Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports former UK left-handed pitcher James Paxton will be in Seattle Wednesday to take a physical in advance of signing his contract with the Mariners as the team’s fourth-round pick in the 2010 draft.
Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranks former EKU left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich the No. 3 prospect in the Colorado Rockies’ farm system.
Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports the Arizona Diamondbacks have released former Campbellsville University catcher Richie Rowland, who signed with the team as a non-drafted free agent in 2010 and batted .291 with five home runs, 34 RBI and 19 runs scored in 67 games for rookie-level Missoula during his professional debut.
Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com reports Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb is taking his return from injury one step at a time and for now pitching in a Spring Training game still isn’t on the radar.
Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports Louisville native and former Bellarmine right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer has no hard feelings toward the San Fransisco Giants after the team released him last August. “I was the biggest fan of them in Kentucky, guaranteed,” Wellemeyer told Muskate of his rooting interest during the playoffs last season.
Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today reports Cincinnati Reds left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman had a difficult time adapting to U.S. culture while in Louisville last season, but Louisville Bats trainer Tomas Vera has become a friend and confidant for the Cuban defector.
Baseball America has released its annual list of the top 100 prospects in Minor League Baseball. The top 100 includes several players with Kentucky connections. I’ve listed them below but also check out the links to the full BA list and explanations of the rankings at the bottom of the post.
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.
Northern Kentucky University senior outfielder Jason Crisper has been named a preseason NCAA DII all-American by Baseball America.
Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranks Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere the No. 9 outfield prospect in MiLB.
Mayo ranks 2010 Louisville Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman the No. 1 left-handed pitching prospect in MiLB. Former Bowling Green Hot Rods left-handed pitcher Matt Moore checked in at No. 7 on the list.
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.
The league championship series are set with a few Kentucky players remaining in the playoffs. Check out some links from around Kentucky baseball while you muster through far too many days without baseball before the second round of the playoffs:
Former Lexington Legends infielder Ben Zobrist and the Tampa Bay Rays were eliminated in a 5-1 loss to the Texas Rangers.
John Wagner of Baseball America ranks Louisville Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman No. 3 and first baseman Yonder Alonso No. 12 on the magazine’s top 20 International League prospects list.
In the accompanying online chat, Wagner answers a number of questions about Bats players including Todd Frazier, Zack Cozart, Juan Francisco, Chris Valaika and Travis Wood. (subscription required)
Frazier was 2-4 with a triple, RBI and run scored for Team USA in the team’s 7-2 loss to the Dominican Republic in the Pan Am Qualifying Tournament.
PRP alum Zack Cox, the Cardinals’ 2010 first-round pick, was 0-5 with four strikeouts in his Arizona Fall League debut for the Surprise Rafters.
Former NKU right-handed pitcher Josh Lueke pitched a scoreless inning in his AFL debut for the Peoria Javelinas.
Atlanta Braves right-handed pitching prospect Michael Broadway, born in Paducah, surrendered one run in one inning in his AFL debut for the Phoenix Desert Dogs.
Bats catcher Devin Mesoraco was 3-4 with a home run, three RBI and run scored for the Peoria Saguaros of the AFL. Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere was 0-1 in the game for Peoria.
Bluegrass state highlights from weekend playoff action and latest links from around Kentucky baseball:
The Cincinnati Reds short playoff appearance came to an end with a 2-0 loss to the Phillies on Sunday. Former Louisville Bats pitchers Homer Bailey, Bill Bray and Aroldis Chapman, all of whom pitched for Louisville in 2010, combined for three and one-third scoreless innings in the game three loss.
Former Lexington Legend Brooks Conrad had a miserable game for the Atlanta Braves with three errors. Conrad’s final error in the ninth inning let in the winning run in the Giants’ 3-2 loss. Braves left-handed pitcher Jonny Venters struck out the side in a scoreless inning but did surrender two hits.
Former Morehead St. right-handed pitcher Jon Rauch and the Minnesota Twins were eliminated from the playoffs with a 6-1 loss to the Yankees on Saturday. Lexington native and Yankees outfielder Austin Kearns did not appear in the series, which New York swept in three games.
Kentucky highlights from Friday playoff action and the latest links from around Kentucky baseball:
Former Louisville Bats outfielder Jay Bruce homered but also allowed two runs to score when he lost a ball in the lights during the seventh inning in the Cincinnati Reds’ 7-4 loss to the Phillies. Left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman, who spent most of 2010 with the Bats, took the loss.
Atlanta Braves left-handed pitcher Jonny Venters, born in Pikeville, surrendered two hits in a scoreless inning in the team’s 5-4 win over the Giants.
John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports the Red Sox were one of 21 teams scouting Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb during an Instructional League appearance Thursday.
John Manuel of Baseball America ranked one-time UK outfielder turned second baseman Jason Kipnis No. 9 on the magazine’s Eastern League top 20 prospects list.
In the accompanying online chat Manuel also answered several questions about Kipnis. (subscription required)
Kentucky highlights from Thursday playoff action and the latest links from around Kentucky baseball:
Atlanta Braves left-handed reliever Jonny Venters, born in Pikeville, pitched a perfect one and two-thirds innings while striking out two in the team’s 1-0 loss to San Francisco.
Former Morehead St. right-handed pitcher Jon Rauch retired both batters he faced in the Twins’ 5-2 loss to the Yankees. Lexington native Austin Kearns did not appear in the game for the Yankees.
In Baseball America‘s top 20 Southern League prospect rankings, Ian Gordon ranks Louisville Bats catcher Devin Mesaraco No. 7 and Bats outfielder Dave Sappelt No. 15.
In the accompanying online chat Gordon wrote of former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill: “He’s got that Sheffield-like barrel wrap and high finish, and he basically has CF skills out there in left. He does struggle with good fastballs, though, and might be the kind of guy who turns out to have Triple-A batting tools.” (subscription required)
Michael Grant of The Courier-Journal reports Bats manager Rick Sweet has still not heard from the Reds if he will be back in Louisville in 2011.
John Erardi of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports 2010 Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman could have a similar impact on this season’s playoffs as Francisco Rodriguez had for the Angels during his rookie season in 2002.
The playoffs are officially underway with the Texas Rangers up 4-0 on Tampa Bay at the time of this posting. The playoffs aren’t without plenty of Kentucky connections as every team except the Giants has a player with Bluegrass State connections. Check out the list of Kentucky natives and former minor league players participating in the playoffs below: