Jeff Arnold; BluGrass Baseball photo
Highlights from Thursday Kentucky MiLB action:
- The Bowling Green Hot Rods scored a single run in the ninth inning to earn a 9-8 win over Lake County. Former UofL infielder Phil Wunderlich was 3-5 with one home run, one RBI and three runs scored, and shortstop Derek Dietrich was 2-4 with one home run, five RBIs and two runs scored.
- The Louisville Bats blew a ninth-inning lead in a 6-5 loss to Buffalo. Shortstop Zach Cozart was 3-4 with one home run, one RBIs and one run scored, and third baseman Todd Frazier was 3-4 with two doubles, one RBI and two runs scored.
- The Lexington Legends and Hagerstown Suns each tallied 11 hits, but the Legends left 11 men on base in an 8-2 loss. First baseman Tyler Burnett was 3-4 with one RBI and one run scored.
- Louisville native and former UofL catcher Jeff Arnold was 2-4 with one double, two RBI and two runs scored for low A Augusta.
- Former UK first baseman Ryan Strieby slugged his fourth home run and drove in two runs for AAA Toledo.
- Former Kentucky Wesleyan right-handed pitcher Cory Wade earned his first win of the season with a scoreless inning of relief for AAA Durham and boasts a 1.00 ERA in 18 innings in 2011.
- Danville native Patrick Cooper earned his first win of the season with two scoreless innings of relief for low A West Michigan
- Former UK infielder Gunner Glad was 2-4 with one double, two RBIs and one run scored for low A Beloit.
- Lexington native and former UK outfielder John Shelby slugged his fourth home run of the season for AA Montgomery.
- Former UK infielder Chris Bisson drove in three runs for low A Fort Wayne.
- Former UK left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin took a no decision after surrendering four runs on five hits in five innings while striking out six batters and walking two for AA Tennessee.
- Louisville native and former Bellarmine right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer took the loss in his season debut, surrendering four runs on eight hits in three and two-third innings for AAA Iowa.
James Paxton; Photo: UK Athletics
Highlights from Wednesday Kentucky MiLB action:
- Each of the state’s three minor league teams’ games were rained out.
- Former UK left-handed pitcher James Paxton took a loss but posted a quality start in his MiLB debut. Paxton surrendered three runs, one of which was earned, on five hits in six innings while striking out six batters and walking four.
- Former UK first baseman Ryan Strieby slugged his third home run of the season and went 2-3 in game one of a double-header for AAA Toledo.
- London native Jon Townsend was 2-3 with two doubles, two runs scored, one walk and one RBI for high A Inland Empire to extend hits hitting streak to six games.
- Louisville native and former Murray St. infielder Wes Cunningham was 3-5 with two doubles for low A Fort Wayne.
- Former UK infielder Chris Bisson was 2-5 with one double, two RBI and two runs scored for low A Fort Wayne.
- Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere was 2-3 with one RBI, one walk and one stolen base for AAA Rochester.
- Former WKU infielder Wade Gaynor was 2-4 with one double, one walk and one run scored for high A Lakeland.
- One-time Madisonville resident Matt Klinker took a loss but surrendered just two runs on three hits in six innings while striking out four batters and walking two for AA Carolina.
- Former UofL left-handed pitcher Justin Marks took a loss after surrendering five runs on eight hits in six innings while striking out two batters and walking one.
- Former EKU left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich took a loss after surrendering seven runs on 10 hits in four innings while striking out four batters and walking two.
- Richmond native and former UK outfielder Keenan Wiley was promoted to high A Lynchburg where he went 0-3 in his debut.
Ryan Strieby; Photo via Flickr by mwlguide
Highlights from Monday Kentucky MiLB action:
- Indianapolis scored seven runs over the final two innings to send the Louisville Bats to a 10-4 loss. One-time Madisonville resident Matt Klinker took the loss for the Bats after surrendering seven runs on five hits in two innings.
- The Bowling Green Hot Rods tallied just three hits in an 8-2 loss to Dayton. Left-handed pitcher Enny Romero took the loss after surrendering five runs on five hits in three and two-third innings.
- One day after two players each hit three home runs, the Lexington Legends also tallied just three hits in a 4-1 loss to Asheville. Right-handed pitcher Michael Foltynewicz took the loss despite surrendering three runs on six hits in six innings while striking out three batters and walking three.
- Walton native and former NKU outfielder Jake Shaffer was 3-4 with one home run, two RBI and one run scored for AA Jackson and is batting .400 on the season.
- Covington native and former NKU right-handed pitcher Nathan Jones earned his first win of the season after pitching a scoreless inning of relief for AA Birmingham.
