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    by 07-06-2013, 01:20 AM
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    As you know, I have been in Cedar Rapids for their past two games against Wisconsin. They won on Thursday, but they fell 8-7 on Friday. This is a first. Following the game, my brother played cameraman, and we decided to record the minor league report. This is, essentially, a video version of what you would typically read. Let us know what you think.

    I'd also like to thank everyone involved with the Kernels, from GM Dog Nelson, to the coaching staff and the players, for being great to talk to. The Kernels are covered
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    by 07-05-2013, 07:51 PM

    Blink and the World Ends (Twins 4 Yankees 10 - Game 78)

    This game was supposed to cross the finish line with the Twins in the lead. I’d decided that late last week. The Twins are struggling but still have a heartbeat. The Yankees have pains of their own. The saga’s supposed to take a turn for the Twin Cities tonight. I expected a spanking, perhaps with the Twins using a broom.

    The innings I caught on the radio didn’t spoil my dream, though I did enjoy hearing Dan Gladden’s
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    by 07-05-2013, 12:07 PM
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    Cedar Rapids Kernels hitting coach Tommy Watkins knows his way around a minor league field, having spent parts of 11 seasons as a player in the Minnesota Twins minor league system. Toward the end of the 2007 season, he got to live the dream of every player who ever put on a minor league uniform when he was called up to the Big Leagues by the Twins.

    Since 2009, Watkins has been coaching in the Twins minor league organization and this season is his fourth as the hitting coach for the Twins’ Class A affiliate in the Midwest League (the first three coming with the Twins’ then-affiliate, the Beloit Snappers).

    Watkins recently sat down and talked about his role with the Kernels and more.
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    by 07-05-2013, 07:47 AM
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    Holiday Mailbag? Holiday Mailbag.

    I hope everyone had a fun and leisurely 4th. I kept it cool, just hanging out in my house and laying low. I watched the Twins game Thursday and I was saddened by Kyle Gibson's performance. I think he'll bounce back, but seeing him struggle was a good reminder that he is a rookie and there will be growing pains. Enough analysis, I'm here to answer questions from myself.

    Carlos Gomez is currently among the league leaders in WAR. The Twins had Carlos Gomez in their clutches. Did the Twins give up on Carlos Gomez too soon?
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    by 07-05-2013, 12:24 AM
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    Adam Brett Walker knows his role on this Cedar Rapids Kernels team, and on the 4th of July, he came through. “My main goal this year was to drive in runs. I think that’s kind of a main part for me. When runners are on, runners in scoring position, I try to have a quality at bat.”

    Walker came to the plate in the bottom of the 2nd inning of a scoreless game with Max Kepler on first base. Walker crushed the first pitch over the wall in left center field, and the ball likely didn’t get over 20 feet in the air. “I was trying to look for a fastball over the plate. He threw four straight (balls) to Max. He was just trying to get it over, get a strike over. I was trying to put a good swing on it.”

    The blast proved to be all the Kernels offense needed thanks to Josue Montanez and a couple relievers.
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    by 07-04-2013, 05:54 PM
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    Cedar Rapids Kernels middle infielder Niko Goodrum was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the second round of the 2010 First Year Player Draft and spent the past two years playing for the Twins short season rookie league team in Elizabethton.



    The 21 year old switch-hitter from Georgia got off to a good start with the Kernels, most often batting second in Manager Jake Mauer’s batting order, behind lead off hitter Byron Buxton. He was named to the Midwest League’s Western Division All-Star team.
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    by 07-04-2013, 05:46 PM
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    Buyers or Sellers
    As we sit here in early July, the Mets are about a dozen games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. They are more than a half-dozen games behind the Washington Nationals for second in the division. In fact, they have the second-worst record in the National League, ahead of only the Miami Marlins. If the 2014 MLB draft order were selected today, the Mets would draft fifth overall. There is no question that the Mets will, or at least should, attempt to be sellers in July.

    What They Need
    What don’t the Mets need? David Wright (.914) is the lone Mets player with an OPS over. 802. Honestly, except for third, there isn’t a position at which the Mets could not make an improvement.
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    by 07-04-2013, 08:21 AM
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    Buyers or Sellers
    Everyone was excited about the Pirates last year when they led the NL Central as late as the middle of the July. That was a great story, but this feels completely different. This year the Pirates are 20 games over .500 and were the first team in MLB to win 50 games. Of course, last year they were sixteen games over .500 on August 1st – and STILL managed to finish below .500 for the 173rd consecutive year.

    So they’re buyers, but they don’t have a ton of needs. That might work out well, since they’re reportedly hesitant to give up too much of their farm system. Limited expectations work out well when considering a trade with the Twins.

