Offseason position battle: EKU first baseman

College Baseball

We continue our second lap in the “offseason position battle” series with a look at the vacant Eastern Kentucky University first base position.

The departed — Senior first baseman Anthony Ottrando batted .335 with 17 home runs, 67 RBI and 47 runs score while starting 54 games for EKU in 2010. Ottrando led the team in home runs, RBI and doubles (15). For good measure he added 11 stolen bases in 13 attempts. Ottrando made seven erros on the season while posting a .986 fielding percentage. The slugger was honored as the second team All-OVC first baseman following the 2010 season. Ottrando started all but one game at first for EKU in 2010 with the other start going to freshman Kyle England, who is not listed on the current EKU roster. In August Ed Richter of the Middletown Journal in Ohio reported England and one other man had been indicted on charges of sexual battery after a 16-year-old girl accused them of assaulting her during a party at England’s home.

Returning candidates — The only returning Colonel to appear in a game at first base in 2010 is junior Dustin Dunlop who played one game at the position. Dunlop spent most his time playing second base for the Colonels in 2010 and also appeared at third base during his freshman and sophomore years…Junior Jacob Daniel has served as the EKU designated hitter for the last two seasons but could conceivably move to first base if needed…Sophomore infielder Alex Hughes didn’t appear in a game during 2010 for EKU but at 6-4 he has the size to fill in at first base.

Newcomers to watch — Freshman infielder Mitch Durbin signed with EKU as a corner infielder and left-handed power bat. In Nov. 2009 EKU head coach Jason Stein said “Following graduation and the draft of 2010, we will probably have two immediate needs and, as a left-handed bat with power and a corner infielder, Mitch fills both of them.”…At 6-2 and 6-0 respectively freshman infielders Alex Arovits and Dillon Pelfrey both also could fill in at first base.

Wildcard — The only wildcard in the EKU first base battle appears to be a position change from one of the catchers or outfielders. Senior outfielder Bryce Labhart is listed as an OF/INF on the roster but played left field primarily in 2010 and came to EKU from Onley Central Junior College as a second baseman/outfielder. Sophomore outfielders Michael Buschmann and Jeff Emerich are likely reserves. Juniors A. J. Jamison and Brian Shrimpton are the returning catchers on the roster.

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Draft Preview: Ohio Valley Conference

College Baseball, Major League Baseball

Wes Cunningham: BluGrass Baseball photo

The state’s three Ohio Valley Conference teams don’t have multiple draft prospects, so we’ll lump them all together for the next preview post. These players will test the importance of college state because several of them posted video game numbers this season:

The test cases

  • Murray State University senior first baseman Wes Cunningham was named OVC player of the year in a season where he batted .408 with 22 home runs, 86 RBI and 77 runs. The third team Louisville Slugger All-American doesn’t have a great fit on defense, struggles against left-handed pitching and is undersized for a first baseman. Cunningham will get drafted, probably in the first 30 rounds for his numbers alone, but will have to prove himself at every level of professional baseball. Baseball America projects he’ll need to move to second base as a pro, where he would have slightly above average speed.
  • Eastern Kentucky University junior third baseman Jayson Langfels struggled toward the end of 2010, which certainly didn’t help his draft status, but has boasted back-to-back .350-plus seasons. He batted over .400 as a sophomore and slugged 16 home runs as a junior. Langfels could probably use another year of college and will likely head back to EKU unless he’s drafted surprisingly high.

Senior standouts

  • Morehead State University hitters’ offensive numbers are boosted by the school’s small park, but senior shortsop Drew Lee and senior outfielder J. D. Ashbrook still boasted abnormally impressive performances. Lee batted .412 while Ashrook hit .432 on the season. Lee slugged 17 home runs, and Ashbrook added 18 long-balls of his own. Both players will hope to be late-round senior signs where they’ll look to prove detractors wrong.
  • EKU senior first baseman Anthony Ottrando slugged 17 home runs and drove in 66, but will hope a team selects him late as an organizational filler due to his limited upside.
  • Murray St. senior right-handed pitcher Chris Craycraft underperformed as a senior but could profile as a middle reliever if given the chance, and Morehead St. senior catcher Taylor Davis batted .350 on the season.

Other possible senior signs:

  • C Joey Stevens (EKU)
  • RHP Michael Bottoms (Morehead St.)
  • OF Bryan Propst (Murray St.)
  • LHP Matt McGaha (Murray St.)