- Former UK first baseman Ryan Strieby was 2-4 with one home run, two RBI and two runs scored for AAA Toledo.
- Trinity High School alum Tyler Kuhn was 3-5 with one double, one triple, three RBI and one run scored for AA Birmingham.
- Former UK left-handed pitcher Andrew Albers eared his first win since 2008 after surrendering one run in one and one-third innings of relief for high A Fort Meyers.
- Former UK left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin took a no decision after surrendering two runs on six hits in five innings while striking out four batters and walking one in a start for AA Tennessee.
- Former UK infielder Chris Bisson was 2-5 with two stolen bases for low A Fort Wayne.
- Louisville native and former UofL infielder Adam Duvall was 2-4 with two doubles and one run scored for low A Augusta.
- Louisville native and former Murray St. first baseman Wes Cunningham was 2-4 with one RBI and one run scored for low A Fort Wayne.
Chris Dominguez; UofL Photo
Highlights from Sunday Kentucky MiLB action:
- The Louisville Bats won the team’s third consecutive game with a 5-1 win over Toledo. Two-time National League all–star Dontrelle Willis earned the win after surrendering three hits in six shutout innings while striking out five batter and walking one.
- The Bowling Green Hot Rods used a seven-run seventh inning to earn a 12-9 win over Dayton. Second baseman Robby Price slugged his first home run, and catcher Lucas Bailey was 2-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.
- The Lexington Legends scored in every other inning in a 12-4 win over Charleston to earn a series split. Third baseman Michael Kvasnicka was 4-5 with three RBI and four runs scored, and right-handed pitcher Carlos Quevedo earned the win after surrendering three runs on seven hits in six innings.
- Former UofL infielder Chris Dominguez was 3-5 with two home runs, three RBI and two runs scored for high A San Jose.
- Lexington native and former UK infielder Michael Bertram was 4-5 with one double and one run scored for AA Erie.
- Former UK outfielder Sawyer Carroll slugged his first home run and drove in two runs for AA San Antonio.
- Former UK infielder Chris Bisson was 2-3 with one walk and one run scored for low A Fort Wayne.
- Richmond native and former UK outfielder Keenan Wiley was 2-3 with one triple, one walk and two RBI for low A Rome.
- Former UofL first baseman Andrew Clark was 2-3 with one double and one RBI for low A Hickory.
- Covington native and former NKU outfielder Jake Shaffer had his third straight multi-hit game for AA Jackson with a 2-5 performance.
- Former Murray St. right-handed pitcher Mike Perconte earned his first win of the season after pitching one and one-third scoreless innings for AA Frisco.
Chris Bisson; Photo: UK Athletics
We will begin the third lap in the “offseason position battle” series with a look at the vacant University of Kentucky second base position:
The departed — Second baseman Chris Bisson, a 2010 junior, was a stalwart in the middle of the UK defense and lineup during 2010, batting .329 with five home runs, 35 RBI and 43 runs scored. Bisson, who moved on to professional ball following the season as the fourth-round pick of the San Diego Padres, batted .325 in his three-year UK career with seven home runs, 91 RBI and 101 runs scored. Bisson led the Southeastern Conference with 32 stolen bases in 2010 and was honored with a second-team all-SEC selection following the season. The left-handed batter missed five games after being hit in the face by a pitch during a game versus Monmouth on March 6.
Returning candidates — Redshirt senior infielder Neiko Johnson started 21 games for UK in 2010 and filled in for Bisson at second base while he recovered from the early season hit-by-pitch. Johnson batted just .171 in 33 games but boasted an impressive .388 on-base percentage and stole 24 bases in 25 attempts. This summer Johnson batted .307 with 25 stolen bases in the Coastal Plains League…Redshirt freshman Tyler Townsend, who sat out during the 2010 season, is the only other returning backup infielder on the roster. Townsend batted .220 in 36 games in the New York Collegiate Baseball League this summer.
Newcomers to watch — In a recent interview with College Baseball Daily UK head coach Gary Henderson listed freshman infielders Dallen Reber, Paul McConkey, J. T. Riddle and Matt Reida as standouts during fall practice. Riddle and Reida profile best as middle infielders and should push for early playing time at second base. Henderson told CBD that Reida was the most advanced of the group defensively, so that praise can only help his chances. When Reida signed with UK, Henderson described him as a future stalwart at middle infield and the leadoff spot in the lineup. The Chicago White Sox selected Reida in the 47th round of the 2010 draft…Riddle was named Mr. Kentucky Baseball in 2010 after batting .514 with 7 HR, 62 RBI and 20 stolen bases as a senior at Western Hills High school. He was the 35th round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2010. Riddle homered during UK’s Fall World Series and could pitch for UK as well.
