Jorge Polanco has had a steady bat and glove for the first part of the 2013 season. He hit a 2-run home run in his first Midwest League at-bat on April 4in Cedar Rapids while going 3-5 with 3 RBI in the game. He has had four 3-RBI games this season, as well as five 3-hit games this season. He is listed as the Twins #14 prospect by Baseball America.
Hometown: San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic
MLB Player Idolized Growing Up: Robinson Cano
Favorite Non-Baseball Athlete: Kobe Bryant
Favorite Baseball Memory: Winning the Appalachian League Championship in Elizabethton (2012)
Favorite Food: Meal of rice, beans, meat, & salad
Favorite Restaurant: Any steakhouse
Favorite Movie: Taken 1 & Taken 2
Walk-Up Song: “Unju Unju” by Jay Musicologo
The Kernels (18-5 overall) are 11-2 this season at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium. On Wednesday, they begin their longest road stretch of the season. The next 12 games will be played away from Cedar Rapids (3 @ West Michigan, 3 @ South Bend, 3 @ Quad Cities, & 3 @ Beloit).
The Kernels lead the Western Division by 3 games going into the month of May. Quad Cities sits in 2nd place, and the Kernels hold a 6.5 game lead over 3rd place Beloit. The top 2 teams at the half-way point in June make the playoffs come September.
The Kernels have won 9 games in a row entering the month, and this will be a key stretch. The next 9 games should play a big part in the division race. 1st place Cedar Rapids & 2nd place Quad Cities both hit the road for the next 6 games, both playing West Michigan & South Bend. The Kernels take on West Michigan on May 1-3 while the River Bandits are in South Bend. The two teams trade places May 4-6 before meeting in Davenport for a 3-game series May 8-10.
The Kernels go for their 10th win in a row on Wednesday night against the Whitecaps! First pitch at 5:35 CT.
Adam Brett Walker is off to a powerful start with the 2013 Kernels! As of April 29, he is hitting .297 with a league-leading 6 home runs & 25 runs batted in! This past week in a stretch from April 22-April 27 (4 total games), Walker hit 5 home runs with 16 RBI!
Name: Adam Brett Walker II
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Where do you live in offseason: Jacksonville, Florida
College: Jacksonville University
MLB Player Idolized Growing Up: Ken Griffey, Jr.
Favorite Non-Baseball Athlete: Peyton Manning
Best Baseball Memory: Winning the Appalachian League Championship in 2012 with Elizabethton
Favorite TV Show: Friday Night Lights
Favorite Food: Pizza
Favorite Restaurant: Joe’s Crab Shack
Favorite Movie: Rush Hour
Favorite NFL Team: Jacksonville Jaguars
Favorite College Team: Jacksonville University
Walk-Up Songs: “My Moment” by DJ Drama
“Walk That Walk” by Dorrough
His father played in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings.
Dalton Hicks is off to a great start in 2013, hitting .310 with 3 home runs & 12 runs batted in (Through April 21). Hicks was named the Midwest League’s Player of the Week (April 4-14). Here’s a quick Q & A with Dalton!
Hometown: Altamonte Springs, Florida
College: University of Central Florida
MLB player idolized growing up:Ken Griffey, Jr.
Favorite non-baseball athlete: Lebron James
Best baseball memory: Hitting walk-off, grand slam home run to give Elizabethton the Appalachian League Championship in 2012
Favorite TV show: Family Guy
Favorite food: Family cooking
Favorite restaurant: Boston Market
Favorite movie: Mr. 3,000
Favorite NFL team: Miami Dolphins
Favorite College team: University of Central Florida
Walk-up songs: “Get Ready” by The Temptations & “Bulletproof” by Cyhi the Prince
Other: Brother, Scott Hicks, played in minor leagues with Marlins organization
Are you kicking yourself for not seeing Mike Trout when he played for the Kernels in 2010? Are you wishing you had the opportunity to watch last year’s American League Rookie of the Year when he played right in your own home city?
Well Mike Trout won’t be making a return to play in Cedar Rapids, but this year’s Kernels team has a very special player that is drawing comparisons to Trout.
Don’t make that same mistake twice and come see Kernels outfielder Byron Buxton.
Byron Buxton has gotten off to a great start in the first week of the 2013 season. Buxton is a tremendous and unique talent. There’s no doubt about that, and it doesn’t take a scouting service or Major League Baseball veteran to tell you that.
Buxton stands out on every field that he plays on. He was selected #2 overall in last year’s draft by the Minnesota Twins out of Appling County High School in Baxley, Georgia.
The 6’2, 19-year old, centerfielder has already raked in numerous awards and top spots in prospect rankings. Baseball America is a widely-respected publication and named Buxton the 2012 High School Player of the Year. They have also named him as the #2 prospect in the Twins organization, and the #19 overall prospect in all of baseball! His speed and athleticism garnered him the ranking as the Twins organization’s Best Athlete and Fastest Baserunner.
