Wladimir Balentien; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
The Louisville Bats were eliminated from the International League playoffs by Durham Sunday, bringing the team’s 2010 season to an end. The Bats used a late-season rally to finish at 79-65 on the season and win the IL West Division. In the third end of season awards post we’ll look at the best 2010 performances from the Cincinnati Reds’ AAA affiliate.
Hitter of the month: OF Wladimir Balentien
- Bats outfielder Wladimir Balentien was one of the few Louisville batters to spend the whole season with the team. Balentien batted .282 with 25 home runs 78 RBI and 71 runs scored. The outfielder also stole 12 bases in 13 tries, boasted a .337 on-base percentage and .536 slugging percentage.
- Honorable Mention — Infielder Chris Valaika led the team with a .304 batting average…First baseman Yonder Alonso batted .296 with 12 home runs in 101 games after a May promotion from AA…Outfielder Todd Frazier, shortstop Zach Cozart and third baseman Juan Francisco each slugged at least 17 home runs.
Pitcher of the month: LHP Matt Maloney
- Left-handed starting pitcher Matt Maloney made 23 starts for Louisville on the season and led the team with 10 wins, a 3.34 ERA and 134 and two-third innings pitched. Maloney struck out 104 batters and walked just 28 on the season.
- Honorable Mention — Left-handed pitcher Travis Wood boasted a 3.06 ERA in 16 games…Cuban phenom Aroldis Chapman won nine games, saved eight and led the team with 125 strikeouts in 39 games between the bullpen and starting rotation…Right-handed pitcher Ben Jukich won seven games and struck out 103 in 115 and one-third innings.
Wladimir Balentien; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
We’ll begin the final monthly awards series with a look at the best August performances from the Louisville Bats:
Hitter of the month: OF Wladimir Balentien
- Stats: .394/.440/.663, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 16 R
- Honorable Mention: Chris Valaika, Yonder Alonso, Juan Francisco, Drew Sutton, Chris Denove, Todd Frazier
Pitcher of the month: LHP Aroldis Chapman
- Stats: 2-0, 1.35 ERA, 7 SV, 24 SO/4 BB, 13.1 IP
- Honorable Mention: Chad Reineke, Ben Jukich, Justin Lehr, Frederico Baez, Micah Owings
Highlights from Wednesday Kentucky MiLB action:
- The Louisville Bats held Toledo scoreless through eight innings and held on for an 8-3 win. Shortstop Zack Cozart and outfielder Michael Griffin each slugged a home run in the game, and left-handed pitcher Ben Jukich earned the win with seven shutout innings.
- Neither team scored for the first six innings, but a late offensive onslaught sent the Bowling Green Hot Rods to a 5-3 win over Dayton. Catcher Mark Thomas was 2-4 with two RBI.
- Hagerstown scored six times in the first two innings and sent the Lexington Legends to a 9-1 loss. The Legends mustered on four hits in the game.
- Former UK infielder Michael Bertram homered for the second consecutive game and drove in three runs for AAA Toledo.
- Former Campbellsville outfielder Chris Curley slugged his third home run of the season for low A Rome.
- Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere was 3-4 with a triple and two runs scored for AA New Britain.
- Lafayette alum Chaz Roe improved to 8-13 on the season after surrendering three runs in six and two-third innings for AAA Colorado Springs.
- Frankfort native Cameron Conner was promoted to rookie-level Idaho Falls where he went 1-3 with a double in his debut.
- Louisville native Seth Bynum was 3-3 with a walk for AAA Syracuse.
Logan Darnell; BluGrass Baseball photo
Highlights from Kentucky Sunday MiLB action:
- Indianapolis scored three runs in the eighth inning to send the Louisville Bats to a 4-2 loss. Left-handed pitcher Ben Jukich took a no decision despite surrendering just one run in six and two-third innings.
- The Lexington Legends recorded an 8-2 win over Augusta behind six shutout innings from right-handed pitcher Tanner Bushue. The Legends ace struck out four and surrendered just three hits.
- The Bowling Green Hot Rods scored four runs in the 11th inning to earn an 11-7 extra-inning win over South Bend. Three different Hot Rods tallied three hits in the game, and third baseman Julio Cedeno drove in four runs.
- Former UK left-handed pitcher and 2010 Twins draftee Logan Darnell took a no decision for rookie-level Elizabethton despite surrendering just three hits in seven shutout innings. Darnell struck out 10 and walked four.
