Lopez leads Royals prospects, Saguaros in rout

Lopez leads Royals prospects, Saguaros in rout

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A plethora of Royals' prospects led the way in the Arizona Fall League as Surprise topped Scottsdalem, 11-1, on Saturday night at Scottsdale Stadium.

Nicky Lopez and Nick Dini sparked the offense, combining to go 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored, while Zach Lovvorn was lights out on the mound with four scoreless innings.

Gameday

"It's good, we're all in the same clubhouse, grinding together," Lopez said. "We're all putting in work away from the field as well so it's good to see success, see things pay off, especially success against high level players."

Lopez, the Royals' No. 11 prospect, went 2-for-2 with an RBI and a stolen base, while Dini was 1-for-2 with two RBIs and a run scored.

The Saguaros scratched across a run in the first before the pair of Royals prospects made their offensive impact in the third. Dini drove in two with a double to left and Lopez brought him home two batters later with an RBI single of his own.

After hitting .279/.348/.356 across 129 games with Class A Advanced Wilmington and Double-A Northwest Arkansas, Lopez is off to a fast start in the AFL, batting .400 (6-for-15) through four games.

"I've been working with the hitting coach here, trying to shorten up a little bit and not be so long," the 2016 fifth-round pick said. "Just putting in the work, that's why we're here to play against good competition, get exposure and also work on your game."

Lopez, a 55-grade fielder, also showed off some defensive skills as he robbed Angels' No. 20 prospect Troy Montgomery of a hit with a diving play up the middle in the fifth.

Top Prospects: Montgomery, LAA

"He hit the ball hard, it got on me pretty quick," Lopez said. "You've got to just go for it, that's the only play you can make. It was a short hop and luckily it found my glove. That's one of those that the ball found me."

Lovvorn, who posted a 4.83 ERA across 31 games with Double-A Northwest, threw 30 of his 46 pitches for strikes as he carved his way through his four sterling frames. The right-hander struck out three and yielded four hits.

A trio of Royals relievers helped finish off the game as Jared Ruxer, Matt Tenuta and Jacob Bodner combined for four strikeouts across three scoreless innings.

The stellar pitching performances were more than enough as the Saguaros eventually blew the game open with a seven-run seventh that included RBI hits from three players, including Cardinals No. 27 prospect Andrew Knizner.

Scottsdale avoided a shutout as Yankees No. 17 prospect Thairo Estrada came through with a two-out RBI single in the eighth inning, scoring Giants No. 7 prospect Steven Duggar to give the Scorpions their lone run.

William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.