Bats make up most of Reds’ top prospect list

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

 

Chris Heisey; Photo via Flickr

Baseball America has released its top 10 prospects list for the Cincinnati Reds, and the Louisville Bats ran away with most of the honors. Players who appeared in Louisville this season made up four of the top five slots, and six of the top ten. No. 1 prospect Todd Frazier recorded 63 at-bats in Louisville after spending most of the season with AA Carolina. Here’s a look at the Bats’ players in the top ten and a snippet of analysis. The list is subscriber only, so to get the full Baseball America experience you’ll have to sign up there. (Full list)

 

#1) 2b/OF Todd Frazier

  • Frazier batted .302 with two home runs an 9 RBI in 16 games with the Bats, and .292 with 16 home runs and 77 RBI on the season.
  • BA: “Frazier’s initial big league opportunity would seem to more likely come at third base or left field. He’ll head to Triple-A Louisville in 2010 for some final polish.”

#2) 1B Yonder Alonso

  • Alonso made a brief appearance with the Bats during the International League playoffs and batted .292 with nine home runs and 52 RBI between three levels this season.
  • BA: “Alonso likely will spend all or most of 2010 in the minors, but his bat could hasten his path.”

#4) Chris Heisey

  • Heisey earned a spot in the prestigious Futures Game during the MLB All-Star game during a season in which he batted .314 with 22 home runs and 77 RBI and .278 with nine home runs and 37 RBI in Louisville.
  • BA: “If the Reds part ways with arbitration-eligible Johnny Gomes, Heisey could compete for a spot in a left-field platoon with Chris Dickerson.”

#5) 3B Juan Francisco

  • Francisco batted .295 with 27 home runs and 93 RBI in 2009 before earning a September callup to September. In Louisville, he batted .359 with five home runs and 19 RBI.
  • BA: “Third base currently belongs to Scott Rolen, so Francisco will spend 2010 in Triple-A, and he may see more time in left field.”

#7) LHP Travis Wood

  • Wood was the Reds’ best minor league pitcher in 2009, going 13-5 with 1.77 ERA and 135 strikeouts in 167.2 innings pitched. In Louisville, Travis was 4-2 with a 3.14 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 48.2 innings pitched.
  • BA: “Wood will go into spring training with a chance to make Cincinnati’s rotation.”

#8) LHP Matt Maloney

  • Maloney was 9-9 with a 3.08 ERA in 23 minor league games in 2009 and went 2-4 with a 4.87 ERA in seven major league starts. Maloney struck out 158 in 190.2 innings.
  • BA: “Maloney will head into spring training as a candidate for the back of the Reds’ rotation. His ceiling isn’t much higher than that…”

Bats return entire coaching staff for 2010

Minor League Baseball

The Louisville Bats’ 2010 coaching staff will look a whole lot like the 2009 one, just a year older. Manager Rick Sweet returns to the team fresh off two consecutive International League manager of the year honors. There had been some speculation earlier this offseason that he might pursue other major league coaching jobs after being passed for a spot on the Reds’ staff. Sweet is fifth among active minor league managers with 1,436 victories.

Adrian “Smokey” Garrett will return for his eighth season as Louisville’s pitching coach, and former Louisville Redbird Terry Powers will serve his fifth season as the Bats’ pitching coach. Thomas Vera returns as trainer, and Gabe Moreno will once again serve as strength and conditioning coach.

BluGrass Baseball Minor League Free Agents

Minor League Baseball

 

Chris Burke; Photo by grovesa16 via Flickr

The always useful Baseball America has published the full list of minor league free agents. As you might expect several players with Kentucky ties are looking for work this offseason. I’ve listed them below, with their 2009 organization, classification and Kentucky tie.

 

  • 2B Chris Burke — Louisville, Ky. — Braves (AAA)
  • RHP Greg Atencio — Louisville Bats — Reds (AAA)
  • RHP Frederico Baez — Louisville Bats — Reds (AAA)
  • RHP Jeff Kennard — Louisville Bats — Reds (AAA)
  • LHP Camilo Vazquez — Louisville Bats — Reds (AAA)
  • C Korey Feiner — Louisville Bats — Reds (AAA)
  • 1B Wes Bankston — Louisville Bats — Reds (AAA)
  • 2B Luis Bolivar — Louisville Bats — Reds (AAA)
  • OF Lew Ford — Louisville Bats — Reds (AAA)
  • RHP Ryan Speier — Frankfort, Ky. — Rockies (AAA)
  • RHP Matt Wilhite — Franklin, Ky. — Rockies (AAA)
  • SS Ronald Ramirez — Lexington Legends — Astros (Hi A)

It’s a long list so I might have missed one or two. If you see an omission shoot me an email or comment on the post.

