Casey Kotchman was a member of the Cedar Rapids Kernels squad that opened New Veterans Memorial Stadium in 2002. Kotchman hit .281 with 5 HR, 30 doubles and 50 RBI in 81 games as the Kernels finished 81-58 under manager Todd Clauss defeating Quad Cities in the opening round and then losing to Peoria in the semi finals of the Midwest League playoffs.
Casey Kotchman has hit .262 with 71 HR and 387 RBI during his nine year MLB career playing for the Angels, Braves, Red Sox, Mariners, Rays and Indians. Kotchman hit .229 with 12 HR and 55 RBI for the Indians in 2012.
Dallas McPherson (Cedar Rapids Kernels – 2002) has signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. McPherson hit .265 with 17 HR and 62 RBI splitting time playing for the Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox – Triple-A) and the Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates – Triple-A) in 2012. He has hit .241 with 18 HR and 45 RBI in 139 games over 5 MLB seasons playing for the Angels, Marlins and White Sox. McPherson last played in the bigs with the White Sox in 2011.
Dallas McPherson was part of the 2002 Kernels team that finished 3rd with a mark of 81-58 under manager Todd Claus. The 2002 team swept Quad Cities in the opening round of the playoffs before falling to Peoria in the second round. McPherson hit .277 with 15 HR, 88 RBI and stole 30 bases in 132 games for the Kernels.
This morning’s Sean O’Sullivan (2007) to the Padres post made me realize that I had been tweeting a lot of the minor league free agent signings, but I had not been updating them here on the blog. Here is the most updated list to the best of my knowledge.
David Herndon (2007) was claimed off waivers twice this off season and then was designated for assignment by the Yankees to accompany additional roster moves. Herndon then chose to sign a minor league deal with the Yankees. He posted a 2-8 record with a 3.85 E.R.A. in 97 games for the Phillies between 2010 and 2012 appearing in just five games this season before the injury shut him down.
David Herndon posted a 13-8 record with a 4.02 E.R.A. with two complete games in 25 appearances for Cedar Rapids in 2007. Herndon struck out 83 batters in 152 1/3 innings of work. Cedar Rapids finished the season with a 78-61 record under manager Ever Magallanes. The Kernels lost to the Clinton Lumberkings in the first round of the Midwest League Playoffs.
Darwin Perez (2009) signed a minor league deal with the Oakland Athletics after spending seven seasons in the Angels organization. Perez hit .214 with 6 HR and 36 RBI in 126 games for the Arkansas Travelers in 2012. He won the Rawlings MiLB Gold Glove at second base in 2011.
Darwin Perez hit .261 with 2 HR, 42 RBI and stole 11 bases in 106 games for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in 2009. Cedar Rapids finished the season with a 78-60 record under manager Bill Mosiello. The Kernels topped Peoria in the first round of the Midwest League Playoffs before falling to Burlington in the semifinals.
Trevor Reckling (2008) has signed a minor league deal to join the Chicago White Sox organization. Reckling pitched in the Angels organization for six seasons. He appeared in just four games for the Inland Empire 66ers in 2012. Reckling pitched in the 2009 Futures Game for team USA and reached as high as Triple-A pitching for the Salt Lake Bees in 2010 at the age of 21.
Trevor Reckling posted a 10-7 record with a 3.37 E.R.A. with one complete game in 26 starts for Cedar Rapids in 2008. Reckling struck out 128 batters in 152 1/3 innings of work and was selected to play in the Midwest League All-Star game. Cedar Rapids finished the season with a 72-66 record under manager Keith Johnson. The Kernels topped Clinton in the first round of the Midwest League Playoffs before falling to Burlington in the semifinals.
Alberto Rosario (2008) signed a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox. Rosario caught within the Angels organization for the last seven seasons. He split time playing for the Arkansas Travelers and the Salt Lake Bees in 2012.
Alberto Rosario hit .239 in 14 games for the 2008 Cedar Rapids Kernels squad before being promoted to play for the the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
Hainley Statia hit .297 with 31 doubles, 1 HR, 38 RBI and stole 23 bases for the 2006 Kernels squad. Cedar Rapids finished the season with a 65-74 record under manager Bobby Magallanes.
