There are nearly 50 Southern Arizona products active in the minor leagues, and here’s a glance at how some of them fared last week:
Batter of the week
Stefen Romero, OF, Orix Buffaloes (Japan)
Romero doesn’t technically meet the criteria for this weekly feature, but let’s not kid ourselves about which non-major-leaguer from Tucson had the best week.
The Sunnyside High School graduate has done so well in Japan’s Pacific League this year that on Friday he signed a three-year extension through 2020 with the Orix Buffaloes. The deal will pay him $2.5 million annually, per The Associated Press.
Romero is hitting .297 with 20 home runs for Orix, and he’s in the top 20 in eight offensive categories in the Pacific League, including second in slugging percentage (.580).
Pitcher of the week
Cameron Ming, LHP, Aberdeen IronBirds (A)
It was abbreviated, but Ming notched his first scoreless outing as a professional Saturday. The left-hander, who was vital to postseason runs for the Arizona Wildcats the past two seasons, gave up one hit and struck out four in 3ª innings for the Orioles’ short-season Single-A team.
In the game, Ming, a 14th-round pick in June, retired former UA teammate J.J. Matijevic of Tri-City (Astros) both times they faced off. Matijevic popped out to third base in the first inning, then struck out on a foul tip in the third.
Mixed bag of the week
Stephen Meyer, RHP, West Virginia Power (A)
On Tuesday, Meyer was promoted to the Pirates’ full-season Single-A club after more than two calendar years with their short-season Class A team.
On Wednesday, the Tucson native and Ironwood Ridge High School alum made his first start for his new club and walked seven people in seven innings. He had only walked nine in 38º innings with his previous team this year.
But Meyer still did enough to earn the win that night, putting a bow on a notable week.
On the move
Willie Calhoun, 2B, Round Rock Express (AAA)
When the Dodgers traded for the Rangers’ Yu Darvish last week, the main prize they surrendered was Calhoun, a reserve infielder for the UA in 2014.
Calhoun proved himself to be a top prospect in the L.A. organization, having been a midseason all-star each of the past two seasons. Now MLB.com ranks him as the second-best prospect in the Rangers’ farm system.
Calhoun hit two homers with five RBIs in his first four games with Round Rock. His 25 homers this year is third in the Pacific Coast League.