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Midwest League 1997

Cedar Rapids Kernels


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1997 Teams
Beloit
Burlington
Cedar Rapids
Clinton
Fort Wayne
Kane County
Lansing
Michigan
Peoria
Quad City
Rockford
South Bend
West Michigan
Wisconsin

This page is a profile of the 1997 Cedar Rapids Kernels, a Single-A affiliate of the Anaheim Angels and a member of the Midwest League. The profile was first published in early April and was revised periodically; this final revision was completed in early September.

All statistics quoted on this page are through the end of the season.


Cedar Rapids, Iowa; affiliated with the Anaheim Angels.
Manager: Mario Mendoza (#11)
Coaches: Todd Claus (#4), Rick Wise (#25) (Pitching)

High Attendance: 5,214 (June 28)
Low Attendance: 424 (April 21)
Average Attendance: 1,947
1996 Season Average: 1,990


Post-Season Wrapup

The Kernels played a miserable first half but recovered to win their division for the second. The team's great strengths were baserunning, starter Ramon Ortiz, and reliever Danny Greene. It certainly helped to play in the league's weakest division....

The offense ran out a few strong hitters: First baseman Eric Gillespie, outfielders Kevin Ham and Juan Rodriguez, third baseman Rob Sasser, and DH Shawn Wooten had at least a dozen homers apiece. Sasser and second baseman Chuck Abbott are exceptional baserunners; both draw a lot of walks, too. Sasser's a very fine player.

At season's end, the entire pitching staff was showing some development. The staff's star was Ramon Ortiz, who lead the league in strikeouts, shutouts, and complete games. He also pitched a no hitter, and had a spectacular August. Danny Greene was nearly unhittable out of the bullpen.


MWL Fan's Guide

Team Leaders


  • Best Player on the Team: Pitcher Ramon Ortiz

  • Pitching: 62-76 (.449), 4.89, 18 CG, 7 Shutouts, 27 saves, 927 Ks
  • Hitting: .251, 685 runs, 112 HR, 135 SB
  • First Half: 26-43 (.377), 4th, 12.5 behind
  • Second Half: 36-33 (.522), 1st, ---
  • After August 1: 14-14 (.500)
  • Defeated Burlington in the first round of the playoff, 2-0 (Western Division)
  • Lost to Kane County in the second round of the playoff, 2-0

  • Best Starting Pitcher: Ramon Ortiz (3.58, 11-10, 181 IP, 225 Ks)
  • Bullpen Stopper: Danny Greene (0.45, 1-1, 12 saves, 40 IP, 42 Ks)
  • Best Strikeout Pitcher: Ramon Ortiz (225 Ks in 181 innings)
  • Best Control Pitcher: Ramon Ortiz (225 Ks, 53 BB in 181 innings)
  • Best Hitter: Rob Sasser (.272, 103 runs, 26 doubles, 17 homers, 77 RBI, 37 steals)
  • Highest BA: Shawn Wooten (.289)
  • Home Run Leader: Eric Gillespie (18)
  • Best Baserunner: Rob Sasser (37 steals, 5 triples) or Chuck Abbott (31 steals, 5 triples)

July Evaluation

The Kernels have revived; they are no longer an awful team. While the pitching staff remains generally awful, they've got two good starters--Tommy Darrell and Ramon Ortiz--and two good relievers in Danny Greene and Keith Volkman. Offensive standouts Kevin Ham (OF) and Eric Gillespie (1B) have good power, while third baseman Rob Sasser's an excellent ballplayer on the field and in the box. They're still not a good team, but they're not to be trifled with, either.


June Evaluation

The Kernels are the weakest team in the league. This is the weakest pitching staff in the league; the hitting's not much better. Positive notes include outfielder Kevin Ham, first baseman Eric Gillespie, and relief pitcher Danny Greene. Third baseman Rob Sasser has some exciting games.


May Evaluation

The Kernels remain a weak-hitting team with extremely poor pitching. Outfielder Kevin Ham's having a very good year, and third baseman Rob Sasser's a dangerous baserunner with some pop in his bat.


April Evaluation

The Kernels are a weak-hitting team with good basepath speed. The pitching is probably the league's worst.




Where they played last season

Many members of this squad were promoted from the Boise franchise in the Northwest League; there's also a significant contingent from last summer's Kernels, and a handful from other teams.

