 22-year-old shortstop is hitting .324/.415/.507 with a pair of homers, 11 RBIs, and five doubles.

3. Blaine Hardy
Hardy, a 2008 22nd round selection out of the University of Portland, has remained somewhat under the radar since being drafted. However, the 22-year-old southpaw put together a remarkable month for the Burlington Bees. Last week, Hardy made two appearances, logging 8.2 innings pitched while allowing just one run on three hits and striking out 15. In 18.2 innings thus far, Hardy (0-2, 2.89 ERA) has fanned 25 batters without issuing a single walk. His strikeout total ranks third in the Midwest League, and opponents are hitting just .232 against him.

4. Chris Nicoll
After allowing a run in his first appearance of the season, Nicoll has gone seven straight outings without allowing another runner to score. Last week the 25-year-old reliever made three scoreless appearances, striking out seven batters in five innings pitched while allowing just three hits and no walks. On the season, Nicoll is 2-0 with one save and a miniscule 0.68 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .188 against him, and he has struck out 13 batters in 13.1 innings thus far while allowing just nine hits and three walks.

5. Clint Robinson
Robinson had a great month, and he is the only player who has made every Hot List so far this season. Last week, the big first baseman went 7-for-21 (.333) with three more doubles and three RBIs. Over his last 10 games, Robinson is hitting .361 with three homers and seven RBIs, and he finished April with an overall line of .356/.397/.589. His eight doubles rank second in the Carolina League, while his .986 OPS ranks fifth.

6. Kila Kaaihue
Ka'aihue finally arrives on the Hot List after a rain-shortened week in which he went 5-for-11 (.455) with five walks, a double, and a triple. Ka'aihue's batting average (.238) isn't yet where he'd want it to be, but the 25-year-old first baseman is hitting .324 with six extra base hits (including two home runs) and 13 walks over his past 10 games. He leads the Pacific Coast League with 22 walks, and he carries an OPS of .901 into May, despite his low batting average.

7. Nick Francis
Francis cooled off a bit at the end of the week, but he still managed to go 8-for-30 (.267) with two home runs, two doubles, and six RBIs. Over his last 10 games, the big outfielder is hitting .316 with three homers and 11 RBIs, pushing his season line to .328/.408/.612. Francis is tied for the Midwest League lead with four home runs, and his 1.020 OPS ranks fourth.

8. Jordan Parraz
Acquired in the trade that sent Tyler Lumsden to Houston, Parraz has quietly put together a very solid season for the NW Arkansas Naturals. The 24-year-old outfielder hit .350 last week (7-for-20) with a double and four RBIs, and he's hit safely in nine out of his last 10 games. On the season, Parraz is hitting .328/.406/.379 with three doubles and 10 RBIs.

9. Mike Moustakas
Moose went 6-for-21 last week (.286) with two home runs, two doubles, and three RBIs. The 20-year-old third baseman has hit safely in eight out of his last 10 games, and after a rough start, he is now hitting .274/.321/.507 with four home runs, five doubles, and 15 RBIs this season.

10. Carlos Rosa
Rosa takes the final spot on this week's Hot List after making two appearances – and recording two saves – last week. Rosa pitched a total of four scoreless innings, including a three-inning outing last Friday, while striking out six batters and yielding just two hits and one walk. On the season, the right-handed reliever is 0-2 with a 3.27 ERA. In 11 innings pitched, Rosa has struck out 11 batters, and opponents are hitting just .244 off him this season.



PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK:

With the Blue Rocks trailing Winston-Salem by two runs last Friday, outfielder Jamar Walton stepped to the plate in the seventh inning and slammed a solo home run to center field. The Rocks failed to rally, so the one-run deficit remained until Walton came to the plate again with one out in the ninth. And once again, Walton launched another solo homer, this time to left field, sending the game into extra innings. The Blue Rocks ultimately lost the game, but Walton's clutch 2-for-4, two homer effort was the minor league performance of the week.

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