Royals MiLB: NW Arkansas Loses Texas League Championship

Royals AA affiliate NW Arkansas Travelers suffered elimination Friday by losing 4-1 as the Midland Rock Hounds won the Texas League Championship. Midland required only four games to defeat the Travelers.

The Rock Hounds scored three runs in the second inning off NW Arkansas starter Glenn Sparkman. Sparkman lasted only 2.0 innings, allowing 6 hits, 1 walks, 1 home runs, and 3 earned runs with 3 strikeouts. Midland added another run on a solo shot by right fielder Tyler Marnicov in the fifth to take a 4-0 lead.

The Travelers only managed three hits on the night while scoring only a single unearned run in the seventh inning.

NW Arkansas struggled the first half of the season, finishing in last place in the Texas League North Division with a 29-41 record. The Travelers turned  things around in the second half, winning the North Division with a 36-34 record. The Travelers then defeated the first half winner Springfield Cardinals three games to one to qualify for their second straight Texas League Championship.

The NW Arkasnas Travelers lost to Midland in the Texas League Championship for the second straight season.

NW Arkansas saw numerous players reach the major leagues after beginning the season with the Travelers. That list includes infielder Raul Mondesi, third baseman/outfielder Hunter Dozier, reliever Matt Strahm, reliever Brooks Pounders, and reliever Alec Mills. Second baseman Corey Toups (.275/.358/.450) and and first baseman Ryan O’Hearn (.258/.339/.437, 15 HRs) are other Travelers that made significant progress in 2016.

However, Travelers pitcher Josh Staumont is the prospect that has intrigued me the most this season. Staumont came into the season with overwhelming heat and outstanding off-speed pitches, but couldn’t control them. Staumont walked an outrageous 8.3 BB/9 despite earning a promotion to AA.

Even with the Travelers, Staumont finished the season with a 6.6 BB/9. However, in his last six starts (which includes two playoff games), Staumont suddenly gained the ability to throw the ball over the plate. After adjusting his motion to come more directly over the top, he posted an outstanding 1.57 ERA with a 2.6 BB/9 and 13.6 K/9.

Staumont shut out the Rock Hounds in 6.0 innings to give NW Arkansas their only win of the Texas League Championship Series.

Overall, you have to say that it was a successful 2016 campaign for NW Arkansas. Not only did they play in the league championship, they also helped develop significant major-league talent. Raul Mondesi, Hunter Dozier, and Matt Strahm all figure to make the 2017 Kansas City Royals roster. Meanwhile, Brooks Pounders, Alec Mills, and Josh Staumont all should get long looks in spring training.

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Royals AA affiliate NW Arkansas Travelers suffered elimination Friday by losing 4-1 as the Midland Rock Hounds won the Texas League Championship. Midland required only four games to defeat the Travelers.

The Rock Hounds scored three runs in the second inning off NW Arkansas starter Glenn Sparkman. Sparkman lasted only 2.0 innings, allowing 6 hits, 1 walks, 1 home runs, and 3 earned runs with 3 strikeouts. Midland added another run on a solo shot by right fielder Tyler Marnicov in the fifth to take a 4-0 lead.

The Travelers only managed three hits on the night while scoring only a single unearned run in the seventh inning.

NW Arkansas struggled the first half of the season, finishing in last place in the Texas League North Division with a 29-41 record. The Travelers turned  things around in the second half, winning the North Division with a 36-34 record. The Travelers then defeated the first half winner Springfield Cardinals three games to one to qualify for their second straight Texas League Championship.

The NW Arkasnas Travelers lost to Midland in the Texas League Championship for the second straight season.

NW Arkansas saw numerous players reach the major leagues after beginning the season with the Travelers. That list includes infielder Raul Mondesi, third baseman/outfielder Hunter Dozier, reliever Matt Strahm, reliever Brooks Pounders, and reliever Alec Mills. Second baseman Corey Toups (.275/.358/.450) and and first baseman Ryan O’Hearn (.258/.339/.437, 15 HRs) are other Travelers that made significant progress in 2016.

However, Travelers pitcher Josh Staumont is the prospect that has intrigued me the most this season. Staumont came into the season with overwhelming heat and outstanding off-speed pitches, but couldn’t control them. Staumont walked an outrageous 8.3 BB/9 despite earning a promotion to AA.

Even with the Travelers, Staumont finished the season with a 6.6 BB/9. However, in his last six starts (which includes two playoff games), Staumont suddenly gained the ability to throw the ball over the plate. After adjusting his motion to come more directly over the top, he posted an outstanding 1.57 ERA with a 2.6 BB/9 and 13.6 K/9.

Staumont shut out the Rock Hounds in 6.0 innings to give NW Arkansas their only win of the Texas League Championship Series.

Overall, you have to say that it was a successful 2016 campaign for NW Arkansas. Not only did they play in the league championship, they also helped develop significant major-league talent. Raul Mondesi, Hunter Dozier, and Matt Strahm all figure to make the 2017 Kansas City Royals roster. Meanwhile, Brooks Pounders, Alec Mills, and Josh Staumont all should get long looks in spring training.

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