Season Review: Eastern Kentucky University

College Baseball

In the third season review post, we’ll finish up the Ohio Valley Conference teams with Eastern Kentucky University, which finished the 2010 season at 28-27 and was eliminated by Murray State University in the OVC tournament.

  • Hitter of the year: 3B Jayson Langfels — Langfels was a named a preseason All-American by several media outlets prior to the 2010 season and did nothing to disappoint. His average stayed above .400 for much of the season before a slump toward the end of the conference schedule dropped him to .353 for the year. The junior third baseman also slugged 16 home runs, drove in 52 runs and scored 61 times. For good measure he added 12 stolen bases in 16 attempts.
  • Pitcher of the year: RHP Anthony Bazzani — The freshman righty had his ups and downs during the 2010 season, which briefly saw him removed from the weekend rotation, but ended the year with a stretch of his best performances. For the season Bazzani was 5-3 with a 5.47 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 77.1 innings, but he was 3-0 in his last three starts, surrendering just five runs in 22 innings.
  • Season high point: Eight strong innings from Bazzani gave EKU a 4-3 win over Murray St. in the first round of the Ohio Valley conference and briefly gave the Colonels hope of a NCAA tournament bid before dropping their next two tournament games.
  • Season low point: That win over Murray St. was the only victory EKU recorded over an in-state team in 2010 as the Colonels finished 1-7 against Kentucky schools.
  • Miscellaneous: Senior first baseman Anthony Ottrando would likely have made the first-team all conference team in any conference that didn’t have Wes Cunningham playing in it after batting .335 with 17 home runs and 67 RBI…Junior closer Ryne Purcell was second in the state with 12 saves but struggled to the tune of a 6.03 ERA…Sophomore shortstop Richie Rodriguez was the best hitter on the team at times this season and finished the year with a .357 batting average, 55 runs scored and 21 stolen bases.

BluGrass Baseball Hitting Leaderboard: June 1

College Baseball

Check out the  BluGrass Baseball hitting leaderboard updated through conference tournament action. Remember, these stats are final for all teams except UofL. To be eligible for the percentage categories (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage) a player must have at least 2.5 at-bats per team game. The college leaderboard is now permanently accessible on its own page on the left sidebar here.

Batting Average

  • Zack Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .432
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .432
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .412
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .408
  • Andrew Clark — UofL — .377

Home Runs

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 22
  • Phil Wunderlich — UofL — 20
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 18
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 17
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — 17

RBI

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 86
  • Ryan Wright — UofL — 77
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — 67
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 66
  • Matt Rice — WKU — 65

Runs

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 77
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 69
  • Adam Duvall — UofL — 66
  • Matt Payton — WKU — 63
  • Jeff Arnold — UofL — 62

Stolen Bases

  • Chris Bisson — UK — 32/39
  • Neiko Johnson — UK — 24/25
  • Richie Rodriguez — EKU — 21/28
  • Logan Robbins — WKU — 18/20
  • Jeff Arnold — UofL — 16/19
  • Jonathan Roof — Michigan St. (St. Mary’s) — 16/22

On-Base Percentage

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .540
  • Zack  Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .514
  • Andrew Clark — UofL — .481
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .485
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .476

Slugging Percentage

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .824
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .795
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .765
  • Phil Wunderlich — UofL — .697
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .696

Royse, Cunningham, Ridings receive conference awards; 29 Kentucky players named to all-conference teams

College Baseball

Tuesday saw the naming of all-conference teams across the country and the awarding of pitcher and player of the year honors. Kentucky collegiate players received their fair share of recognition, and I’ve listed those honors below:

  • University of Louisville (9) junior right-handed pitcher Thomas Royse was named the Big East Conference pitcher of the year.
  • Western Kentucky University senior right-handed pitcher Matt Ridings was named the Sun Belt Conference pitcher of the year.
  • Murray State University senior first baseman Wes Cunningham was named the Ohio Valley Conference player of the year.
  • First team All-Southeastern Conference: 3B Zack Cox (Arkansas, PRP)
  • Second team All-SEC: 2B Chris Bisson (University of Kentucky)
  • First team All-Big East: P Neil Holland (UofL), P Thomas Royse (UofL), 1B Andrew Clark (UofL), 2B Ryan Wright (UofL)
  • Second team All-Big East: C Jeff Arnold (UofL), 3B Phil Wunderlich (UofL), SS Adam Duvall (UofL), OF Stewart Ijames (UofL)
  • First team All-Big Ten Conference: SS Jonathan Roof (Michigan St., Paducah)
  • First team All-Sun Belt: RHP Matt Ridings (WKU), RP Rye Davis (WKU), C Matt Rice (WKU), OF Kes Carter (WKU)
  • Second team All-Sun Belt: 2B Matt Payton (WKU)
  • First team All-OVC: 1B Wes Cunningham (Murray St.), SS Drew Lee (Morehead State University), 3B Jayson Langfels (Eastern Kentucky University), OF J. D. Ashbrook (Morehead St.).
  • Second team All-OVC: 1B Anthony Ottrando (EKU), UT Michael Bottoms (Morehead St.), SP Chris Craycraft (Murray St.), RP Matt McGaha (Murray St.)
  • Freshman All-OVC: RHP Anthony Bazzani (EKU), OF Austin Grisham (EKU), SS Brandon Elliott (Murray St.), 3B/DH Colton Moore (Murray St.)
  • Honorable Mention All-Missouri Valley Conference: SP Patrick Cooper (Bradley, Danville)

BluGrass Baseball Postseason All-State Team

College Baseball

Matt Rice bats for WKU: BluGrass Baseball photo

Now that the collegiate regular season is officially over it’s time to name the BluGrass Baseball postseason All-State team. You can see the preseason and mid-season teams on the All-State team page here. I had to do a little maneuvering to fill out the team, for instance both the first and second team include a pitcher who didn’t start on the weekend in the final SP slot. Matt McGaha qualified for the ERA title, so I had no problem including him despite only pitching in relief, but Brian Edelen was the best of a lackluster group of candidates for the third SP spot on the second team. He made 11 starts on the season. UK utility man Gunner Glad spent most of his time at first base, but his outfield time gives him the nod for the final second-team outfield position. Check back tomorrow for the player, pitcher and freshman of the year awards.

Stats are listed as batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage for batters.

First Team

  • C — Matt Rice — Western Kentucky University — .373/.446/.579, 10 HR, 63 RBI, 49 R
  • 1B — Wes Cunningham — Murray State University — .415/.484/.835, 20 HR, 77 RBI, 69 R
  • 2B — Ryan Wright — University of Louisville — .361/.412/.635, 14 HR, 66 RBI, 52 R
  • 3B — Zack Cox — Arkansas — .432/.514/.607, 8 HR, 47 RBI, 60 R
  • SS — Drew Lee — Morehead State University — .412/.485/.765, 17 HR, 66 RBI, 60 R, 13 SB
  • OF — J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .432/.540/.795, 18 HR, 55 RBI, 69 R, 14 SB
  • OF — Stewart Ijames — UofL — .344/.426/.590, 12 HR, 57 RBI, 40 R
  • OF — Kes Carter — WKU — .343/.418/.492, 7 HR, 53 RBI, 38 R, 13 SB
  • DH — Jayson Langfels — Eastern Kentucky University — .373/.483/.736, 16 HR, 50 RBI, 53 R
  • SP — Thomas Royse — UofL — 9-1, 2.71 ERA, 88 SO/25 BB, 93 IP, .249 BA against
  • SP — Matt Ridings — WKU — 9-1, 3.01 ERA, 90 SO/17 BB, 92.2 IP, .218 BA against
  • P — Matt McGaha — Murray St. — 5-1, 3.36 ERA, 50 SO/11 BB, 61.2 IP, .272 BA against
  • RP — Neil Holland — UofL — 7-0, 15 saves, 2.08 ERA, 48 SO/14 BB, 47.2 IP, .158 BA against

