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Hendriks vs Trout... I've Seen This Before

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Barring something unforeseen happening, when Twins starting pitcher Liam Hendriks toes the rubber Wednesday night, he’ll be staring down Angels’ top prospect Mike Trout, who’s been hitting in the leadoff spot for the Halos since being promoted a few days ago.

Talk about déjà vu flashbacks.

Liam Hendriks
Just over two years ago, the Beloit Snappers opened their season against the Angels’ Midwest League affiliate, the Cedar Rapids Kernels, and I sat through a 10-inning 1-0 Snappers win in 37 degree temperatures. You can read all about it and see how photo-happy I was in those days by clicking here to go back to a Knuckleballs post I put up after the game.

You’ll note from the story that Liam Hendriks started that game for the Snappers and pitched five strong innings. What you won’t read in that story, because I focused so much on the Snappers, is that Mike Trout was the starting centerfielder for the Kernels.

Mike Trout
By the way, I’ve already started gathering my Mike Trout collectables… I’ve got a pack of Kernels baseball cards from 2010 with Trout’s card right up there on top and the Kernels gave away Mike Trout bobbleheads at their home opener this season. Yes, I made sure I was there early enough to be one of the first 1,000 in the gate (which I needn’t have done… they were still handing them out to people who came through the turnstiles at game time).

So, yes, I’ve seen Liam Hendriks face Mike Trout already.

If you regularly attend minor league games, you become accustomed to seeing a fortunate few of these kids eventually wear Major League uniforms, but I have to admit that seeing two of them rise to become Big Leaguers in just two years after playing here in Cedar Rapids seems rare. As it turns out, though, maybe it’s not as rare as I think. Three of Trout's team mates on that 2010 Kernels team have already made their MLB debuts. Trout’s the only position player, but pitchers David Carpenter, Garrett Richards and Patrick Corbin have all already made appearances for the Angels or, in Corbin’s case, the D’Backs.

That Snappers line up on Opening Day 2010 was nothing to sneeze at either. Hendriks is the only 2010 Snapper to make the Big Leagues (unless you count JJ Hardy, who rehabbed with Beloit for three games that season), but it won’t be that way for long. Check out the picture I posted of my scorecard from that game in April, 2010.

See any familiar names? How about… Brian Dozier at SS. He’s still in Rochester, but it shouldn’t be long before he joins his former Snapper team mate Hendriks in Minnesota.

Aaron Hicks and James Beresford were in the line up that day… both have reached AA New Britain now. So has pitcher Dakota Watts, who also was with Beloit at the start of 2010. BJ Hermsen pitched in Beloit that year, as well, but I don’t believe he even began the year there. Now, he’s also a Rock Cat after being promoted recently.

You’ll also see names like Angel Morales, Michael Gonzales, Danny Rams and Anderson Hidalgo on that scorecard. While their former team mate Hendriks is in The Show, they’ve progressed just one rung up the ladder to High-A Ft. Myers since that Opening Day two years ago. But they’re still chasing that dream.

Wednesday night (and likely Thursday and Friday, as well), I’ll be out at Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids again… watching this year’s Beloit Snappers face the current Cedar Rapids Kernels. I’ll have my eyes on the “big names” like Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario, arguably the Twins two top prospects, but who else will stand out? Which of these “kids” will have a chance to live the fairy tale some day and wear a Big League uniform for the Twins or Angels… or maybe another organization if that should be their fate?

For about $10, you can get the best seat in the house at a minor league ballpark like the one we have here in Cedar Rapids. For that price, you get to watch future Major League ballplayers play baseball. How can you beat that?

Man, I love this game.

- JC
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  1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    Good stuff. That is an interesting lineup--players all over the place now.
  2. davidjcampbell's Avatar
    This is great to keep things in perspective - thanks for the post.
  3. TwinsGuy55422's Avatar
    I didn't realize that Hendriks was in Beloit just two years ago. He certainly made a quick progression through the system.
  4. Jim Crikket's Avatar
    Perhaps, based on recent results, his progression was a bit too quick. It might do him some good to see some AAA hitters for a bit and then try again. He's still pretty young.

    Thank you all for your comments on the post. I appreciate it.
  5. MWLFan's Avatar
    Can't wait for your eval of Sano and Rosario. Thought about heading to Cedar Rapids Friday night, just not sure we will have time. Saturday or Sunday games are much more palatable for that trip. Enjoy!
  6. Jim Crikket's Avatar
    I intentionally didn't do a write-up of the Wednesday night game. The Snappers won 6-5 and Sano went 3 for 5 with a double and Rosario was hitless. But the reason I'm holding off on writing is that... man... did they look BAD in the field. I'm hoping things go better tonight and Friday. Rosario had a ground ball go right under him and Sano launched a throw in to right field that was supposed to go somewhere close to 2B. He also got the error when he and Petterson, the SS, bumped in to one another and ended up letting a pop fly in shallow LF drop to the ground.

    Taking the camera to the game tonight so I'll probably be posting something at Knuckleballs tonight or tomorrow... certainly by Saturday.
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