Neither of these teams are Twins affiliates, so my rooting interests are slim at best and my knowledge of the players more sketchy than usual.
Which is OK by me. I have been known, in previous Midwest League jaunts, to go to games cold and try to figure out who is a real prospect off what I see.
I've had a few hits and a few misses. And I did look up the rosters for Friday's game before going to the park.
A few names I'll try to remember for the future:
Cam Bedrosian, the starting pitcher for Cedar Rapids, is the son of Steve Bedrosian, the 1988 NL Cy Young Award winner and a set-up man for the 1991 Twins. The younger Bedrosian, one of three first-round picks by the Angels in 2010 on the CR roster, hurt his elbow almost immediately and underwent ligament replacement surgery last May. This was his fourth start this year, so he's returned early from the Tommy John procedure.
How he fared: Five innings, three runs, four hits, one walk, one strikeout.
That he's pitching already is impressive enough. I thought he looked pretty good, actually. Twelve of his 15 outs came from his infielders. Two runs came on a play in which his centerfielder overran the carom of what should have been a double, then made a wild throw to third base.
That centerfielder, Chevy Clarke, probably looked more like an athlete than anybody else on the field. He had two hits, stole a base, scored a run. Raw, toolsy outfielder, also a 2010 first-rounder.
The Kernels' third first rounder, Kaleb Cowart, played third base, hit third, and went 0-for-4 with a walk. Grounded into a double play, lined into another. If I didn't know he was a first-rounder, I doubt I'd have noticed him.
A less heralded player who caught my eye was catcher Abel Baker -- a name that plays off the old U.S. Navy Radio Alphabet, in which Able stood for A and Baker for B. Baker looked good behind the plate, threw out a baserunner, had a walk and a double. And he hits left-handed, which never hurts a catcher.
His numbers so far aren't very good (.202/.306/.333 coming into the game). That I liked what I saw Friday means less than those figures.
Another player who impressed me was Kane County's start, Edwin Carl -- a 22-year-old undrafted free agent who entered the game with an ERA of 1.87 and tossed seven innings of one run, five-hit ball. He walked two, struck out four and got ground ball after ground ball.
Daniel Mateo, a 20-year-old Dominican who DH'd for Kane County, came in hitting .301; he went 3-for-4 with a walk, and none of them were bloops. He hit .348 last season in Rookie ball. He looks like a hitter.
One more game to the trip.