Paxton in Seattle for physical; Friedrich among Rockies’ top prospects; D’Backs release former Campbellsville catcher

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Richie Rowland; Photo: Campbellsville University

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports former UK left-handed pitcher James Paxton will be in Seattle Wednesday to take a physical in advance of signing his contract with the Mariners as the team’s fourth-round pick in the 2010 draft.
  • Jonathan Mayo of ranks former EKU left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich the No. 3 prospect in the Colorado Rockies’ farm system.
  • Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports the Arizona Diamondbacks have released former Campbellsville University catcher Richie Rowland, who signed with the team as a non-drafted free agent in 2010 and batted .291 with five home runs, 34 RBI and 19 runs scored in 67 games for rookie-level Missoula during his professional debut.
  • Jeff Caplan of reports Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb is taking his return from injury one step at a time and for now pitching in a Spring Training game still isn’t on the radar.
  • Carrie Muskat of reports Louisville native and former Bellarmine right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer has no hard feelings toward the San Fransisco Giants after the team released him last August. “I was the biggest fan of them in Kentucky, guaranteed,” Wellemeyer told Muskate of his rooting interest during the playoffs last season.
  • Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today reports Cincinnati Reds left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman had a difficult time adapting to U.S. culture while in Louisville last season, but Louisville Bats trainer Tomas Vera has become a friend and confidant for the Cuban defector.

Kentuckians on MLB Spring Training rosters

Major League Baseball

MLB graphic

Pitchers and catchers have reported to Spring Training camps across Florida and Arizona. In addition to the 17 Kentuckians who appeared in the major leagues last season, several Kentucky minor leaguers are also in MLB camps this Spring. Check out the full list below, remembering that some other minor leaguers will see time during split squad games this Spring.

National League

  • RHP Michael Broadway — Born in Paducah, Ky. — Atlanta Braves*
  • 2B Dan Uggla — Born in Louisville, Ky. — Atlanta Braves
  • LHP Jonny Venters — Born in Pikeville, Ky. — Atlanta Braves
  • OF Corey Hart — Greenwood HS — Milwaukee Brewers
  • RHP Sean Green — Male HS, UofL — Milwaukee Brewers
  • 3B Zack Cox — PRP — St. Louis Cardinals
  • LHP Trever Miller — Trinity HS — St. Louis Cardinals
  • RHP Todd Wellemeyer — Eastern HS, Bellarmine — Chicago Cubs
  • OF Collin Cowgill — Henry Clay HS, UK — Arizona Diamondbacks*
  • C A. J. Ellis — PLD — Los Angeles Dodgers
  • RHP Tyler Clippard — Born in Lexington, Ky. — Washington Nationals
  • RHP Joe Blanton — Franklin Simpson HS, UK — Philadelphia Phillies
  • RHP Matt Anderson — St. X — Philadelphia Phillies*
  • RHP Matt Klinker — Madisonville, Ky. — Cincinnati Reds*
  • LHP Christian Friedrich — EKU — Colorado Rockies*
  • LHP Aaron Cook — Born in Fort Campbell, Ky. — Colorado Rockies

American League

  • LHP Scott Downs — PRP, UK — Los Angeles Angels
  • RHP Trystan Magnuson — UofL — Oakland Athletics
  • RHP Jon Rauch — Oldham Co. HS, Morehead St. — Toronto Blue Jays
  • 2B Jason Kipnis — UK — Cleveland Indians*
  • OF Austin Kearns — Lafayette HS — Cleveland Indians
  • RHP Josh Lueke — Scott HS, NKU — Seattle Mariners
  • RHP Shawn Kelley — Ballard HS — Seattle Mariners
  • RHP Chaz Roe — Lafayette HS — Seattle Mariners
  • 3B Mark Reynolds — Born in Pikeville, Ky. — Baltimore Orioles
  • RHP Brandon Webb — Boyd Co. HS, UK — Texas Rangers
  • RHP Cory Wade — Ky. Wesleyan — Tampa Bay Rays*
  • RHP Nathan Adcock — North Hardin HS — Kansas City Royals
  • 1B Ryan Strieby — UK — Detroit Tigers
  • OF Ben Revere — Lexington Catholic HS — Minnesota Twins
  • RHP Nathan Jones — Pendelton Co. HS, NKU — Chicago White Sox

* — Denotes a non-roster invitee.

