Morehead signs JUCO pitcher; Lexington youth teams qualify for World Series; Wright, Ijames square off in Cape final

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, Youth Baseball

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Morehead State University signed Oklahoma junior college left-handed pitcher Matt Cartwright to complete its 2010 signing class.
  • The Lexington Herald-Leader reports three Lexington youth baseball teams have qualified for their respective division’s World Series.
  • Jason Stella of the Louisville Bats’ media relations department profiles third baseman/ left fielder Todd Frazier and his recent improvements that have helped propel the Bats into first place in their division.
  • Brent Ingram of the University of Kentucky media relations department is listing the 20 most memorable Bat Cats’ games since 2006 for “Cat Scratches,” starting with No. 16-20.
  • Joe Capozi of the Palm Beach Post reports Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, born in Louisville, has experience a recent surge during the best season of his career after moving to the cleanup spot in the lineup.
  • The finals of the prestigious Cape Cod League have reached a decisive game three with an interesting UK/UofL subplot. Yarmouth-Dennis, featuring University of Louisville outfielder Stewart Ijames, is matched against Coutit, featuring UK outfielder Chad Wright in the championship series. Neither player recorded a hit in game two, but Wright scored two of Cotuit’s three runs in it’s game one win. You can watch the final game of the series here at 3 p.m.

Wright, Zych, Kapteyn, Self named Cape Cod All-Stars

College Baseball

Chad Wright; Photo: UK Athletics

University of Kentucky outfielder Chad Wright has been named a starter for the West Division All-Star team in the Cape Cod League and will be joined in the game by three other Kentucky reserves. UK right-handed pitcher Braden Kapteyn and University of Louisville right-handed pitcher Derek Self will pitch out of the East Division bullpen. UofL right-handed pitcher Tony Zych serve as a West Division reliever. Wright, who is playing for the Cotuit Kettleers this summer, ranks seventh in the league with a .292 batting average.

Wright, a rising junior, has scored 11 times for Cotuit, driven in five runs and stolen six bases. Zych, who is playing for the Bourne Braves this summer, will join Wright on the West Division roster as one of the team’s top relievers. On the Cape season, Zych, a rising junior, has not allowed a run in 15 and one-third innings and has recorded nine saves for Bourne. He has struck out 22 batters and walked just three. Zych’s nine saves lead the Cape Cod League.

Self, pitching for the Chatham Anglers, is 3-0 with a 1.25 ERA in six games, including five starts. The UofL rising redshirt junior has struck out 13 and walked three over 36 innings. Self will be joined in the East bullpen by UK rising junior Braden Kapteyn, who is 2-1 with a 0.81 ERA over 12 relief appearances for the Harwich Mariners. Kapteyn has struck out 21 and walked nine in 22 and one-third innings pitched. A two-way player at UK, Kapteyn has three hits in 17 at-bats for Harwich. The Cape Cod League All-Star game will be played July 28 at Fenway Park. (East Roster) (West Roster)

Report: Andy Burns transferring to Arizona

College Baseball

Andy Burns; UK photo

Brewster Whitecaps broadcaster Fred Katz reports via Twitter that former University of Kentucky sophomore infielder Andy Burns is transferring to Arizona. Burns, who is currently playing for the Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League, came to UK as one of the highest ranked high school hitting prospects to ever sign with the program. Last week BluGrass Baseball confirmed that Burns was transferring from UK with a statement from head coach Gary Henderson who said after the season “both parties decided to go in another direction.”

On Monday Brewster General Manager Ned Monthie told BluGrass Baseball that Burns “wants to concentrate on the present season and won’t make any statements at this time.” Under NCAA transfer rules, if Burns attends Arizona he will have to sit out one season.

Burns concentrating on Cape season; Ijames named Cape Cod player of week; Red Sox, Yankees want Downs

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Scott Downs; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Updates and links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Brewster Whitecaps General Manager Ned Monthie responded to BluGrass Baseball‘s request for an interview with former University of Kentucky infielder Andy Burns, who recently left the program, by saying, “Andy wants to concentrate on the current season and won’t make any statements at this time.”
  • University of Louisville rising redshirt junior outfielder Stewart Ijames was named the Cape Cod League player of the week after batting .423 with a home run and eight RBI for Yarmouth-Dennis.
  • Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse reports both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have targeted Louisville native and former UK left-handed pitcher Scott Downs as a possible trade deadline acquisition. Price notes Cincinnati may also have interest in Downs.
  • Yesterday we reported former Eastern Kentucky University left-handed pitcher and Colorado Rockies prospect Christian Friedrich was hit on his pitching elbow by a line drive while pitching for AA Tulsa. Barry Lewis of the Tulsa World has a full recap of the incident with quotes from Tulsa manager Ron Gideon.
  • Jason Stella of the Louisville Bats media relations department writes former Major League outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. has been a valuable mid-season acquisition for the Bats.
  • Jim Callis of Baseball America profiles recently promoted Lexington Legends outfielder J. D. Martinez in his latest “Ask BA” column.