Rich Thompson (2003) signed a minor league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays earlier this week. Thompson has compiled a 3-4 record with a 4.21 E.R.A. in six MLB seasons playing for the Angels and Athletics. He has struck out 105 batters in 104 2/3 innings of work in 82 games.
Rich Thompson posted a 1-2 record with a miniscule 0.24 E.R.A. and 9 saves in 31 games for the 2003 Cedar Rapids Kernels. The team finished in 10th place at 66-72 under manager Todd Claus. Thompson played in the 2007 Futures game representing Australia on the World team.
Brandon Wood (2004) signed a minor league deal with the Kansas City Royals. Wood had spent the 2012 season playing for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Rockies Triple-A) where he hit .259 with 10 HR and 64 RBI in 119 games. Brandon Wood has hit .186 with 18 HR and 64 RBI during his five MLB seasons playing for the Angels and Pirates.
Brandon Wood was a member of the 2004 Cedar Rapids Kernels team that finished with a record of 75-64 under manager Bobby Magallanes. The Kernels lost in the 1st round of the Midwest League playoffs to the Clinton Lumbkerkings. Wood hit .251 with 11 HR, 30 doubles, 64 RBI and stole 21 bases in 125 games for the Kernels. He won the Midwest League HR Derby at the 2004 MWL All-Star game hosted in Cedar Rapids.
That is all for now. I will continue to try and add these as I see them.
The Toronto Blue Jays have traded Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafani, Justin Nicolini, Jake Marisnick and Jeff Mathis (Cedar Rapids Kernels – 2002) to the Miami Marlins to acquire Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck, Emilio Bonifacio and $4 million in cash according to reports . The deal saddens me a bit as a Marlins fan to see them slash payroll once again only one year into their new stadium. It does give me a Cedar Rapids alum in Marlins uniform to cheer for again. I know a Marlins fan in Iowa doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I needed a National League team (Yankees fan from birth) and chose them over the Rockies in their expansion year. Dallas McPherson (Cedar Rapids Kernels – 2002) was our last alumni to play in a game for the Marlins back in 2008. Mathis will be facing an uphill battle for playing time with Rob Brantly being a fixture in the Marlins future plans after coming over from the Detroit Tigers along with Jacob Turner in the Anibal Sanchez / Omar Infante trade last season.
Jeff Mathis has hit .198 with 61 doubles, 31 HR and 166 RBI during his eight year MLB career playing for the Angels and Blue Jays. Mathis hit .218 with 8 HR and 27 RBI in 71 games for Toronto in 2012.
Jeff Mathis was part of the 2002 Kernels team that finished 3rd with a mark of 81-58 under manager Todd Claus. The 2002 team swept Quad Cities in the opening round of the playoffs before falling to Peoria in the second round. Mathis hit .287 with 41 doubles, 10 HR and 73 RBI in 128 games for Cedar Rapids. He was inducted into the Cedar Rapids Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011. Mathis was a great community guy making many public appearances for the Kernels while he was in Cedar Rapids back in 2002. He continued the support conducting a catchers camp at Perfect Game’s facilities in the morning during his trip back for our Hall of Fame banquet in 2011.
The off season is officially here for me. Our baseball stories obviously die down during the fall and winter months. I will be picking up the Cael’s Collection features to share some of the baseball cards of Cedar Rapids professional baseball players that I have picked up.
This morning’s selections are a trio of Jared Abruzzo cards. Abruzzo played in Cedar Rapids in 2001 and 2003. He was a second round draft pick out of El Capitan High School in Lakeside, California by the Los Angeles Angels in the 2000 MLB draft. Abruzzo hit .241 with 20 doubles, 10 HR and 53 RBI in 87 games for the 2001 Kernels squad before earning a promotion to Rancho Cucamonga mid-season. The 2001 Kernels finished fifth in the West Division of the Midwest League with a 60-77 record under manager Tyrone Boykin.
Jared Abruzzo returned to Cedar Rapids for the 2003 season where he hit .271 with 30 doubles, 13 HR and 73 RBI in 130 games. Abruzzo was selected to the Midwest League All-Star squad. The Kernels posted a 66-72 record under the guidance of Todd Claus to finish in fifth place in the Midwest League’s West Division.
