The roster includes five members from the 2011 team as pitchers Jairo Diaz and Ty Kelley; catcher Carlos Lugo; and outfielders Ryan Jones and Andy Workman return to Cedar Rapids. And, Matt Scioscia, son of Angels' manager Mike Scioscia, joins the Kernels as an infielder. Scioscia was a 45th round choice of the Angels in 2011 out of Notre Dame.
In addition to Cowart as the Angels #6 Top Prospect, according to Baseball America, RHP Mike Clevinger (#16) and RHP Austin Wood (#24) are on the Opening Day Roster for a total of three Top 30 prospects.
The Kernels' pitching staff features five lefties out of the 13 pitchers, with two scheduled to be in the starting rotation as LHP Michael Johnson and LHP Ryan Crowley join RHP Jairo Diaz in the projected rotation. Other lefties are Eswarlin Jimenez, who posted a 6-3 record and struck out 72 batters in 68 IP as part of a DSL Angels team that went 52-18 in 2011, and Stephen Tromblee, who made 18 relief appearances with a 3-1 record and 2.81 ERA for the AZL Angels in 2011.
The Kernels' offense still revolves around the Angels' fundamentals of speed and skill, but should also feature some power. Chevy Clarke led the Arizona league in triples the past two seasons and infielder Frazier Hall hit .355 at Orem in 2011 with 19 doubles, 9 HR and 46 RBI in 62 games. Abel Baker, a 7th round selection in 2011, hit .306 with 10 doubles and 33 RBI in 48 games at catcher and INF Kevin Mosequit, a 17th round selection in 2010, should set the table for the Kernels, batting in the lead-off spot. He drew a league high 33 walks last season with the AZL Angels and stole 11 bases in 16 attempts over 48 games.
The 2012 Kernels are scheduled to arrive in Cedar Rapids Monday afternoon and are scheduled to hold a workout under the lights at Perfect Game Field starting at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, April 3rd as part of 'Meet the Kernels Night'.
The Kernels open the 2012 MWL season on the road at Wisconsin on Thursday, April 5th. Opening Night at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium is scheduled for Monday, April 9th when the Kernels take on the Clinton LumberKings at 6:35 pm. Tickets are on sale on-line at www.kernels.com