116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — When you're 20 years old, in low-Class A and playing just your third season of professional baseball, you wouldn't think you'd have much worry about being traded. There are plenty of other things on which to concentrate.
But Tyler Watson said he always considered a trade a possibility. It was the team he was dealt to that caught him offguard.
'I didn't think we were talking to the Twins,' Watson said Thursday night, after his Cedar Rapids Kernels lost to Kane County, 6-1, at Veterans Memorial Stadium. 'I thought maybe the Athletics. But when that didn't happen, I thought I'd (stay) the rest of the season.'
Watson changed organizations Monday when he was included in a MLB trade deadline deal that sent major league reliever Brandon Kintzler from the Minnesota Twins to the Washington Nationals. The Twins picked up $500,000 in international bonus pool money and the 20-year-old from suburban Phoenix.
He immediately was assigned to the Kernels, hopped on a plane Tuesday morning, made it to Iowa that afternoon and got his first Twins/Kernels start here.
'A couple of minutes before the deadline, I was told I was going to be a Twin,' he said. 'My heart was racing. I'm still trying to process what is happening. Now that I look at it, it's pretty exciting. I'm happy to be able to hopefully make a contribution to this team.'
A 6-foot-5 left-hander, Watson was drafted by the Nationals in the 34th round in 2015 out of high school. He signed for top 10-round money ($400,000), eschewing a commitment to Loyola Marymount University, and had ascended gradually through Washington's farm system.
He'd made 18 appearances, 17 starts, for low-A Hagerstown at the time of the trade, striking out 98 hitters in 93 innings. Those numbers belie the fact that he doesn't throw hard: a cutting fastball that was consistently 86 to 88 miles per hour, a changeup and curveball.
He knows how to mix and locate, which, obviously, is a must with his stuff. Watson threw 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and four runs, walking one and striking out four.
He was touched for a pair of solo home runs, leaving the game with two runners on that eventually came around to score.
'I think I did pretty well throwing strikes and keeping the ball down,' he said. 'The few I got up, those went out. That's baseball. But for the most part, I think I did pretty well.'
'I think he did just fine,' said Kernels pitching coach J.P. Martinez. 'I thought he was ahead (in counts) all night. He's got some angle and deception to the fastball, coming downhill. He really kept them honest with his changeup, which he spotted pretty good. I thought he pitched better than his line.'
The Kernels and Cougars play the final game of the three-game series Friday night at 6:35. It's also the finale of a seven-game C.R. homestand.
These clubs will play each other in the first round of the Midwest League playoffs next month. The Kernels will host Game 1 on Wednesday, Sept. 6, at 6:35, with Games 2 and 3 (if needed) the following nights in suburban Chicago.
l Comments: (319) 398-8259; email@example.com