Ivan Arteaga is in his first year serving as the Cedar Rapids Kernels pitching coach, but he’s far from being a rookie when it comes to working with young pitchers in the Twins organization.
After bouncing around the minor leagues for much of the 1990s with the Expos, Rockies and Mets organizations, the Venezuela native began coaching young pitchers for the Twins organization in 2001 and he’s been helping to develop the organization’s young arms ever since.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels brought a highly heralded group of pitchers north out of spring training. The opening day pitching staff was littered with highly rated prospects obtained with high draft picks and big-money international free agency signings.
Even among top prospects, however, you’re never sure what kind of start you’ll get in a Midwest League season. Some of these pitchers are still teenagers. Some are a long way away from home for the first time. Some have seldom,
Heading in to the 2014 season, everyone pretty much had expectations in check with regard to the Cedar Rapids Kernels. The team's fortunes would likely turn on the performance of a staff of young, highly heralded pitching prospects. The offense, meanwhile, could very well struggle to score enough runs to keep the Minnesota Twins' Midwest League affiliate competitive.
As they near the end of the first month of the season, however, the Kernels are two games above .500 with a 13-11
The Cedar Rapids Kernels sported a 9-7 record as they departed for Peoria Monday for the first of seven road games before returning to Veterans Memorial Stadium on Monday, April 28. They enter the week just two games behind Kane County in the Midwest League’s Western Division standings.
One reason for the success they’ve had thus far has been a power surge in the heart of their batting order.
The Kernels lead the MWL in slugging percentage entering this
Updated 04-22-2014 at 08:16 AM by SD Buhr
The people who pay attention to such things during professional baseball’s offseason were pretty much in agreement in their expectations for this team coming out of spring training in Fort Myers.
The starting pitching should be quite improved, perhaps the best it has been in a few years. The bullpen should once again be sound. But when the topic turned to the offense, one question was nearly universal, “Where will the runs come from?”
Now, roughly two weeks in to
The Cedar Rapids Kernels opened their 2014 season with a split of their four-game series with the Clinton Lumber Kings. The weather over the weekend was tolerable, with highs in the mid 50s to around 60 degrees, but Thursday’s Opening Night was far from delightful, with temperatures in the 30s and occasional rain. On Friday, the weather forced the season’s first postponement.
On Monday, the team boarded their bus for their first road trip. They’ll play six games in Michigan before
It was "Meet the Kernels Night" at Veterans Mermorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids Tuesday night, giving local fans and media a first look at the 2014 version of the Twins' Class A Midwest League affiliate and giving the Kernels players their first look at chilly Iowa April temperatures.
After the media portion of the event, players and coaches mingled with fans on the concourse to chat and sign autographs. Then, they shed their parkas for a brief workout.
The final week of spring training is a big week for the new batch of Kernels getting ready to head north to Cedar Rapids.
On Thursday, four days before the Kernels will break camp in Fort Myers and head north, the roster for the Kernels still included 29 names. That’s four more than the 25 players that will make up the club’s Opening Day roster.
That means at least four of the current group being managed by Jake Mauer on the back fields of the Lee County Sports Complex
There was no rain in Fort Myers on Wednesday. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it was pretty breezy and high temperatures for the day barely, if at all, reached 70 degrees.
I know that sounds good to a lot of people, but I had to wear long sleeves much of the day at the ballpark and was a bit chilly eating dinner outdoors tonight!
But I toughed it out, because I know my readers expect me to do whatever it takes to get the story.
Today, that story
It occurs to me that since I’ve been a little preoccupied with writing about the Cedar Rapids Kernels the past five months, I have written very little about the Minnesota Twins.
Now that the Kernels’ season has come to a close, I’m going to try to remedy that situation and I’m going to begin by posing a question to the Twns’ front office: Why the heck have you not announced that you are shutting Joe Mauer down for the season?
I mean it. Shut Joe Mauer down and do
In baseball's postseason, “every single pitch is so important; every at-bat, no matter what inning.”
That was Cedar Rapids Kernels third baseman Travis Harrison talking after Monday’s regular season finale about the playoffs, which start for the Kernels Wednesday night in Davenport against the Quad Cities River Bandits.
Harrison knows what he’s talking about, too. He was a member of the rookie level Elizabethton Twins team that won the Appalachian League a year ago.
Almost exactly six years ago, I sat several rows up from home plate as Scott Baker took a perfect game in to the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals. While he didn't complete his date with immortality, it was the closest I've ever come to seeing a Major League no-hitter in person.
On Wednesday night, I watched Baker continue to try to work his way back to the Big Leagues with the Chicago Cubs with a rehabilitation start for the Kane County Cougars against the future Twins
One of the unique things about Class A minor league baseball is that the season is divided in to two halves. The format allows teams, such as the Kernels, that have strong first halves of the season to qualify for postseason play at the mid-point of the season. It also gives teams that struggle early a chance to start over with a clean slate for the second half.
The format benefits teams that experience significant roster turnover that’s common among Class A affiliated teams.
Cedar Rapids Kernels manager Jake Mauer has been in a unique situation for the past couple of months, since his Kernels nailed down a Midwest League postseason berth by finishing second in the MWL’s Western Division during the first half of the season.
Travis Harrison and Manager Jake Mauer
Only in minor league baseball is a manager occasionally faced with the challenge