Inspired by College Baseball Daily’s list of the top 100 college baseball players, BluGrass Baseball is counting down the top 25 returning Kentucky collegians in advance of the 2011 season. We continue the list today with one of 2010’s breakout players and returning draftees.
No. 5 — RHP Rye Davis — Western Kentucky University
WKU redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Rye Davis missed all of the 2009 season after being struck in the face by a line drive during a preseason scrimmage. The fact that Davis almost lost his right eye did nothing to slow his success upon returning to the mound last season. In 2010 Davis was 3-4 with a 2.72 ERA and nine saves. Davis struck out 63 batters and walked 20 in 49 and two-third innings pitched. The Hilltoppers closer was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 36th round of the 2010 draft, but could have gone much higher if not for his sophomore status.
Davis ranks second in 2010 strikeouts and 2010 saves and first in 2010 appearances among returning Kentucky collegians. After WKU ace Matt Ridings season ended early with an elbow injury, Hilltoppers head coach Chris Finwood turned to Davis for the start in game one of the Sun Belt Conference tournament. Davis could move into a starting role if needed in 2011 but will likely begin the season as the WKU closer once again. If he stays in that role Kentucky college baseball fans should be treated to quite the battle between Davis, UK’s Braden Kapteyn and UofL’s Tony Zych for the state’s best closer honors.