In his first 12 games in the month of May, catcher Meibrys Viloria is batting .400 (16 for 40) with three homers and 10 runs batted in. (Photo- Mary Lay)

Meibrys in May:  After a slow start, Legends catcher Meibrys Viloria is among the South Atlantic League’s hottest hitters.  For the month of May, he is batting an even .400 (16 hits in 40 at bats) in 12 games.   He has hit all three of his home runs in May, and 10 of his 12 runs batted in have come in May.

He was named South Atlantic League Player of the Week for May 1-7, when he had eight hits in 15 at bats.

In the Legends victory today (May 16), Viloria had two hits in four at bats, and drove in three runs.

DeVito departs: First baseman Chris DeVito was promoted to advanced-A Wilmington May 11.  DeVito was leading the South Atlantic League in home runs with 11 and RBI with 38, and was tied for second in batting average at .347.

Legends 6, GreenJackets 4:  Gabriel Cancel had three hits and Meibrys Viloria drove in three runs as the Lexington Legends took a 6-4 win over the Augusta GreenJackets Tuesday in Augusta.

The Legends took the lead with two runs in the top of the first inning.  With one out, singles by Angelo Castellano and Kort Peterson put runners at first and second. Castellano went to third after Emmanuel Rivera lined out to center field.  Cancel’s single scored one run, and Peterson later came home on a wild pitch.

Augusta got one run back in the bottom of the first on singles by Sandro Fabian and Kelvin Beltre and a double by Skyler Ewing.

Peterson started the third inning with a double.   He went to third on a single by Cancel and scored on a bunt single by Viloria, giving the Legends a 3-1 lead.

After each team scored a run in the fourth, the Legends added two in the fifth for a 6-2 margin.  Peterson was hit by a pitch, and was replaced by Amalani Fukofuka.  Rivera lined out, but Cancel singled, moving Fukofuka to second base.  A double steal put runners at second and third, and Viloria’s double to right field scored two runs.

Augusta countered with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, the first coming on Frandy De La Rosa’s fourth home run of the season, but neither team scored again.

Lexington starter Travis Eckert (1-2) was the winning pitcher.  He worked five and two-thirds innings and allowed nine hits and four runs.   Walker Sheller gave up three hits and no runs in two and one-third innings of relief, and Grant Gavin pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save.

Augusta starter D.J. Myers (1-4) took the loss.

The Legends won three out of four in the series.

Box score

On to Rome:  After an off day, the Legends will open a four-game series in Rome Thursday night.  First pitch is set for 7 p.m.

Congratulations to Miller:  Lexington native and former Legends outfielder Anderson Miller was named Carolina League Player of the Week.  Miller, who plays for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, hit .417 (10-for-24) with a pair of homers and drove in six runs while yielding a .500 on-base percentage.  The award has gone to a Wilmington player in each of the last two weeks.  Outfielder Elier Hernandez, also a former Legend, won for the week of May 1-7.  Hernandez has since been promoted to double-A Northwest Arkansas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris DeVito leads the South Atlantic League in home runs and RBIs and is fifth in batting average.

The Lexington Legends will open a three-game series against the Greensboro Grasshoppers Wednesday, May 10 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.  Game times are 12:35 p.m. Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. Thursday and 7:05 p.m. Friday.

The Legends are coming off a 3-4 road trip to Greensboro and West Virginia.  They lost two out of three to the Grasshoppers before splitting a four-game series against the Power.   Wednesday’s starter for Greensboro, right-hander Michael King, was the losing pitcher in the Legends’ 5-2 win at Greensboro May 3.

Infielder Angelo Castellano was 5-for-11 in the series against Greensboro.  Infielder Gabriel Cancel was 4-for-10, and DeVito was 2-for-7 with a home run and three runs batted in.  Catcher Nick Dini had four hits in eight at bats, including a home run.