Rockies invite Christian Friedrich to Spring Training; Ben Revere may contribute for Twins in 2011

College Baseball

Christian Friedrich; Photo by Matt McGee via Flickr

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Thomas Harding of reports the Colorado Rockies have given former EKU left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich a non-roster invitation to Spring Training.
  • Kelly Thesier of lists Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere among the “prospects to watch” for possible contributions with the Minnesota Twins in 2011.
  • Garry Barker of The Flemingsburg Gazette has the obituary for Ewing native and former MLB veteran Woodie Fryman.
  • Brad Stephens of the College Heights Herald reports the Bowling Green Hot Rods and Western Kentucky University have discuss hosting a future Sun Belt Conference tournament or NCAA regional at Bowling Green Ballpark in addition to the two series they will host there this season.
  • I will be at the University of Kentucky‘s baseball media day this afternoon so check back later and follow us on Twitter for updates from coach Gary Henderson and a few of his players.

EKU unveils All-Century Team; Former Ky. major leaguer dies; Brandon Webb needs to step up in 2011

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

EKU All-Century Team; Photo by Chris Radcliffe

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Eastern Kentucky University unveiled its All-Century Baseball team, which includes current minor leaguers Christian Friedrich, Jayson Langfels, Neil Sellers and Josh Anderson.
  • Tom Gage of The Detroit News reports Ewing native and 18-year MLB veteran Woodie Fryman died Friday in Lexington. Fryman was 70 years old. Fryman was 141-155 with a 3.77 ERAa in his MLB career.
  • Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe lists former UK right-handed pitcher and Ashland native Brandon Webb among the players that need to step up for their teams in 2011.
  • John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer runs down some Reds’ questions entering Spring Training, including several that affect 2010 Louisville Bats. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty notes Bats pitchers Sam LeCure and Matt Maloney, who makes his offseason home in Louisville, are being groomed as depth behind the six starting rotation candidates, meaning they will likely begin 2011 with the Bats.

Kentuckians included in BA Prospect Handbook

Minor League Baseball

In the opinion of this baseball writer there is not a more important annual publication that Baseball America‘s “Prospect Handbook.” The 2011 edition of the Handbook was mailed this week with mine arriving on Thursday. I cannot recommend the book highly enough if you are a baseball fan, especially one interested in identifying the next MLB stars before your friends. You can purchase the book from BA here. I’m going to list some basic Kentucky info from the book below but won’t give away the rankings or scouting reports in order to encourage you to buy a copy of the book yourself.

  • Four Kentucky school alumni were included in the already released top 10 prospect rankings for their respective organizations: Zack Cox, Jason Kipnis, Christian Friedrich and Ben Revere. PRP alum Cox was ranked the No. 2 prospect in the Cardinals organization, one-time UK outfielder Kipnis was ranked the No. 3 prospect in the Indians’ system, former EKU left-handed pitcher Friedrich was ranked the No. 4 prospect in the Rockies’ organization and Lexington Catholic alum Revere was ranked the No. 5 prospect in the Twins’ system.
  • Eleven other Kentucky school alumni were included in the 11-30 rankings for their respective organizations: former NKU right-handed pitcher Josh Lueke, former UK first baseman Ryan Strieby, former UofL third baseman Chris Dominguez, former UofL right-handed pitcher Thomas Royse, former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill, former LCA left-handed pitcher Robbie Ross, former NKU right-handed pitcher Nathan Jones, former UofL right-handed pitcher Trystan Magnuson, former WKU third baseman Wade Gaynor, former UofL outfielder Josh Richmond and former Ballard left-handed pitcher Richard Sullivan.
  • Three organizations had two Kentucky alumni in the top 30 lists: the White Sox, Rangers and Tigers.
  • The Cardinals, Indians, Rockies, Twins, Mariners, Giants, Diamondbacks, Athletics and Braves also had Kentucky alumni included in their respective top 30 rankings.
  • The University of Louisville had four alumni ranked on top 20 lists, the University of Kentucky had three alumni listed and Northern Kentucky University boasted former two players in the handbook.
  • Two players drafted straight out of Kentucky high schools were ranked on organization top 30s: Revere and Ross.

