Royals Corner Players of the Month: April

April turned out to be an excellent month for many of the young position players in the Royals' system. Today RC dishes out some hardware, identifying the top offensive performances through the season's first month at each of the Royals' four full-season affiliates.

Omaha Royals

Kila Ka'aihue
.306/.444/.611, 6 HR, 19 RBI

The question entering this season was whether or not Ka'aihue would reclaim the level of dominance he exhibited in his breakout 2008 season. So far, so good. The 26-year-old first baseman had an outstanding April, leading the O-Royals in home runs, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, and he was ultimately rewarded by being recalled to Kansas City this week.

Other notable performances: Infielder Irving Falu got off to a solid start, hitting .279/.340/.326 in 86 April at bats. The slick fielding utility man could feasibly fill the same type of role in the big leagues that Willie Bloomquist currently occupies in Kansas City. Outfielder Buck Coats also had a good month, hitting .314/.368/.392 in 51 at bats. Coats, however, was traded to the White Sox for cash considerations on Tuesday.

NW Arkansas Naturals

Derrick Robinson
.329/.427/.471, 15 SB

Finally free of the pitching-friendly Carolina League, Derrick Robinson arguably had the best month of his career in April. The switch-hitting centerfielder torched Texas League pitching, banging six extra base hits in 70 at bats while leading the circuit in stolen bases. Equally encouraging, Robinson exhibited the type of plate discipline expected of a leadoff hitter for the first time in his career, drawing 12 walks while logging an impressive .427 on-base percentage. The Royals always figured Robinson's bat would be the last tool to develop, and the 23-year-old speedster is showing no signs of slowing down this month.

Other notable performances: Mike Moustakas may have won the Player of the Month honors had he been healthy for the entire month, but the eight games in which he played were spectacular. Moose hit .324/.378/.735 with five doubles, three homers, and nine RBI. Second baseman Johnny Giavotella overcame an early season slump and got red hot in the season's third week, finishing the month with an impressive line of .324/.427/.392. Catcher Manny Pina provided some unexpected offense by hitting .283/.375/.472 with a pair of homers in his first month with the organization. Nick Van Stratten (.284/.324/.403) and Clint Robinson (.275/.405/.435) both chipped in fine performances in their first month at the Double-A level.

Wilmington Blue Rocks

Eric Hosmer
.421/.500/.618, 1 HR, 15 RBI

If Minor League Baseball gave out its own player of the month award, it's hard to imagine that Eric Hosmer wouldn't have taken the honors with his performance in April. Looking to rebound from a disappointing full season debut, Hosmer obliterated Carolina League pitching in the season's first month, finishing among the minor league leaders in batting average and on-base percentage. The 20-year-old began the season with an 11-game hitting streak, and he hit safely in 18 of the 21 April games in which he played. Hosmer ripped 10 extra base hits in 76 at bats, and he even swiped three bags in three attempts.

Other notable performances: Catcher Salvador Perez struggled mightily in his first crack at full season ball last year, but he got off to a strong start in 2010 despite the jump to High-A ball. One of the youngest players in the league, the 19-year-old started off hot in April, hitting .286/.321/.347 in 49 at bats. Eddie Prasch began the season on the disabled list, but in the seven April contests in which he participated, he hit an impressive .385/.467/.731 with six extra base hits in 26 at bats. Looking to put his disappointing 2009 campaign behind him, outfielder Adrian Ortiz hit .290/.347/.420 on the month with seven extra base hits and eight steals in ten attempts.

Burlington Bees

Gerard Hall
.270/.400/.405, 8 2B, 7 SB

On an offense that is starved for runs, Gerard Hall has been a nice sparkplug for the Bees. The 21-year-old signed with the Royals as a non-drafted free agent last July, and a strong spring performance landed him in full season ball with Burlington. Rather than being overwhelmed, the switch-hitter put together a solid April, slashing doubles, drawing walks, and stealing bases while driving in 13 runs and scoring a club-best 16. Hall's pace has fallen off a bit in the last week, but he's been a valuable player for the Bees.

Other notable performances: Burlington finished the month eight games below .500, thanks largely to its sputtering offense. Still, a few players had relatively decent first months. Carlo Testa led the club with a .826 OPS, hitting .262/.384/.443 with one home run in 61 at bats. Catcher Wil Myers (.232/.293/.439) and first baseman Joey Lewis (.233/.329/.466) supplied some power, with both slamming four home runs in the month. Independent League signee Adam Frost had a decent April, hitting .286/.375/.321 in eight games during his first month with the organization.


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