Venters, Conrad, Braves eliminated; J. D. Martinez up for best low A hitter; Blanton biding time for NLCS start

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

J. D. Martinez; Lexington Legends photo

Kentucky Monday playoff highlights and the latest links from around Bluegrass State baseball:

  • The Atlanta Braves were eliminated from the playoffs with a 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants. Braves left-handed reliever Jonny Venters, born in Pikeville, entered the game in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and let the eventual winning run score before getting out of the jam. Former Lexington Legend Brooks Conrad flew out in a ninth-inning pinch hit appearance for Atlanta.
  • Louisville Bats outfielder Todd Frazier tallied two hits, including a double, in Team USA’s 4-1 win over Cuba in the Pan Am Qualifying Tournament.
  • Voting for MiLB.com’s hitters of the year is open with a couple of Kentucky candidates in the running. Lexington Legends outfielder J. D. Martinez is nominated for best low A hitter and Bats outfielder Dave Sappelt is nominated for best AA hitter.
  • Danny Wild of MLB.com honors former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill as one of the Diamondbacks’ organization all-star.
  • Ed Barkowitz of the Philadelphia Daily News reports former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton is biding his time for a probable game-four NLCS start.
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Reds, former Bats swept by Phillies; Conrad has terrible game; Rauch, Twins eliminated by Kearns, Yankees

Major League Baseball

Homer Bailey; Picture from Wikimedia Commons

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.

Kentuckians in MLB Playoffs

Major League Baseball

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:

Cincinnati Reds (NL Central)

  • Edison Volquez — Louisville Bats (2010)*
  • Johnny Cueto — Louisville Bats (2007)
  • Aroldis Chapman — Louisville Bats (2010)
  • Logan Ondrusek — Louisville Bats (2008, 09, 10)
  • Bill Bray — Louisville Bats (2007, 08, 09, 10)
  • Homer Bailey — Louisville Bats (2007, 08, 09, 10)
  • Travis Wood — Louisville Bats (2009, 2010)
  • Joey Votto — Louisville Bats (2007)
  • Jay Bruce — Louisville Bats (2007, 08, 09)
  • Drew Stubbs — Louisville Bats (2008, 09)
  • Jonny Gomes — Louisville Bats (2009)
  • Ryan Hanigan — Louisville Bats (2003, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10)
  • Chris Heisey — Louisville Bats (2009)
  • Paul Janish — Louisville Bats (2007, 08)
  • Juan Francisco — Louisville Bats (2009, 10)

Philadelphia Phillies (NL East)

  • Joe Blanton — Franklin-Simpson HS (UK)

Atlanta Braves (NL Wild Card)

  • Jonny Venters — Born in Pikeville, Ky. (HS in Florida)
  • Brooks Conrad — Lexington Legends (2003)

Minnesota Twins (AL Central)

  • Jon Rauch — Oldham Co. High School (Morehead St.)

New York Yankees (AL Wild Card)

  • Austin Kearns — Lafayette High School

Tampa Bay Rays (AL East)

  • Ben Zobrist — Lexington Legends (2005)

Texas Rangers (AL West)

  • Josh Hamilton — Louisville Bats (2007)*

*– Volquez and Hamilton both played for Louisville only during rehab assignments.

Venters, Braves clinch WC; Revere to AFL instead of Twins postseason roster; Rauch’s knee feeling better

Major League Baseball

Ben Revere; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Left-handed pitcher Jonny Venters, born in Pikeville, and the Atlanta Braves clinched the NL Wild Card with an 8-7 win over Philadelphia. Former Lexington Legends infielder Brooks Conrad was 2-4 with two RBI and a run scored for the Braves in the win.
  • The New York Yankees suffered an 8-4 loss to Boston in their final game meaning after the Rays won, Lexington native Austin Kearns and the Yankees will enter the playoffs as the AL Wild Card winner.
  • Kelly Thesier of MLB.com reports former Morehead St. right-handed pitcher Jon Rauch said his knee feels better but the team still won’t know if he can play in the ALDS until he throws a bullpen session.
  • Thesier also notes Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere is no longer in the running for a playoff bench spot with the Twins and will instead play in the Arizona Fall League. If a Twins outfielder is hurt in the ALDS the team could still bring Revere back for subsequent playoff rounds.

Webb among NYPL top prospects; Webb pitches in instructional league; Boyle Co. prep commits to Xavier

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Major League Baseball

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Aaron Fitt of Baseball America ranks the top 20 prospects in the New York-Penn League and includes Paducah native Daniel Webb at No. 18 on the list.
  • Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb was encouraged after his inning of instructional-league work despite decreased velocity.
  • Mike Marsee of the Danville Advocate-Messenger reports Boyle County High School pitcher-infielder Jacob Bodner has committed to Xavier University over Western Kentucky University.
  • The Atlanta Braves decreased their magic number to three with a 5-1 win over Florida behind a three-run home run from former Lexington Legends infielder Brooks Conrad.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com writes the Braves are poised to make the playoffs thanks in part to Conrad and the rest of the team’s bench.
  • Mike Fields of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports Lexington Catholic High School has hired former infielder and pitcher Taylor Brooks as its new baseball coach.

September Callups–Updated Sep. 9

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

aj ellisTuesday marked the official expansion of MLB rosters from 25 to 40.  While no team actually carries 40 players during the “September Callup” period, many teams bring some young players up from the minor leagues to either reinforce their team for a playoff run or have and extended audition for next season.  We’ll use this post to keep track of any players with Kentucky ties that are called up to the big leagues as minor league seasons end. Major-league players who were activated from the disabled list because of the expanded rosters are also noted. New additions are bolded.

  • C A. J. Ellis — Los Angeles Dodgers — Dunbar Class of 1999
  • RHP Matt Belisle — Colorado Rockies — 2003-2004 Louisville Bats
  • C Ryan Hannigan — Cincinnati Reds — 2007-2009 Louisville Bats
  • OF Corey Hart (DL) — Milwuakee Brewers — Greenwood High
  • LHP Matt Maloney — Cincinnati Reds — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • RHP Carlos Fisher — Cincinnati Reds — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • 3b Chris Johnson — Houston Astros –2007 Lexington Legends
  • SS Tommy Manzella — Houston Astros — 2006 Lexington Legends
  • 3b Edwin Encarnacion (DL) — Toronto Blue Jays — 2005-2007 Louisville Bats
  • RHP Todd Wellemeyer (DL) — St. Louis Cardinals — Bellarmine
  • LHP Pedro Viola — Cincinnati Reds — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • 2B Brooks Conrad — Atlanta Braves — 2003 Lexington Legend
  • RHP Matt Albers — Baltimore Orioles — 2004 Lexington Legends
  • 1B Kevin Barker — Cincinnati Reds — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • RP Ramon Ramirez — Cincinnati Reds — 2009 Louisville Bats