Byrd and Kearns rank at bottom of free agent class

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Scott Downs; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

More hot stove rumors with a little college and minor league news sprinkled in some Tuesday links:

  • Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com examines the left-handed reliever trade market and speculates UK alum Scott Downs might be moved by the Blue Jays.
  • Tom Singer of MLB.com ranks Louisville-native Paul Byrd in the bottom group of a week free-agent starting pitching class. We still haven’t heard any official word if Byrd even plans to pitch in 2011.
  • Singer puts Lexington-native Austin Kearns in the same tier of the free-agent outfield class.
  • 2009 Bat Chris Heisey was 0-5, and teammate Yonder Alonso was 0-2 with three walks for Peoria of the Arizona Fall League. 2009 Legend Daniel Meszaros pitched a scoreless inning for the Saguaros.
  • NL Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan and Mets outfielder Jeff Francoueur will headline the 2010 Louisville Baseball Leadoff Dinner.

Astros finalize 2010 Legends coaching staff

Minor League Baseball

The Houston Astros announced their minor league coaching staffs for the 2010 season today, and some familiar names will be in Lexington. Rodney Linares, who was the Legends’ hitting coach in 2005 and 2006, will return to the Bluegrass as manager. After a one-year absence, 2008 hitting coach Stubby Clapp will resume his role with the team. Travis Driskill will return to the team as pitching coach after filling in for former pitching coach Charlie Taylor in 2009.

“We’re unbelievably happy to have Rodney and Stubby back in the Legends clubhouse,” Legends General Manager Andy Shea said in a news release. “They will add a lot of excitement and will be integral parts in our 10th anniversary celebration year.” In my time with the Legends in 2008 I always found Clapp to be and interesting and thoughtful guy. He missed part of that season to play for Team Canada in the Olympics, so if nothing else he gives the Legends a little minor league baseball star power.

Dan Uggla rumors

Major League Baseball
Dan Uggla

Dan Uggla; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

One of the busiest names in the BluGrass Baseball offseason is likely to be Louisville-native and Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, who is in line for a large arbitration raise. The Marlins appear destined to move the slugger, who ranks seventh on the Kentucky native career home runs list. With that in mind, here is some of the buzz surrounding Uggla (hat tip to MLBTradeRumors.com for several stories).

  • Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says the Marlins’ No. 1 priority this offseason is moving Uggla for young, cheap players.
  • Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun says the Orioles will probably go with a better defensive third baseman than Uggla.
  • Keith Law of ESPN.com says it’s a good time to move Uggla. (subscription required)
  • Frankie Piliere of Fanhouse.com says you can’t fault the Marlins for their strategy of trading successful players like Uggla after their results in developing young players.
  • Joe Frisaro of MLB.com touches on some Uggla rumors in his mailbag, and says dreams of a Adrian Gonzalez for Uggla swap are very unrealistic.

Winter League roundup

Minor League Baseball
Chris Heisey

Chris Heisey; Photo via Flickr

Not many stories to link on a Sunday morning, so here’s a look at some of the Kentucky minor leaguers in Winter League action. Most of these players are 2009 Louisville Bats, but one Legend, two Kentucky college alums and one high school alum are also accounted for.

  • 2009 Bat Chris Heisey was 1-4 with three strikeouts for Peoria in the Arizona Fall League Friday. He’s now batting .308 with five home runs an 14 RBI in the fall season.
  • His teammate Yonder Alonso was 0-3 in the game and is batting .290 with two home runs and 17 RBI.
  • 2009 Bat Wes Bankston is batting .229 in 13 games in the Caribbean League.
  • Bats’ outfielder Daniel Dorn has four home runs in 17 game in the Venezuelan Winter League.
  • Late-season Louisville pickup Lew Ford is batting .276 in the VWL.
  • Bats slugger Juan Francisco has three home runs in 18 games in the Dominican Winter League.
  • Adam Rosales is batting .304 in 29 games in the Caribbean League.
  • Louisville starting pitchers Ben Jukich (2.87) and Sam LeCure (8.59) are both pitching in the DWL.
  • Relievers Logan Ondrusek (2-1, 13.50) and Sean Watson (0-1, 8.44) are struggling in the AFL.
  • 2009 Legends reliever Daniel Meszaros has a 5.59 ERA in 10 games in the AFL.
  • Lafayette alum Chaz Roe allowed two runs in four innings for Scottsdale in the AFL. In four starts, Roe is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA.
  • Phillies farmhand and EKU alum Neil Sellers is batting .371 with three home runs and 18 RBI in 23 games in the Caribbean Winter League.
  • UofL alum, and Sellers’ teammate B. J. Rosenberg is 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA in seven games with two saves.