Second Team

  • C — Taylor Davis — Morehead St. — .350/.412/.596, 11 HR, 57 RBI, 40 R
  • 1B — Andrew Clark — UofL — .385/.488/.708, 12 HR, 56 RBI, 45 R
  • 2B — Matt Payton — WKU — .363/.436/.597, 7 HR, 55 RBI, 62 R
  • 3B — Phil Wunderlich — UofL — .356/.440/.707, 19 HR, 55 RBI, 49 R
  • SS — Adam Duvall — UofL — .346/.408/.620, 12 HR, 45 RBI, 63 R
  • OF — Bryan Propst — Murray St. — .339/.403/.645, 13 HR, 45 RBI, 51 R
  • OF — Jared Andreoli — WKU — .338/.410/.481, 5 HR, 48 RBI, 60 R, 14 SB
  • OF — Gunner Glad — University of Kentucky — .336/.423/.565, 12 HR, 45 RBI, 49 R
  • DH — Anthony Ottrando — EKU — .353/.459/.721, 17 HR, 67 RBI, 47 R
  • SP — Shane Cameron — WKU — 4-2, 4.89 ERA, 74 SO/23 BB, 81 IP, .275 BA against
  • SP — Dean Kiekhefer — UofL — 3-3, 4.28 ERA, 38 SO/18 BB, 61 IP, .258 BA against
  • P — Brian Edelen — WKU — 4-1, 3.58 ERA, 28 SO/28 BB, 50.1 IP, .272 BA against
  • RP — Rye Davis — WKU — 3-4, 9 saves, 2.58 ERA, 60 SO/19 BB, 45.1 IP, .234 BA against

BluGrass Baseball Hitting Leaderboard: May 25

College Baseball

Check out the final regular season hitting BluGrass Baseball leaderboard updated through Sunday’s games. Stats will continue to update through postseason play for UofL, WKU, Murray St. and EKU, but the season is over for Morehead St. and, barring a miracle NCAA bid, UK. To be eligible for the percentage categories (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage) a player must have at least 2.5 at-bats per team game. The college leaderboard is now permanently accessible on its own page on the left sidebar here.

Batting Average

  • Zack Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .432
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .432
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .415
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .412
  • Andrew Clark — UofL — .385

Home Runs

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 20
  • Phil Wunderlich — UofL — 19
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 18
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 17
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — 17

RBI

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 77
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — 67
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 66
  • Ryan Wright — UofL — 66
  • Matt Rice — WKU — 63

Runs

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 69
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 69
  • Adam Duvall — UofL — 63
  • Matt Payton — WKU — 62
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — 61

Stolen Bases

  • Chris Bisson — UK — 32/39
  • Neiko Johnson — UK — 24/25
  • Richie Rodriguez — EKU — 19/26
  • Logan Robbins — WKU — 17/19
  • Jonathan Roof — Michigan St. (St. Mary’s) — 16/22

On-Base Percentage

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .540
  • Zack  Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .514
  • Andrew Clark — UofL — .488
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .485
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .484

Slugging Percentage

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .835
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .795
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .765
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .736
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — .721

BluGrass Baseball Tuesday Review: Week 14

College Baseball

The two non-OVC teams swept the in-state matchups Friday in the season’s last mid-week games. Check out recaps and awards from the games below:

  • No. 11 University of Louisville rode five RBI from senior catcher Jeff Arnold to a 14-3 blowout of Eastern Kentucky University Tuesday. Arnold was 2-5 with two runs scored, and five Cardinals tallied at least two hits in the game. Senior third baseman Phil Wunderlich was 3-5 with a run scored and RBI. Junior center fielder Josh Richmond, who was playing in his fourth game since missing 29 games with a broken hand, launched his first home run of the season. EKU senior first baseman Anthony Ottrando launched his 17th home run of the season. UofL senior right-handed pitcher Tyler Mathis was credited with the win after pitching two perfect innings. (Box Score)
  • Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Joe Devine earned his first University of Kentucky career victory in a 6-3 win over Murray State University. Devine allowed one run on three hits in five and one-third innings and struck out four while walking one. UK junior second baseman Chris Bisson was 2-5 in the game, and six different Cats scored a run. Murray St. senior catcher Jason Laws and senior outfielder Daniel Hill each homered in the game. UK left-handed pitcher Logan Darnell earned his first save of the season but surrendered two runs in one and two-third innings. (Box Score)

Hitter of the day: C Jeff Arnold (UofL)

  • Stats: 2-5, 2 R, 5 RBI, 1 2B, 1 3B
  • Honorable Mention: Andrew Clark (UofL), Phil Wunderlich (UofL), Anthony Ottrando (EKU), Chris Bisson (UK), Jason Laws (Murray St.)

Pitcher of the day: RHP Joe Devine (UK)

  • Stats: 1-0, 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Tyler Mathis (UofL), Eric Sanders (EKU), Marc Harmon (Murray St.)

