In the third University of Louisville post in the “offseason position battle series” we will look at the vacant third base position:
The departed — Second team All-Big East Conference third baseman Phil Wunderlich started 52 games at the hot corner for UofL in 2010, batting .355 with 21 home runs, 62 RBI and 54 runs scored. Wunderlich led the team in home runs (21), total bases (177) and slugging percentage (.691). The slugger added 12 stolen bases for good measure before moving on to professional baseball as the 12th round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2010 MLB draft. Wunderlich started all 64 games for UofL in 2010 with seven starts coming at first base and five in left field. Wunderlich was named a Louisville Slugger third-team All-American.
Returning candidates — Sophomore Cade Stallings received each of UofL’s 12 starts at third base that didn’t go to Wunderlich in 2010, batting .257 with four home runs, 24 RBI and eight runs scored. Stallings started each of the Cards’ five fall Pizza Bowl series games at first base but did move to the hot corner late in one game…During the fall Pizza Bowl sophomore Kyle Grieshaber started each of the five games at third base, going 5-18 in the series. Grieshaber batted .239 in 58 games for the Cards in 2010, including 38 starts at designated hitter and in the outfield. Grieshaber scored 24 runs in 2010 and stole seven bases in seven attempts. During the fall Pizza Bowl Grieshaber batted in the leadoff spot for his team in four of the five games.
Newcomers to watch — Freshman Ryan Seiz started each of the five fall Pizza Bowl series games for the “Xan’s Zephyrs” team at third base. In the series, Seiz was 5-20 with two runs scored, three RBI and a walk. Seiz was named an Under Armour Preseason All-American as a senior at Christopher Dock High School in Perkasie, Pa. He batted .575 with five home runs, 36 RBI, 47 runs scored and 19 stolen bases as a senior in high school…Freshman Brandon Alphin is listed as a RHP/3B on the UofL roster but did not appear in any games in the field during the fall Pizza Bowl.
Wildcard — Freshman infielders Adam Engel, Ty Young and Alex Chittenden each started every game of the fall Pizza Bowl at either second base or shortstop. Second base is clearly occupied by preseason All-American Ryan Wright, so Engel, who started five games at second opposite Wright during the series and is listed as an infielder on the roster, could conceivably see some time at third during the season. The loser of the shortstop race between Young and Chittenden might be able to move to the hot corner, but both are listed as pure shortstops on the roster. In a recent interview with College Baseball Daily, dead coach Dan McDonnell listed Grieshaber, Stallings and Zak Wasserman as hitters who would be counted on to provide a middle of the lineup presence in 2011, so all three should find in the field in some combination at first base, third base, designated hitter and outfield.
The University of Louisville has posted its 2011 season roster on the athletic department website, which means we have the official list of newcomers for next season. You can see the full roster here, but I’ve listed the newcomers with position and former school below:
- 2B/SS — Alex Chittenden — FR — Lawrence Central HS (Ind.)
- INF — Adam Engel — FR — Loveland HS (Ohio)
- LHP — Cody Edge — FR — Cherokee Washington HS (Iowa)
- C — Kyle Gibson — FR — Henderson County High School
- OF/LHP — Cole Sturgeon — FR — Owensboro Catholic High School
- 3B/OF — Ryan Seiz — FR — Christopher Dock HS (Penn.)
- RHP — Chad Green — FR — Effingham HS (Ill.)
- LHP/1B — Brad Hedden — FR — Roxbury HS (N. J.)
- RHP/3B — Brandon Alphin — FR — Bullitt East High School
- SS — Ty Young — FR — Malvern Preparatory HS (Penn.)
- RHP — Travis Tingle — JR — Cleveland State
- C — Jeff Gardner — FR — Whitefield Academy
- RHP — Jeff Thompson — FR — Floyd Central HS (Ind.)
- RHP — Dace Kime — FR — Defiance HS (Ohio)
In the last of the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association 2010 awards we’ll look at the players of the year from each of the 16 regions. You can also see the coach and assistant coach of the year for each region here.
- Region 1 — Brock Downey (Murray)
- Region 2 — Kyle Gibson (Henderson County)
- Region 3 — Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro Catholic)
- Region 4 — Ty Downing (Greenwood)
- Region 5 — Aaron Schwoebel (Campbellsville)
- Region 6 — Brandon Alphin (Bullit East)
- Region 7 — Corey Littrell (Trinity)
- Region 8 — A.J. Knezevich (Oldham Co.)
- Region 9 — Austin Pugh (Conner)
- Region 10 — Jared Martin (Harrison Co.)
- Region 11 — Trevor Gott (Tates Creek)
- Region 12 — Aaron Watts (McCreary Central)
- Region 13 — John Wilson (Clay Co.)
- Region 14 — Kevin Smith (Perry Central)
- Region 15 — Chandler Shepherd (Lawrence Co.)
- Region 16 — Joe Hunt (Fleming Co.)
