A Cautionary Tale in Cedar Rapids

Kernels fans and Twins fans, alike, can’t help but be excited about the number of highly rated prospects included in the initial Cedar Rapids roster this season.

Of the 25 active members of the Kernels’ Opening Day roster, 14 of them received signing bonuses in excess of $100,000 when they signed their names to their first contract with the Twins organization. Altogether, those 14 players signed on for over $12 million in signing bonus money. Three current players received $1 million or more to sign. 

With all of that high-ceiling talent, it’s certainly understandable for fans to be excited, not only for the likely fortunes of the Kernels this season, but for the future of the parent Minnesota Twins a couple of years from now. Fans will get a look at one of those million-dollar players, Hudson Boyd, when he takes the mound Friday night in his first start of the season for the Kernels. He reportedly got $1 million from the Twins.

Boyd’s counterpart, Beloit Snappers starting pitcher Michael Ynoa, provides a couterbalance for fans, however. His story serves as a reminder that, in the end, large signing bonuses and a player’s desire and work ethic provide no guarantee of a mercurial rise through the organization and a trip to the Big Leagues.

Ynoa was signed, as a 16-year-old, with the Oakland Athletics organization for a then-club record $4.25 million in 2008 out of the Dominican Republic. He was widely regarded as one of the top Latin-American prospects that year.

Snappers pitcher Michael Ynoa (photo: Chris Lockard/Scout.com)

Snappers pitcher Michael Ynoa (photo: Chris Lockard/Scout.com)

Since inking his deal, Ynoa has thrown a total of just under 40 innings for A’s affiliates. To say he’s had injury issues is a considerable understatement.

He missed his first year with the A’s organization with a strained elbow. He made three starts in 2010 before being shut down and undergoing Tommy John surgery, which essentially cost him his 2011 season. He threw about 30 innings in 2012. His start to the 2013 Spring Training was delayed by a case of Chicken Pox.

The Athletics organization certainly has not given up on right-hander. He reportedly continues to throw hard, but his inactivity has resulted in some understandable control issues. The team added him to their 40-man roster this past offseason, rather than risk losing him in Major League Baseball’s Rule 5 draft, in which players with several years of minor league experience can be drafted by other organizations if they are not yet on their team’s 40-man roster.

Ynoa’s status as a top-level Major League prospect has been eliminated by his health issues. But the A’s appear to believe he can still eventually contribute at the Major League level if he can start harnessing his velocity and find some control. Of course, staying healthy would help, too.

In the mean time, Ynoa serves as a cautionary tale for those fans that might look in to the Kernels dugout and assume that all of that high-ceiling talent already have their tickets to Target Field punched. Even with their impressive talent, getting to put on a Major League uniform will require skill, dedication… and a fair amount of luck.

– JC

GameChat – Twins @ Orioles, 2:05pm

And now we’re on the road!

I actually really like the Orioles (maybe not as much as JC) so this is a series I’m definitely looking forward to – EXCEPT I DON’T GET TO WATCH! *sigh*

I’m jealous of all of you who get to see it.

At any rate, we start this afternoon and the word is that Flower-man is sitting with hopes that his defense will improve while he ponders his previous performance. I always wonder if that works but let’s hope so.

[edit] AAaaaand we also have our first 15-day DL. DeVries has been moved officially to the DL with forearm stiffness. He’ll have to be replaced for his scheduled game on Sunday – no word on who that starter will be yet.

Minnesota

@

Baltimore
Hicks, CF McLouth, LF
Mauer, DH Machado, 3B
Willingham, LF Markakis, RF
Morneau, 1B Jones, Ad, CF
Doumit, C Davis, C, 1B
Plouffe, 3B Wieters, C
Parmelee, RF Hardy, SS
Dozier, 2B Flaherty, 2B
Escobar, SS Reimold, DH
  Hendriks, P   Arrieta, P

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Minnesota

0

0

0

4

0

1

0

0

0

5

10

1

Baltimore

0

0

1

1

2

0

0

5

x

9

14

0

That game was actually a lot better than the end would make you believe…  A lot of good things happened. Liam Hendriks looked REALLY good actually (after the first pitch anyway). Dozier really looked great. We had enough offense to make me happy that we were taking advantage of opportunities. Our LOB was in the single digits which I will accept.

And to be honest, that 8th inning from Baltimore was really something in itself. Somewhere, some rube on Twitter announced that Chris Davis is on pace for 162 Homeruns this season! LOL While that isn’t going to happen, what he did today is still pretty cool. He hit his 4th HR of the season, one for each of the first 4 games. There are only 4 other players in MLB history who have done that so it’s a pretty special group.

There was one other special moment in today’s game that had nothing to do with the players on the field. Baltimore started today with a moment to honor the passing of Earl Weaver – they skipped the ceremonial first pitch. It was a haunting memorial.

A ball sits on the mound as the Orioles honor the late Earl Weaver by not having a ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day at Camden Yards. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun / April 5, 2013)

A ball sits on the mound as the Orioles honor the late Earl Weaver by not having a ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day at Camden Yards. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun / April 5, 2013)