Left to right: Kyle Hurst, Fabio Martinez, Mike Kenney
The three with their pitching coach, Brandon Emanuel
We had the no-hit pitchers pose for the traditional photo holding a baseball with a “0” on it. Pitching coach Brandon Emanuel is in the second photo.
More photos and video to come.
Three Cedar Rapids Kernels pitchers combined last night to throw a no-hitter as they defeated the Kane County Cougars (A’s affiliate) 3-0.
Fabio Martinez was the starting pitcher and worked the first five innings. Kyle Hurst covered the 6th and 7th, then Mike Kinney the 8th and 9th.
I have game highlight video which I’ll try to post today. Meanwhile, click here to listen to the Kernels’ webcast. (Windows Media Player and a broadband Internet connection required.)
In his first three starts with Cedar Rapids, Garrett Richards has 20 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings.
The current issue of Baseball America has an extensive article on the Cedar Rapids Kernels’ prospect-laden roster. This is the only place I can find it online; BA places some articles in their print version, some online, a strategy intended for you to subscribe to both. (Subscribe to the BA print version and you get the online content for free.)
Five of their Top 10 Angels prospects are on the Kernels roster — #3 Mike Trout, #5 Garrett Richards, #6 Fabio Martinez, #7 Randal Grichuk, and #8 Tyler Skaggs.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported on April 16 that 11 of Trout’s first 13 hits were infield hits. I wrote in the 2009 FutureAngels.com Top 10 Prospects report last November, “Although he has power, he probably won’t be a true power hitter; if he can learn to bunt for hits, it may evolve him into a leadoff hitter role.”
Beyond the Fab Five, there are other players of interest on the Kernels’ roster.
The first six of the Angels’ 2009 draft picks are on the roster. Five were taken in the first round, regular or supplemental phase — Grichuk, Trout, Skaggs, Richards and Tyler Kehrer. Pat Corbin was selected in the second round.
Jon Bachanov, selected by the Angels in the supplemental round of the June 2007 draft, is in the Kernels’ bullpen after “Tommy John” surgery. If you’re looking for a sleeper, there’s 6’9″ John Hellweg, a Tom Kotchman find selected in the 16th round of the June 2008 draft. And there’s C.J. Bressoud, a former Braves minor league catcher converted to the mound in 2009 by the Angels.
Catcher Carlos Ramirez, selected in the 8th round last year, has drawn rave reviews. He reminds me of Bengie Molina, who wasn’t exactly a gazelle like Jeff Mathis, but excelled behind the plate and hit well enough to become a big-league regular.
On the infield, second baseman Jean Segura has drawn comparisons to Erick Aybar, although the arm isn’t quite as strong. First baseman Casey Haerther hit .350 last year for Rookie-A Orem.
One player who’s flown under the radar is third baseman Luis Jimenez. “Lucho” missed all of 2009 with a right shoulder injury. That led BA to drop him from their Top 30 list, which I think is a big mistake. If my top prospects list had gone beyond ten, “Lucho” certainly would have been in the Top 20 and maybe the Top 15. He’s playing nearly every day at third base, so the shoulder seems fine, and once he shakes the rust he should start cranking out dingers again.
I’ll be in Cedar Rapids April 30 – May 3 for the Kane County series. Whether this becomes a team for the ages remains to be seen, but this group reminds me of two other “bubbles” that started back with Tom Kotchman in Utah. The 2001 Provo Angels team had future major leaguers Jeff Mathis, Casey Kotchman, Dallas McPherson, Nick Gorneault, Ervin Santana, Steve Andrade, Pedro Liriano, Steven Shell and Jake Woods. The 2005 Orem Owlz had Brad Coon, Hainley Statia, Mark Trumbo, Nick Adenhart, Jose Arredondo, Stephen Marek, Robert Mosebach and Kevin Lynch. Obviously the latter group isn’t as distinguished as the first, but it had significant talent and some of those (Marek, Statia, Trumbo) may yet emerge as big leaguers.
