SI Cover March 18, 1996
MLB.com and Major League Baseball are running a new promotion where fans can vote on the All-Time 9 Team for each franchise. The concept is simple, fans are offered a selection of the best individual season at each position in franchise history and vote for their favorite, in much the same way they vote for the All-Star team. A few Kentucky natives are eligible for the voting in case your interested:
- Arizona Diamondbacks — Brandon Webb — SP — (2008) .149, 11 RBI
- Arizona Diamondbacks — Mark Reynolds — 3B –(2009) .263, 44 HR, 101 RBI
- Atlanta Braves — Bill Sweeney — 1B — (1912) .344, 1 HR, 100 RBI
- Cincinnati Reds — Gus Bell — OF — (1953) .300, 30 HR, 105 RBI
- Detroit Tigers — Bobby Veach — OF — (1921) .338, 16 HR, 128 RBI
- Florida Marlins — Dan Uggla — 2B — (2008) .260, 32 HR, 92 RBI
- Los Angeles Dodgers — Pee Wee Reese — SS — (1949) .279, 16 HR, 73 RBI
- Seattle Mariners — Jay Buhner — OF — (1996) .271, 44 HR, 138 RBI
- Washington Nationals — Austin Kearns — OF — (2007) .266, 16 HR, 74 RBI
Baseball America’s prospect rankings for the short-season Northwest League are out, and two former Bluegrass players are on it. Left-handed pitcher Robbie Ross, a LCA alum, ranked seventh on the list and third baseman Chris Dominguez, a UofL alum, ranked thirteenth. Since BA’s analysis is subscriber only I’ll refrain from giving away to many details, but here is a look at what scouts had to say about the pair. (Read more)
Robbie Ross — “Nearly every manager agreed that Ross was the best pitcher they faced this year. He was the only NWL hurler to finish in the top five in ERA (2.66) and strikeouts (76 in 74 innings).” Ross needs to get stronger to last through an entire full season in 2010.
Chris Dominguez — “Though he has a tendency to swing through breaking balls, he hits tape-measure shots when he connects.” Scouts say Dominguez’s large frame may prohibit him from staying at third base as a major leaguer.
Chris Rusin; Photo: UK Athletics
We looked at the best performances among Kentucky minor leaguers last week. Today we’ll examine the four best performances of BluGrass Baseball players making their professional debut. One of the four was a 2008 draftee, but the other three were all selected this year.
SP — Robbie Ross — Short-Season Spokane
- 4-4, 2.66, 76 SO, 74.1 IP
- Ross, a LCA alum, was the Rangers’ first-supplemental round pick in 2008 but didn’t make his debut until this season. The short-season Northwest league was no match for Ross. He’s still young, but Robbie could move quickly through the Rangers’ system.
SP Daniel Calhoun — Murray State — Short-Season Batavia
- 2-0, 1.86, 42 SO, 48.1 IP
- Calhoun had next to no expectations as the Cardinal’s 29th round pick in the 2009 draft out of small Murray State. Nobody told him as Daniel dominated in 12 games in the New York-Penn League. Six of his appearances were starts, but he probably figures to end up in the bullpen if he makes the majors.
SP Chris Rusin — UK — Short-Season Boise
- 0-4, 3.00 ERA, 36 IP, 29 Ks
- Rusin was never had the pure stuff of UK teammates Alex Meyer and James Paxton, but outperformed both of them consistently. Chris was the Cubs’ fourth-round pick, and the organization chose him as one of its top prospects when it invited him to the instructional league this off season.
3B Chris Dominguez — UofL — Short-Season Salem-Keizer
- .263, 11 HR, 40 RBI
- Dominguez was one of the highest drafted college players to return to school in 2008, and he improved his stock enough to be selected in the third round by the Giants. Dominguez dominated Arizona League pitching for nine games before coming down to earth after his promotion to the Northwest League.
Jason Kipnis; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Baseball America named former UK outfielder Jason Kipnis the fifth best prospect in the short-season New York-Penn League Tuesday. Kipnis began his career at UK. After redshirting, Kipnis got off to a torrid start his freshman year before former UK head coach John Cohen dismissed him from the team for a violation of team rules. Kipnis transferred to Arizona State where he became a first-day draft prospect before the Indians drafted him in the second round this season
BA writes of Kipnis: “The undersized Kipnis doesn’t fit a typical profile, but he laces hard line drives to all fields and has average power potential in his lefthanded stroke. He has a patient, mature approach at the plate and is a savvy baserunner with slightly above-average speed.” They project Kipnis to move to left-field in pro ball where he’ll have to hit regularly to stay long-term. (Read more)
Ben Zobrist; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
About half the major league teams were off Monday, and the minor leagues season is officially over so it was a very slow day for BluGrass Baseball news. But, I do have a couple of links for you on this Tuesday morning.
- Legends’ Hall-of-Famer Ben Zobrist hit his 25th home run of the season for Tampa.
- We told you Pikeville-native Mark Reynolds tied Jay Buhner’s single-season Kentucky home run record, but he also broke his own single-season major league strikeout record.
We’re back to offensive categories in the Record Book series with batting average. This was a little more difficult to compile, but I’m fairly certain this is the accurate list. To qualify for the career list, the player had to play in at least 1,000 games and for the single-season list he had to appear in at least 100 games. Remember, we’re using the “Lincoln Rule” which limits the record book to players born in Kentucky.
Career Batting Average Leaders
- Pete Browning — 1882-1894 — .341
- Earle Combs — 1924-1935 — .325
- Bobby Veach — 1912-1925 — .310
- George Harper — 1916-1929 — .303/Mike Greenwell — 1985-1996 — .303
Single-Season Average Leaders
- Browning — 1887 — .402
- Browning — 1890 — .373
- Jimmy Wolf — 1890 — .363
- Browning — 1885 — .362
- Combs — 1927 — .356
Photo by angela n. via Flickr
Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman and Pikeville native Mark Reynolds tied Jay Buhner’s single-season home record for Kentucky natives Saturday. Reynolds’ fifth-inning home run was his 44th of the season. The Diamonbacks defeated San Diego 8-5 in the game. Buhner hit 44 home runs in 1996.