Two of Iowa’s Little League teams will take the field in a place where no Little Leaguers have played before. Some of the best talents from each system are fit 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 in front of 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 look to capitalize on the home team magic that led the Chicago White Sox to a thrilling walk-off victory over the New York. Yankees in last year’s first game played at the MLB stadium next to the hallowed movie theater.
The Cores 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 (Cores)
1B Aaron Saturday, Gemini #12 (MLB ETA: 2023)
The 27th overall pick in the 2020 Draft, Saturday was a power hitter at North Carolina, where he set a freshman record with 18 home runs. Through his first 100 professional games, he has doubled that tally with 36 long balls, including 17 so far this season for the Kernels.
2B/DE Alerick Soularie, Gemini #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 handling himself at second base, where he has played 40 times. Taken one round after Saturday 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 #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 was stellar. The 6-foot-6 righty can touch 99 mph with his fastball, has a hard slider and decent changeup, and posted a 6-2 record and 2.75 ERA in 11 games (eight starts) for the Cores.
RHP Sean Mooney, Gemini #26 (MLB ETA: 2023)
The Twins took Mooney from St. John’s in 2019 and helped him rehabilitate from Tommy John surgery that year. The righty made his professional 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 #30 (MLB ETA: 2024)
Another SEC product from Tennessee, Rucker joined the Twins in the seventh round of the 2021 Draft and put 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 was also tested with seven at second base and nine in the outfield. Between them all, his bat continued to play to a .265/.365/.449 slash line in 98 games for the Cores.
Davenport Blue Sox (Quad Cities River Bandits)
RHP Beck Way, Royals #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 start 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 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 middle brother Ross still shares the freshman home run record with 15. The youngest Wilson put together a stable first full season, hitting .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 was impressive in his Midwest League debut, hitting .273/.360/.470 with 14 home runs and 54 RBIs in 80 games.