- Former UofL infielder Chris Dominguez was 3-3 with a double and one RBI for low A Augusta.
- Lafayette High School alum Chaz Roe took a no decision for AAA Colorado Springs after surrendering four runs on 10 hits in six innings.
In the second July Awards post we’ll look at the month’s best performances from the Louisville Bats:
Hitter of the month: 1B Yonder Alonso
- Yonder Alonso struggled during the first two months of his AAA career, but he put those struggles behind him in July to the tune of a .366 batting average, nine home runs, 19 RBI and 15 runs scored. Alonso slugged .696 for the month with an OPS of 1.007.
- Honorable Mention: Daniel Dorn, Chris Valaika, Juan Francisco, Zack Cozart, Wladimir Balentien
Pitcher of the month: RHP Matt Maloney
- The Cincinnati Reds have an embarrassment of starting pitching depth at the moment with Matt Maloney representing their best AAA starter at the moment. In July, Maloney was 3-1 with a 1.00 ERA in four starts. Maloney struck out 17 and walked just three in 27 innings pitched.
- Honorable Mention: Aroldis Chapman, Ben Jukich, Enerio Del Rosario, Jared Burton, Joseph Krebs
Logan Darnell; UK Athletics wallpaper
Highlights from Wednesday Kentucky MiLB action:
- The Louisville Bats tallied just four hits in a 2-1 loss to Charlotte. Left-handed pitcher Ben Jukich surrendered just one unearned run in five innings and struck out eight while walking four.
- Just one Lexington Legends pitcher didn’t surrender a run in a 9-5 loss to Rome. Right-handed pitcher Juan Minaya took the loss after surrendering six runs in four and two-third innings.
- The Bowling Green Hot Rods tallied eight hits but couldn’t score a run in a 10-0 shutout loss to Quad Cities. Right-handed pitcher Kirby Yates suffered through his worse start of the season after surrendering eight runs in four and two-third innings for the Hot Rods.
- Former UofL left-handed pitcher and 2010 Cardinals draftee Dean Kiekhefer recorded two shutout innings for Quad Cities and struck out five Hot Rods.
- Former UofL left-handed pitcher Justin Marks took the loss for low A Cane County despite surrendering just two runs in seven innings. Marks struck out six and walked one.
- Former NKU outfielder Jake Shaffer was a single shy of the cycle for high A High Desert. Shaffer finished the game 3-4 with a double, triple, home run, three RBI and one run scored.
- Former UK infielder Andy Green was 3-4 with two doubles and two runs scored for AAA Buffalo.
- Former UK left-handed pitcher and 2010 Twins draftee Logan Darnell made his professional debut by retiring two of the three batters he faced for rookie-level Elizabethton.
- Former UofL outfielder and 2010 Rangers draftee Josh Richmond slugged his first professional home run for short-season Spokane.
- Former WKU infielder Terrence Dayleg was 3-4 with a double and two RBI for low A Greensboro.
- Former EKU infielder Neil Sellers was 2-2 with two walks and three runs scored for AAA Lehigh Valley.
- Lafayette High School alum Chaz Roe fell to 6-11 on the season after surrendering five runs in five innings for AAA Colorado Springs.
- Paducah native Daniel Webb fell to 0-3 for short-season Auburn after surrendering five runs in three innings in his seventh professional start.
Colling Cowgill; Photo: UK Athletics
Highlights from Monday Kentucky MiLB action:
- The Louisville Bats swept a double-header from the Indianapolis Indians with a 6-0 win in game one and a 1-0 win in game two. Starting pitchers Ben Jukich and Chad Reineke each pitched five shutout innings for the two wins.
- The Bowling Green Hot Rods scored a single run in the top of the ninth inning to earn a come-from-behind 8-7 win over the Fort Wayne TinCaps. Designated hitter Cody Rogers was 4-5 with two home runs, four RBI and two runs scored for the Hot Rods.
- The Lexington Legends were blown out 10-2 by the Augusta GreenJackets to even their series at one win each. Second baseman Jose Altuve was 2-3 with a run scored.
- Former UofL third baseman Chris Dominguez accounted for little of the GreenJackets’ offense in the game as he was 0-4 with a run scored.
- Former Campbellsville catcher Richie Rowland homered in his third consecutive game and extended his hitting streak to 12 games for rookie-level Missoula.
- Former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill launched his ninth home run of the season and drove in three runs for AA Mobile.
- Former UK first baseman Ryan Strieby was 3-4 with two doubles and a run scored for AAA Toledo and has hits in six straight games.
