Freidrich, three Bats among top 50 prospects; Dominguez’s power, infield arm rated best in Giants’ system

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Aroldis Chapman; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranks former EKU left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich the No. 50 prospect in MiLB. He ranks 2010 Louisville Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman No. 6, catcher Devin Mesoraco No. 45 and first baseman Yonder Alonso No. 49. Former Bowling Green Hot Rods left-handed pitcher Matt Moore checked in at No. 27, and Mayo ranked 2009 Lexington Legends right-handed pitcher Jordan Lyles No. 31.
  • Andy Baggarly of Baseball America rates former UofL third baseman Chris Dominguez as having the best power and best infield arm in the San Francisco Giants’ system.
  • Baggarly also answered a couple of Dominguez questions in the online chat accompanying the prospect rankings. Baggarly speculates the Giants might try Dominguez on the mound if he were to fail as a third baseman. (Subscription required)
  • Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb talks to ESPN Dallas about his decision to sign with the Rangers.
  • Aaron Fitt of BA reports the NCAA denied former University of Kentucky third baseman Andy Burns‘ request for a waiver allowing him to play immediately at Arizona. Burns will have to sit out the 2011 season as a transfer.
  • Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports the Cincinnati Reds’ caravan will stop in Bowling Green, Ashland and Lexington this weekend.
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Former No. 1 attempts comeback with Phillies; Friedrich, Kipnis among top prospects; At least 6 2010 Cats transfer

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Christian Friedrich; Photo by Matt McGee via Flickr

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com profiles Louisville native and St. X alum Matt Anderson‘s attempted return to MLB with the Philadelphia Phillies. Anderson was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 draft, and is 15-7 with a 5.19 ERA in 257 career games. A shoulder injury derailed his career in 2003.
  • Tracy Ringolsby of Baseball America ranks former EKU left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich the No. 4 prospect in the Colorado Rockies system.
  • Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranks one-time UK outfielder turned second baseman Jason Kipnis the No. 4 second base prospect in MiLB.
  • On Tuesday we linked comments from Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, who said he would not trade former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton before Opening Day. Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports the Phillies have decided Blanton’s role as rotation depth is worth more than his trade value.
  • Derek Poore of the Courier-Journal reports Blue Jays farmhand Trystan Magnuson, former major league pitcher Paul Byrd, UofL head coach Dan McDonnell, former Astro Chris Burke and others will speak at the BaseballCon held at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville on Jan. 28-29.
  • Yesterday we listed the newcomers on the newly released University of Kentucky roster, but also of interest were the 2010 players no longer on the roster. BluGrass Baseball has confirmed third baseman Andy Burns transferred to Arizona, outfielder Cory Farris transferred to Cumberland University, right-handed pitcher Joe Devine transferred to Georgetown College, outfielder Navarro Hall transferred to Columbus State University, right-handed pitcher Chase Greene transferred to Eastern Kentucky University and right-handed pitcher Sean Bouthilette transferred to Campbellsville University. Right-handed pitcher Kyle Jackson and left-handed pitcher Jon Carlson are also no longer on the roster.

Baseball America ranks six Bats among top 10 Reds prospects and six Ky. collegians in top 100 draft prospects

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Aroldis Chapman; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • J. J. Cooper of Baseball America has published the magazine’s top 10 prospects list for the Cincinnati Reds with several 2010 Louisville Bats included on the list. Cooper ranked left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman No. 1, catcher Devin Mesoraco No. 3, first baseman Yonder Alonso No. 4, third baseman Juan Francisco No. 7, shortstop Zack Cozart No. 8 and utility man Todd Frazier No. 9.
  • Cooper touched on a number of other Bats’ prospects in the accompanying online chat. (subscription required)
  • BA has also released its first rankings for the top 100 college 2011 draft prospects with several Kentucky collegians making the cut. The article is behind the website’s paywall so I won’t give away all the rankings but will note University of Kentucky junior right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer led Kentuckians at No. 21. University of Louisville junior right-handed pitcher Tony Zych, UofL junior infielder Ryan Wright, Lexington Catholic alum and Florida left-handed pitcher Nick Maronde, former UK third baseman Andy Burns and Western Kentucky University outfielder Kes Carter were included in the top 100.
  • Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports Cleveland Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore may not be ready for Opening Day, which could mean more playing time early for Lexington native Austin Kearns.
  • Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports and Rivals.com breaks down the reasons for optimism and reasons for worry for each of the Southeastern Conference baseball teams, noting UK needs more consistency and big seasons from talented and so-far underachieving pitchers.

