Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports has a new column as part of the Web site’s 2010 college baseball preview in which he looks at one University of Kentucky Bat Cat that needs to step up this season. Sophomore Alex Meyer, who came to UK as one of the highest ranked recruits in school history, is the key to UK’s success this season with or without ace James Paxton, Rogers writes. I encourage you to flip over and check out Rogers’ entire column, but this quote from Meyer about the Paxton situation was particularly illuminating:
My perspective is that James should be pitching this season. That’s certainly how the entire team feels right now. This is something like LSU losing Anthony Ranaudo. We’ve been planning the entire season based on having Paxton back. If he does come back, we’re the happiest team in the country. We could get to Omaha.”
UK head coach Gary Henderson also chimed in with his first comments to the media since the Paxton news broke:
I guess the only thing I can say is that the situation is as frustrating as you might anticipate. We’re hopeful of a positive resolution. We’re certainly staying optimistic.”
Read the entire column here.
UK Athletics Wallpaper
Apologies for missing the usual morning links post today, but I decided to group the several University of Kentucky baseball stories I had together in a late post and hold the few other stories until tomorrow. Some of this is a little old, but they are still worth passing along.
- Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports picks UK to finish fifth in the Southeastern Conference East Division, but places LHP James Paxton on his All-Conference team and writes the Bat Cats should be in the running for a NCAA tournament bid. Rogers selected Alex Meyer on his rising stock list.
- Rogers writes much of UK’s 2010 success may depend on James Paxton’s eligibility. (At this point I have to imagine UK should start preparing like Paxton won’t be eligible.)
- Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Bob Ford writes of UK alum Joe Blanton: “Not exactly a Ferrari, but Blanton is reliable.”
- Former UK pitcher Adam Revelette talks to some former and current Cats about proposed rule changes for “Cat Scratches.”
- Brent Ingram of UK Athletics has a blog post on “Cat Scratches” about former Cat Ryan Strieby‘s Baseball America honor we reported last week.
Baseball America has released the 30th and final top 10 prospects list in its series today with the Texas Rangers’ ranking, and Lexington Christian Academy alum Robbie Ross checked in at No. 7. Ross was the Rangers’ second round pick in 2008 and was lured away from a commitment to the University of Kentucky by a $1.575 million signing bonus. Ross spent 2009 with the Spokane Indians of the short-season Northwest League. Here’s a sampling of his 2009 stats and a snippet of BA analysis from Aaron Fitt.
#6 — Robbie Ross — Spokane Indians — LCA
- 4-4, 2.66 ERA, 76 SO/17 BB, 74 IP
- .240 batting average against, 15 games started
- BA: “Ross will move on to low Class A in 2010. Texas will develop him as a starter, and some club officials envision him as a mid-rotation starter in the mold of former all-star Danny Jackson.”
Hunter Pence; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Lexington Legends Hall of Famer Hunter Pence avoided arbitration with the Houston Astros by agreeing to a one-year contract worth $3.5 million. Pence is under club control for three more seasons. Hunter was named a 2009 National League All-Star and slugged a career high 25 home runs last season.
His fellow Legends Hall of Famer and Astros’ teammate Wandy Rodriguez has yet to agree on a 2010 contract with the team. (Read more from MLB.com)
Joe Blanton; UK Athletics Wallpaper
There will be no arbitration hearing for University of Kentucky and Franklin Simpson High School alum Joe Blanton. The Philadelphia Phillies announced today they had signed Blanton to a three-year extension worth $24 million, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports. A news conference announcing the signing is expected to start any minute. (Read more)
Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse tweeted earlier today that Blanton’s salary breaks down to $7 million in 2010, $8.5 million in 2011 and $8.5 million in 2012. He stands in line to receive a $250,000 increase in his 2011 and 2012 salaries if he pitches 200 innings the previous season.
Ryan Strieby; Photo via Flickr by mwlguide
Every year Baseball America assembles an American and National league prospect All-Star team of players that just missed being included in their organization’s top 10 prospects list. This year BA selected University of Kentucky alum and former Southeastern Conference player of the year Ryan Strieby as the AL team’s first baseman. BA originally ranked Strieby in the Detroit Tiger’s top 10 list, but he was pushed out when the team acquired two top prospects in the Curtis Granderson trade. The slugger batted .303 with 19 home runs and 58 RBI in 86 games for AA Erie in 2009 before his season was cut short with a wrist injury. In 382 professional games, Strieby has 68 home runs.
“He’s blocked by Miguel Cabera at first base but his pop could win him a job at DH,” BA Executive Editor Jim Callis writes. (Read more)
Dan Uggla; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports the Florida Marlins and Louisville-native Dan Uggla agreed on a one-year, $7.8 million contract Monday. The agreement means the two sides have avoided an arbitration hearing. Uggla had been actively shopped by the Marlins this offseason, and he remains a candidate to be traded before Opening Day. The Marlins have made it clear they won’t just give the slugger away. (Read more)
Uggla had this to say about Frisaro about staying in Florida:
It feels good to get this out of the way. I can’t say that I’m going to for sure be a Marlin, because no one knows that. But I feel with the situation I’m in, I’m happy to be with the Marlins. I love it down there. They worked really well with me to come to an agreement, so I don’t have to go to an arbitration hearing. So I’m happy.”