CEDAR RAPIDS — It was hit 416 feet with an exit velocity of 107 miles per hour. The launch angle of his swing was 29 degrees.
Anyone who follows the game closely these days craves those numbers, which come from the TrackMan radar system that is so ominpresent in today’s baseball. TrackMan can precisely measure just about every movement on the field, whether it’s at the plate, on the mound or in the field.
If you’re not into all that analytics-type stuff, let’s just simply say Trey Cabbage’s leadoff home run to right field in the seventh inning Friday night was crushed. Absolutely crushed.
It broke a scoreless tie and helped the Cedar Rapids Kernels cop an eventual 4-1 win over Beloit at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Chris Williams followed with an almost equally impressive shot to left, as the Kernels (7-8) won their third straight to inch closer to the .500 mark.
“You don’t really feel it,” Cabbage said, when asked what it’s like when you barrel up a baseball up. “You hear it, and you know you got a good piece of it. It’s euphoria. The best feeling ever.”
There are a lot of great feelings going around about Cabbage’s start to the Midwest League season. He’s hitting for average, hitting for power, walking more ... just being generally very productive.
The 21-year-old from Tennessee spent all of last season with the Kernels and 47 games with them in 2017. He wants the heck out of here, obviously.
His five homers rank second in the Midwest League, and he’s fourth in RBIs (13) and around the leaderboard in batting average (.347). There’s probably no one in the Minnesota Twins farm system who has more raw power, but it’s getting to it consistently that has been the issue.
Cabbage credits hitting coach Ryan Smith, in his first season of pro ball, with his quick (and powerful) start.
“I came up here with Smitty challenging me with some different stuff,” said Cabbage, who appeared in one major league spring training game for the Twins this year. “He said last year I was kind of treating the symptoms and not the source of my swing problems. He just said ‘Buy in, and we can make a big change.’ I did, and it has paid off so far. I need to keep it up.”
“He’s hitting everything on the screws right now,” said Kernels Manager Brian Dinkelman. “He’s having good at-bats, swinging at more strikes. He’s got confidence right now. It makes hitting a little bit easier when you’ve got confidence on your side.”
Williams also had a two-run double in a productive night at the plate. By the way, his home run over the party deck was a mere 380 feet. Austin Schulfer (2-1) threw three good innings in relief of starting pitcher Cole Sands to pick up the victory.
The teams conclude their three-game series Saturday afternoon at 2:05. It’s the finish of a whopping 12-game homestand for Cedar Rapids.
Before Friday night’s game, the Kernels announced pitcher Jose Martinez (groin strain) has been placed on the seven-day disabled list. Pitcher Tyler Palm (back) comes off the IL to replace him on the active roster.
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