Freidrich, three Bats among top 50 prospects; Dominguez’s power, infield arm rated best in Giants’ system

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Aroldis Chapman; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Jonathan Mayo of ranks former EKU left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich the No. 50 prospect in MiLB. He ranks 2010 Louisville Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman No. 6, catcher Devin Mesoraco No. 45 and first baseman Yonder Alonso No. 49. Former Bowling Green Hot Rods left-handed pitcher Matt Moore checked in at No. 27, and Mayo ranked 2009 Lexington Legends right-handed pitcher Jordan Lyles No. 31.
  • Andy Baggarly of Baseball America rates former UofL third baseman Chris Dominguez as having the best power and best infield arm in the San Francisco Giants’ system.
  • Baggarly also answered a couple of Dominguez questions in the online chat accompanying the prospect rankings. Baggarly speculates the Giants might try Dominguez on the mound if he were to fail as a third baseman. (Subscription required)
  • Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb talks to ESPN Dallas about his decision to sign with the Rangers.
  • Aaron Fitt of BA reports the NCAA denied former University of Kentucky third baseman Andy Burns‘ request for a waiver allowing him to play immediately at Arizona. Burns will have to sit out the 2011 season as a transfer.
  • Mark Sheldon of reports the Cincinnati Reds’ caravan will stop in Bowling Green, Ashland and Lexington this weekend.

Former No. 1 attempts comeback with Phillies; Friedrich, Kipnis among top prospects; At least 6 2010 Cats transfer

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Christian Friedrich; Photo by Matt McGee via Flickr

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Jerry Crasnick of profiles Louisville native and St. X alum Matt Anderson‘s attempted return to MLB with the Philadelphia Phillies. Anderson was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 draft, and is 15-7 with a 5.19 ERA in 257 career games. A shoulder injury derailed his career in 2003.
  • Tracy Ringolsby of Baseball America ranks former EKU left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich the No. 4 prospect in the Colorado Rockies system.
  • Jonathan Mayo of ranks one-time UK outfielder turned second baseman Jason Kipnis the No. 4 second base prospect in MiLB.
  • On Tuesday we linked comments from Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, who said he would not trade former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton before Opening Day. Todd Zolecki of reports the Phillies have decided Blanton’s role as rotation depth is worth more than his trade value.
  • Derek Poore of the Courier-Journal reports Blue Jays farmhand Trystan Magnuson, former major league pitcher Paul Byrd, UofL head coach Dan McDonnell, former Astro Chris Burke and others will speak at the BaseballCon held at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville on Jan. 28-29.
  • Yesterday we listed the newcomers on the newly released University of Kentucky roster, but also of interest were the 2010 players no longer on the roster. BluGrass Baseball has confirmed third baseman Andy Burns transferred to Arizona, outfielder Cory Farris transferred to Cumberland University, right-handed pitcher Joe Devine transferred to Georgetown College, outfielder Navarro Hall transferred to Columbus State University, right-handed pitcher Chase Greene transferred to Eastern Kentucky University and right-handed pitcher Sean Bouthilette transferred to Campbellsville University. Right-handed pitcher Kyle Jackson and left-handed pitcher Jon Carlson are also no longer on the roster.

Phillies don’t have to trade Blanton; Friedrich hoping to rebound in 2011; Rays considering Jon Rauch

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Joe Blanton; Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Todd Zolecki of reports the Philadelphia Phillies don’t have to cut payroll but are still open to trading former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton. The right-handed starting pitcher has been rumored to be on the trading block since the Phillies signed free agent Cliff Lee.
  • Jack Etkin of Baseball America catches up with former EKU left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich, a top Colorado Rockies prospect, who hopes better fastball command and a healthy 2011 will help him rebound from a poor 2010. (subscription required)
  • Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated tweets the Tampa Bay Rays are still looking at bullpen free agent options, and former Morehead St. right-handed pitcher Jon Rauch is a candidate for their closer job.
  • UofL assistant coach Xan Barksdale wasn’t the only Kentucky assistant coach to speak at the ABCA convention in Nashville last weekend. University of Kentucky assistant coach Brian Green gave a presentation about infield defense at the convention.
  • Aaron Fitt of Baseball Ameirca reports the NCAA is considering altering the no-agent rule for drafted college baseball players. That is the rule that cost former UK left-handed pitcher James Paxton his senior season in 2010.