Pitching matchups for this week’s series (Greensboro pitcher listed first):

Wednesday –  RHP Michael King (2-2, 4.03) vs. RHP Gerson Garabito (3-1, 2.50)

Thursday –   RHP Jordan Holloway (0-0, 4.03) vs. RHP Ofreidy Gomez (0-4, 5.74)

Friday –  RHP Dustin Beggs (2-2. 1.29) vs.  LHP Andre Davis (2-2, 6.67)

DeVito watch: First baseman Chris DeVito leads the league in homers with 11, RBI with 37, hits with 42, total bases with 85, home runs to at bats ratio (1 HR per 11.60 AB) and is tied for the lead in extra base hits with Jake Ring of Delmarva with 21.  DeVito is fifth in the league in batting average at .328.

Gavin’s been good:  Opponents are batting .082 (5 for 55) against right-hander Grant Gavin, the second-lowest opp. BA in the league among relief pitchers.

Heating up in May:  After batting .186 in April (13 for 70, 0 HR), catcher Meibrys Viloria has 10 hits in 18 at bats in May, including his first two home runs of the season.  He was named South Atlantic League Player of the Week for May 1-7.

For information on tickets and promotions, visit lexingtonlegends.com or call 859-422-7867,

 

 

Meibrys Viloria had eight hits in 15 at bats last week.

Catcher Meibrys Viloria of the Lexington Legends has been named South Atlantic League Player of the Week for the period of May 1-7.

In five games last week, Viloria had eight hits in 15 at bats, including three doubles and his first two home runs of the season.  He also scored five runs and drew five walks.

Viloria, 20, a native of Cartagena, Colombia, signed with the Kansas City Royals as a non-drafted free agent in July of 2013.  In 2016, he was named the Most Valuable Player in the Pioneer League.  He batted .376 for Idaho Falls and led the league in batting average, doubles and runs batted in.

“Meibrys had a great week for the Legends, and is showing why he’s regarded as one of the top prospects in the Kansas City Royals organization,” said Legends President/CEO Andy Shea.  “We’ll look forward to seeing him play again when the Legends get back home.”

Viloria is currently ranked 14th on the list of top 30 Kansas City prospects by MLB.com.

The Legends will wrap up their current road trip tonight (Monday) with a 7:05 p.m. game at West Virginia.    They will open a three-game series Wednesday at Whitaker Bank Ballpark against Greensboro.  Game times are 12:35 p.m. Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. Thursday and 7:05 p.m. Friday.

 

In his last five games, Chris DeVito has hit four home runs and driven in 12 runs.

In the lead:   After two homers, one of them a grand slam, and six runs batted in in Friday night’s game, Legends first baseman Chris DeVito leads the South Atlantic League in home runs with seven and RBIs with 28.  In his last five games, DeVito has hit four home runs and driven in 12 runs.  He’s batting .333 (29 for 87) for the season. 

Friday night:  Chris DeVito hit two home runs, including a grand slam, and drove in six runs as the Lexington Legends rolled to a 16-4 win over the Hagerstown Suns Friday night at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.   Gabriel Cancel also hit two homers for Lexington, and Khalil Lee hit a grand slam and drove in five runs.

Lee drew a leadoff walk in the first inning.  Cancel followed with a single and Kort Peterson walked before DeVito delivered his sixth home run of the year to put the Legends up 4-0.

After Daniel Johnson hit a two-run homer for Hagerstown in the top of the third, the Legends broke the game open with seven runs in the bottom half.  Cancel led off with a homer.  After Peterson grounded out, DeVito doubled to left field and scored on a triple by Emmanuel Rivera.  Meibrys Viloria singled, scoring Rivera, and Viloria moved to second on a single by Angelo Castellano.  Amalani Fukofuka flied out to center field, but Marten Gasparini walked, loading the bases.  Hayden Howard relieved starter Carlos Pena for Hagerstown, and Lee greeted Howard with a 410-foot blast over the wall in right center field, giving Lexington an 11-2 lead.

