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.
The Hot Rods finished 2009 at the bottom of the South Atlantic League Southern Division, and had more wins than only two teams in the league. The Hot Rods finished second-to-last in batting in the league and finished four from the bottom in team-ERA, but the team wasn’t lacking for prospects. We looked at the Legends’ batter and pitcher of the year Tuesday, so today we’ll look at Bowling Green’s.
Offensive Player of the Year — OF Kyeong Kang
- Kang didn’t lead the team in home runs or RBI, and he just missed qualifying for the league batting race. Kang, the first South Korean to be selected in MLB’s amateur draft, didn’t make his 2009 debut until May 12 so he only appeared in 89 games. So why exactly was he the offensive player of the year? Well, there wasn’t a lot of competition, and Kang made up for lost time with his second-half performance. The outfielder’s season highlight was being selected to the Futures Game, but he also batted .307 with a .390 on-base percentage and team-high .880 OPS. In the second half of 2009, Kang batted .328 with four home runs and 26 RBI with a .940 OPS.
- 2008 MLB first-overall draft pick Tim Beckham was Kang’s chief competition for the award. Beckham held his own during his first full professional season, batting .275 with five home runs and a team-high 63 RBI, but his two-month slump to the tune of .245 batting average in June and July lost him the war.
Pitcher of the Year — LHP Matthew Moore
- Just as in Lexington the pitching award was much more competitive that the offensive one. Matthew Moore led the minor leagues with 176 strikeouts, he ranked second on the team in wins (8) and innings pitched (123). Moore was even better in the second half of the season with a 5-2 record and 2.91 ERA in 13 games.
- Chris Andujar led the team in wins (10) and ERA (2.70). His 2.70 ERA was fourth-best in the South Atlantic League, and if he hadn’t spent 14 games in the bullpen he might have taken the award from Moore.
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.
Lexington Legends slugger Brian Pellegrini launched his 21st home run of the season for Lexington Saturday to move within four home runs of the franchise record 25 long balls in a season. Astros outfielder Hunter Pence and former Legend Beau Herod currently hole the record of 25 home runs.
- Pellegrini’s home run wasn’t enough for the Legends’ victory. West Virginia scored four runs in the last three innings to win 5-2.
- Matthew Klinker and Pedro Viola combined on a three-hit shutout to give Louisville a 4-0 victory over Toledo in the series opener.
- Chris Andujar allowed one run in six innings to lead Bowling Green to a 3-1 victory over Hickory.
- EKU Sports writes about Christian Friedrich’s performance in high A ball.
- Friedrich checks in at number six and Lexington Legend Jordan Lyles ranked number 11 on this week’s Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet. Bowling Green pitcher Matt Moore was listed “In the Team Photo.”
- WKU sports reports that ground has been broken on the new Hilltoper clubhouse.
- Don’t forget, the Russellville Little League team plays on ESPN at 7:00 in the finals of the Great Lakes Region tonight.
Bowling Green Hot Rods vs. Hickory Crawdads
- Bowling Green ace Matthew Moore will open the series against Hickory tonight on the mound for the Hot Rods. Moore is 7-4 with a 2.68 ERA and 141 strikeouts in 100.2 innings this season. His 141 strikeouts rank third in the South Atlantic League, five behind Lexington’s Jordan Lyles for most in the league. Moore’s 2.68 ERA is fourth lowest in the league.
- Hot Rods catcher Tyler Hauschild has one of the strangest hitting streaks you’ll ever see. Hauschild is currently enjoying a seven-game hitting streak stretched over 25 days. Hauschild joined the Hot Rods on July 14 and began his hitting streak on July 18. Tyler has found playing time hard to come by behind Rays prospect Jake Jeffries, who does most of the catching for Bowling Green. Hauschild has played in 11 games for Bowling Green this season and has at least one hit in nine of them.
- The Hot Rods are 1-3 against Hickory on the season. Starting pitcher Chris Andujar has the only win for the Hot Rods and it came while he was pitching out of the Bowling Green bullpen. No Hot Rod with more than two games played against the Crawdads is batting over .250 against Hickory.
- Hickory will send right-handed pitcher Jacob Brigham to the mound to open the series with Bowling Green tonight. Brigham is 2-6 with a 5.12 ERA in 19 games this season. One of Brigham’s two wins on the year came against Bowling Green when he shutout the Hot Rods through 5.1 innings on April 11, his first start of the season. As a starting pitcher Bigham is 2-3 with a 4.53 ERA in 11 games.
Louisville Bats @ Lehigh Valley IronPigs
- Louisville looks for the series victory against Lehigh Valley with Matt Maloney on the mound tonight. Maloney received a brief callup to Cincinnati earlier this season, but has spent most of the year with the Bats. Matt is 8-8 with a 2.71 ERA in 19 games for Louisville this season. Maloney’s 2.71 ERA ranks fifth best in the International League and his 106 strikeouts are tied for fourth most. Matt has shown exceptional control this season with only 19 walks in 126 innings.
- Bats outfielder Darnell McDonald had only three hits in seven games in August entering Tuesday’s game, but he broke out of that slump in a big way. McDonald finished the game 4-4 with a double. The four hits tie a season high for McDonald achieved previously on July 6 against Indianapolis with a 4-5 performance.
- Outfielder Drew Stubbs stole his 46th base of the season Tuesday. The 46 steals lead the International league and rank 11th in minor league baseball. Stubbs should easily break the 50 steal plateau with just under a month left in the season. Think 50 steals might be a Bats record? Think again, Vince Coleman stole 101 bases in 1984 for the franchise.
- The IronPigs will counter with left-handed pitcher Gustavo Chacin. Chacin was once a top prospect, winning the AA Eastern League Pitcher of the Year award in 2004, but he has failed to make a dent past AAA in his career. This season Chacin is excelling with Lehigh Valley with a 7-3 record and 3.09 ERA in 13 games. Chacin has 48 strikeouts and 29 walks in 84.1 innings this season.
Lexington Legends @ Greenville Drive
- The Legends send right-handed starting pitcher Robert Bono to the mound tonight against the Drive. Bono has been the forgotten man in the Legends rotation behind more highly touted pitchers Ross Seaton, Jordan Lyles and Brad Dydalewicz, but Robert has impressed on the mound with a 8-7 record and 2.94 ERA. Bono has two complete games on the season, but has lost each of his last three decisions. Robert’s last win came on Independence Day.
- Second baseman Albert Cartwright extended his hitting streak to five games with a 1-4 performance Thursday. Cartwright is 9-20 (.450) with two doubles and two RBI during the streak. On the season Albert is batting .229 with five home runs and 26 RBI. After batting .328 in 20 games in April, Cartwright’s monthly batting average was below .200 in both month that he played regularly.
- Outfielder Steve Brown was the offensive star Thursday with a triple and home run. Brown is batting .244 with four home runs and 31 RBI on the season. 2009 is Steve’s second stint in Lexington after he spent the entire 2008 season with the Legends. Brown is batting .368 with one home run and five RBI in six games in August.
- Greenville will send Brock Huntzinger to the mound tonight against the Legends. Huntzinger is 7-8 with a 4.17 ERA on the season. Brock has won each of his last two starts and has recorded a decision in each of his last 11 starts. Huntzinger is 2-5 with a 5.35 ERA in the second half of the season.