Offseason position battle: UK third baseman

College Baseball

UK Athletics Wallpaper

We will begin our second lap in the “Offseason position battle” series with a look at the vacant University of Kentucky third base position:

The departed — This season was supposed to be the year that Colorado native Andy Burns, arguably the highest ranked high school position player to ever sign with Kentucky, rode his immense talent to an early MLB draft selection. Burns batted .279 with 18 home runs and 63 RBI over two seasons at UK before deciding to transfer to Arizona following the 2010 season. The only other Cat to appear at third base during the 2010 season was since departed senior utility man Gunner Glad.

Returning candidates — The only returning infielders who didn’t start in 2010 on the roster are redshirt senior Neiko Johnson and redshirt freshman Tyler Townsend.  Johnson batted just .171 in 33 games as a junior but is better suited for second base, where he filled in for an injured Chris Bisson in 2010. Townsend redshirted during the 2010 season.

Newcomers to watch — Freshman infielder Dallen Reber belted a three-run home run in game two of the Fall World Series. In an interview with College Baseball Daily head coach Gary Henderson listed freshman infielders Paul McConkey, J. T. Riddle and Matt Reida as standouts in fall camp. Henderson noted Reida was the most advanced defensive infielder of the group, though he probably profiles as a second baseman or shortstop. Junior college transfer Thomas McCarthy slugged two home runs and a double during game one of the Fall World Series. McCarthy batted .415 with three home runs and 36 RBI in 36 games for Feather River College in 2010.

Wildcard — We listed UK redshirt freshman football quarterback Ryan Mossakowski as the wildcard in UK’s first base race after The Cat’s Pause reported he would play baseball this spring, but his quarterback’s arm could also fit at third base. Mossakowski is unlikely to contribute early in the 2011 season after missing two years following shoulder surgery in high school, but could fit in later in the season as wide receiver Brian Adams did in the outfield at the end of the 2010 season.

Zych ranked among Cape’s best prospects; Webb feels good after bullpen session; Cook may miss rest of season

College Baseball, Major League Baseball

Brandon Webb; Photo by SD Dirk via Flickr

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Jim Callis of Baseball America has ranked the top 30 prospects from the prestigious Cape Cod League for collegiate players, and included University of Louisville right-handed pitcher Tony Zych at No. 17 on the list. Former University of Kentucky infielder Andy Burns, who transferred to Arizona, checked in at No. 30 on the list. (subscription required)
  • In the accompanying online chat, Callis answers questions about a number of other Cape prospects, including UK right-handed pitcher/first baseman Braden Kapteyn, who Callis say will improve upon moving to the mound full-time as a professional.
  • Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb felt good following his latest throwing session and still hopes to get into a game for the Diamondbacks before the end of the season.
  • Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post reports Rockies right-handed pitcher Aaron Cook, born in Fort Campbell, is a long-shot to return this season after breaking his left Wednesday when he was hit by a Joey Votto one-hopper.
  • Matt Zimmer of the Argus Leader writes Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere could have an impact on the Twins playoff push after a surprise call-up last week.

Report: Andy Burns transferring to Arizona

College Baseball

Andy Burns; UK photo

Brewster Whitecaps broadcaster Fred Katz reports via Twitter that former University of Kentucky sophomore infielder Andy Burns is transferring to Arizona. Burns, who is currently playing for the Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League, came to UK as one of the highest ranked high school hitting prospects to ever sign with the program. Last week BluGrass Baseball confirmed that Burns was transferring from UK with a statement from head coach Gary Henderson who said after the season “both parties decided to go in another direction.”