UK Infielder Andy Burns, considered top hitting prospect to ever sign with school, leaves program

College Baseball

Andy Burns; UK photo

The University of Kentucky confirmed in a statement Friday afternoon to BluGrass Baseball that rising junior third baseman Andy Burns has left the program. Burns, considered one of the best high school position player prospects to ever sign with the school, has not announced where he will transfer. “Andy is no longer a member of the UK baseball program,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said in a statement. “At the end of the season, both parties decided to go in another direction and we wish Andy nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

Burns batted .271 with 11 home runs and 30 RBI as a sophomore and .287 with seven home runs and 33 RBI as a freshman for UK. The Fort Collins, Colo., native was the 25th round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies as a high school senior in 2008 but elected to attend UK instead of signing a professional contract. Burns was named the Southeastern Conference  freshman of the week for the week ending May 11, 2009.

Burns could not be reached at the time of positing, though BluGrass Baseball has placed an interview request with his Cape Cod League team. This summer Burns is batting .232 with no home runs in 25 games for the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League. Brewster coach Tom Myers told Aaron Fitt of Baseball America Burns has the chance to be a special player at the next level. “He’s in transition right now, leaving Kentucky, may redshirt, may not—he’s a quality player,” Myers told Fitt. “He’s played short and third, but will probably end up being a third baseman wherever he lands.”

Kentuckians in the Cape

College Baseball

Chad Wright; Photo: UK Athletics

Last week we began a series of posts informing you where some of Kentucky’s college baseball players were spending their summer with Western Kentucky University. Today we’ll look at the most prestigious collegiate summer league: the Cape Cod League. I’ve listed Kentucky collegians playing in the Cape below with their school and Cape team.

  • RHP Tony Zych — University of Louisville — Bourne Braves
  • SS Ryan Wright — UofL — Bourne Braves
  • 3B Andy Burns — University of Kentucky — Brewster Wildcats
  • OF Chad Wright — UK — Cotuit Kettleers
  • RHP/1B Braden Kapteyn — UK — Harwich Mariners
  • SS Zach Osborne — Pleasure Ridge Park High School (Tennessee) — Hyannis Harbor Hawks
  • OF Josh Richmond — UofL — Wareham Gatemen
  • RHP Alex Meyer — UK — Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox
  • RHP Derek Self — UofL — Chatham Anglers

UK OF Lance Ray, UofL 3B Phil Wunderlich and OF Stewart Ijames were originally scheduled to play in the Cape Cod League this summer, but have since left their teams. Ray signed with the Minnesota Twins as their eighth round pick. Wunderlich was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 12th round, and Ijames was selected by the New York Yankees in the 29th round.

UofL Summer League Wrap Up

College Baseball

Tony ZychYesterday we looked at the UK players summer league summary.  Today we head west on I-64 to check out the rival UofL Cardinals summer league results, including a World Championship.

Team USA

  • RHP Tony Zych — Zych was UofL’s summer star, contributing to the Team USA’s World Challenge Championship with an 0-1 record and 2.93 ERA in six games.  Tony struck out 17 batters in 15.1 innings and held opponents to a .224 batting average.  UofL coach Dan McDonnell also served on the Team USA coaching staff.

Coastal Plain League

  • Stewart Ijames — Thomasville HiToms– Ijames was named a mid-season All Star for the National League squad and finished the season tied for league lead in home runs with 12.  Ijames batted .282 in 48 games on the season and drove in 37 runs.
  • Drew Haynes — Florence RedWolves — Haynes batted .235 in 28 games with 12 RBI and 12 runs scored for Florence.  Drew was a perfect 7-7 in stealing bases.

UK Baseball Summer League Wrap-Up

College Baseball
Photo: UK Athletics

Photo: UK Athletics

With the Cape Cod League championship in the book, the UK summer league action has concluded for the season.  Braden Kapteyn’s MVP performance in the New York Collegiate Baseball League highlighted the summer, but his performance wasn’t the only one worth noting this summer.