BluGrass Baseball 2011 predictions

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Predictions, based on pure speculation, for 2011 Kentucky baseball that are sure to go wrong:

  • University of Kentucky junior right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer finally cashes in on the promise that had him ranked among the top prospects to attend college in 2008 with an All-SEC season. Meyer’s performance secures his status as a first-round pick this June.
  • Ashland native and 2006 Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb rebounds after missing  most of two seasons with a shoulder injury to win 15 games for the reigning American League champion Texas Rangers.
  • University of Louisville junior infielder Ryan Wright is named a postseason first-team All-American after leading the Cards to their third consecutive Big East Conference championship.
  • The Lexington Legends unveil the new “Ale-8-One Ballpark.”
  • The National League all-star team features three players born in Kentucky: Corey Hart, Dan Uggla and Jonny Venters.
  • Western Kentucky University wins the Sun Belt Conference and enters the NCAA tournament as a two seed.
  • UofL (Stewart IjamesTony ZychDerek SelfRyan WrightDrew Haynes and Gabriel Shaw) and WKU (Jared Andreoli, Kes Carter, Ivan Hartle, Matt Rice, Rye Davis and Brian Edelen) both have six players drafted in June.
  • Four members of UK’s vaunted junior class are selected in the draft: Meyer, Cory Farris, Chad Wright and Braden Kapteyn. Senior Taylor Black is also selected.
  • Kentucky’s three Ohio Valley Conference schools each see one player drafted: Eastern Kentucky University junior shortstop Richie Rodriguez, Murray State University junior catcher Jacob Rhodes and Morehead State University senior infielder Travis Redmon.
  • Morehead St. infielder Bud Morton wins the 2011 BluGrass Baseball freshman of the year award, Meyer wins pitcher of the year and Wright wins player of the year.
  • PRP alum Zack Cox wins BluGrass Baseball MiLB player of the year and former UK left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin wins MiLB pitcher of the year.
  • Nine Kentucky minor leaguers make their MLB debuts in 2011: Matt Klinker, Josh Lueke, Trystan Magnuson, Collin Cowgill, Christian Friedrich, Jason Kipnis, Nathan Adcock, Chaz Roe and Ryan Strieby.
  • Harrison County High School repeats as KHSAA state baseball champions.
  • Tates Creek High School outfielder and WKU signee Ryan Fucci wins Mr. Kentucky Baseball.
  • After losing much of its recent talent to the majors the Louisville Bats run of playoff appearances ends.
  • Boosted by the Tampa Bay Rays signing six players from the first three rounds of the 2010 draft, the Bowling Green Hot Rods finish 2011 as the state’s best minor league team.

Thomas Royse ranked among Pioneer League top prospects; Joe Blanton, Phillies clinch playoff spot

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Christian Friedrich; Photo by Matt McGee via Flickr

Latest notes and links from around Kentucky baseball to get you through the final Monday of the MLB regular season:

  • In his top 20 Pioneer League prospect rankings, Matt Eddy of Baseball America ranks former UofL right-handed pitcher Thomas Royse the No. 19 prospect in the league.
  • Troy Renck of The Denver Post reports former EKU left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich is will spend the offseason in Tempe, Ariz., working out in preparation for Rockies Spring Training.
  • Todd Zolecki of reports former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton and the Philadelphia Phillies clinched a playoff spot Sunday. The Phillies can clinch the NL East with a win today.
  • The Cincinnati Reds magic number to clinch the NL Central is one after a win Sunday.
  • Lexington native Austin Kearns and the New York Yankees have magic number of one to clinch an AL playoff spot.