On Monday Brewster General Manager Ned Monthie told BluGrass Baseball that Burns “wants to concentrate on the present season and won’t make any statements at this time.” Under NCAA transfer rules, if Burns attends Arizona he will have to sit out one season.

Burns concentrating on Cape season; Ijames named Cape Cod player of week; Red Sox, Yankees want Downs

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Scott Downs; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Updates and links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Brewster Whitecaps General Manager Ned Monthie responded to BluGrass Baseball‘s request for an interview with former University of Kentucky infielder Andy Burns, who recently left the program, by saying, “Andy wants to concentrate on the current season and won’t make any statements at this time.”
  • University of Louisville rising redshirt junior outfielder Stewart Ijames was named the Cape Cod League player of the week after batting .423 with a home run and eight RBI for Yarmouth-Dennis.
  • Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse reports both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have targeted Louisville native and former UK left-handed pitcher Scott Downs as a possible trade deadline acquisition. Price notes Cincinnati may also have interest in Downs.
  • Yesterday we reported former Eastern Kentucky University left-handed pitcher and Colorado Rockies prospect Christian Friedrich was hit on his pitching elbow by a line drive while pitching for AA Tulsa. Barry Lewis of the Tulsa World has a full recap of the incident with quotes from Tulsa manager Ron Gideon.
  • Jason Stella of the Louisville Bats media relations department writes former Major League outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. has been a valuable mid-season acquisition for the Bats.
  • Jim Callis of Baseball America profiles recently promoted Lexington Legends outfielder J. D. Martinez in his latest “Ask BA” column.

UK Infielder Andy Burns, considered top hitting prospect to ever sign with school, leaves program

College Baseball

Andy Burns; UK photo

The University of Kentucky confirmed in a statement Friday afternoon to BluGrass Baseball that rising junior third baseman Andy Burns has left the program. Burns, considered one of the best high school position player prospects to ever sign with the school, has not announced where he will transfer. “Andy is no longer a member of the UK baseball program,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said in a statement. “At the end of the season, both parties decided to go in another direction and we wish Andy nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

Burns batted .271 with 11 home runs and 30 RBI as a sophomore and .287 with seven home runs and 33 RBI as a freshman for UK. The Fort Collins, Colo., native was the 25th round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies as a high school senior in 2008 but elected to attend UK instead of signing a professional contract. Burns was named the Southeastern Conference  freshman of the week for the week ending May 11, 2009.

Burns could not be reached at the time of positing, though BluGrass Baseball has placed an interview request with his Cape Cod League team. This summer Burns is batting .232 with no home runs in 25 games for the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League. Brewster coach Tom Myers told Aaron Fitt of Baseball America Burns has the chance to be a special player at the next level. “He’s in transition right now, leaving Kentucky, may redshirt, may not—he’s a quality player,” Myers told Fitt. “He’s played short and third, but will probably end up being a third baseman wherever he lands.”

Kentuckians in the Cape

College Baseball

Chad Wright; Photo: UK Athletics

Last week we began a series of posts informing you where some of Kentucky’s college baseball players were spending their summer with Western Kentucky University. Today we’ll look at the most prestigious collegiate summer league: the Cape Cod League. I’ve listed Kentucky collegians playing in the Cape below with their school and Cape team.

