2019 Cedar Rapids Kernels Preliminary Roster Preview
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (Top L to R: Blayne Enlow, Yunior Severino, Bottom L to R: Gilberto Celestino, Jordan Balazovic)Today we look at the Cedar Rapids Kernels players and coaching staff. We’ll try to project (or guess) a solid everyday lineup, and discuss the top prospects. Feel free to share any thoughts you may have on the team or roster, and ask as many questions as you would like.
After several years as hitting coach of the Kernels, former Twins infielder Brian Dinkelman embarks upon his first season as the team’s manager. He will be replaced as hitting coach by two guys. Another former Twins infielder, Luis Rodriguez, moves up from the GCL this year. And Ryan Smith comes to the organization this year from the College of Central Florida (Ocala). Former big-leaguer Virgil Vasquez will be the pitching coach for the Kernels for the first time. He has been in the organization since retiring after the 2014 season.
Here is a look at the Kernels Opening Day roster. Note that this is a tentative roster and can be updated before their season starts on Thursday.
Catchers: David Banuelos, Ben Rodriguez
Infielders: Chris Williams, Yunior Severino, Joe Cronin, Michael Davis, Andrew Bechtold, Trey Cabbage
Outfielders: Jacob Pearson, Gilberto Celestino, DaShawn Keirsey, Jean Carlos Arias, Gabriel Maciel (IL)
Starting Pitchers: Jordan Balazovic, Blayne Enlow, Luis Rijo, Josh Winder, Cole Sands, Austin Schulfer
Relief Pitchers: Zach Neff, Carlos Suniaga, Joe Record, Brian Rapp, Jose Martinez, Andrew Cabezas, Tyler Palm, Alex Schick (IL)
LF - Jacob Pearson
CF - Gilberto Celestino
2B - Yunior Severino
1B - Chris Williams
SS - Michael Davis
RF - DaShawn Keirsey, Jr.
DH - Trey Cabbage
3B - Andrew Bechtold
C - David Banuelos
- Blayne Enlow (Twins Daily #9 Prospect) - Enlow was the team’s third-round pick in 2017. He spent 2018 in Cedar Rapids where he pitched well (3.26 ERA) and was limited to 94 innings. His fastball was in the 91-93 range last year and he flashed the curveball that intrigued teams out of high school.
- Yunior Severino (Twins Daily #15 Prospect) - Acquired after MLB ruled him a free agent after Atlanta got in trouble for their international practices. He joined the Twins and played well in Elizabethton last year. He’s got good pop from both sides of the plate.
- Gilberto Celestino (Twins Daily #16 Prospect) - Came to the Twins from Houston in the Ryan Pressly trade, Celestino is a plus defensive centerfielder. He’s also got a strong right-handed swing that should develop some power.
- Jordan Balazovic - Long and lanky right-hander got stronger in 2018 as things really came together for him. Drafted out of Canada as a raw talent with pitchability, Balazovic has added strength and now throws into the mid-90s.
- DeShawn Keirsey, Jr. - Twins fourth-round pick in 2018 out of Utah. Good speed and defense, Keirsey should also be a top-of-the-order type of hitter. Very athletic and a good approach at the plate.
- Luis Rijo - Rijo came to the Twins from the Yankees (with Tyler Austin) in the Lance Lynn trade in July. He joined the E-Twins after the trade and went 2-0 with a 1.27 ERA over five starts.
- Josh Winder - The Twins seventh-round pick a year ago out of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), he went 3-1 with a 3.96 ERA over nine starts and struck out more than a batter per inning.
- Cole Sands - The Twins fifth-round pick a year ago out of Florida State will make his professional debut when he makes his season debut.
- Wander Javier, the Twins Daily #5 Prospect, is being kept back in Ft. Myers for a little while. I assume that they are deciding not to put him at risk in the cold early in the season. He should be up in Iowa very soon. No one questions the immense talent possessed by Javier. The only problem has been his ability to stay on the field. Power, speed and the ability to play shortstop well.
- There are a lot of good players, including some pitchers who did very well in Elizabethton a year ago, who are starting this season in extended spring training. Many of them will make their way to the Kernels due to injury or poor play or a few other possible reasons.
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