During two recent NL Central top prospect chats, Baseball America correspondents answered questions about Kentucky prospects that I wanted to hire. The Houston Astros chat saw several Lexington Legends questions, but I wanted to highlight one in particular (mostly because I asked it). During the Pittsburgh Pirates chat Hardin County alum Nathan Adcock also was mentioned.
Jon (Lexington, KY): I know he’s old, but will Brian Pellegrini warrant top 30 consideration? He did break Hunter Pence’s Lexington home run record
Ben Badler: He had a great year and he’s in consideration for the back end of the top 30 just because he does have some power, but he is a 23-year-old in low Class A who’s limited defensively and doesn’t handle breaking balls well.
Dave (PA): What can you tell me about a couple of young pitchers the Pirates acquired, Nathan Adcock and Hunter Strickland? Will they be in the Top 30?
John Perrotto: Strickland was throwing 94 mph at the end of the season and it looks like the Pirates might have something in him. Adcock is a decent prospect. One is in the top 30 and one isnt’. The Prospect Handbook will reveal the answer.
Sawyer Carroll; Photo: UK Athletics
We continue the awards series with the minor leagues. Eligible players are limited to Kentucky alumni and minor league players. However, only numbers achieved while with one of the three Kentucky minor league teams will be considered.
Player of the Year — OF Sawyer Carroll, AA San Antonio
- Carroll excelled at the University of Kentucky, but wasn’t projected to continue his college success in professional ball. However the former Cat standout has done nothing but hit since being drafted by the San Diego Padres. In 2009, Carroll batted .317 with eight home runs and 96 RBI.
- EKU alum Neil Sellers (.317, 17 HR, 86 RBI) and Legends 1B Brian Pellegrini (.291, 27 HR, 74 RBI) were considered but ultimately penalized due to age considerations.
Pitcher of the Year — RHP Christian Friedrich, High A Modesto
- EKU alum Christian Friedrich dominated in 2009 despite missing time with an injury. In 119.2 innings pitched Friedrich was 6-5 with a 2.41 ERA. He also struck out 159 in 22 games.
- Legends ace Jordan Lyles struck out 167 in 144.2 innings pitched, and Bowling Green ace Matt Moore led the minors with 176 strikeouts. Friedrich wins because he performed at a higher level and posted a lower by more than half a run.
Today I’m unveiling the first of two All BluGrass Baseball teams for the 2009 season. As with most features on the site, we’ll divide BluGrass players into two divisions: one made of rosters of the state’s three minor league teams and the other made of Kentucky natives and college alums. The first team comes from the rosters of the Louisville Bats, Bowling Green Hot Rods and Lexington Legends.
- Catcher: Jake Jeffries, Bowling Green Hot Rods — .261, eight home runs, 50 RBI
- First Base: Brian Pellegrini, Lexington Legends — .291, 27 home runs, 74 RBI
- Second Base: Isaias Velasquez, Bowling Green Hot Rods — .278, two home runs, 40 RBI
- Third Base: Juan Francisco, Louisville Bats — .359, five home runs, 19 RBI
- Shortstop: Tim Beckham, Bowling Green Hot Rods — .275, five home runs, 63 RBI
- Left Field: Daniel Dorn, Louisville Bats — .275, 14 home runs, 47 RBI
- Center Field: Drew Stubbs, Louisville Bats — .268, three home runs, 39 RBI
- Right Field: Kyeong Kang, Bowling Green Hot Rods — .307, five home runs, 42 RBI
- Starting Pitcher 1: Matthew Moore, Bowling Green Hot Rods — 8-5, 3.15, 176 SO
- Starting Pitcher 2: Jordan Lyles, Lexington Legends — 7-11, 3.24, 167 SO
- Starting Pitcher 3: Matt Maloney, Louisville Bats — 9-9, 3.08, 125 SO
- Starting Pitcher 4: Chris Andujar, Bowling Green Hot Rods — 10-4, 2.70, 79 SO
- Starting Pitcher 5: Justin Lehr, Louisville Bats, 13-3, 3.31, 60 SO
- Closer: Henry Villar, Lexington Legends, 3-4, 2.60, 109 SO
Notes: Third base was, by far, the worst position among the three teams. Francisco wins due to his domination of AAA pitching in his brief audition for Louisville. The rotation had plenty of competition with as many as five other starters having an argument for inclusion. If we’d included multiple relievers, Logan Ondrusek, Patrick Urckfitz and Josh Roenicke could have all made the team. Arguably the state’s top position prospect (Chris Heisey) didn’t make the cut because of spending half the season in AA and posting worse numbers than his teammate Dorn in the half season of AAA.