  • RHP Tony Zych — University of Louisville — Bourne Braves
  • SS Ryan Wright — UofL — Bourne Braves
  • 3B Andy Burns — University of Kentucky — Brewster Wildcats
  • OF Chad Wright — UK — Cotuit Kettleers
  • RHP/1B Braden Kapteyn — UK — Harwich Mariners
  • SS Zach Osborne — Pleasure Ridge Park High School (Tennessee) — Hyannis Harbor Hawks
  • OF Josh Richmond — UofL — Wareham Gatemen
  • RHP Alex Meyer — UK — Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox
  • RHP Derek Self — UofL — Chatham Anglers

UK OF Lance Ray, UofL 3B Phil Wunderlich and OF Stewart Ijames were originally scheduled to play in the Cape Cod League this summer, but have since left their teams. Ray signed with the Minnesota Twins as their eighth round pick. Wunderlich was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 12th round, and Ijames was selected by the New York Yankees in the 29th round.

BluGrass Baseball Friday Review: Week 14

College Baseball

Postseason races were decided Friday across the Bluegrass and one team clinched a tournament berth. Check out recaps and awards from those games below:

  • No. 11 University of Louisville‘s game vs. Notre Dame was rained out and postponed as part of a double-header Saturday. UCONN has won the first two games of its weekend series, meaning a Huskies’ win or Cards’ loss Saturday will clinch the regular season Big East championship for UCONN.
  • The University of Kentucky was embarrassed in a 20-0 blowout loss to last-place Georgia Friday and was eliminated from Southeastern Conference tournament contention with a LSU victory. Georgia scored in each of the first five innings and removed any doubt from the outcome with a seven-run seventh inning. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Joe Devine was the only UK pitcher to hold Georgia scoreless. Freshman left fielder Brian Adams and sophomore third baseman Andy Burns each tallied two hits in the game. (Box Score)
  • Western Kentucky University dropped game two of its three-game series to Middle Tennessee with a 7-2 loss Friday. Senior right-handed pitcher Shane Cameron took the loss despite only surrendering three runs in seven and one-third innings. No WKU batter recorded multiple hits in the game, and the Hilltopper bullpen surrendered four runs over the final one and two-third innings. Saturday’s rubber match between the two teams will be significant in determining Sun Belt Conference tournament seeding. (Box Score)
  • Murray State University was swept in its Friday double-header by Tennessee Tech, giving Tech the Ohio Valley Conference regular season championship. The Breds lost game one 15-8 and game two 8-3. Senior first baseman Wes Cunningham launched a home run in each game, and senior left fielder Bryan Propst finished the afternoon 4-7 with two home runs, three runs scored and three RBI. Senior right-handed pitcher Chris Craycraft took the loss in game one after allowing nine runs in three and one-third innings, and redshirt junior left-handed pitcher Jake Donze couldn’t record an out in the second inning in his game two loss. (Box Score GM 1) (Box Score GM 2)
  • Morehead State University was eliminated for OVC tournament contention with a double-header sweep by Jacksonville St with a 10-7 loss in game one and 17-0 blowout in game two. Senior pitcher/designated hitter Michael Bottoms was 4-5 in game one and allowed just three runs in seven innings on the mound. Senior shortstop Drew Lee homered in game one. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Josh Schneider and sophomore right-handed pitcher Matthew Robertson took the two losses. (Box Score GM 1) (Box Score GM 2)
  • Eastern Kentucky University swept a double-header from SIU Edwardsville and clinched a spot in the OVC tournament with Morehead St.’s and UT Martin’s losses. EKU won both games by 4-1 scores. Junior left-handed pitcher Paul Duncan allowed one unearned run in six and two-third innings for the game-one win. Freshman right-handed pitcher Anthony Bazzani scored the game-two victory with one run in five innings. Junior left fielder Ryan Faidley tallied two hits in game one and junior third baseman Jayson Langfels recorded two hits in game two. (Box Score GM 1) (Box Score GM 2)

Hitter of the day: LF Bryan Popst (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 2 G, 4-7, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI
  • Honorable Mention: Wes Cunningham (Murray St.), Brian Adams (UK), Michael Bottoms (Morehead St.), Ryan Faidley (EKU)

Pitcher of the day: LHP Paul Duncan (EKU)

  • Stats: 1-0, 6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Shane Cameron (WKU), Michael Bottoms (Morehead St.), Anthony Bazzani (EKU)