Bill Ballew of Baseball America has released the magazine’s top 20 prospects ranking for the low A South Atlantic league, including several players with Kentucky ties in the bottom quarter of the list. Ballew ranked Lexington Christian Academy alum and Rangers left-handed pitching prospects Robbie Ross at No. 15 on the list, Lexington Legends outfielder and Houston Astros prospect J. D. Martinez at No. 17 and former UofL infielder and San Francisco Giants prospect Chris Dominguez at No. 20.
Ballew writes of Ross, “He does have a great deal of polish, though, as he pitches to both sides of the plate and keeps the ball down in the zone. He’s not afraid of throwing strikes and letting hitters put the ball in play, using his stuff to generate groundouts.” The southpaw went 8-7 with a 2.59 ERA in 16 games for Hickory before a midseason promotion to high A. Martinez led the SAL in batting at .362, and Dominguez led the league with RBI with 101. (Read more, subscription required)
The BA ranking wasn’t the only honor for Martinez in recent days as the Houston Astros named the outfielder the organization’s minor league player of the year. Martinez batted a combined .341 with 18 home runs and 89 RBI between Lexington and AA Corpus Christi. Former Lexington Legends right-handed pitcher Jordan Lyles was named the Astros minor league pitcher of the year. (Read more)
Links from around Kentucky baseball fans as Reds fans come back down from last night’s euphoria:
The Cincinnati Reds clinched the NL Central on a walkoff home run from former Louisville Bats outfielder Jay Bruce. The Reds currently have 24 former Bats on their active roster. Six former Bats played in the division clinching win, and 2010 Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman got the win.
Lexington native Austin Kearns and the New York Yankees clinched an AL playoff spot with a 6-1 win over the Blue Jays. The Yankees remain one-half game back of the Rays in the AL East.
Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, born in Louisville, tallied his 100th RBI of the season after slugging his 32nd home run in a 3-2 loss to Atlanta.
Eric Nelson of WCCO reports Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere is grateful for his chance to play for the Twins this season.
Aaron Gleeman of the Minnesota Post reports, despite being called up on Sept. 1 Revere is still in the running for the final bench spot on the Twins playoff roster thanks to some disabled list roster maneuvering.
Sam Schreiber of WAVE reports former University of Louisville baseball player Isaiah Howes has made his first public comments since shooting former UofL football player Daniel Covington.
David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News projects former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton would start game four of the NLCS and World Series if the Phillies were to advance that far.
Former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton and the Philadelphia Phillies clinched the NL East title with a win Monday. Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports on the team’s fourth consecutive division title.
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb will not return to a MLB mound this season and will instead pitch for the Diamondbacks in the instructional league on Oct. 7.
The Atlanta Braves and right-handed reliever Jonny Venters, born in Pikeville, took over the NL Wild Card lead with a walk-off win Monday.
The Minnesota Twins recently completed rookie hazing day during which rookies have to wear costumes in public. Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere was a character from the children’s show “Yo Gabba Gabba” as evidenced by the pictures on pitcher Pat Neshek’s website.
James Schmel of MLive.com writes former UK first baseman Ryan Strieby‘s numerous injury setbacks this season have contributed to the uncertainty around the Detroit Tigers.
The Cincinnati Reds can clinch the NL Central with a win today or Cardinals loss.
The Bowling Green Hot Rods have also released their 2011 schedule.
Eastern Kentucky University head coach Jason Stein will host a Fall Elite Camp on Oct. 17 for high schoolers.
Jason Stark of ESPN.com reports Atlanta Braves left-handed reliever Jonny Venters, born in Pikeville, will get the first shot at the closer job in Spring Training if Billy Wagner retires as expected this offseason.
Kelly Hill of The Grand Rapids Press reports Michigan prep right-handed pitcher Cam Wysocki, who had drawn interest from the University of Kentucky, has committed to the University of Michigan.
Major League Baseball has just under two weeks left in its regular season and there are several Kentucky storylines worth watching. Check out a summary of those highlights below to tide you over until playoff baseball:
Lexington native Ben Revere, Louisville native Jon Rauch and their Minnesota Twins teammates clinched the AL Central title Tuesday.
Lexington native Austin Kearns and the New York Yankees are two and one-half games up in the AL East but should be safe as the Wild Card winner even if they are caught by the Rays in the division race.
Former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton and the Philadelphia Phillies have a five game lead in the NL East over Atlanta with a magic number of six to clinch the division.
Left-handed reliever Jonny Venters, born in Pikeville, and the Braves are one game up on the Padres and three games up on the Rockies for the NL Wild Card.
Kentucky’s northerly neighbors the Cincinnati Reds, featuring a plethora of former Louisville Bats, boast an eight-game lead in the NL Central and a magic number of four.
Bowling Green native Corey Hart needs nine RBI to top 100 for the first time in his career. Hart needs two home runs to reach 30 on the season.
Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, born in Louisville, needs four RBI to reach 100 for the first time in his career and seven runs to reach 100 for the first time since 2007.
Venters is 15 strikeouts shy of 100 on the season and looks poised to finish 2010 with a sub-2.00 ERA. The lefty currently boasts a 1.74 mark.
Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds needs three home runs to reach 35 for the second time in his career.
Washington Nationals right-handed pitcher Tyler Clippard just topped the 100 strikeouts mark and reached 10 wins on the season.
Latest links from around Kentucky baseball, including the final MiLB game of 2010:
One-time UK outfielder turned second baseman Jason Kipnis was a single shy of hitting for the cycle for the second consecutive game as he helped lead AAA Columbus to a 12-6 win over Tacoma in the AAA National Championship. Kipnis finished the game 3-4 with a double, triple, home run, one RBI and three runs scored.
John Wagner, writing for Baseball America, selects former WKU infielder Wade Gaynor as the best player in the Detroit Tigers’ farm system this season.
John Fay, writing for BA, named Louisville Bats catcher Devin Mesoraco the Reds’ best minor league player this season, Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman the Reds’ best pitcher and Bats outfielder Dave Sappelt as one to watch in the system.
Mike Fields of the Lexington Herald-Leader writes on his blog that PLD alum A. J. Ellis is a big hit with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere tallied his first two MLB hits while batting leadoff for the Twins on Sunday.
Also on Sunday, Paul Laurence Dunbar alum A. J. Ellis lined a walk-off single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th inning to send the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 7-6 win over Colorado.
Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb has another bullpen session on Saturday, and George Von Benko of MLB.com reports the Diamondbacks ace still hopes to get in a game before the end of the season.
Nathan Rode of Baseball America reports right-handed pitcher Ricky West of Louisville has been invited to the 14U Team USA trials.
J. J. Cooper of BA recaps weekend MiLB playoff action, including one-time UK outfielder Jason Kipnis‘ cycle for AAA Columbus.