- Former WKU infielder Wade Gaynor was 3-4 with a triple, home run, four RBI and two runs scored for low A West Michigan.
- Former NKU outfielder Jake Shaffer was 2-3 with two runs scored for high A High Desert and has hits in seven straight with multiple hits in five of those games.
- Former Morehead St. shortstop Drew Lee was 3-5 with two doubles, two RBI and one run scored for rookie-level Bristol and is batting .328 in 14 professional games.
- Former Morehead St. outfielder J. D. Ashbrook was 3-4 with two runs scored in that same game for Bristol.
- Boyd County native right-handed pitcher Tyler Gatrell picked up his fourth save in six appearances and has not allowed an earned run in six and one-third professional innings.
Chris Burke; Photo by grovesa16 via Flickr
Earlier this month I posted a Spring Training position battle primer for Kentucky fans looking to keep track of their native sons hoping to make MLB rosters. These were the borderline major leaguers and players assured of making the roster but fighting for a bigger role, not established players. With one week left before Opening Day I thought I’d update each battle so you have a better idea of where the official Kentuckians in the majors count will stand in 2010. A special kudos goes to PLD alum and Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis who appears ready to start the season with the big league club after starting catcher Russell Martin suffered a groin injury.
Toronto Blue Jays: Closer
- University of Kentucky and PRP alum Scott Downs is all but eliminated in the three-way closer race that will go to righties Jason Fraser or Kevin Gregg. Downs recently commented to a Toronto newspaper he prefers pitching in the eighth inning anyway.
San Francisco Giants: Fifth starter
- Louisville-native and Bellarmine alum Todd Wellemeyer has all but wrapped up the fifth starter position after star prospect Madison Bumgarner was sent to AAA this week. Wellemeyer is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA this spring.
Cleveland Indians: Left fielder
- Lexington-native Austin Kearns has likely lost the starting job to top prospects Michael Brantley and Matt Laporta, but should still stick with the Indians as a reserve. The team is very left-handed, so Kearns’ right-handed bat is needed for balance.
Seattle Mariners: Relief pitcher
- Louisville-native Shawn Kelley appears destined to make the team per this MLB.com blog post, but hasn’t had a great spring. Kelley has given up eight runs in 12 innings, but does have 14 strikeouts compared to just one walk.
New York Mets: Relief pitcher
- No one in the Mets bullpen has really stepped up this Spring so Louisville Male alum Sean Green remains firmly in the mix for an Opening Day spot despite a 6.75 ERA and eight walks compared to four strikeouts this spring.
Cincinnati Reds: Utility reserve
- Despite an early camp injury, non-roster invitee and St X alum Chris Burke is still hanging on to a big league Spring Training spot. Burke is batting just .188 in eight games, so he’ll have to sell the Reds on his defensive versatility to avoid spending 2010 in his hometown with the Bats. 2009 Louisville Bat Drew Sutton is still in the mix.
- Candidates: Burke, Sutton, Aaron Miles, Paul Janish
Hit the jump for the concluded competitions.
Todd Wellemeyer; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Spring Training games are officially underway, making today an excellent chance to examine what BluGrass Baseball players are battling for specific roles on major league squads and roster spots. I’ve outlined relevant battles I can think of below, but feel free to include any you would add in the comments section.
Toronto Blue Jays: Closer
- University of Kentucky and PRP alum Scott Downs is in a three-way battle for the Blue Jays closer position. Toronto manager Cito Gaston has said he might use a closer-by-committee approach if none of the three candidates step up. Downs saved nine games in 13 opportunities last season.
- Other candidates: Jason Frasor, Kevin Gregg
St. Louis Cardinals: Fifth Starter
- 2009 Louisville Bats starting pitcher Ben Jukich is in Cardinals camp as the team’s Rule 5 pick. Jukich must be on the 25-man roster all season for the Cardinals to avoid giving him back to the Reds, so he may be given added chance to make the team out of camp. If he doesn’t earn a starting spot he could be considered for a left-handed reliever spot.
- Other candidates: Rich Hill, Mitchell Boggs, Kyle McClellan
Los Angles Dodgers: Right-handed reliever
- Kentucky Wesleyan alum Cory Wade is looking to regain his spot in the Dodgers bullpen one year after shoulder pain led him back to AAA. Wade is in an open competition for a right-handed setup role after Ronald Belisario’s visa trouble getting into the country, but he would probably take a spot in middle relief if it means leaving the minors.
