Friday, August 9, 2013

Two games in Cedar Rapids: Random thoughts

Adam Brett Walker returns to the
dugout after his home run Monday.
Max Kepler (22) is about to get in the box.
Wrapping up some loose ends:

As I've mentioned at least once, Terry Ryan, the Twins general manager, attended the Quad Cities series. Here, via the Cedar Rapids Gazette, is what he had to say about some of the Twins prospects.


Adam Brett Walker II hit his 24th homer of the season in the ninth inning Monday -- too little, too late to be a factor in the game, which the Kernels lost 6-2.

Walker was the Twins third-round pick in the 2012 draft, a big (listed at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds) right-handed right fielder who grew up in Milwaukee and went to college in Florida. He has legitimate power and runs well enough to be eight-for-eight in steal attempts.

Keith Law of ESPN has been asked about ABW2 repeatedly in his chats, and always gives the same response: He's old for the league, the Twins shouldn't be sending college players to the Midwest League, this isn't proving anything.

Beyond that, I'm wary of Walker's walk/strikeout ratio, almost 4 K's for every BB. The .282 batting average is nice, the .548 slugging percentage is very good (especially for the Midwest League), but the on-base percentage is unimpressive. This was also true for Walker in the Appy League last summer.

Jake Mauer (12) had a lengthy but
non-histronic dispute with the umpire
over an interference call Sunday.

Jake Mauer — older brother of Joe and the Cedar Rapids manager — was thrown out of Sunday's game after Travis Harrison was called out for interfering with the catcher on a Walker steal attempt.

It wasn't until the next inning, when Tommy Watkins emerged from the dugout to coach at third base, that I realized Mauer had been tossed. True to his Mauerness, Jake even got ejected in a low key manner.

Baseball America's annual Tools issue has Jake Mauer voted as the Midwest League's best managerial prospect. I suspect he'll someday emerge onto the major league staff, although Jim Crikket is probably right that it won't happen while Joe is the centerpiece of the roster.

Still, it seems pretty well-established that the elder Mauer is not merely a nepotism hire.


A food discovery at Veterans Memorial Stadium I'll be sure to repeat in future visits: The fried popcorn shrimp. Yum. It may not be traditional ballpark fare, but I like.


When I went to a game in May, Niko Goodrum played first base and Jorge Polanco was the shortstop. At these two games, they were at their more accustomed positions, shortstop for Goodrum, second base for Polanco.

They looked pretty good there. Second base is almost certainly a better fit for Polanco's arm than shortstop. Goodrum — listed as 6-feet-4 himself — faces the same "is he too big for shortstop" question that I mentioned in the Correa post.

Polanco continues to keep his batting average above .300 and remains in the middle of the Kernels lineup. Goodrum's slumped of late — his average had fallen below .250 while I was in CR — and while it seems obvious that Polanco will move up to High A next year, I wonder if Goodrum might not wind up repeating Low A.

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