Jared Abruzzo played his final season in the Angels organization with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Hi-A) in 2004. Abruzzo then split a season playing for the Bakersfield Blaze (Hi-A) and the Frisco RoughRiders (AA) in the Texas Rangers system. He served as a varsity assistant coach at El Capitan High School in 2012. Abruzzo coaches the East County Pirates travel-ball team as well.
I have picked up a pair of relic cards from the 2002 Bowman set and an autographed card from the 2001 Royal Rookies set of Abruzzo. The relic cards are numbered BR-JA1 and BR-JA2. The game used bat card was one of the earliest to feature a minor league player. Theses cards are usually available for $5 or less on Ebay if you are willing to wait with the bat showing up less often than the jersey card. The Royal Rookies autographed card is serial numbered 1944/6995 and also can be picked up for $5 or less delivered to your door. There is a 2001 Bowman certified autograph card of Abruzzo that I have not picked up yet, but that is about the only other relic / autograph card I have seen listed.
Joe Saunders (Cedar Rapids Kernels – 2002) will get the start tonight for the Baltimore Orioles as they take on the Texas Rangers and Saunders’ former battery mate Mike Napoli (Cedar Rapids Kernels 2001-02) in the first ever American League Wild Card game tonight at Rangers Ballpark. The Orioles feature two additional Kernels alumni in starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez (2005) and relief pitcher Darren O’Day (2006).
The fifth Cedar Rapids Kernels alumni who has a chance at playing baseball this October is St. Louis Cardinals reliever Barret Browning (2007). The Cardinals travel to Atlanta to take on the Braves in the first ever National League Wild Card game tonight at Turner Field.
The Baltimore Orioles traded Matt Lindstrom and cash to the Arizona Diamondbacks to acquire Joe Saunders (2002) on August 26 this season. Saunders posted a 3-3 record with a 3.63 E.R.A. in 7 starts for the Orioles. He had posted a 6-10 record with a 4.22 E.R.A. in 21 starts for Arizona prior to the trade. Saunders was acquired by the Diamondbacksalong with Patrick Corbin (2010), Tyler Skaggs (2010) and Rafael Rodriguez (2003-05) from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for Dan Haren on July 25, 2010. Saunders has compiled a 78-65 career MLB record with a 4.15 E.R.A. in eight season pitching for the Angels, Diamondbacks and Orioles.
Joe Saunders was part of the 2002 Kernels team that finished 3rd with a mark of 81-58 under manager Todd Claus. The 2002 team swept Quad Cities in the opening round of the playoffs before falling to Peoria in the second round. Saunders was 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA in five starts for the Kernels. He struck out 27 batters in 28 2/3 innings of work.
Mike Napoli has hit .259 with 146 HR and 380 RBI thus far during his seven MLB seasons with the Angels and Rangers. He had a career best year in 2011, hitting .320 with 30 HR, 75 RBI and a OPS of 1.046. Napoli capped it off with a very impressive 2011 World Series where he hit .350 with 2 HR, 10 RBI and a 1.164 OPS in the seven game series. Mike Napoli is one of only two MLB catchers who have hit 20 or more HR each of the last five seasons (Brian McCann-ATL).
Mike Napoli was a member of the 2001 and 2002 Cedar Rapids Kernels teams. In 2001, the Kernels finished 60-77 under manager Tyrone Boykin. Napoli hit .232 with 5 HR and 18 RBI in 43 games for Cedar Rapids. In 2002, the Kernels posted a 81-58 mark under manager Todd Claus. Napoli hit .251 with 10 HR, 19 doubles and had 50 RBI in 103 games for Cedar Rapids in 2002.
The Orioles claimed righty reliever Darren O’Day off waivers from the Rangers last fall. O’Day, 29, had battled through injuries and posted a 0-1 record with a 5.40 E.R.A. in 2011. He joined the Rangers via an April 2009 waiver claim from the Mets. From that point through the end of the 2010 season, O’Day provided the Rangers a 1.99 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, and 0.61 HR/9 in 117 2/3 innings. He made an appearance in four of the 2010 World Series games. Darren O’Day is 7-1 with a 2.28 E.R.A. in 69 games out of the Orioles bullpen in 2012. O’Day has struck out 69 batters in 67 innings of work. O’Day has compiled a career mark of 15-6 with a 2.73 E.R.A.