- Other Candidates: Ronald Belisario, Ramon Troncoso, Charlie Haeger
Hit the jump to see more spring position battles.
The Baseball America Prospect Handbook is simply a must-have for any minor-league baseball fan. My handbook, in which Baseball America ranks the top 30 prospects in each organization, came in today, and since I ordered it straight from BA they included a 31st prospect supplement for each team. I’m listing where Kentucy players rank in their organizations below, but I’ll leave all BA’s analysis out as incentive for you to go buy their great product.
- 3) — RHP Jordan Lyles — 2009 Lexington Legends
- 4) — RHP Sammy Gervacio — 2005/2006 Lexington Legends
- 6) — RHP Ross Seaton — 2009 Lexington Legends
- 8 — OF Jay Austin — 2009 Lexington Legends
- 11) — SS Tommy Manzella — 2006 Lexington Legends
- 12) — RHP Daniel Meszaros — 2009 Lexington Legends
- 14) — LHP Fernando Abad — 2008 Lexington Legends
- 15) — RHP Matt Nevarez — 2009 Lexington Legends
- 19) — RHP Arcenio Leon — 2009 Lexington Legends
- 20) — C/OF Koby Clemens — 2006/2007 Lexington Legends
- 21) — OF Brian Bogusevic — 2006 Lexington Legends
- 23) — RHP Evan Englebrook — 2005 Lexington Legends
- 25) — OF Collin DeLome — 2008 Lexington Legends
- 26) — LHP Polin Trinidad — 2007 Lexington Legends
- 27) — RHP Henry Villar — 2009 Lexington Legends
- 28) — RHP Ashton Mowdy — 2009 Lexington Legends
- 29) — LHP Brad Dydalewicz — 2009 Lexington Legends
- 30) — RHP Kyle Greenwalt — 2009 Lexington Legends
- 27) — LHP Justin Marks — University of Louisville
Toronto Blue Jays
- 1) — RHP Zach Stewart — 2009 Louisville Bats
- 7) — RHP Josh Roenicke — 2009 Louisville Bats
- 20) — RHP Daniel Webb — Ashland, Ky. (Blazer)
- 22) — RHP Trystan Magnuson — University of Louisville
- 22) — LHP Richard Sullivan — Louisville, Ky. (Ballard)
St. Louis Cardinals
- 27) — LHP Ben Jukich — 2009 Louisville Bats
- 9) — OF Collin Cowgill — University of Kentucky
San Francisco Giants
- 18) — 3B Chris Dominguez — University of Louisville
- 31) — C Craig Tatum — 2009 Louisville Bats
- 24) — RHP B. J. Rosenberg — University of Louisville
- 7) — LHP Robbie Ross — Lexington, Ky. (LCA)
Tampa Bay Rays
- 4) — LHP Matt Moore — 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods
- 6) — SS Tim Beckham — 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods
- 10) — RHP Nick Barnese — 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods
- 13) — RHP Joe Cruz — 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods
- 26) — LHP Frank De Los Santos — 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods
- 29) — C Jake Jefferies — 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods
- 31) — OF Keyong Kang — 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods
- 1) — INF/OF Todd Frazier — 2009 Louisville Bats
- 2) — 1B Yonder Alonso — 2009 Louisville Bats
- 4) — OF Chris Heisey — 2009 Louisville Bats
- 5) — 3B Juan Francisco — 2009 Louisville Bats
- 7) — LHP Travis Wood — 2009 Louisville Bats
- 8 — LHP Matt Maloney — 2009 Louisville Bats
- 12) — SS/2B Chris Valakia — 2009 Louisville Bats
- 14) — RHP Logan Ondrusek — 2009 Louisville Bats
- 19) — RHP Enerio Del Rosario — 2009 Louisville Bats
- 22) — LHP Pedro Viola — 2009 Louisville Bats
- 2) — LHP Christian Friedrich — Eastern Kentucky University
- 24) — RHP Chaz Roe — Lexington, Ky. (Lafayette)
Kansas City Royals
- 19) — OF Jordan Parraz — 2007 Lexington Legends
- 11) — 1B Ryan Strieby — University of Kentucky
- 24) — 3B Wade Gaynor — Western Kentucky University
- 28) — RHP Scott Green — University of Kentucky
- 5) — OF Ben Revere — Lexington, Ky. (Lex Cath)
Chicago White Sox
- 25) — OF John Shelby — University of Kentucky
- 26) — RHP Nathan Jones — Northern Kentucky University