Reading Angels fan sites, it’s clear a lot of them are following the Kernels, and that can only be good for Angels minor league baseball.
Spring training is in the air, but unfortunately I’m not.
Being unemployed, it has me grounded. I just can’t afford to travel to minor league spring training.
Before the camcorder’s untimely demise, I’d planned to make a trip in May that would take me first to Cedar Rapids, then on to Rancho Cucamonga, over to Tempe for extended spring training and then back home to Florida. That trip would have cost me about $2,000, something I could have paid off in about six months but with the unanticipated $2,000 bill for the camcorder that’s just too much debt for my employment status, or lack thereof.
So I’m going to call off the Rancho Cucamonga and Tempe parts of the trip.
I haven’t been to Cedar Rapids since 2007, the year before the flood, and this year’s team should have a monster roster with all the young prospects, so I should make every attempt to be there.
If you enjoy the videos, photos and reports directly from the road on FutureAngels.com, a reminder that no one pays me to do this. Some folks are under the impression that the Angels subsidize this. They don’t. It’s all out of my pocket. Being unemployed, that pocket isn’t as deep as it used to be.
I’ve had many players’ parents tell me over the years that if I need help, I should ask for it, so I’m asking.
You can help by making a one-time donation or signing up for a $5/month voluntary subscription. Click here to learn more.
I realize these are difficult financial times, but more than ever I have to be responsible with every penny I have. My wife and I lose our health insurance on March 31, as we can’t afford it any more. We have some money saved up, but one trip to the emergency room, one life-threatening disease and we’ll be in big trouble.
Given those real-world priorities, FutureAngels.com drops down the priority list. I’ve always run FutureAngels.com as a service, not a business, absorbing about $2,000 a year in losses. That can’t happen now. So if you’ve enjoyed FutureAngels.com and want it to continue, I need your help. Thanks for your consideration.
Down 2-0 in their best-of-five series with High Desert, and down 6-2 at the stretch half of the 7th inning in Game #3, the Quakes posted a run in the bottom frame thanks to Alberto Rosario’s solo homer, then three runs to tie in the bottom of the 9th, and finally scored in the bottom of the 10th to win 7-6. Game #4 is tonight at Rancho Cucamonga; Ryan Brasier is the scheduled starter.
Will Smith was a big-game pitcher in 2008 with the Orem Owlz, and he delivered a big-game performance last night for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, but it wasn’t enough as the Burlington Bees won 2-1 to eliminate the Men of Corn. Will gave up a broken-bat single in the 1st followed by a two-run homer off his changeup, then settled down to allow no more runs through the 8th when he exited the game. He struck out nine, walked five, and allowed only three hits — just one after the 1st-inning dinger.
The Orem Owlz are off until Wednesday, when they host Game #1 of the Pioneer League best-of-three pennant series at Orem. They’ll face the Missoula Osprey, a Diamondbacks affiliate. Missoula’s overall record was 40-36. Because of the short series, only one game is in Orem, then Games #2 and (if necessary) #3 are in Missoula. The divisions alternate by year who gets the home field advantage, and in 2009 it’s the North Division’s turn, so whomever wins the series celebrates in Missoula. The Owlz were 7-0 this year against Missoula, but that means nothing in the post-season.
The Orem Owlz won 7-4 at Ogden Sunday to win the Pioneer League South Division series 2-0. They await the winner of the Great Falls-Missoula series. The Pioneer League alternates which division gets the home field advantage. This year it’s the North Division, so Orem hosts Game #1 before going on the road up north for Games #2 and (if necessary) #3.
The Kernels won 4-1 over Burlington to tie their best-of-three series 1-1. The Game #3 finale is tonight at Cedar Rapids. Iowans, turn out and support your team! The winner goes on to face the winner of the Great Lakes-Fort Wayne series, Dodgers and Padres affiliates.