Now that the minor-league season is officially over for the three teams in the Bluegrass I thought we’d look at where their players ranked in various categories among full-season minor leaguers. Players were on the roster of each team at the end of the season unless noted; the ranking number is among all full-season players.
- 2) Brian Pellegrini — LEX — 34
- 11) Chris Heisey — LOU — 162
- 3) Todd Frazier — LOU — 45
- 2) Travis Wood — LOU — 1.77
- 1) Matt Moore — BG — 176
- 4) Jordan Lyles — LEX — 167
- 1) Matt Moore — BG — 12.88
- 6) Jordan Lyles — LEX — 10.39
Batting Average Against
- 1) Matt Moore — BG — .195
- 4) Travis Wood — LOU — .204
Hit the jump to see more rankings.
Monday was the first day after on the BluGrass Baseball minor-league off-season, but we still managed to find some relevant Kentucky baseball news. Look for increased coverage of Kentucky major leaguers in the coming days to fill the minor-league void.
- The Houston Astros agreed with BluGrass Baseball, naming 1B Brian Pellegrini the Legends’ MVP.
- Michael Grant of the Courier-Journal reports Louisville manager Rick Sweet expects to be back in the 2010 season unless he gets a major-league coaching job.
- OurSportsCentral.com has the Bats’ 2010 schedule.
- WKU has begun fall practice and construction on its clubhouse.
- UofL has also opened fall practice.
The Legends’ season ended Monday with a 5-1 victory over Bowling Green. Lexington finished the season at 68-72, the best full-season record of any Astros’ affiliate. The Legends roster showed a vast improvement in talent from 2008 to 2009 as its record showed, but I thought we’d highlight a few specific performances from the 2009 Legends.
Offensive Player of the Year — 1B Brian Pellegrini
- This wasn’t even close. Pellegrini led the Legends in batting average (.291), home runs (27), RBI (74), total bases (203), on-base percentage (.396) and slugging (.578). Brian ranked second in the minor leagues in home runs (34) behind fellow Astros’ farmhand Jonathan Gaston. Pellegrini also set the Legends’ records for single-season home runs (27), career home runs (48) and career RBI (143).
- Outfielder Jay Austin was the only other Legend to record at least 100 hits (106). Second baseman Albert Cartwright led the team in runs scored (65).
Pitcher of the Year — RHP Jordan Lyles
- The race for pitcher of the year was much more heated than the offensive award. Four Legends starting pitchers had sub-4 ERAs, and five pitchers logged over 100 innings. Lyles takes the award after leading the team in innings (144.2), strikeouts (167) and games started (26). Jordan also ranked second among Legends’ starting pitchers in ERA (3.24) and third in wins (7). Lyles’ 167 strikeouts are second most in one season by a Legends starting pitcher.
- Robert Bono led the Legends starters with 10 wins and a 3.20 ERA. Relief pitcher Henry Villar posted a 2.60 ERA in 43 games and struck out 109 batters in 90 innings pitched.
The 2009 season is officially in the books for the Lexington Legends and Bowling Green Hot Rods. Lexington defeated Bowling Green 4-1 in the final game of the season to earn a series sweep of the cross-state rivals. Legends outfielder Eric Suttle waited till the final game to hit his first home run of the year, a ninth inning solo shot. Lexington finished its season at 68-72 and Bowling Green finished 64-74. The Legends were led home runs, batting average and RBI by Brian Pellegrini, and in wins and ERA by Robert Bono. Bowling Green was led in OPS by Kyeong Kang and in wins and ERA by Chris Andujar.
Legends first baseman Brian Pellegrini became the single-season home run leader in franchise history with his 26th home run of the season Friday. Pellegrini hit the record-breaking home run with two outs and one runner on in the ninth inning and the Legends down by one run. The decisive blast led Lexington to a 6-4 victory over Bowling Green. Pellegrini also has the career home run record for Lexington with 47. Brian started the season with high A Lancaster where he hit seven home runs, giving him 33 home runs on the season, second most in the minor leagues.
The big news of the night was Brian Pellegrini matching the Legends’ single-season home run record, but that wasn’t the only BluGrass Baseball storyline from Tuesday. Check out those stories in today’s hot links:
- Kyeong Kang picked up in September where he left off in August with two doubles, but Bowling Green fell 3-0 to Greenville.
- Brian Pellegrini tied the single-season home run record in Lexington’s 3-1 victory over Asheville.
- Louisville didn’t look much like a division champion in a 9-2 loss to Columbus.
- Baseball America ranked Kentucky native and Arkansas third baseman Zach Cox as the second best prospect in the prestigious Cape Cod League (subscriber only).
- Yahoo Sports’ Kendall Rogers picks UK and UofL as two of his 30 baseball teams to watch for 2010.