Monday, August 21, 2017

A trip to Cedar Rapids: The pitchers

While the Twins were demolishing the Arizona Diamondbacks during the weekend, I was in Cedar Rapids watching their low A team, the Kernels, sweep the Beloit Snappers.

I wrote at some length about Royce Lewis, the No.1 overall pick in the June draft who is now playing shortstop for Cedar Rapids, for the Monday print column. He's hitting leadoff and sporting a .400 batting average going into today's game, so that's going pretty well.

For this space, I'll spend a few days talking about other things I saw there, starting with the pitchers.

The Kernels held the Snappers to three runs total in the three games. It's difficult to do much better than that at any level.

Still, I doubt I saw any future big league arms working for Cedar Rapids.

Anthony Marzi, who started Friday's game, and Charlie Barnes, who started Saturday's, are pretty much the same pitcher, left-handed strike throwers with modest velocity. The Twins signed Marzi out of an independent league; Barnes was a fourth-round pick out of Clemson University in June. Both are probably a bit old for the league; Marzi certainly is. The scoreboard gun in Veterans Memorial Stadium is notoriously slow, but neither hit 90 in the board reading.

Tyler Beardsley, a right hander who started Sunday, hit higher velocities but was less effective than the other two, although Beloit couldn't do much with him either.

The Twins have moved a number of significant pitching prospects through CR in recent years, and probably the best one to pitch this year for the Kernels is Griffin Jax, who is now on active duty with the Air Force and won't be back in the farm system for two years.

Another pitcher I'll keep in my memory bank is Tyler Watson, the lefty acquirred last month from Washington in the Brandon Kintzler trade. I didn't see him, or Bryan Sammons, the Twins' eight-round pick this June, another college draftee.

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