Chris Burke; Photo by grovesa16 via Flickr
Kendall Rogers of Yahoo Sports! has listed his top 10 college hitters of the 2000s, and a Kentucky native made the cut. Chris Burke, who graduated from St. X High School in Louisville in 1998, played collegiately at Tennessee from 1999-2001. Burke was a second-team Freshman All-American in 1999, third-team All-American in 2000 and first-team All-American in 2001.
Rogers writes of the 2001 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, who he ranks ninth on his list: “It’s no surprise to anyone that Burke made it to the big leagues.” Burke batted .435 with 21 doubles, 11 triples, 20 home runs and 60 RBI his junior season before the Houston Astros selected him with the tenth pick in the 2001 draft. Burke spent most of last season in AAA with the Gwinnett Braves. (Read more)
Rogers ranked 2009 Louisville Bat Yonder Alonso tenth on his list.
Chris Heisey; Photo via Flickr
More hot stove rumors, baseball commits and minor league news in some Thursday morning links:
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that Lexington-native Austin Kearns probably only makes sense for the Reds if he would agree to a minor league deal.
- Bowling Green Hot Rods 2009 manager Matt Quatraro has been promoted to Tampa Bay Rays minor league hitting coordinator.
- Norm Sanders of the Belleville News-Democrat in Illinois reports UofL commit Jake DePew might consider going pro instead of ending up in Louisville.
- Speaking of baseball commitments, the national signing period is open for baseball so in the coming days we should be getting official word from the Universities about commitments signing their letters of intent.
- 2009 Bat Chris Heisey and teammate Yonder Alonso were both 0-3 with a walk for Peoria in the Arizona Fall League.
- Ben Badler of Baseball America tweets from the AFL game that Heisey is one of the “smartest baserunners” he’s seen in the minors.
Dan Uggla; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Ken Rosenthal and John Paul Morosi of Foxsports.com report the San Fransisco Giants and Baltimore Orioles have both expressed interest in Louisville-native Dan Uggla as a third baseman. Uggla, who attended high school in Tennessee, played second for the Marlins in 2009 and has averaged 30 home runs and 90 RBIs in four seasons. The Marlins are looking to cut payroll, and arbitration-eligible Uggla is a prime candidate for trade.
The Red Sox have also inquired about Uggla as a possible replacement for free agent Jason Bay in left field, Rosenthal and Morosi report. The Orioles are said to be concerned about Uggla’s defense a third, but could benefit from his right-handed power. (Read more)
Todd Wellemeyer; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Another Bluegrass native has filed for free agency. Check out that story and more in some Tuesday morning links:
- Bellarmine alum Todd Wellemeyer has filed for free agency, and Matthew Leach of MLB.com reports he is unlikely to return to St. Louis following a disappointing season.
- In a related not, Wellemeyer is on Twitter, but hasn’t tweeted since June. His silence roughly coincides with the decline of his season.
- WKUSports.com has a breakdown of Western’s fall baseball series.
- The Lexington Herald Leader looks at UK’s 2010 baseball schedule.
- The estate of baseball’s first free agent Curt Flood will auction off Flood memorabilia at the Louisville Slugger Museum Saturday.
- 2009 Bat Chris Hesiey was 0-5 and teammate Yonder Alonso was 1-4 for Peoria of the Arizona Fall League. Louisville reliever Sean Watson pitched 1.2 scoreless innings and closer Logan Ondrusek allowed two unearned runs in one frame.
Austin Kearns; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
This post was originally scheduled for Monday morning, but technical difficulties have pushed it back to Tuesday. Sorry for the confusing dates below.
With the start of the General Manager’s meetings Monday, the Hot Stove League is in full swing. Free Agents can only negotiate with their current team until Nov. 20 before hitting the open market, so if Austin Kearns or Todd Wellemeyer was to resign with Washington or St. Louis it would happen soon (but don’t look for either to return). Check out those stories and more in some Tuesday morning links:
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports Lexington-native Austin Kearns is a candidate for the Cardinals’ outfield vacancy if All-Star Matt Holliday leaves.
- CardinalSports.com reports Floyd Central (Ind.) HS product Jeffrey Thompson has committed to play baseball for Louisville.
- EKU baseball released its 2010 schedule. Check back for a detailed breakdown this afternoon.
- Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post writes there are indications the Marlins will trade Louisville-native Dan Uggla by next month’s Winter Meetings.
- Lafayette alum Chaz Roe struck out four in three scoreless innings for Scottsdale of the Arizona Fall League.
- 2009 Bat Yonder Alonso was 3-4 for Peoria and 2009 Legend Daniel Meszaros pitches a scoreless inning.
The Hot Stove season is in full gear, but it can get a little confusing with trades and meetings and arbitration with that in mind, I’ve included the important dates from this offseason for you to mark in you calendar. This schedule was compiled using ESPN.com and MLB.com.