Check out the first and second Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association All-State teams:
- Brock Downey — Murray High School
- Justin Hageman — Hopkinsville High School
- Kyle Gibson — Henderson County High School
- Cole Isom — Christian County High School
- Cole Sturgeon — Owensboro Catholic High School
- Ty Downing – Greenwood High School
- Shane Waldrop — Warren Central High School
- Brandon Alphin — Bullitt East High School
- Corey Littrell – Trinity High School
- John Fidanza – Ballard High School
- Kyle Cornett – Eastern High School
- Brian Doering – Manual High School
- Jared Martin — Harrison County High School
- Trevor Gott — Tates Creek High School
- J.T. Riddle — Western Hills High School
- Lucas Witt — Lexington Christian Academy
- Louie Helmburg — West Jessamine High School
- Duran Elmore — Danville High School
- Tyler Saltsman — Grayson County High School
- Mikey Scott — Grayson County High School
- Matt Bowles — Bullitt East High School
- Taylor Banks — Pleasure Ridge Park
- Ryan Messex — Louisville Male High School
- Matt Spalding — St. X
- Spencer Drake — Eastern High School
- Corey Bays — Henry Clay High School
- Eric Standafer — Shelby County High School
- Austin Pugh — Conner High School
- Brice Smallwood — Dixie Heights High School
- Logan Dailey — Harrison County High School
- Taylor Martin — Lexington Catholic High School
- Evan Stephens — Lexington Christian Academy
- Aaron Watts — McCreary Central High School
- Noah Smallwood — West Jessamine High School
- Chandler Shepherd — Lawrence County High School
- Gavin Miller — Pikeville High School
You can see the honorable mention team with player’s from each region here.
For the second consecutive season a University of Kentucky signee has been named Mr. Kentucky Baseball by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association. Western Hills High School shortstop J. T. Riddle, who was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 35th round of the 2010 MLB draft, was named Mr. Baseball Monday after a season in which he batted .514 with seven home runs, 62 RBI and 20 stolen bases as a senior. Riddle also pitched for Western Hills and went 8-0 with a 1.26 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 61 innings pitched on the mound. UK freshman catcher Luke Maile was named 2009 Mr. Baseball. Trinity pitcher Corey Littrell, Henderson County catcher Kyle Gibson, Tates Creek pitcher/infielder Trevor Gott, Bullitt East pitcher/infielder Brandon Alphin and Hopkinsville pitcher/shortstop Justin Hageman were finalists for the award.
State champion Harrison County High School head coach Mac Whitaker was named KHSBCA’s coach of the year. Whitaker led Harrison County to its fourth state championship under his reign and a 36-4 record. Check back later for the entire KHSBCA All-State team.
The Cards have more important things than the draft to worry about tonight with a elimination game against Vanderbilt in the NCAA regional, but the next three days could have huge implications for several Cards. Baseball America projects UofL to have six hitters drafted, but the Cards draft prospects are led by their weekend ace. Check out breakdowns of those players and more below:
The sure thing
- Junior right-handed ace Thomas Royse was untouchable at times during the 2010 season en route to being named Big East Conference pitcher of the year. Baseball America ranks Royse the No. 182 prospect in the draft due to his low-to-mid 90s fastball and good control. Royse is 9-1 with a 2.91 ERA for UofL this season and struck out 94 in 99 innings while walking just 25. BA projects the Lexington native to go between the fourth and sixth rounds.
Other prospects of note:
- Junior outfielder Josh Richmond missed much of the season with a hand injury, but his five-tool talent could land him a selection in the first 10 rounds. Richmond was projected as high as a third-rounder entering the season, but his injury history will likely hurt his stock on draft day. Richmond will need to prove he’s health in summer ball to whatever team drafts him, though he may return to UofL for another year to improve his stock.
- Redshirt sophomore outfielder Stewart Ijames missed the 2009 season with a shoulder injury, but rebounded in 2010 to bat .328 with 14 home runs. Ijames profiles only as a left-fielder as a professional and might be a difficult sign due to his two remaining years of collegiate eligibility.
- No on has ever doubted junior third baseman Phil Wunderlich‘s power, but his lack of a true position hurts his value. The slugger will likely have to move to first as a pro and will hope to be selected in the mid rounds of the draft.
- Senior first baseman Andrew Clark was selected by the Chicago Cubs as their 31st round pick in 2009 and likely improved his draft stock with his senior campaign despite missing time with a rib cage injury. Clark profiles as a good defender at first but some scouts question if he has enough power for the position.
- Junior right-handed pitcher Gabriel Shaw was projected to close for UofL entering the season but instead did a little of everything else. He experience success as a starter in limited action, perhaps boosting his stock. Shaw might improve his stock by starting for an entire season as a senior.
- Junior closer Neil Holland was one of the NCAA’s top relievers in 2010 and will have a chance to replicate that success in professional ball as a mid-to-late round pick. Holland held opposing batters to a .151 average on the season.
