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…”
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.
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.
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.
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.