Baseball notebook: Will Kernels get top draft pick Royce Lewis by season's end?

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CEDAR RAPIDS — A first-overall draft pick has never played for a Cedar Rapids professional baseball team.

There have been plenty who have actually played at Veterans Memorial Stadium as part of an opposing club. Like Carlos Correa, Mark Appel, Luke Hochevar and Justin Upton.

But, so far, none have played here.

That’ll change with shortstop Royce Lewis. The 18-year-old Californian was taken by the Minnesota Twins with the very first pick of last month’s MLB draft and signed for $6.7 million.

C.R. is the Twins’ low-A affiliate. He’ll be a Kernel at some point.

Will that “some point” be this season? Lewis is off to a .323 start in his professional career with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Twins, with lots of extra-base hits (six doubles, a triple and two home runs in 15 games).

He has walked as many times as he has struck out (six). His GCL manager, Ramon Borrego, told the St. Paul Pioneer-Press this week that his recommendation to the Twins is to send Lewis to the Midwest League, that he’s ready.

According to Darren Wolfson of KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities, a Twins official said Borrego’s recommendation probably won’t happen ... yet.

“He probably isn’t moving anytime soon,” Wolfson quoted the official on Twitter. “What’s the rush?”

The rumor mill also has outfielder Brent Rooker joining the Kernels at some point this season. He was the 35th-overall pick this season out of Mississippi State and was hitting .288 with six home runs in 19 games for Rookie-level Elizabethton.

If you are a prospect nick, needless to say, you’ll be watching the Midwest League’s transaction wire closely the next month and a half.

KERNELS IN AN OFFENSIVE SLUMP

When four regulars got promoted to high-Class A Fort Myers to begin the second half of the season, you figured it’d take awhile for the Kernels’ offense to come together. It still hasn’t.

Going into Saturday night’s game at South Bend, the Kernels were on a four-game losing streak where scoring runs was proving to be very problematic. Getting hits was as well. Cedar Rapids had just 11 hits total in those four losses and was shutout three times.

In the only non-shutout, the Kernels scored all of two runs.

BRAVES CONDUCTING TRYOUT CAMP IN MASON CITY

The Atlanta Braves tryout camp in Mason City has been moved back to August 8 at Roosevelt Field. Players ages 16 to 23 are encouraged to attend the camp, which begins at 9 a.m.

The Braves will provide bats and baseball, with participants using their own gloves and cleats.

Contact David Welter with the Braves for more information (319-404-5022/david.welter14@gmail.com). The original camp date was July 31.

HOW THEY’RE DOING

Jake Adams (University of Iowa) — First baseman homered in back-to-back games this week for Short season-A Tri-City (Astros), bringing his season total to five in 18 games. Has .203 batting average and 12 RBIs.

Joel Booker (University of Iowa) — Outfielder struggling since promotion to high-A Winston-Salem (White Sox), hitting .169 in 18 games, with no homers, three RBIs and three stolen bases.

Matt Dermody (University of Iowa) — Has a 5-1 record and 3.08 earned run average in 29 games for Triple-A Buffalo (Blue Jays). Has 37 strikeouts in 38 innings.

Ryan Erickson (University of Iowa) — Has appeared in five games for Arizona Rookie League White Sox. Has a save and 5.40 ERA, with seven strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.

Blake Hickman (University of Iowa) — Pitcher is 1-4 with a 4.70 ERA in eight starts for low-A Kannapolis (White Sox). Allowed just 45 hits in 46 innings.

Jon Keller (Cedar Rapids Xavier) — Pitcher is nearing end of rehab assignment to Short season-A Aberdeen (Orioles), and it has gone well. Is 2-0 in eight appearances, with 0.69 ERA. Has given up just nine hits/walks in 13 innings, with 17 strikeouts.

Mitch Keller (Cedar Rapids Xavier) — Pitcher continues pushing toward a promotion. Is 4-2 with a 2.78 ERA in 11 starts for high-A Bradenton (Pirates). Allowed just 37 hits in 55 innings.

Derrick Loveless (Solon) — Outfielder was 2-for-5 with 2 RBIs Friday night for Double-A New Hampshire (Blue Jays) in a game against Portland. Hitting .262 in 46 games, with 14 RBIs.

Mason McCoy (University of Iowa) — Infielder up to a .310 average for Short season-A Aberdeen (Orioles) in 10 games. Includes a 3-for-3 game recently, with three RBIs and two walks.

Tyler Peyton (University of Iowa) — Pitcher is 2-3 with a 4.85 ERA in 10 games, two starts, for low-A South Bend (Cubs).

A.J. Puk (Cedar Rapids Washington) — Pitcher’s start this week for Double-A Midland (Athletics) was five innings, allowing five hits and a run, while striking out seven. Is 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA overall in four starts in the Texas League.

Scott Schebler (Cedar Rapids Prairie) — Cincinnati Reds outfielder hit his 22nd home run of the season this week. Has a .254 average in 85 games, with 44 RBIs.

Jake Yacinich (University of Iowa) — Shortstop is hitting .277 in 62 games for high-A Inland Empire (Angels), with four homers and 19 RBIs.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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