- Senior catcher Jeff Arnold and senior shortstop Adam Duvall will have a chance to stick in professional ball as mid-to-late-round senior signs.
Other Eligible Juniors
- OF Drew Haynes
- LHP Bob Revesz
- INF Mark Grieshaber
- LHP Dean Kiekhefer
- C J. J. Ethel
- OF Nate Holland
- LHP Brian Feekin
Other Eligible Seniors
- RHP Tyler Mathis
- RHP Matt Lea
- C Justin Haywood
High School Signees
- Baseball America ranks Bullitt East RHP Brandon Alphin one of six Kentucky high schoolers likely to be drafted.
- BA ranks RHP Jeff Thompson the No. 20 prospect in Indiana.
- RHP Dace Kime and LHP Joel Bender are among the top prep talents in Ohio but are both believed to be headed to Louisville after battling minor injuries this season.
- BA ranked C Jake Depew the No. 20 prospect in Illinois.
- Baseball America also projects Illinois RHP Chad Green could blossom into an early-round pick if he follows through on his UofL commitment.
Earlier today we linked Perfect Game USA‘s underclassmen high school All-American teams. Perfect Game partnered with Rawlings Sporting Goods to release the senior All-American team a few weeks ago, but several Kentucky high schoolers and in-state college signees were honored, so the list is still worth passing along. I’ve included those players with school and college commitment below, but you can see the full team here.
3rd Team All-American
- LHP Corey Littrell — Trinity — University of Kentucky
- C Jake DePew — Granite City (Ill.) — University of Louisville
- RHP Kim Dace — Defiance (Ohio) — UofL
High Honorable Mention
- RHP Patrick Maronde — Lexington Catholic — Coastal Carolina
- LHP Joel Bender — Oak Hills (Ohio) — UofL
- INF Alex Chittenden — Lawrence Central (Ind.) — UofL
- RHP Chad Green — Effingham (Ill.) — UofL
- P Jeffrey Thompson — Floyd Centrall (Ind.) — UofL
- RHP Trevor Gott — Tates Creek — UK
- OF Gavin Patton — IMG Academies (Fla.) — UK
- RHP Blake Perry — Danville, IMG Academies (Fla.) — UK
- SS Matt Reida — Russiaville (Ind.) — UK
- OF G. J. Strauss — Chesterfield (Mo.) — Western Kentucky University
Hit the jump for players honored on regional teams
This post has been pushed back several times for the Winter Meetings, some graduate school work, and UofL’s staggered announcement of the class, but finally we’ll finish the early signing period college recruiting classes with the University of Louisville. UofL has signed 13 players, including two Kentucky high school products, during the fall period. Included below are some 2009 highlights for each player and an interesting fact about the player
INF/RHP Brandon Alphin — Bullitt East High School
- 2009: 8-4, 2.40 ERA, 67 SO; .477, 7 HR, 65 RBI, 21 doubles
- 2009 First team All-State, 6th region player of the year
OF/LHP Cole Sturgeon — Owensboro Catholic High School
- 2009: .389, 30 SB, 26 runs; 4-3, 0.59 ERA, 62 SO
- 2009 Second team all-state, Third Region POY
SS Alex Chittenden — Indiana
- 2009: .455, 8 HR, 34 RBI, 14 doubles
- #3 prospect in Indiana
C Jake Depew — Illinois
- 2009: .555, 7 HR, 53 RBI, 21 doubles, 46 runs
- #4 prospect in Illinois
RHP Dace Kim — Ohio
- 9-0, 0.70 ERA, 105 SO
- #5 prospect in Ohio
RHP Jeff Thompson — Indiana
- 2009: 5-3, 2.09 ERA, 64 SO
- #5 prospect in Indiana
OF/LHP Cody Edge — Iowa
- 2009: .477, 4 HR, 30 RBI; 9-1, 0.22 ERA, 115 SO, 64 IP
- Seventh best single-season ERA in Iowa prep history
INF Adam Engel — Ohio
- 2009: .520, 17 doubles, 24 RBI, 24 runs, 13 SB
- 2009 Ohio football player of the year as a QB
LHP/1B Brad Hedden — New Jersey
- 2009: .418, 4 HR, 23 RBI
- All-Conference, All-Area, All-County as a junior
LHP Joel Bender — Ohio
- 2009: Not Available
- First team Ohio by ESPN Rise Magazine
INF Ty Young — Pennsylvania
- 2009: .444, 4 HR, 53 runs, 23 RBI
- High school team finished 2009 ranked No. 8 nationally by BA
RHP Chad Green — Illinois
- 2009: 9-2, 2.33 ERA, 107 SO
- 2 time All-Conference, 2009 All-Area
- From Effingham, Ill., which is subject of the Ben Folds song “Effington”
3B Ryan Seiz — Pennsylvania
- 2009: .456, 13 HR, 36 RBI
- 2009 preseason High School Under Armour All-American
You can see UofL’s four-part news release here, here, here and here.