UPDATE 1:25 P.M. — ADDED NAVARRO HALL/ NYCBL ALL-LEAGUE INFO

New York Collegiate Baseball League

  • INF/RHP Braden Kapteyn — Amsterdam Mohawks — Kapteyn led the Mohawks in homeruns (4), batted .319 on the season and posted a 2.47 ERA on the mound.  Had a singled, double and home run in the NYCBL finals to lead Amsterdam to the title.  Named league MVP after leading league in strikeouts on the mound (72) and ranking third in total bases at the plate (66).  Braden was named the utility player on the NYCBL first team all league.
  • RHP Sean Bouthilette — Amsterdam Mohawks — 4-3 with a 2.02 ERA in nine starts with two complete games.  Sean had 42 strikeouts and 14 walks in 49 innings.  Sean was named to the NYCBL second team all league at pitcher.
  • OF Cory Farris — Amsterdam Mohawks — Farris batted .280 with two home runs and 15 RBI in 34 games.  Cory started 32 games for Amsterdam.
  • RHP Chase Green — Amsterdam Mohawks — 3-0 with a 0.71 ERA in 15 games with 25 strikeouts in 25.1 innings.  Started one game for Amsterdam and held opponents to a .128 batting average.  Green was named NYCBL first team all league at relief pitcher.
  • INF Neiko Johnson — Watertown Wizards — Johnson batted .343 with two home runs and 24 RBI in 39 games for Watertown.  Neiko stole 21-22 bases, but had 13 errors in the field.  Johnson was named NYCBL second team all-league at second base.
  • OF Navarro Hall — Mohawk Valley — Sophomore outfielder Navarro Hall batting .289 with one home run and nine RBI in 39 games for Mohawk Valley.  Hall started 38 games and scored 28 runs.

Thursday Links: Cotuit Kettleers Eliminated

College Baseball, Minor League Baseball
Chris Bisson; Photo: UK Athletics

Chris Bisson; Photo: UK Athletics

Wednesday was a losing night for Bluegrass Baseball teams, and Kentucky connections.  Check out the Cape Cod League finals and other storylines in Thursday morning’s hot links.

  • UK infielder Chris Bisson and the Cotuit Kettleers lost in game two of the Cape Cod League finals, giving the title to the Bourne Braves.  Bisson was 0-3 with a walk in the 5-1 loss.
  • Phillies top prospect Michael Taylor hit for the cycle to lead the Lehigh Valley IronPigs to their first win in seven games against Louisville this season with a 10-9 victory Wednesday.
  • Pirates first round pick Tony Sanchez and the West Virginia Power defeated Lexington 9-2 in the series opener.
  • “Cat Scratches” reports on Braden Kapteyn’s NYCBL MVP, which was first reported here and on the BluGrass Baseball twitter.
  • Baseball America named Louisville outfielder Drew Stubbs best baserunner, best defensive outfielder and best outfield arm in the International League in a survey of IL managers.  (Subscriber only)
  • EKU Alum Christian Friedrich and Lexington Legend Jordan Lyles both received votes in the South Atlantic League best pitcher poll conducted by Baseball America to SAL managers.
  • Will Graves (Former Kernelite) at the Associated Press reports on UK Athletics 15x15x15 plan.
  • Jason Stella profiles Louisville Bat Kevin Barker at Examiner.com.

Summer League News: Kapteyn NYCBL MVP

College Baseball
Braden Kapteyn; Photo: UK Athletics

Braden Kapteyn; Photo: UK Athletics

UK rising sophomore Braden Kapteyn was named the MVP of the New York Collegiate Baseball League Wednesday.  Kapteyn batted .319 with four home runs and 24 RBI for the NYCBL champion Amsterdam Mohawks.  Braden also starred on the mound with 2.47 ERA in 47 innings for the Mohawks.  Kapteyn came a triple shy of the cycle in the NYCBL championship clinching game and drove in six runs.  Braden was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2008 and contributed to UK as a two-way player during his freshman season.

In other UK related Summer League news, second baseman Chris Bisson was 1-4 with a run scored in the Cotuit Kettleers’ 15-5 loss in game one of the Cape Cod League finals Tuesday.  Cotuit will try and even the series against the Bourne Braves in game two tonight.  The Cape Cod League championship series is a best of three contest.