Wellemeyer close to throwing again; Beechwood pitcher excels on and off the field; Adams excels as two-sport athlete

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Major League Baseball

Todd Wellemeyer; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune reports Louisville native and former Bellarmine right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer, who was not assigned to a minor league team to start the season, is still rehabbing from a hip injury suffered during Spring Training. Cubs GM Jim Hendry told Rogers he expects Wellemeyer to start throwing soon.
  • Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA has both the University of Louisville and Western Kentucky University as No. 3 seeds in his latest NCAA field of 64 projection.
  • Marc Hardin, writing for the Cincinnati Enquirer, profiles Beechwood High School senior pitcher Colin Johnson, who helped Beechwood win 12 of its first 14 games and may play baseball at MIT next year.
  • Ethan Levine of the Kentucky Kernel profiles University of Kentucky sophomore outfielder Brian Adams, who is currently going through spring practice as a wide receiver on the football team in addition to manning center field in most games for the baseball team.
  • Brad Stephens of the College Heights Herald recaps WKU’s 3-2 win over Murray State University, noting WKU redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Rye Davis said after a poor start to 2011 he decided his season was going to start over last night.
  • Nick Baumgardner of The Daily News reports WKU head coach Chris Finwood said he was going to try and pitch Davis in low-pressure situations out of the bullpen in the near future.
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St. Xavier headlines latest KHSBCA top 25 poll

High School Baseball

The Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association has released its first in-season top 25 rankings. Check out the top 25 below (Note the ties for No. 11, 20 and 22):

  • 1) St. Xavier High School
  • 2) Harrison County High School
  • 3) Male High School
  • 4) Apollo High School
  • 5) Lexington Catholic High School
  • 6) Eastern High School
  • 7) Pleasure Ridge Park High School
  • 8 ) Central Hardin High School
  • 9) Paul Laurence Dunbar High School
  • 10) Lawrence County High School
  • 11) Madison Central High School
  • 11) Trinity High School
  • 13) Ballard High School
  • 14) West Jessamine High School
  • 15) Lafayette High School
  • 16) Daviess County High School
  • 17) Clay County High School
  • 18) Henderson County High School
  • 19) Lexington Christian Academy
  • 20) Beechwood High School
  • 20) Tates Creek High School
  • 22) Christian County High School
  • 22) Somerset High School
  • 24) Russell County High School
  • 25) Pikeville High School

You can see the top 25 with the “others receiving votes” here.

Louisville high school teams among state’s best; Ellis has outside shot at Dodgers’ roster; WKU dominating Sun Belt

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Major League Baseball

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Bob White of the Courier-Journal previews the Louisville high school baseball teams.
  • David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes left-handed reliever Jonny Venters, who was born in Pikeville, is refreshed this spring after being used liberally as a rookie in 2010.
  • Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports PLD alum A. J. Ellis may be at a disadvantage in the backup catcher competition with the Dodgers because he has a minor league option remaining and the other candidate, Hector Gimenez, does not.
  • Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA touches on Western Kentucky University and the University of Louisville in his “27 Takes” column from Friday college baseball.

Harrison County headlines KHSBCA preseason top 25

High School Baseball

The Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association has released its preseason top 25 rankings. Check out the list below or at the KHSBCA website here. (Note the two-way tie for No. 14 and three-way tie for No. 19)

  • 1) Harrison Count High School
  • 2) St. Xavier High School
  • 3) Lexington Catholic High School
  • 4) Apollo High School
  • 5) Pleasure Ridge Park High School
  • 6) Eastern High School
  • 7) Male High School
  • 8) Trinity High School
  • 9) Central Hardin High School
  • 10) Ballard High School
  • 11) Lexington Christian Academy
  • 12) West Jessamine High School
  • 13) Lafayette High School
  • 14) Christian County High School
  • 14) Henderson County High School
  • 16) Henry County High School
  • 17) Lawrence County High School
  • 18) Lone Oak High School
  • 19) Bryan Station High School
  • 19) Clay County High School
  • 19) Mercer County High School
  • 22) Pikeville High School
  • 23) Oldham County High School
  • 24) Tates Creek High School
  • 25) Warren Central High School

Nidiffer hopes to play for Legends; Crisper appealing for extra year at NKU; Kearns provides Indians with OF depth

High School Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Austin Kearns; Photo by Scott Ableman via Flickr

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Jordan Bastian of MLB.com examines the Cleveland Indians outfield, including Lexington native Austin Kearns. Bastian reports Kearns will “provide an experienced right-handed bat to help offset the fact that the trio of regulars all bat from the left side.”
  • Stephen Wilder of the Northerner, the student newspaper of Northern Kentucky University, previews the 2011 Norse and reports 2010 GLVC player of the year Jason Crisper is appealing to the NCAA for a medical hardship that would grant him an extra year of eligibility.
  • Mark Maloney of the Lexington Herald-Leader profiles former UK catcher Marcus Nidiffer, who has transitioned to a first baseman as a professional and may be the first former Cat to play for the Lexington Legends.
  • Jason Frakes of the Courier-Journal profiles new Ballard High School coach David Trager, a 25-year-old Ballard alum who played four years at Indiana.