The Quakes were shut out for the second straight night, 4-0 at High Desert. They trail their best-of-five series 2-0. Game #3 is tonight at Rancho Cucamonga. If the Quakes survive, Game #4 is at Rancho and Game #5 in High Desert. Quakes fans, turn out tonight!
Jeremy Moore tripled with one out in the top of the 9th, and scored on Jay Brossman’s single, to give the Quakes the lead run Thursday and an eventual 3-0 win at Lake Elsinore.
The last will be first, and the first will be last.
— Matthew 20:16
Unlikely upsets last night have two Angels affiliates moving up to the next round of their leagues’ playoffs.
The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes finished 2009 with an overall record of 61-79, the worst ever in California League history for a team that qualified for the post-season. They faced Lake Elsinore (73-67) in a best-of-three series between the South Division’s two wild-card teams, while High Desert (who won both halves of the season) got a bye.
The Storm got the home field advantage, which meant Games #2 and #3 would be at The Diamond. The Quakes hosted Game #1 at The Epicenter on Wednesday and won 6-5, forcing Lake Elsinore to win both remaining games at home. But Manuel Flores pitched seven shutout innings last night, the Quakes scored three runs in the top of the 9th led by a Jeremy Moore triple, and the Storm lost 3-0 to be eliminated.
The Quakes advance to a best-of-five series against the Mavericks (83-57) which starts Saturday in High Desert. Games #1 and #2 are in Adelanto, #3 and #4 in Rancho on Monday and Tuesday, and #5 in High Desert. Of course, #4 and #5 are only if necessary.
It’s the first time a Quakes team has advanced in the playoffs since becoming an Angels affiliate for the 2001 season. It’s also the first time an Angels affiliate has advanced since they were affiliated with Lake Elsinore in 1996, when they went on to an improbable California League pennant. The Storm that year were 35-35 in the first half to finish third in the South Division, and in the second half were 40-30 to finish second. They were the division’s wild card and faced Rancho Cucamonga in a best-of-three series similar to this week’s pairing. The Storm took that series, no big upset as the Quakes were only 31-39 in the second half. But Lake Elsinore went on to knock off High Desert (41-29 in the second half) for the South Division title. They then faced the San Jose Giants, who had won both halves of the North Division with an overall 89-51 record. The Storm upset San Jose three games to two to win the pennant.
That also happens to be the only ring I have from a pennant winner. The Storm allowed certain fans who’d helped the team to order replica rings personalized with their names. So I have a Storm 1996 pennant ring in the drawer.
It wasn’t that much of an upset, because the teams were more evenly matched, but the Cedar Rapids Kernels (78-60 overall) eliminated the Peoria Chiefs (81-57 overall) last night at Veterans Memorial Stadium, to win their best-of-three series 2-0. Peoria was 43-26 in the second half, the Kernels 38-30. C.R. was only 18-17 in August-September while Peoria was red-hot at 25-11. Head-to-head, the Chiefs beat the Kernels eight games to three this year. But the Kernels won 6-4 Wednesday at Peoria, then last night fought back from an early 4-0 deficit to win 9-8.
It was literally a “walk-off” win, pushing across two runs in the bottom of the 9th. The Kernels drew four walks to force in one run to tie the game at 8-8, then Matt Crawford was hit by a pitch to force in Dwayne Bailey with the winning run.
The Kernels move on to face the Burlington Bees (64-75 overall), who upset Kane County (76-64 overall) in their best-of-three series. The three-game series begins Saturday at Burlington, with Games #2 and (if necessary) #3 at The Vet.
Not to be overlooked are Tom Kotchman’s Orem Owlz. Their 4-3 win last night against rival Ogden gave them a 31-6 record in the second half, a Pioneer League record for best second-half record. The Owlz finish their regular season tonight at Ogden, then face the Raptors in a best-of-three series for the South Division title. Game #1 is Saturday at Orem, with Games #2 and (if necessary) #3 in Ogden.