The Suns added a run in the fourth, but the Legends answered with five in the bottom of the fifth.

Fukofuka led off with a single, moved to third on a double by Gasparini and scored on a ground out by Lee.  Cancel followed with a two-run homer, and after Peterson singled, DeVito hit his second home run of the game, and the Legends led 16-3.

Hagerstown scored its final run in the eighth inning on a double by Johnson and a two-out single by Sheldon Neuse.

Gerson Garabito (3-1) worked the first six innings and got the win.  Pena (1-1), who pitched in college for Lindsey Wilson, was the losing the pitcher.

The Legends have won the first two games of the series, which continues Saturday night. Game time is 6:35 p.m.

 

Lexington’s Chris DeVito is leading the South Atlantic League in RBIs with 22.

With four runs batted in in Thursday night’s game, Legends first baseman Chris DeVito has taken over the South Atlantic League lead in RBI with 22, three ahead of Jake Ring of Delmarva.   DeVito hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning of Lexington’s 12-2 win over Hagerstown Thursday night, as the Legends bounced back from a three-game sweep by Augusta, including a perfect game by the GreenJackets’ Domenic Mazza Tuesday night.

Sweeping the SAL: The Legends swept the SAL Player and Pitcher of the Week awards for April 17-23.  DeVito was named Player of the Week. In seven games, he batted .407 with 11 hits in 27 at bats, including three doubles and three home runs. He drove in nine runs and scored five.  Left-hander Andre Davis earned Pitcher of the Week honors.   In his April 20 start at Columbia, Davis pitched seven innings and allowed three hits and no runs. He struck out eight batters and walked none.

Weekend at Whitaker Bank Ballpark:  The Legends play the Northern Division-leading Hagerstown Suns, an affiliate of the Washington Nationals, Friday at 7:05 p.m., Saturday at 6:35 p.m. and Sunday at 2:05 p.m.  After an off day Monday, they will begin a seven-game road trip Tuesday night in Greensboro.   Right-hander Gerson Garabito (2-1, 2.63) will pitch for the Legends tonight (Friday).  Right-hander Carlos Pena (1-0, 4.61), who pitched in college at Lindsey Wilson before signing with Washington, will go for the Suns.

 

Chris DeVito is hitting .375 over his last 10 games and is at .344 for the season through games of April 21.

Columbia starter Merandy Gonzalez and reliever Taylor Henry teamed up for a four-hit shutout, and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow had three hits in three at bats as the Columbia Fireflies blanked the Lexington Legends 5-0 Friday night in Columbia.

Columbia jumped on top with three runs in the third inning. With one out and Gene Cone on at first base, Luis Carpio singled, sending Cone to third. Both runners scored on a double by Michael Paez. Paez went to third on a ground out and scored on a single by Jose Medina.

The Fireflies added a run in the fifth on a triple by Paez and a ground out by Dash Winningham. They scored their final run in the eighth on when Desmond Lindsay doubled, moved to third on a single by Tebow and scored when Milton Ramos grounded into a double play.

Gonzalez (3-0) allowed three hits in seven innings and picked up the win. He has not given up a run in 20 and two-thirds innings this season.

Lexington starter Nolan Watson (0-3) was the losing pitcher.

The series is even at one win apiece and continues Saturday. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

Hot bat:  First baseman Chris DeVito has hit safely in his last seven games and has 13 hits in 27 at bats (.481) during the streak.  In his last 10 games, he is batting .375 (15 for 40).  He is tied for third in the South Atlantic League in runs batted in with 13. Four of those came on a grand slam April 17 against Greenville at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.

 

Outfielder Kort Peterson leads the Legends with a .385 batting average (15 for 39). Photo – Mary Lay

After losing three out of four to West Virginia, the Legends will remain at home for a three-game series against the Greenville Drive, an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.

The Legends lost two out of three to the Drive in Greenville April 10-12.  Outfielder Kort Peterson had five hits in 10 at bats in the series.   Infielder Gabriel Cancel was 5-for-12, and infielder Manny Olloque hit a grand slam in the Legends’ 12-4 victory in the series opener April 10, a game in which the Legends took command early with five runs in the first inning and four in the second.

The Drive came back with a 4-3 win the next night, and completed the series with a 4-1 win April 12.  Greenville outfielder Tyler Hill hit a home run in each of the three games.

Here are the pitching matchups for this week’s series at Whitaker Bank Ballpark (Lexington pitcher listed first):

Monday 7:05 p.m. – Left-hander Gabriel Davila (0-0, 6.75)  vs left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez (1-0, 2.00).  Hernandez started against the Legends April 12 and worked four innings, allowing one run and five hits, and did not figure in the decision.  Davila pitched three innings in relief in that game.  He gave up two runs on four hits.

Tuesday 7:05 p.m. —  Right-hander Gerson Garabito (1-0, 3.27) vs. right-hander Michael Shawaryn (0-1, 11.57)  Garabito did not pitch against Greenville in the earlier series.  He got the win in the Legends’ only victory in the series against West Virginia.  Shawaryn did not pitch against the Legends in Greenville.

Wednesday 10:05 a.m. –  Right-hander Ofreidy Gomez (0-2, 8.00) vs. right-hander Logan Boyd (1-0, 3.72)

 

 

 

Left-hander Andre Davis will start for the Legends in the series opener Monday in Greenville. (Photo-Mary Lay)

After dropping three out of four in Charleston to open the season, the Legends remain on the road for three games against the Greenville Drive in Greenville, South Carolina.  Game time is 7:05 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and the Greenville broadcast can be heard on WLXG, 1300-AM www.wlxg.com, or on TuneIn.

Pitching matchups for the Greenville series, Lexington pitcher listed first:

Monday:  Andre Davis (L) vs. Jay Groome (L).  Davis makes his first start for Lexington after pitching for two seasons at Burlington (APP).  He was 4-4 with a 5.95 ERA in 18 appearances over the 2015 and 2016 seasons.   Groome, a first round pick in 2016 by the Boston Red Sox, is also making his first start of 2017.  He made one appearance with Lowell of the New York-Penn League and two with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox in 2016, and had no record with an ERA of 2.70 in just six and two-thirds innings pitched.

Tuesday:  Nolan Watson (R) vs. Shaun Anderson (R).  Watson, who pitched for the Legends in 2016, started the season opener at Charleston.  He walked five and struck out four in four innings, but did not give up an earned run.  Anderson, a former Florida Gator, started Greenville’s opener against Delmarva.  He allowed one earned run in four and two-thirds innings, struck out seven batters and walked two.

Wednesday:  Jace Vines (R) vs. Darwinzon Hernandez (L).  Vines, who pitched in college at Texas A & M, made a relief appearance at Charleston April 7.  Entering the game in the sixth, he allowed one run in his first three innings, but took the loss when the RiverDogs came alive with four ninth-inning runs and won the game 9-8.  Hernandez recorded a victory April 7 when he worked the first five innings and allowed three hits and one earned run as the Drive beat Delmarva 3-2.

Hot starts:  INF Angelo Castellano was 5-for-11 (.455) for Lexington with three RBI in the Charleston series.  1B Chris DeVito was 5-for-14 (.357) with three RBI.  OF Khalil Lee and INF Manny Olloque homered for the Legends, and Lee stole two bases.

The Legends open the home season Thursday, April 13 against the West Virginia Power, an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

For more information, visit www.lexingtonlegends.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legends manager Scott Thorman spoke to reporters at Media Day April 4.

After a month of spring training in Arizona, a trip to Lexington, and then a nine-hour bus ride to Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday, the Lexington Legends are no doubt ready to open the 2017 season.  They’ll do that tonight (Thursday) against the Charleston RiverDogs.