BluGrass Baseball Arbitration Eligble Players

Major League Baseball

 

Corey Hart

Corey Hart; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

We broke down the free agents with Kentucky ties earlier this month, but now I thought we’d look at the arbitration eligible players. Players with three to six years of service time, or designated as “super twos,” are eligible for a salary raise through arbitration. Teams then chose whether to offer these players a contract for the coming season, though the salary generally can’t be less than 80 percent of the previous year’s salary. Some players receive huge raises in arbitration leading smaller market teams to trade them. So if you’re looking for trade candidates or non-tender candidates this is a good place to start.

 

  • RHP Joe Blanton — UK — Philadelphia Phillies
  • C John Buck — Lexington Legends — Kansas City Royals
  • RHP Jared Burton — Louisville Bats — Cincinnati Reds
  • RHP Todd Coffey — Louisville Bats — Milwaukee Brewers
  • OF Corey Hart — Bowling Green, Ky. — Milwaukee Brewers
  • OF Hunter Pence — Lexington Legends — Houston Astros
  • RHP Wandy Rodriguez — Lexington Legends — Houston Astros
  • 2B Dan Uggla — Louisville, Ky. — Florida Marlins

Here’s the full arbitration list on MLB.com.

UK picks up five; Aaron honored; Uggla at 2nd

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball
Dan Uggla

Dan Uggla; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

More signing news is leaking traveling the grapevine. I’m told at least one state university should have a full release about all signed players early next week. Check out those stories and others in some Saturday links:

  • Adam Revelette of Examiner.com reports Trevor Gott, Tates Creek; Corey Littrell, Trinity; J. T. Riddle, Western Hills; and Lucas Witt, LCA, each signed with UK to play baseball.
  • He adds those players Kentucky Baseball Club teammates also signed college LOIs. Noah Smallwood, West Jessamine, signed with Morehead. Brock Downey, Murray HS, signed with Murray State and Tanner Smith, North Laurel, signed with WKU.
  • Hank Aaron will receive the 2009 Living Legend award from Louisville Slugger Friday.
  • Louisville-native and Boston Red Sox pitcher Paul Byrd filed for free agency Friday.
  • Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports that Florida Marlins second baseman and Louisville-native Dan Uggla doesn’t want to move positions if he’s traded.
  • 2009 Bats closer Logan Ondrusek surrendered four runs in one-third of an inning for Peoria in the Arizona Fall League Friday.

Webb throws; Local products sign LOIs

Uncategorized
brandon webb

Brandon Webb; Photo by SD Dirk via Flickr

News continues to trickle in about signees for the state colleges, but they were overshadowed by one of the most high-profile Kentucky major leaguers working back from injury. Check out those stories and more in some Friday links, and keep checking back for more signing news later:

  • Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports Ashland-nativeĀ Brandon Webb has a pain-free first throwing session since having shoulder surgery in August.
  • Jody Demling of the Louisville Courier-Journal reports that UofL signed Bullitt East pitcher/infielder Brandon Alphin. He also writes that Trinity pitcher Corey Littrell signed with UK.
  • Granite City (Ill.) standout Jake DePew also signed with the Cards.
  • Dick Kaegel of MLB.com reports rumors of a Albert Callaspo trade from the Royals to the Dodgers for PLD-alum A. J. Ellis appear unfounded.
  • Michael Johnson of Examiner.com reports Ballard catcher John Fidanza signed with Coastal Carolina.
  • Jason Stella of Examiner.com writes about 2009 Bats Wes Bankston‘s and Adam RosalesWinter League performances.
  • The Courier-Journal has further breakdown of the Curt Flood memorabilia auction at the Louisville Slugger Museum this weekend.
  • Stan McNeal and Ryan Fagan of The Sporting News look at what were learned from the 2009 baseball season and conclude that Louisville-native Aaron Cook‘s success at home means pitchers really can pitch well at Coors Field.