Minor League Sports

Midwest League notebook: Former Hawkeye Jake Adams makes history again

Kernels center fielder Akil Baddoo slides back into first base on a pickoff attempt as the Quad Cities' Jake Adams goes to tag him at a Kernels baseball game at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, May 17, 2018. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Kernels center fielder Akil Baddoo slides back into first base on a pickoff attempt as the Quad Cities' Jake Adams goes to tag him at a Kernels baseball game at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, May 17, 2018. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Jake Adams will go into the record books. Again.

The former University of Iowa first baseman hit the first home run in the history of the Fayetteville (N.C.) Woodpeckers last month. They’re the high-Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros who are playing their inaugural season of minor league baseball.

Adams, of course, is Iowa’s single-season homer hitter, smashing 29 in just 61 games two years ago.

“I’m extremely grateful to have been drafted by this organization (the Astros),” Adams told milb.com. “They just do it right, they know how to develop players, and (brand new SEGRA Stadium) is incredible, one of the best facilities for us.”

Adams’ homer was of the grand-slam variety, as he set career highs with four hits and seven RBIs in a 15-0 win over Potomac. He had mostly a torrid first month, though he has cooled off a bit in the last week.

The South Dakota native entered Saturday with a .275 batting average in 25 games, including four homers and 20 RBIs. A week ago, he had that BA all the way up to .333.

“I know it’s a climb, it’s a grind, but I’m so glad to be making it,” Adams told milb.com.

The 23-year-old slugger began last season in the Midwest League with the Quad Cities River Bandits, but got a promotion after hitting .277 with eight home runs in his first 48 games. He ended up hitting seven more homers upon his promotion to Buies Creek, then the Astros’ high-A affiliate.

Adams was a sixth-round draft pick of Houston in the 2017 draft and signed, eschewing another year of eligibility with the Hawkeyes.

AROUND THE HORN

Speaking of Quad Cities, the flood-ravaged ballclub will play three Midwest League games against the Lansing Lugnuts at Iowa’s Duane Banks Field this week. QC’s Modern Woodmen Ballpark is unavailable because of record flooding of the Mississippi River that has crushed downtown Davenport. Quad Cities and Lansing will play at 6:35 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights, with no admission being charged to any of the games. Ironically, those teams had to play a series in Iowa City in 2008 because of flooding.

 Outfielder Trey Cabbage is 3-for-10 in three games since being promoted from the Cedar Rapids Kernels to high-A Fort Myers. That includes a 2-for-5 game Friday night at Palm Beach, including a double and RBI. Cabbage earned his promotion by hitting .313 in 18 games for C.R., including six home runs.

• 2018 Kernels outfielder Alex Kirilloff has belatedly gotten his 2019 season underway at Double-A Pensacola. Kirilloff injured a wrist late in spring training and rested that in April. One of the top 25 to 50 prospects (depending on whom you ask) in the game hit .348 in 130 games last season. He was 1-for-5 with a pair of walks in two games for Pensacola.

 Minnesota’s other mega-prospect is struggling at high-A Fort Myers. Shortstop Royce Lewis took a .208 average into Saturday, the first time in his career he has gone into a month-long offensive drought. Lewis was the top overall draft pick in 2017 and hit .315 in 75 games for the Kernels last season before getting moved up to Fort Myers.

 Attendance in April was down from a year ago in both the majors and minors, in part because of horrible weather, especially in the Midwest. That includes in Cedar Rapids, where going into Saturday the Kernels were averaging 1,008 fans in their first 15 openings. Cedar Rapids had a season-high 2,521 fans Friday night against Dayton.

 The South Bend Cubs have hit only six home runs in their first 27 games, the lowest total in the MWL. C.R.’s Cabbage and Chris Williams, as well as Lake County’s Will Benson have six each individually. Peoria’s Nolan Gorman has seven.

 Despite just a .209 team batting average, the Burlington Bees are tied for first place in the Western Division with a 17-11 record. The biggest reason for that is a pitching staff that ranks second in the MWL with a 2.55 ERA.

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

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