Wildcard — UK’s lone returning starting infielder is shortstop Taylor Black, the 28th round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2010 draft, so the second, third and first base positions could be a revolving door in 2011. The Cats aren’t lacking candidates for the vacant second and third base positions, but Henderson could decide not to name a full-time starter at either position early in the season and instead choose to rotate several of the players. Ideally UK would have a fairly consistent lineup in time for conference play, but don’t be surprised in Johnson, Reida, Riddle, Reber, McConkey and Townsend rotate early in 2011.
UK Athletics Wallpaper
We will begin our second lap in the “Offseason position battle” series with a look at the vacant University of Kentucky third base position:
The departed — This season was supposed to be the year that Colorado native Andy Burns, arguably the highest ranked high school position player to ever sign with Kentucky, rode his immense talent to an early MLB draft selection. Burns batted .279 with 18 home runs and 63 RBI over two seasons at UK before deciding to transfer to Arizona following the 2010 season. The only other Cat to appear at third base during the 2010 season was since departed senior utility man Gunner Glad.
Returning candidates — The only returning infielders who didn’t start in 2010 on the roster are redshirt senior Neiko Johnson and redshirt freshman Tyler Townsend. Johnson batted just .171 in 33 games as a junior but is better suited for second base, where he filled in for an injured Chris Bisson in 2010. Townsend redshirted during the 2010 season.
Newcomers to watch — Freshman infielder Dallen Reber belted a three-run home run in game two of the Fall World Series. In an interview with College Baseball Daily head coach Gary Henderson listed freshman infielders Paul McConkey, J. T. Riddle and Matt Reida as standouts in fall camp. Henderson noted Reida was the most advanced defensive infielder of the group, though he probably profiles as a second baseman or shortstop. Junior college transfer Thomas McCarthy slugged two home runs and a double during game one of the Fall World Series. McCarthy batted .415 with three home runs and 36 RBI in 36 games for Feather River College in 2010.
Wildcard — We listed UK redshirt freshman football quarterback Ryan Mossakowski as the wildcard in UK’s first base race after The Cat’s Pause reported he would play baseball this spring, but his quarterback’s arm could also fit at third base. Mossakowski is unlikely to contribute early in the 2011 season after missing two years following shoulder surgery in high school, but could fit in later in the season as wide receiver Brian Adams did in the outfield at the end of the 2010 season.
- Chris Bisson; Photo: UK Athletics
Baseball America has released its annual draft report cards for each of the 30 MLB organization’s. Kentucky saw 57 players with some tie to the Bluegrass State drafted this season, so it is no surprise that several Kentucky players were mentioned in the draft report cards. Check out those report cards below, remembering that all links require a subscription:
- John Manuel ranks PRP alum and St. Louis Cardinals’ first-round pick Zack Cox the best hitter, best power hitter and closest to the majors from the Cardinals’ draft.
- Jim Callis ranks former UK infielder Chris Bisson the best athlete in the San Diego Padres’ draft and one of the best runners.
- Manuel ranks former UK outfielder Lance Ray one of the three best pure hitters from the Minnesota Twins’ draft.
- Callis lists Paducah native Jonathan Roof among Texas Rangers’ draftees with the most intriguing background, noting the Roof family’s baseball prominence.
- Callis mentions former Morehead St. infielder and Mount Sterling native Drew Lee among the Chicago White Sox’s best professional debuts.
- Manuel lists Campbellsville University non-drafted free agent catcher Richie Rowland in the intriguing background category of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ report card as he teamed with his brother at rookie-level Missoula.
- Callis mentions Lexington native Jeremy Shelby among the fastest runners and most intriguing backgrounds in the Baltimore Orioles’ draft.
Yesterday we looked at the hitting and pitching leaderboards for full-season Kentucky minor leaguers in advance of the BluGrass Baseball MiLB awards post. If you saw that post you already know former UK catcher Marcus Nidiffer was named the rookie of the year, but looking at the statistical leaders among players that made their professional debuts in 2010 is still helpful.
