Two of Iowa’s Minor League teams will take the field in a place where no Minor Leaguers have played before. Some of each system’s best talent will be suiting up for the occasion.
The first Minor League game at the iconic Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa is set for a 6:30 pm CT first pitch Tuesday night before a crowd of thousands as well as the MLB Network viewing audience. The rosters of the Cedar Rapids Kernels, the High-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, and Quad Cities River Bandits (Kansas City Royals) currently combine for eight Top 30 prospects.
Cedar Rapids has already clinched a first-half Midwest League West Division title and is headed to the postseason while Quad Cities will aim to take advantage of the home team magic that led the Chicago White Sox to a thrilling walk-off win over the New York Yankees in last year’s first game played at the MLB ballpark next to the hallowed movie site.
The Kernels and River Bandits will sport throwback identities for the historic event, with Cedar Rapids taking the field as the Bunnies, honoring that city’s team from 1904-32, and Quad Cities becoming the Davenport Blue Sox in honor of teams that played in the area at various times from 1913-37. Sporting the retro threads will be the following Top 30 talents.
Cedar Rapids Bunnies (Kernels)
1B Aaron Sabato, Twins No. 12 (MLB ETA: 2023)
The 27th overall pick in the 2020 draft, Sabato was a powerhouse at North Carolina, where he set a freshman record with 18 home runs. Through his first 100 professional games, he’s doubled that tally with 36 long balls, including 17 so far this season for the kernels.
2B/OF Alerick Soularie, Twins No. 18 (MLB ETA: 2024)
Soularie can play anywhere in the outfield, as evidenced by his 10 games in center and right as well as 2 in left this year, as well as handle himself at second base, where he’s played 40 times. Taken one round after Sabato in 2020, the Tennessee product is playing his first full season after being limited to just 34 games due to injury last year.
RHP David Festa, Twins No. 25 (MLB ETA: 2024)
After starting the year with a 1.50 ERA in five starts for Single-A Fort Myers, Festa got the bump to Cedar Rapids, where he’s been stellar. The 6-foot-6 right-hander can touch 99 mph with his fastball, features a hard slider and decent changeup, and has recorded a 6-2 record and 2.75 ERA in 11 games (eight starts) for the Kernels.
RHP Sean Mooney, Twins No. 26 (MLB ETA: 2023)
The Twins took Mooney out of St. John’s in 2019 and helped him rehabilitate from Tommy John surgery that year. The righty made his pro debut in 2021 and has been solid for Cedar Rapids this season, posting a 2.50 ERA in 13 games (11 starts), striking out 73 against just 26 walks in 54 innings.
3B/1B Jake Rucker, Twins No. 30 (MLB ETA: 2024)
Another SEC product from Tennessee, Rucker joined the Twins in the seventh round of the 2021 draft and has pieced together an impressive first full-season campaign with Fort Myers and Cedar Rapids. In addition to 35 games played at third base and 30 at first, Rucker has also been tested with seven at second base and nine in the outfield. Between them all, his bat has continued to play to a .265/.365/.449 slash line in 98 games for the Kernels.
Davenport Blue Sox (Quad Cities River Bandits)
RHP Beck Way, Royals No. 12 (MLB ETA: 2023)
A fourth-round pick of the Yankees in 2020, Way arrived with the Royals last week via the Andrew Benintendi trade. In 15 outings to begin the year with High-A Hudson Valley in the Yanks system, the righty went 5-5 with a 3.73 ERA. Through his first two starts with the River Bandits, he’s struck out 13 in 10 2/3 innings.
2B Peyton Wilson, Royals No. 14 (MLB ETA: 2024)
Taken 66th overall in 2021, Wilson comes from an athletic family that put three sons through Alabama. Along with Peyton, John Parker played quarterback for the Crimson Tide and middle brother Ross still shares the freshman home run record with 15. The youngest Wilson has put together a steady first full season, batting .252/.332/.400 through 60 games.
C Luca Tresh, Royals No. 26 (MLB ETA: 2025)
North Carolina State product Tresh helped lead the Wolfpack to a third-place finish at the 2021 College World Series before he went to the Royals in the 17th round that year. This season, he’s been impressive in his Midwest League debut, batting .273/.360/.470 with 14 homers and 54 RBIs in 80 games.