    What They Need
    Offensively, like last year,
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    by 07-04-2013, 12:10 AM

    Two of the Twins minor league affiliates celebrated Independence Day early with offensive explosions. The Red Wings and the Miracle had men up and down their line-ups knock in runs to help their clubs emerge victorious.

    There was some minor league news to report on Wednesday afternoon. Catcher Danny Lehmann was released by the club after spending time on the disabled list this season. He had only played 18 games this season and he was a career .229/.317/.301 hitter.
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    by 07-03-2013, 09:58 AM

    Just one day after trading away Rick Aguilera, one of the more popular players on the Twins team, General Manager Terry Ryan's bloodlust was cresting and he was hungry for another trade. Who would be his next victim?

    The Trade: BREAKDOWN!

    The Minnesota Twins traded Scott Erickson to the Baltimore Orioles for Scott Klingenbeck and a player to be named later (Kimera Bartee). Erickson provided the Orioles with 16 good starts in 1995 and then threw over 900 innings for them from 1996 to 1999. His 1997 and 1998 seasons were particularly impressive, especially when you account for the high run scoring era. Bartee was nothing special, and fittingly, the Orioles drafted him from the Twins in the rule 5 draft after the 1995 season.
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    by 07-03-2013, 09:34 AM

    Down the stretch they come!

    Well, at least as far as voting for the 2013 MLB All-Star Game in New York City. There is some debate over who should make the club. Some voters like to pick the players that have had the best first half of a season in 2013. Others look at the last calendar year and try picking the roster based on those performances.

    Today I break down the American League roster. There are some tough decisions at a couple positions but there are some ways to break the ties. Take a look at my picks and leave a comment with your roster.
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    by 07-03-2013, 01:15 AM
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    The cause of an injury to one of his hottest hitters in June, from what was an avoidable play by Indians’ catcher Yan Gomes, is not ignored by manager Ron Gardenhire.

    Ryan Doumit had been hitting .278/.345/.481 with three home runs, five doubles and a triple in June prior to suffering a sprained ankle in Cleveland on June 23. Since the incident, Doumit has sat out three games and has gone 5-for-20 (.250) without any extra base hits in his 21 plate appearances.

    Doumit, who was coming in to score on Oswaldo Arcia’s double, was forced to stutter-step around home as Gomes swung his left leg across the plate area for a brief moment.
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    by 07-03-2013, 12:44 AM
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    Yesterday, we reviewed the top pitching performances in June by the relief pitchers. Today, we’ll look at the top five starting pitchers in June. There were some strong performances, though there aren’t enough to need an Honorable Mention section. June is often a month when you start seeing some pitchers tire. There is a chance that some guys who have been starting to this point will miss a start, or spend some of the second half of the season working out of the bullpen. By next month, we may have some nominees from Elizabethton and the Gulf Coast League Twins.

    Southpaws are prominent in this list, which is always nice to see as. More specifically, lefties who went to the University of Kentucky are quite prominent!
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    by 07-02-2013, 11:44 PM
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    A day after several of the Twins minor league affiliates’ games were rained out, it was nearly a full schedule on Tuesday night. Elizabethton had the night off, but Rochester played two games to make up for it. A Honkball star showed what he is capable of in New Britain. A big time international signing from last year celebrated this year’s International Signing Day with a nice game. A couple big relief pitching prospects who hadn’t pitched in about ten days got back into action. A couple pitchers from the Twins' opening day roster took the mound in the minors.. Lots happened, including another homer from a guy in Cedar Rapids who quietly is putting up some monster power numbers in the shadow of Chris Colabello and Miguel Sano.
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    by 07-02-2013, 09:54 PM
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    Buyers or Sellers
    In July of 2012, the Phillies found themselves in a position to sell for the first time in a decade. Running on a string of nine straight 85-plus win seasons, the Phils were 12 games out of first place in the NL East at this time last year, and they ended up unloading Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton and Hunter Pence in the days leading up to the deadline.

    By comparison, Philadelphia's current 9-game deficit in the standings doesn't look quite as daunting, but with the clearly superior Braves and Nationals well out front in the East, it looks like it is once again time to sell, sell, sell.
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    by 07-02-2013, 04:42 PM
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    As happens every July 2nd, teams begin to announce deals with "International Free Agents". This year is no different and the Twins made an early splash, signing Dominican 1B/OF Lewin Diaz as well as four others, according to Doogie Wolfson. (Seth has learned that they have reached agreements with several players, including Diaz, but it is still pending a physical and MLB approval)

    Diaz actually played in the Under Armour All-American Game at Wrigley Field last August, going 1-for-3 against many players who are older and were drafted in last month's draft. As the DH, he batted 7th in a lineup that included new Twin Brian Navaretto.

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