Top 2011 Ky. Collegians: No. 7 Kes Carter

College Baseball

Inspired by College Baseball Daily’s list of the top 100 college baseball players, BluGrass Baseball is counting down the top 25 returning Kentucky collegians in advance of the 2011 season. We continue the list today with a 2010 All-Sun Belt Conference performer.

No. 7 — OF Kes Carter — Western Kentucky University

Kes Carter; WKU photo

WKU junior outfielder Kes Carter batted .341 with seven home runs, 53 RBI and 40 runs scored in 2010 en route to being named first-team All-Sun Belt following the season. Carter added 14 stolen bases in 17 attempts and boasted a .418 on-base percentage to go with a .484 slugging percentage. Among returning 2010 Ky. collegians, Carter ranks fifth in 2010 RBIs and stolen bases and fourth in 2010 on-base percentage. Carter was selected by the Florida Marlins in the 43rd round of the 2008 draft out of high school.

During the 2010 summer season Carter batted .228 with no home runs, eight RBI and four runs scored in 18 games for Pensacola of the Coastal Plains League. Carter stole four bases in four attempts on the summer season. The outfielder committed just one error in 2010, finishing the season with a .993 fielding percentage. Carter tallied hits in 15 consecutive games between April 6 and 25. WKU also lists Carter as a left-handed pitcher on the 2011 roster, though he has not appeared on the mound since his freshman season, when he allowed 15 runs in five and one-third innings over three appearances for the Hilltoppers.

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2011 Top Ky. Collegians: No. 9 Taylor Black

College Baseball

Inspired by College Baseball Daily’s list of the top 100 college baseball players,BluGrass Baseball is counting down the top 25 returning Kentucky collegians in advance of the 2011 season. We continue the list today with a returning 2010 draftee.

No. 9 — SS Taylor Black — University of Kentucky

Taylor Black; UK photo

UK senior shortstop Taylor Black was the 28th round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2010 after batting .270 with 11 home runs, 37 RBI and 44 runs scored in 2010. Black was successful in all 12 of his stolen base attempts last season, and he started 55 of UK’s 56 games. Black slugged 10 of his 11 home runs in Southeastern Conference play, where he batted .300 with 22 RBI and 26 runs scored.

Black batted .303 with one home run, nine RBI and 16 runs scored in 23 games for Columbia of the Coastal Plains League this summer. He walked 21 times while striking out just 16 times in the league. Black stole 28 of 31 bases on the summer season. The South Carolina native also played in 11 games for Cotuit of the Cape Cod League, where he was 3-24 with an RBI. Baseball America recently ranked Black the No. 26 senior draft prospect in college baseball.

Top 2011 Ky. Collegians: No. 20 Rich Witten

College Baseball

Inspired by College Baseball Daily’s list of the top 100 college baseball players, BluGrass Baseball is counting down the top 25 returning Kentucky collegians in advance of the 2011 season. We continue the list today with No. 20, a player who posted one of the most memorable Kentucky high school seasons in recent years.

No. 20 — 1B Rich Witten — Coastal Carolina (Danville HS)

Rich Witten

Rich Witten; Coastal Carolina picture

First baseman Rich Witten slugged 25 home runs as a senior at Danville High School, the second most in one season in Kentucky High School history. During his first three seasons at Coastal Carolina, Witten has experience moderate success. Witten earned a medical redshirt as a freshman even after appearing in 11 games. As a redshirt sophomore in 2010 Witten batted .312 with four home runs, 22 RBI and 22 runs scored in 39 games, including 15 starts. The Danville slugger spent the last month of 2010 as the Coastal Carolina primary first baseman and enters 2011 in that role.

During the summer 2010 Witten batted .288 with six home runs, 25 RBI and 25 runs scored in 32 games for the Outer Banks Daredevils of the Coastal Plains League. Witten was named to the all-tournament team of the Myrtle Beach Regional during the 2010 NCAA tournament, batting .278 with a home run, double and six RBI. In the regional championship game versus College of Charleston, Witten slugged a grand slam and scored the eventual winning run.