Moose blasts his way to Hot List's top spot

Mike Moustakas' week (and season) didn't start until Thursday, but his performance in his first four games was enough to vault him to the top of this week's Hot List. The Hot List identifies the hottest players in the Royals' system each week. Who else made this list? Click inside to find out.

All statistics current through April 25, 2010

1. Mike Moustakas, NW Arkansas.
Talk about a Double-A debut! Moustakas' first two swings for the Naturals resulted in a pair of home runs, and he finished his NW Arkansas debut 3-for-4 with the two homers, a double, and four RBI. The 21-year-old third baseman finished the week hitting .471 (8-for-17) with three home runs, two doubles, two walks, six runs scored, and eight RBI, and he already leads his club in round-trippers after just four games.

2. Johnny Giavotella, NW Arkansas
When the week began, Giavotella was hitting just .235. Since then, the 22-year-old second baseman has hit an incredible .542 (13-for-24) with two extra base hits, eight runs scored, three RBI, and four walks. He's currently on a seven-game hitting streak and has multiple hits in six of those contests. The hot streak has raised his season line to .362/.449/.431, and he currently ranks third in the Texas League in batting average and second in on-base percentage.

3. Mike Montgomery, Wilmington
Montgomery topped last week's Hot List, and even though he continued pitching well, he fell a couple of spots simply because of the remarkable performances of the players above him. Still, his performance last week was nothing to sneeze at. The 20-year-old southpaw made two starts, pitching 12.2 innings while allowing two earned runs (1.42 ERA) on 10 hits and three walks. He fanned 14 more hitters, giving him a Carolina League-leading total of 33 strikeouts. Montgomery is now 2-0 with a sparkling 1.09 ERA, and he might not be in Wilmington much longer.

4. Eric Hosmer, Wilmington
Hosmer's season-opening 11-game hitting streak was snapped on Monday, but the 20-year-old first baseman bounced right back with another outstanding week. Hosmer went 10-for-25 (.400) with a pair of doubles, a home run, six walks, and five RBI. He's now hitting .426/.514/.590 through his first 61 at bats, and he leads the Carolina League in both batting average and on-base percentage. He also swiped another base on Saturday, giving him three stolen bases in three attempts.

5. Bryan Paukovits, Burlington
Paukovits hasn't received the attention of some of the other heralded pitching prospects in the organization, but he certainly turned in a notable performance last week. The 6-foot-7, 22-year-old righthander made just one start, but it was arguably the best of his career. Paukovits on Thursday tossed six no-hit innings against Clinton while fanning six batters and recording his first victory of the season. Over his last two appearances, the 2006 draft-and-follow signee has yielded just one hit in 10 innings while striking out 10 hitters. For the season, Paukovits in 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 13.0 innings pitched.

6. Buddy Baumann, Wilmington
Baumann was an honorable mention on last week's list, but his performance can no longer be ignored. The 22-year-old Missouri State product made two appearances last week, pitching 5.1 scoreless innings while fanning 10 and allowing just three hits and two walks. The southpaw pitched briefly in rookie ball last season, and he's making a huge leap to the Carolina League this year. The league's hitters haven't noticed, as Baumann has held them to a collective .222 average while compiling a sparkling 0.84 ERA. Through his first 10.2 innings, he has struck out 19 while issuing just four walks. Despite being a reliever, Baumann ranks sixth in the Carolina League in strikeouts.

7. Blaine Hardy, NW Arkansas
As we noted last week, Hardy began the 2009 season in Low-A Burlington with an impressive streak – he didn't walk his first batter until mid May. This season has begun with another impressive streak, this time at Double-A. Through his first five appearances spanning 12.0 innings, the 23-year-old southpaw has yet to allow his first run. Hardy made two more scoreless appearances last week, pitching four innings while fanning three and scattering four hits and a walk. The Texas League is hitting just .171 against him thus far.

8. Patrick Norris, Wilmington
Like Giavotella, Patrick Norris got off to a rough start this year, and he was hitting just .238 when the week began. Over the last seven games, Norris has turned things around, hitting .346 (9-for-26) with five extra base hits, five walks, seven runs scored, and seven RBI. On the season, the 24-year-old outfielder is now hitting .279/.372/.412 with six stolen bases in seven attempts. He has struck out 17 times in 68 at bats this season, but he fanned just twice last week.

9. John Lamb, Burlington
Lamb made just one start last week, but it was good enough to put him on the Hot List. On Friday, the 19-year-old southpaw was excellent against Cedar Rapids, fanning eight batters in 5.1 innings while allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits and a pair of walks. Lamb (0-2) has yet to win his first game this season, but he owns an outstanding 1.00 ERA, and he's struck out 23 batters in 18.0 innings thus far. He ranks fifth in the Midwest League in strikeouts, and the league's hitters are batting just .177 against him.

10. Edgar Osuna, NW Arkansas
Osuna, the Royals' 2009 Rule 5 pick, was a little shaky in his first two starts, surrendering seven unearned runs in 10 innings pitched. On Thursday, however, he was outstanding, blanking the Arkansas Travelers over seven innings while scattering five hits and striking out six. While Osuna has been the victim of some poor defense, he's won two of his three starts and has issued just one walk in 17.0 innings thus far while fanning 14. The 22-year-old lefty's ERA is still 0.00, and the Texas League is hitting just .231 against him thus far.

Honorable Mentions
Barry Bowden, WIL – 3 G, 2 SV, 4.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K
Blake Wood, OMA – 2 G, 1 SV, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R…0 R in last 5 outings
Kurt Mertins, NWA – 7-for-19 (.368), 6 R, 2 2B, 4 BB
Irving Falu, OMA – 11-for-34 (.324), 5 R…hit safely in 10 of 11 games
Salvador Perez, WIL – 6-for-19 (.315), 2 2B…season .333/.356/.405

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