Batting Average (2.7 PA/team game)
- Phil Wunderlich (SS Hudson Valley) – .330
- Andrew Clark (SS Spokane) – .295
- Richie Rowland (R Missoula) – .291
- Wes Cunningham (SS Eugene) – .290
- Lance Ray (Low A Beloit) – .289
- Wes Cunningham (SS Eugene) – .415
- Andrew Clark (SS Spokane) – .401
- Lance Ray (Low A Beloit) – .372
- Marcus Nidiffer (SS Tri-City) – .372
- Phil Wunderlich (SS Hudson Valley) – .372
- Marcus Nidiffer (SS Tri-City) – .535
- Phil Wunderlich (SS Hudson Valley) — .478
- Wes Cunningham (SS Eugene) – .449
- Drew Lee (R Bristol) – .435
- Lance Ray (Low A Beloit) – .417
- Marcus Nidiffer (SS Tri-City) – 40
- Wes Cunningham (SS Eugene) – 34
- Andrew Clark (SS Spokane) – 32
- Drew Lee (R Bristol) – 32
- Phil Wunderlich (SS Hudson Valley) – 31
- Marcus Nidiffer (SS Tri-City) – 14
- Drew Lee (R Bristol) – 5
- Richie Rowland (R Missoula) – 5
- Adam Duvall (SS Salem-Keizer) – 4
- Phil Wunderlich (SS Hudson Valley) – 4
- Jayson Langfels (SS Tri-City) – 4
- Andrew Clark (SS Spokane) – 41
- Drew Lee (R Bristol) – 39
- Marcus Nidiffer (SS Tri-City) – 36
- Phil Wunderlich (SS Hudson Valley) – 36
- Richie Rowland (R Missoula) – 34
- Cameron Conner (R Idaho Falls) – 15
- Marcus Nidiffer (SS Tri-City) – 9
- Matt Payton (R GCL Phillies) – 9
- Wes Cunningham (SS Eugene) – 7
- Chris Bisson (SS Eugene) – 5
- Drew Lee (R Bristol) – 5
Hit the jump to see the pitching leaders.
The 2010 draft is in the books for the most part, with only former UK left-handed pitcher James Paxton‘s status up in the air, so now is as good a time as any to look at some of the Kentucky winners and losers from the last two-plus months of draft news:
- Blake Perry — Each of the Kentucky players who signed a professional contract could be listed among the winners, but we’ll single out Perry for his monumental rise over the last year. When BluGrass Baseball broke Perry’s commitment to UK just over a year ago he was a little known former Boyle County High School pitcher who was spending his senior season playing baseball in Florida. Turn the clock a year ahead and Perry not only improved his stock enough to be drafted in the sixth round but also negotiated a signing bonus worth more than three times the recommended slot amount for players drafted after the fifth round without the help of an adviser.
- Northern Kentucky University — The draft is a double-edged sword for college teams. Schools want their players selected for the notoriety and recruiting help such news brings but also face losing valuable underclassmen and high school signees the better they do. NKU earned some rare publicity for a DII school with two draftees, and while rising senior left-handed pitcher Dave Middendorf appeared likely to sign with the Yankees after being selected, he didn’t sign before the deadline and could offer the Norse a rare returning draftee in 2011.
- Western Kentucky University — The Hilltoppers had about as good a draft as a Sun Belt Conference team could hope for with three prominent 2010 seniors being selected and signed to professional teams while both underclassmen and one signee selected chose to return to school for 2011. WKU did lose signee Michael Mosby to the Orioles, but rising senior catcher Matt Rice, rising redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Rye Davis and incoming freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman should help the team build on its early 2010 success.
- James Paxton — Paxton still hasn’t signed a professional contract with the Mariners, and since his attempt to return to school after being picked in the first-supplemental round in 2009 failed last season he has no college eligibility left. As such he has until a week before the 2011 draft to sign with the Mariners. After dropping to the fourth round in the 2010 draft he stands to lose a substantial amount of money whenever he signs compared to what he would have received if he had signed in 2009. Paxton appears unlikely to suit up in affiliated ball this season unless he signs in the next few days, so he could begin 2011 with just a handful of indy ball innings under his belt over the last two years. Paxton has had some tough breaks since the 2009 draft, but at some point he likely needs to cut his losses, sign a contract and just start pitching again.
- University of Kentucky — The Cats make the loser list only because they had the most to lose from the draft with 11 underclassmen and signees selected. UK probably expected to lose juniors Chris Bisson and Logan Darnell, but the signings of juniors Matt Little and Lance Ray deal a blow to a depleted bullpen and infield. Ray could have been the center of UK’s 2011 offense, but instead the Cats only really got half a season of production from him before he left for professional ball. The loss of signees Tyler Oliver and Perry only complicates matters. The good news is at least five drafted newcomers will arrive on campus this fall.
- University of Louisville — The Cards have experienced great success under Dan McDonnell, but he faces his biggest rebuilding job yet in 2011 after losing nine players and one signee to the draft. Four of those loses were seniors, but McDonnell will need to find replacements for key 2010 underclassmen contributors in closer Neil Holland, ace Thomas Royse, slugger Phil Wunderlich, outfielder Josh Richmond and valuable left-handed pitcher Dean Kiekhefer. Rising redshirt junior draftee Stewart Ijames will be back as will two drafted signees, including eighth-round pick Dace Kime.