His production on the field has backed it up, as well. After playing in two Rookie leagues last season Baseball America named Buxton the Top Prospect in both the Gulf Coast League and the Appalachian League. In only 48 games he finished with 10 doubles, 4 triples, 5 home runs, 11 stolen bases, and 20 runs batted in.
Although he’s an outfielder now, he stood out as a pitcher in high school. He led his team to the state championship by tossing a complete game performance in the championship game. Oh, and by the way, he struck out 18 batters in that game!
To let you know how highly regarded Buxton is by the Twins and the rest of baseball, his signing bonus topped out at a Twins-franchise record $6 million!
Come out to Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium, and see Byron Buxton! He could be the next Major League Baseball star to play right here in Cedar Rapids!
A special day at Perfect Game Field @ Veterans Memorial Stadium today as 3 Kernels pitchers combined for a no-hitter against the Beloit Snappers.
Tyler Duffey, Josue Montanez, and Tim Atherton collect the first 9-inning no-hit bid for Cedar Rapids since 2010.
Duffey was fantastic all day, going 7 PERFECT innings! No baserunners for the Kernels righty in his starting debut. He came out with 76 pitches, unofficially. Kernels starters won’t be allowed to go much more than that in the early-going so you knew Duffey wouldn’t be able to finish it today.
However, Montanez came on and worked through the 8th. He allowed 3 walks, 1 run, but still no hits. Tim Atherton pitched the 9th, allowing 1 walk but striking out the side to finish the deal!
Here is your Kernels Opening Night lineup!
Game time: 6:35 pm
vs. Beloit Snappers
CF Byron Buxton
2B Jorge Polanco
DH Drew Leachman
1B Dalton Hicks
RF Adam Walker
3B Travis Harrison
SS Niko Goodrum
C Jairo Rodriguez
LF J.D. Williams
SP Taylor Rogers, LHP
The 2013 Kernels roster has a good mix of young prospects and players with Midwest League experience. There are 8 players who are rated as a top prospect in the Minnesota Twins organization by either Baseball America or MLB.com. Headlining the list is OF Byron Buxton, #2 Twins prospect with both sources. Buxton is rated as MLB.com’s #19 overall prospect. Baseball America tabbed him as the Top Prospect in both last season’s Gulf Coast League & Appalachian League, as well as the fastest base runner and best athlete in the Twins system. Other prospects include: LHP Mason Melotakis, IF Jorge Polanco, 3B Travis Harrison, RHP Hudson Boyd, IF Niko Goodrum, RHP Tyler Jones, and OF Adam Brett Walker.
A total of 14 members of the 2013 roster have played in the Midwest League with the Beloit Snappers. Tyler Grimes and Jairo Rodriguez were both Midwest League All Star Game selections in 2012. Last season, Drew Leachman finished 3rd on Beloit’s roster in RBIs and hits. Lefties Steven Gruver and David Hurlbut combined for 13 wins for the Snappers last season. Tyler Duffey recorded Beloit’s lone playoff win in 2012 while pitching in relief. Manuel Soliman led the Twins organization with 120 strikeouts when he pitched for Beloit in 2011.
Many other members of the Kernels roster played for Elizabethton, the 2012 Appalachian League champions. D.J. Hicks hit a walk-off, grand slam home run to give Elizabethton the title in the decisive game 3. Candido Pimentel was named the Appalachian League Player of the Year. Adam Brett Walker tied for the league-lead in home runs with 14 and hit 3 more in the playoffs. Walker was 4th in the league in RBIs and runs scored. Niko Goodrum led the league in triples, Jorge Polanco finished 6th in the league in batting average, and Hudson Boyd was 3rd in league ERA.
The roster is also filled with players who honed their skills at baseball-rich universities: Taylor Rogers (Kentucky,) Tyler Duffey (Rice), Mason Melotakis (Northwestern State), David Hurlbut (California State- Fullerton), Steven Gruver (Tennessee), Tyler Jones (Louisiana State), Tyler Grimes (Wichita State), an D.J. Hicks (Central Florida).
I had a chance to see a possible 2013 Kernels squad today. The “Kernels” played the Boston Red Sox minor leaguers today at the Sox complex.
While the official roster isn’t set I would imagine most of the guys that played today will be heading to Cedar Rapids.
Here was the lineup that manager Jake Mauer sent out there today:
CF JD Williams
SS AJ Pettersen
3B Travis Harrison
LF Adam Walker
1B DJ Hicks
RF Romy Jimenez
DH Drew Leachman
C Jairo Rodriguez
2B Candido Pimentel
SP Hudson Boyd