- End of World Series — Free Agent Period Began
- Nov. 9-11 — General Manager Meetings in Chicago
- Nov. 20 — Last day to file for free agency, free agents can no negotiate with other teams.
- Dec. 1 — Last day for teams to offer salary arbitration to former players who filed for free agency
- Dec. 7 — Last day for free agents to accept salary arbitration
- Dec. 7-10 — Winter Meetings Indianapolis
- Dec. 12 — Last day for teams to offer 2010 contracts to arbitration eligible players
- Jan 5-15 — Salary Arbitration filing period
- April 4 — Opening Day
We’re doubling up on the schedule breakdowns today with EKU in addition to the UK breakdown below. The Colonels will kick the 2010 season off on Feb. 26. I’ve included in-state games and some other interesting matchups below:
- March 3 — @ Tennessee
- April 17-18 — @ Morehead State
- April 20 — vs. University of the Cumberlands
- April 28 — @ WKU
- May 8-9 — vs. Murray State
- May 18 — @ UofL
- May 26-30 — OVC tournament
You can see the full schedule here.
UK Athletics Wallpaper
The University of Kentucky has released its 2010 baseball schedule, and the Cats will face the usual daunting Southeastern Conference slate. “The conference is going to be extremely competitive again,” UK Head Coach Gary Henderson said in a news release. “We are going to have as many returning players as ever in the league. When you look at the rosters and stats from around the conference, there is no weak team. It is going to be a great challenge from week to week. It is an absolute grind, 10 weeks of tremendous competition in great environments for college baseball.”
Here’s a look at the in-state games and home SEC series:
- Feb. 24 — vs. Murray State
- March 2 — vs. Morehead State
- March 19-21 — vs. Ole Miss
- March 31 — vs. WKU
- April 6 — vs. UofL
- April 9-11 — vs. Alabama
- April 16-18 — vs. Florida
- April 20, 2010 — @ WKU
- April 28, 2010 — @ UofL
- May 7-9 — vs. South Carolina
- May 14-16 — vs. LSU
- May — @ Murray State
- Full Schedule
The UK Athletics blog “Cat Scratches” also has a breakdown of each of the 10 SEC opponents.
Baseball America released its top ten prospects list for the Philadelphia Phillies organization today, and neither of the Kentucky prospects in the organization made the cut. But never fear, in the corresponding online chat about the Phillies’ prospects I asked BA editor-and-chief John Manuel about UofL alum B. J. Rosenberg and EKU alum Neil Sellers and he had this response:
“Rosenberg will rank higher than Sellers; Sellers is on the outside looking in right now. Rosenberg has a big arm, but his fastball tends to straighten out and he’s an older guy. Still, he throws hard. Wasn’t enamored with his performance against Cuba with Team USA this fall in the World Cup, he lost his composure when he got squeezed by the ump. Maybe that’s a good sign; it should mean something to you, I guess.”
To give you further insight on Sellers, Manuel went on to say later in the chat that the Phillies had no full-season third baseman in the system in 2009 that projected as major league regulars. You can check out the full chat, here. (subscription required)
Mark Reynolds; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
In the last of the awards series we look at the big show. Our two major league award winners have differing ties to the Bluegrass State. One was born in Eastern Kentucky, but spent most of his adolescence in Virginia, the other was born in Tennessee but graduated from a Kentucky high school and college.
Player of the Year — 3B Mark Reynolds Diamondbacks
- Pikeville-native Reynolds batted .260 with 44 home runs and 102 RBI while breaking his own major league record for strikeout with 223. Despite the strikeouts, Mark was far-and-away the most productive Kentucky native at the plate this season. His 44 home runs tied Jay Buhner’s record for a Bluegrass native, and Reynolds was named a ESPN.com Fantasy All-Star and the SportingNews’ postseason NL All-Star team.
- The other candidates for the award included Louisville-native and Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, who slugged 31 home runs, and Bowling Green-native and Brewers’ outfielder Corey Hart who posted a .335 on-base percentage in 115 games.
Pitcher of the Year — RHP Joe Blanton — Philadelphia Phillies
- Franklin-Simpson and UK alum Joe Blanton helped lead his Phillies teammates to the World Series for the second consecutive season posting above average numbers along the way. Blanton was 12-8 with a 4.05 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 195.1 innings pitched, providing a stalwart in a volatile Phillies’ rotation. Blanton did everything manager Charlie Manuel asked of him, evidenced by his fluctuating role between the rotation and bullpen in the playoffs.
- Blanton’s competition for the award came from Fort Campbell-native Aaron Cook who was 11-6 with a 4.16 ERA for the Rockies. Relievers Tyler Clippard (4-2, 2.69 ERA), Jon Rauch (7-3, 3.60 ERA) and Scott Downs (1-3, 3.09 ERA, 9 saves) also posted good seasons.