Cox ranked No. 2 Cardinals prospect; Zych ranked No. 12 NCAA player; Rauch gains interest from AL East teams

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, Youth Baseball

Zack Cox; University of Arkansas photo

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Derrick Goold of Baseball America ranks Louisville native Zack Cox the No. 2 prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals’ system.
  • Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports via Twitter the Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and other teams have expressed interest in Louisville native and former Morehead St. right-handed pitcher Jon Rauch.
  • College Baseball Daily continues its countdown of the top 100 college baseball players with University of Louisville junior right-handed pitcher Tony Zych at No. 13.
  • Danville High School junior catcher Andrew Lasure will participate in the 2011 Under Armour Pre-Season All-American Tournament Jan. 14-16 in Tuscon, Ariz.
  • WDRB-TV in Louisville reports on the $45 million, state-of-the-art youth baseball complex planned for the city.

BluGrass Baseball 2011 predictions

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Predictions, based on pure speculation, for 2011 Kentucky baseball that are sure to go wrong:

  • University of Kentucky junior right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer finally cashes in on the promise that had him ranked among the top prospects to attend college in 2008 with an All-SEC season. Meyer’s performance secures his status as a first-round pick this June.
  • Ashland native and 2006 Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb rebounds after missing  most of two seasons with a shoulder injury to win 15 games for the reigning American League champion Texas Rangers.
  • University of Louisville junior infielder Ryan Wright is named a postseason first-team All-American after leading the Cards to their third consecutive Big East Conference championship.
  • The Lexington Legends unveil the new “Ale-8-One Ballpark.”
  • The National League all-star team features three players born in Kentucky: Corey Hart, Dan Uggla and Jonny Venters.
  • Western Kentucky University wins the Sun Belt Conference and enters the NCAA tournament as a two seed.
  • UofL (Stewart IjamesTony ZychDerek SelfRyan WrightDrew Haynes and Gabriel Shaw) and WKU (Jared Andreoli, Kes Carter, Ivan Hartle, Matt Rice, Rye Davis and Brian Edelen) both have six players drafted in June.
  • Four members of UK’s vaunted junior class are selected in the draft: Meyer, Cory Farris, Chad Wright and Braden Kapteyn. Senior Taylor Black is also selected.
  • Kentucky’s three Ohio Valley Conference schools each see one player drafted: Eastern Kentucky University junior shortstop Richie Rodriguez, Murray State University junior catcher Jacob Rhodes and Morehead State University senior infielder Travis Redmon.
  • Morehead St. infielder Bud Morton wins the 2011 BluGrass Baseball freshman of the year award, Meyer wins pitcher of the year and Wright wins player of the year.
  • PRP alum Zack Cox wins BluGrass Baseball MiLB player of the year and former UK left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin wins MiLB pitcher of the year.
  • Nine Kentucky minor leaguers make their MLB debuts in 2011: Matt Klinker, Josh Lueke, Trystan Magnuson, Collin Cowgill, Christian Friedrich, Jason Kipnis, Nathan Adcock, Chaz Roe and Ryan Strieby.
  • Harrison County High School repeats as KHSAA state baseball champions.
  • Tates Creek High School outfielder and WKU signee Ryan Fucci wins Mr. Kentucky Baseball.
  • After losing much of its recent talent to the majors the Louisville Bats run of playoff appearances ends.
  • Boosted by the Tampa Bay Rays signing six players from the first three rounds of the 2010 draft, the Bowling Green Hot Rods finish 2011 as the state’s best minor league team.

Kentucky Baseball 2010 Year in Review

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Corey Hart; Photo by Steve Paluch via Flickr

We are a couple of days late with our look back at Kentucky baseball in 2010, but hopefully you can spare one more retrospective with this look at the year’s best highlight from each level of baseball in the Bluegrass State.