Darren O’Day posted a 3-1 mark with a 2.70 E.R.A. in 23 1/2 innings of work over 17 appearances for Cedar Rapids in 2006. The Kernels finished 65-74 under manager Bobby Magallanes in 2006.
Miguel Gonzalez signed a free agent deal with the Baltimore Orioles this past off season after being selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 2008 Rule V draft.. Gonzalez posted a 2-1 record with a save and a 1.50 E.R.A. for the Norfolk Tides (AAA) before making his MLB debut on May 25, 2012. Miguel Gonzalez had a break out 2012 season going 9-4 with a 3.25 E.R.A. in 18 games including 15 starts for the Orioles. He struck out 77 batters in 105 1/3 innings of work.
Miguel Gonzalez posted a 2-5 record with 8 saves and a 4.70 E.R.A in 28 games for the 2005 Cedar Rapids Kernels. He struck out 42 batters in 44 innings of work. Cedar Rapids finished the 2005 season with a 65-75 record under manager Bobby Magallanes.
Barret Browning was acquired by the Cardinals in the AAA phase of the Rule V draft this past off season. Browning was 2-3 with a 1.89 E.R.A. in 30 games for the Memphis Redbirds this season before making his MLB debut on June 30, 2012. He posted a 1-3 record with a 5.12 E.R.A. in 22 appearances out of the Cardinals bullpen. Browning struck out 11 in 19 1/3 innings of work.
Barret Browning posted a 9-4 record with 8 saves and a 2.80 E.R.A in 48 games for the 2007 Cedar Rapids Kernels. He struck out 74 batters in 74 innings of work in 2007. Browning made his major league debut on June 30, 2012 with the St. Louis Cardinals.
On September 28, 2009, Ervin Santana (Cedar Rapids Kernels – 2002) pitched a complete game shutout to lead the Angels to a 11-0 victory over the Texas Rangers at Angels Stadium. Santana struck out two while allowing seven hits and one walk to earn the win.
Ervin Santana has posted a 96-79 record and a 4.30 E.R.A. during his eight year career thus far playing for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Santana was selected to the 2008 American League All-Star team and pitched a no-hitter on July 27, 2011.
Ervin Santana was a member of the Cedar Rapids Kernels squad that opened New Veterans Memorial Stadium in 2002. Santana posted a 14-8 record with a 4.16 E.R.A. in 27 starts as the Kernels finished 81-58 under manager Todd Clauss defeating Quad Cities in the opening round and then losing to Peoria in the semi finals of the Midwest League playoffs. He struck out 146 batters in 147 innings of work in 2002.
On April 22, 2008, Erick Aybar (2003) set a career high with three doubles and scored a run in the Angels 7-6 loss to the Red Sox. Jeff Mathis (2002) had a good day at the plate as well, going 2-4 with a home run and three RBI while scoring two runs. Casey Kotchman (2002) added a solo home run going 1-4 in the loss.
Erick Aybar hit .308 with six HR, 10 triples, 57 RBI and stole 32 bases in 125 games for the 2003 Cedar Rapids Kernels. The team finished in 10th place at 66-72 under manager Todd Claus.
Mathis and Kotchman were both part of the 2002 Kernels team that finished 3rd with a mark of 81-58 under manager Todd Claus. The 2002 team swept Quad Cities in the opening round of the playoffs before falling to Peoria in the second round. Mathis hit .287 with 10 HR, 41 doubles and 73 RBI in 128 games while Kotchman posted a .281 batting average with five HR, 30 doubles and 50 RBI in 81 games.
Aybar recently signed a four year $35 million extension with the Angels. Jeff Mathis was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays this past off season and Casey Kotchman signed a free agent contract to play for the Cleveland Indians.
Jeff Mathis has hit .194 with 26 HR and 139 RBI during his seven season MLB career playing for the Angels.
Jeff Mathis was part of the 2002 Kernels team that finished 3rd with a mark of 81-58 under manager Todd Claus. The 2002 team swept Quad Cities in the opening round of the playoffs before falling to Peoria in the second round. Mathis hit .287 with 41 doubles, 10 HR and 73 RBI in 128 games for Cedar Rapids.