The initial Cedar Rapids Kernels roster for the 2015 season features four players ranked by Baseball America among the top 30 Minnesota Twins prospects, with the most notable one being last year’s 5th overall draft pick, Nick Gordon.
As I wrote in a recent post, Gordon has an impressive baseball pedigree, being the son of longtime MLB pitcher Tom “Flash” Gordon and the younger half-brother of Miami Marlins infielder Dee Gordon (both of whom, incidentally, are former Midwest League prospects of the year). Baseball America, which ranks him sixth among Minnesota prospects, says 19-year-old shortstop Nick “might be the most talented Gordon of all,” and lists him as the best pure hitter in the Twins system.
Last year Gordon batted .294 with 1 HR, 28 RBI and 11 SB in 57 games with the rookie-level Elizabethton Twins before a broken index finger sidelined him during the Appalachian League playoffs. He led all Appy League shortstops with a .964 fielding percentage, making only eight errors.
In addition to Gordon, Baseball America ranks three other Kernels among the top 30 Twins prospects: LHP Stephen Gonsalves (No. 14), RHP Michael Cederoth (No. 23) and RHP Felix Jorge (No. 28).
Gonsalves and Jorge each made eight starts for the Kernels last season; Jorge also made four relief appearances. Cederoth spent 2014 in the Appalachian League, where he employed a 92-94 mph fastball that peaked at 96 mph.
Other returning Kernels include infielder Jonatan Hinojosa and outfielders Tanner English, Zack Granite, Zack Larson and Max Murphy.
Infielder Trey Vavra led the Appalachian League last year with 20 doubles and finished fourth with a .319 batting average. He is the son of longtime Twins coach Joe Vavra and brother of Tanner Vavra, who played for the Kernels last year.