Checking in on the Kernels
Outfielder Byron Buxton is the marquee prospect at Class A Cedar Rapids, but there are several other Kernels players who are worth tracking on a team that improved to 22-9 Friday by beating Quad Cities 2-0 in 11 innings. In addition to Buxton and Jorge Polanco, here are some others:
Mason Melotakis, LHP: His fastball can reach 97 miles per hour — when he’s a reliever. The Twins are trying him out as a starter, and he has the makings of a decent changeup. Melotakis, 21, is 2-1 with 3.80 ERA through five starts, and he can always go back to the bullpen and throw 97 again if starting doesn’t work out.
Tyler Duffey, RHP: A closer at Rice, the Twins are trying him out as a starter, too. Duffey, 22, has taken off, getting a good feel for a changeup and pitching at least seven innings in four of his five starts. He is 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA and also throws a good sinker and slurve.
Adam Brett Walker, OF: He’s listed at 6-4 and 225 pounds and impressed during a predraft workout at Target Field last year. Walker, 21, has to work on his on-base percentage some but the power is there. He is batting .305 with seven homers and 33 RBI in 30 games.
Jose Berrios, RHP: Got a late start to the season because he had to build endurance after being a reliever for Puerto Rico at the World Baseball Classic. Has a fastball in the mid-90s, can change speeds and isn’t afraid to attack hitters. He is 3-0 with a 2.55 ERA. Turns 19 later this month — 19!
Travis Harrison, 3B: He is batting only .252 with five homers and 19 RBI, but Harrison was one of the impressive prep power hitters when the Twins selected him with the 50th overall pick in the 2011 draft. He’s only 20, so there’s room to develop.
La VELLE E. NEAL III