The Legends are entering their fifth season as an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.  The opening roster for Lexington has several of the Royals’ highly regarded prospects as ranked by MLB.com.  Outfielder Khalil Lee is ranked 14th in the KC organization, catcher Meibrys Viloria 15th, RHP Nolan Watson 16th, LHP Garrett Davila 18th, OF Marten Gasparini 20th, SS Ricky Aracena 28th, and RHP Gerson Garabito 29th.  Viloria was the Most Valuable Player in the Pioneer League in 2016, when he played for Idaho Falls and batted .376.

Watson gets the start in the opening game.  First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m., and the game can be heard on ESPN Sports Radio 1300, WLXG-AM.

Pitching pairings for the four-game series:

(Lexington pitcher listed first. All of the pitchers listed are right-handers, except for Lexington’s Garrett Davila, who will start in game two Friday night).

Thursday 7:05 p.m. – Nolan Watson vs. Nick Green.  Watson, a first round pick by Kansas City in 2015, was 3-11 with the Legends last year, but the MLB.com report notes that he “maintained the stuff that made him a first-rounder. His fastball still ranged from 91-95 mph with life and his slider still looks like a potential plus offering.”

Friday 7:05 p.m. – Garrett Davila vs. Jio Orozco.  Davila had a perfect record in his first year in professional baseball.  He was 7-0 with 2.77 ERA in 12 starts, 65 innings pitched with Burlington (Appalachian League) in 2016.

Saturday 6:05 p.m. – Gerson Garabito vs. Brian Keller.  Like Watson, Garabito suffered through some bad stretches in a 2-11 season with Lexington last year.  MLB.com says he showed “showed an arsenal that was more impressive than his record.  Garabito’s best pitch usually is his curveball, which features good depth.”

Sunday 5:05 p.m. – Ofreidy Gomez vs. Nick Nelson.  Gomez was 5-4 with a 5.20 ERA in 12 starts for Burlington in 2016.

The Legends will move on to Greenville, South Carolina for a three-game series starting Monday night.  The home opener is set for Thursday, April 13 against the West Virginia Power.  Game time at Whitaker Bank Ballpark is 7:05 p.m.

 

 

Raul Mondesi was a South Atlantic League All-Star at age 17 with the Lexington Legends in 2013. (Photo-Mary Lay)

The end of spring training can bring the best or the worst of news for baseball players.

There was great news for 2013 Legend Raul Mondesi, who was named by manager Ned Yost as the Kansas City Royals’ starting second baseman.  Mondesi batted .367 (18 hits in 49 at bats) with three doubles, three home runs and six runs batted in in 21 spring training games for Kansas City.  Despite those numbers, Mondesi wasn’t thinking about winning the starting job.  In fact, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports Mondesi was just hoping he could hang on in the major league camp for an extra few days for a reason all minor league players can appreciate:  “I could really use the meal money,” he told a teammate.

The bad news is that as spring training comes to an end, some players are released.  Final rosters for minor league affiliates are determined at about this time, and some players are left without a spot.  With new draftees coming in every year, there are always more players competing for roster spots than there are spots available.  Former Legends Brian Bayliss, Matt Ditman, Mark McCoy, Austin Bailey, Brian Bien, David Edwards and Michael Hill were released by the Royals this week.

Of those players, Hill spent the most time with the Legends, playing in a total of 151 games for Lexington in 2015 and 2016.  He hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning of a game against Rome at Whitaker Bank Ballpark on June 19, 2015.

In between his two seasons with the Legends, he played in the Australian Baseball League, and early in the 2016 season recalled that the 15-hour flight in economy made a nine-hour bus ride “cake.”

Some players who are released will get an opportunity with another organization, some will sign on with an independent team (not affiliated with a major league organization), but most will go on to the next chapter in their lives.  Good luck and best wishes to all.

 

 

Michael Hill played in 151 games with the Legends in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. (Photo-Mary Lay)

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