BluGrass Baseball Hitting Leaderboard: May 18

College Baseball

Check out the hitting BluGrass Baseball leaderboard updated through Sunday’s games. To be eligible for the percentage categories (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage) a player must have at least 2.5 at-bats per team game, which means UK outfielder Lance Ray still isn’t eligible after moving into the starting lineup halfway through the season. The college leaderboard is now permanently accessible on its own page on the left sidebar here.

Batting Average

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .436
  • Zack Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .431
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .427
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .424
  • Andrew Clark — UofL — .393

Home Runs

  • Phil Wunderlich — UofL — 19
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 18
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 18
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 16
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — 16

RBI

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 74
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 65
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — 65
  • Ryan Wright — UofL — 63
  • Matt Rice — WKU — 60

Runs

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 67
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 67
  • Zack Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — 60
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — 59
  • Adam Duvall — UofL — 59

Stolen Bases

  • Chris Bisson — UK — 28/35
  • Neiko Johnson — UK — 23/24
  • Logan Robbins — WKU — 16/18
  • Jeff Arnold — UofL — 14/17
  • Richie Rodriguez — EKU — 14/21

On-Base Percentage

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .536
  • Zack  Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .532
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .506
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .500
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .498

Slugging Percentage

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .862
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .797
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .781
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .746
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — .744

BluGrass Baseball Saturday Review: Week 13

College Baseball

Chris Bisson; Photo: UK Athletics

Recaps and awards from Kentucky’s Saturday slate of baseball:

  • No. 9 University of Louisville evened its series against St. Johns with a 10-6 win in game two of a three-game series. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Tony Zych got the win after pitching five scoreless innings out of the UofL bullpen. Zych struck out two, walked none and allowed just two hits. Six different UofL batters tallied two hits in the game, and sophomore second baseman Ryan Wright and senior shortstop Adam Duvall each drove in three runs. (Box Score)
  • Western Kentucky University couldn’t secure a series-win against Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday as it lost a 12-5 decision. Six Hilltoppers tallied two hits in the game, and sophomore center fielder Kes Carter drove in two runs. Sophomore shortstop Logan Robbins scored twice. Senior right-handed pitcher Shane Cameron allowed three runs in four innings, but the WKU bullpen imploded by allowing nine runs over the final five frames. (Box Score)
  • The University of Kentucky rode a strong pitching performance from freshman right-handed pitcher Jordan Cooper to defeat LSU 9-4 and secure a series win. Cooper allowed four runs on eight hits in seven innings and struck out five while walking just one. Junior second baseman Chris Bisson, junior shortstop Taylor Black and freshman catcher Luke Maile each homered in the game. Freshman outfielder Brian Adams stole a two-run home run with a catch over the left field wall in the fifth inning and finished the game 2-4 with two runs scored and a stolen base. (Box Score)
  • Murray State University scored four runs in the seventh inning to earn a 7-5 win over Morehead State University in game one of a double-header before game two was suspended due to rain. Breds senior first baseman Bryan Propst homered and drove in three runs, and junior left fielder Zach Noonan was 3-5 with two runs scored and one RBI. Morehead senior shortstop Drew Lee was 3-4 with a home run, three runs scored and one RBI. Senior left-handed pitcher Matt McGaha was credited with the win. The conclusion of game two will be played Sunday. (Box Score)
  • Eastern Kentucky University split a double-header with Jacksonville St. with a 4-2 win in game one and a 3-2 loss in game two. Freshman right-handed pitcher Anthony Bazzani earned the win in game one with a complete-game performance. Bazzani allowed one two runs, one of which was earned, on seven hits and struck out six while walking just one. Junior third baseman Jayson Langfels tallied three hits on the afternoon and senior first baseman Anthony Ottrando launched his 16th home run of the season. (Box Score GM1) (Box Score GM2)

Hitter of the day: SS Drew Lee (Morehead St.)

  • Stats: 3-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 R, 1 2B
  • Honorable Mention: Luke Maile (UK), Chris Bisson (UK), Ryan Wright (UofL), Adam Duvall (UofL), Kes Carter (WKU), Logan Robbins (WKU), Bryan Propst (Murray St.), Zach Noonan (Murray St.), Jayson Langfels (EKU)

Pitcher of the day: RHP Anthony Bazzani (EKU)

  • Stats: 1-0, 9 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Matt McGaha (Murray St.), Chris Craycraft (Murray St.), Jordan Cooper (UK), Tony Zych (UofL)