The UK Bat Cats have lost another important cog in their 2010 roster. Two-year starting shortstop Chris Wade has signed a contract to play professional baseball with the Florida Marlins according to Eric Lindsey at the UK Athletics blog “Cat Scratches.”
Wade was the Marlins’ 11th round pick in the 2009 MLB Amateur Players Draft. He batted .313 with six home runs and 42 RBI for UK in 2009. He was named a freshman All-American in 2008 and was All-SEC in 2009. He was UK’s first All-SEC shortstop since 1961.
Wade becomes the second underclassman to leave UK after being drafted this year. RHP Clint Tilford signed with the Colorado Rockies after being selected in the 31st round of the draft. UK has also lost one signee to the draft (Keith Butler, 24th round Cardinals) and expects to lose junior pitcher James Paxton who was selected in the first supplemental round by the Toronto Blue Jays. Senior pitcher Chris Rusin signed with the Chicago Cubs as their fourth round pick.
Rising sophomore Andy Burns is the obvious choice to succeed Wade at shortstop for the Cats, but will have to improve on his 13 errors from 2009 to handle the position full time.
If you’re looking for Kentucky natives on the MLB All-Star Game rosters revealed Sunday, you will be looking for a long time. The National League and American League rosters are devoid of any Bluegrass natives or alumni of Bluegrass colleges.
The state’s only hope for an All-Star rests with Arizona Diamondback’s third baseman Mark Reynolds, a Pikeville, Ky., native. Reynolds is one of five candidates for the final spot on the National League roster. Even Reynolds’ ties to the Bluegrass are debatable as he was born in Pikeville, but attended Fort Colonial High School in Virginia Beach, Va., and the University of Virginia. Reynolds has batted .269 on the season with 24 home runs and 61 RBI.
The only Kentucky ties already named to the All-Star game come from a couple of former Lexington Legends. National League outfield reserve Hunter Pence played for Lexington in 2005 and holds the franchise records for single-season home runs, batting average and slugging percentage.
The American League also boasts a former Legend in Tampa Bay shortstop Ben Zobrist. Zobrist also spent part of 2005 in Lexington where he batted .304 in 68 games.
Here are the duo’s numbers from Lexington in 2005:
Pence —80 games, .338 AVG, 59 Runs, 25 Home Runs, 60 RBI
Zobrist — 68 games, .304 AVG, 45 Runs, 2 Home Runs, 32 RBI