Team             League         W/L   Place(Teams)  Hitters Pitchers
Lake Elsinore    California     75-65     5(10)       1       1
Cedar Rapids     Midwest        63-72    12(14)       4       3
Boise            Northwest      43-33     2(8)        6       8
Mesa             Arizona        24-32     5(6)        2       3

Several players are counted on two teams. One played for a team in another system, and two competed for teams in independent professional leagues.


  • Oldest Player:
    • Fernando De la Cruz (P), born 1-25-71 (26)
  • Youngest Player:
    • Jason Stockstill (P), born 11-13-76 (20)
  • Average Team Age:
    This information is based on early-season rosters.
    • Pitchers: 21.5
    • Position Players: 22.7
    • Team Average: 22.1

  • First Round Draftee:
    • none

  • Baseball America Top 100 Minor League Prospects
    • Ramon Ortiz (#75)
  • Baseball America Angels Prospects (Post-Season)
    • Ramon Ortiz (#3, best breaking ball)
  • Baseball America Minor League All-Star/Top Prospects Teams
    • Ramon Ortiz (MWL Prospects #3)
  • Baseball America Organization Wrapups
    • Ramon Ortiz (Best pitcher in the system)
  • USA Today Baseball Weekly Minor League All-Star Team
    • Ramon Ortiz (pitcher "worth watching")
  • Baseball America Mid-Season Highlights
    • Ramon Ortiz (minor league dream team [bullpen], best MWL breaking pitch)
    • Rob Sasser (best MWL defensive third baseman)
  • All-Star Game, June 17, Lansing
    • Rob Sasser (3B)
  • Howe SportsData Minor League Player/Pitcher of the Month
    • Ramon Ortiz (Pitcher of the Month for August)

  • Chuck Abbott
    • May 20: triple, 2 homers, 6 RBI
    • June 8: 4 for 5
    • June 19: 3 steals
    • July 24: 2 home runs
    • July 26: 4 runs scored
  • Matt Curtis
    • May 28: homer, double
  • Tom Darrell
    • July 18: complete game victory
  • Theo Fefee
    • July 7: 4 RBIs
  • Eric Gillespie
    • May 3: double, home run
    • May 17: 2 homers, 4 RBI
    • June 19: 2 homers
    • August 28: homer, double, 5 runs batted in
  • Jeff Guiel
    • August 8: double, homer, 4 RBIs
    • August 9: 4 runs, 2 homers
  • Kevin Ham
    • April 7: double, homer
    • April 19: 4 runs batted in
    • May 16: 4 runs batted in
    • May 25: homer, double
    • June 23: 4 for 4
    • July 10: double, homer, 5 runs batted in
  • Mark Harriger
    • June 1: 2 hit shutout
  • Edgar Leyva
    • April 21: 6.0 innings, no runs, 2 hits
    • August 21: 6.0 shutout innings
  • Ramon Ortiz
    • Minor League Baseball's 1997 Strikeout leader (225 Ks)
    • May 21: 10 strikeouts
    • June 8: 11 strikeouts
    • June 13: shutout, 12 strikeouts
    • June 30: 13 strikeouts
    • August 1: 4 hit shutout
    • August 7: no hitter!, 14 Ks, no walks
    • August 12: complete game loss (7 innings)
    • August 17: 2 hit complete game shutout, 1 walk
    • August 23: complete game win, 13 strikeouts
    • August 28: 13 strikeouts
  • Jerrod Riggan
    • July 28: complete game win
  • Juan Rodriguez
    • July 2: double, triple
    • July 20: triple, homer
  • Rob Sasser
    • April 17: double, homer
    • May 8: 4 RBI
    • May 24: 4 for 5, 4 runs, double, 2 homers
    • July 9: 2 triples
    • July 13: double, homer
  • Jason Stockstill
    • August 19: complete game, 2 hits, 10 strikeouts
  • E. J. t'Hoen
    • July 16: homer, double, 4 RBI
  • Robby Welles
    • May 30: double, homer
  • Shawn Wooten
    • June 14: 2 homers
    • July 11: homer, double
    • August 7: double, homer, 4 RBI
    • August 20: double, homer


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The Midwest League plays Single-A, professional baseball in America's agricultural and industrial heartland. 16 teams play a 140 game schedule which begins in early April and ends Labor Day weekend.

Disclaimers:
This website is a private project and has no official relation with or sanction from the Midwest League or Minor League Baseball.
The opinions expressed on this page are mine, and are worth about that.


Copyright © 1996-2010 Joel Dinda
Some Rights Reserved.