MLB Highlight: Corey Hart completes breakout season

  • Bowling Green native and Greenwood High School alum Corey Hart batted .283 with 31 home runs, 102 RBI, 91 runs scored and 158 hits in 2010 for the Milwaukee Brewers. Along the way Hart started for the National League in the MLB All-Star Game, signed a three-year contract extension and participated in the home run derby. Hart recorded career highs in home runs, RBI and runs scored in 2010 and finished the year in the running for Kentucky’s best MLB hitter.
  • One-time Louisville Bats Josh Hamilton and Joey Votto named MLB MVPs.

MiLB Highlight: Kipnis caps season with AAA playoff cycle

  • One-time UK outfielder turned second baseman Jason Kipnis ended an impressive 2010 season by hitting for the cycle for the Columbus Clippers after being promoted to AAA for the team’s playoff run. Kipnis batted .307 with 16 home runs, 74 RBI and 96 runs scored across two levels during the regular season. Kipnis finished his college career as an all-American after transferring to Arizona State and has certainly followed through on the promise that led Cleveland to select him in the second round of the 2009 draft. Kipnis enters 2011 with a chance to make the Indians’ MLB roster out of Spring Training.
  • Non-drafted free agents Richie Rowland, Marcus Nidiffer and Tyler Gatrell excel in professional debuts.

College Highlight: UofL wins second consecutive Big East title

  • The University of Louisville clinched its second straight Big East Conference championship with a double-header sweep of Notre Dame on May 23. The Cards were eliminated from the NCAA tournament one win shy of the super regional, but were on cloud nine after outscoring the Fighting Irish 23-6 in the championship-clinching series. UofL sophomore second baseman Ryan Wright put together an All-American season, and the Cards boasted a state-high 10 MLB draftees.
  • Murray St. first baseman Wes Cunningham completes All-American season.

High School Highlight: Harrison County wins fourth title

  • Freshman starting pitcher Jordan Martin led Harrison County High School to its fourth KHSAA baseball championship with a complete-game championship-clinching win. The champions defeated Butler County High School 2-1 to win the title and ended the season on a 24-game winning streak. Harrison County placed two players on the KHSBCA all-state teams and three players on the KHSAA All-Tournament  team during the state playoffs. Junior outfielder Eric Sanders was named the MVP of the state tournament.
  • Honorable Mention: Western Hills shortstop J. T. Riddle wins “Mr. Baseball.”

Blanton unlikely to be traded in division; Looking back at 2010 baseball and looking forward to 2011

High School Baseball, Major League Baseball

A roundup of the latest links and stories from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Jennifer Hewlett of the Lexington Herald-Leader profiles former UK basketball and baseball star Cotton Nash and his family. Nash, more known for his basketball career, appeared in 13 games across three seasons for the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins. One of his sons, J. Richey Nash, recently filmed a movie about baseball in Lexington.
  • Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Gil Lebreton has a plethora of predictions for Texas sports in 2011, including a big season for Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb. Lebreton predicts Webb will make the Rangers’ starting rotation out of Spring Training and pitch the eventual division-clinching win in October.
  • Jane Lee of MLB.com lists former UofL right-handed pitcher Trystan Magnuson among the Oakland Athletics pitchers that may form an improved bullpen that could reverse the A’s 2010 fortunes.
  • Nick Cafardo of The Boston Herald reports the Philadelphia Phillies are unlikely to trade former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton within the NL East.
  • Mike Fields of the Lexington Herald-Leader looks back on highlights from Kentucky high school sports in 2010, including the death of long-time Paintsville High School baseball coach Charlie Adkins, Harrison County High School‘s fourth state baseball title and J. T. Riddle‘s Mr. Baseball win.

Ryan Wright named preseason All American; EKU to celebrate 100 years of baseball

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Minor League Baseball

An assortment of the latest links and stories from around Kentucky baseball:

  • The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association named University of Louisville junior infielder Ryan Wright a second-team preseason All American.
  • Eastern Kentucky University has announced its 100 Years of Baseball celebration for the upcoming season. EKU will unveil its All-Century baseball team on Feb. 5.
  • Butler High School infielder Ryan Asher, Mercer County High School corner infielder Colin Buckner and Knox Central High School right-handed pitcher Justin King have signed to play baseball at Lincoln Memorial University.
  • Bob Livingston of the Daily Republican Register reports several former Wabash Valley College baseball players are moving on to Kentucky universities: Noah Zipko and Alex Gordon have signed with Murray State University and Steve Hodgins has signed with Western Kentucky University.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays have announced Brady Williams will return as the Bowling Green Hot Rods manager in 2011.