Cedar Rapids Professional Baseball Alumni and the MLB Amateur Draft
There have been many players who have come through Cedar Rapids since the first MLB amateur draft was held in 1965. The first player selected in the draft who would play in Cedar Rapids was Joe DiFabio, a pitcher from Delta State University in Cleveland, MS, who was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 20th overall pick in the initial draft in 1965. DiFabio would pitch for the Cedar Rapids Cardinals in 1966 posting a 11-3 record with a 1.86 E.R.A. in 17 games.
Jerry Pruett was selected with the Cardinals fifth round pick in 1965 and joined DiFabio on the 1966 Cedar Rapids Cardinals squad. Pruett posted a 13-7 mark with a 2.85 E.R.A. in 23 starts. The team finished 81-40 in 1st place during the regular season under manager Ron Plaza. The Cedar Rapids Cardinals fell to Fox Cities 2 games to 1 in the Championship Series.
Terry Milani was selected in the second round out of Lewis University in Romeoville, IL. Milani would play for the Cedar Rapids Cardinals in 1968 and 1969. He hit .244 wityh 5 HR in 1968 and returned in 1969 to hit .230.
The St. Louis Cardinals were more successful with their 1967 draft. They selected Ted Simmons with the 10th overall pick and followed that up selecting Jerry Reuss in the second round. Simmons and Reuss each arrived in Cedar Rapids during the second half of the season and went on to very successful All-Star careers with World Series appearances.
The highest selection to ever play for Cedar Rapids was Kurt Stillwell who was selected with the second overall pick in the 1983 draft by the Cincinnati Reds. Kurt Stillwell was part of the 1984 Cedar Rapids Reds team that finished 4th with a mark of 75-63 under manager Jim Lett. Stillwell hit .251 with 4 HR, 33 RBI and stole 24 bases in 112 games.
A second Cedar Rapids Professional Baseball Alum, Eddie Williams, was selected with the fourth overall pick of that 1983 draft by the New York Mets. He was traded to the Reds on June 15, 1984 along with Matt Bullinger and Jay Tibbs in exchange for Bruce Berenyi. Eddie Williams was a member of the 1985 Cedar Rapids Reds team that finished in 3rd place with a record of 78-61 under manager Jay Ward. Williams hit .261 with 20 HR in 199 games for the Cedar Rapids Reds.
The Giants selected Ted Barnicle eighth overall in 1975 and sent him to Cedar Rapids for the 1976 season. Barnicle pitched a complete game no-hitter against Dubuque on June 29, 1976.
In more recent years, the highest selection from the Angels to play in Cedar Rapids was Joe Torres who pitched for the Kernels during the 2001, 2002 and 2005 seasons. Torres was the 10th overall pick in the 2000 draft. He continues to pitch in the Colorado Rockies organization but has yet to reach the big leagues.
Several other Angels first round selections have played in Cedar Rapids during our affiliation. Casey Kotchman (2001-13th overall), Joe Saunders (2002-12th overall), Brandon Wood (2003-23rd overall), Trevor Bell (2005-37th overall), Hank Conger (2006-25th overall), Randal Grichuk (2009-24th overall), Mike Trout (2009-25th overall), Tyler Skaggs (2009-40th overall), Garrett Richards (2009-42nd overall) and Tyler Kehrer (2009-48th overall) in recent seasons.
Kaleb Cowart (2010-18th overall), Cameron Bedrosian (2010-29th overall) and Chevez Clarke (2010 -30th overall) have been playing for the 2012 Cedar Rapids Kernels squad.