116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Leading the Midwest League in pitching wins might not be a resume topper.
It is a nice deal, for sure. Kind of neat to see your name at the top of that list.
But a lot of variables go into it, including how much run support your teammates give you. A dude sometimes can pile up Ws without actually throwing all that well.
In saying that, though, Brent Headrick of the Cedar Rapids Kernels is tied for the MWL victories lead with seven after his team disposed of West Michigan, 4-2, Wednesday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Stadium, and he has pitched very well this season. That’s a two-fer that’s legit.
“If you’re getting wins, it means you’re going deeper into the game,” said Kernels Manager Brian Dinkelman. “So he’s giving us at least five innings, which is good for a starter ... He’s been pretty solid all year for us. He goes right after hitters.”
“It’s always good to get the win,” Headrick said. “With the Kernels, I’ve got good defense behind me, great hitting, great relievers, as you saw today. They came through and just dominated. It’s a lot of fun to win, and hopefully we can keep doing it.”
Headrick is a 24-year-old southpaw who was a ninth-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2019 out of Illinois State University. His stuff doesn’t necessarily wow you (a low-90s fastball), but he can spin it, as the saying goes, can throw strikes with that spin.
He has added a splitter, which is emerging as an important pitch, especially to righties. That was suggested to him in spring training.
Headrick made 14 starts last season for low-Class A Fort Myers, going 3-5 with a 3.82 earned run average, striking out 86 in 61 1/3 innings. He’s 7-2 this season, with a 2.48 ERA, lowering his WHIP (walks plus hits to innings pitched) from 1.58 to an exquisite 0.92.
“A lot of work this offseason,” he said. “Changing mechanics, getting into a better spot, not just with the fastball, but the slider and the splitter. It’s been good. Just trusting myself, getting into better situations. Definitely this offseason was big for me, and I just want to build off of this the rest of the season.”
Headrick went five innings here, giving up just two hits and a run. He was coming off a poor start in which he lasted just one inning, giving up five hits and four runs.
Seth Gray’s two-run home run off the pitch clock in right-center field gave him and the Kernels (a league-best 43-22 record) a 4-1 lead. Miguel Rodriguez and Cody Laweryson finished it up out of the bullpen, with Laweryson striking out the side in the seventh after West Michigan had loaded the bases with none out.
“That last start was pretty frustrating, but I just had to flush it pretty much,” Headrick said. “Come out, new week, you can’t turn one bad outing into two. Just trusted my stuff that I’ve had all season. I didn’t change anything, didn’t try to sell the farm. Just came out like I knew I could, pitch to my strengths, and I was able to do good things today.”
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