As the major league portion of the 2011 season comes to a close, some of the minor league clubs have already begun packing up shop for the winter, however we still have some notable play to highlight for the Royals Minor League Players of the Month for August.
For August it was a trio of players at the upper two levels of the organization that shined above all others with Omaha (AAA) and Northwest Arkansas (AA) pitchers Luis Mendoza and Will Smith being named our Pitchers of the Month. Omaha's designated hitter Clint Robinson receives the accolades for Batter of the Month.
Recently the 27-year old Mendoza had been named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year as he sits with a 12-5 record and 2.18 ERA in 33 games (18 starts) for the Stormchasers. During August he started six games and was 5-1 with a 1.59 ERA. Mendoza also saw his strikeout-to-walk ratio improve during the month as he struck out 23 while walking just 11. Should the Royals choose to shut down Danny Duffy before the end of the season, Mendoza would certainly be worthy of a call-up to the rotation.
Joining Mendoza as our Pitcher of the Month is 22-year old left hander Will Smith. Smith, acquired in the Alberto Callaspo deal last summer is a big 6'5" 235 lb presence on the mound and during the month of August he was 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA. For the year he is 13-9 with a 3.85 ERA in 27 starts. Originally a seventh round draft selection in 2008, Smith struck out 37 batters in August while walking just nine. Batters hit just .204 against Smith for the month.
Clint Robinson caps off another great season of minor league baseball as through today he is hitting .327 with 23 home runs and 99 RBI for Omaha. In August all he did was bat .400 with 16 extra base hits (five home runs) and total 29 RBI's. Though Robinson will likely never see time with the big league team (blocked by Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler), Robinson is an interesting prospect to follow and should be a viable trade chip should the time come that the Royals look to move the 26-year old Missouri native who played collegiality at Troy University.