Witt injured in UK loss; Rice named candidate for senior-class award; Wellemeyer realistic about chances with Cubs

College Baseball

Matt Rice bats for WKU: BluGrass Baseball photo

Latest links around Kentucky baseball:

  • University of Kentucky freshman outfielder Lucas Witt pulled a hip flexor during the Cats’ loss to UIC Friday, UK confirmed to BluGrass Baseball following the game. Witt will be re-evaluated today when the Cats hope to figure out a timetable for his return.
  • Western Kentucky University catcher Matt Rice has been named a candidate for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award.
  • Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com reports the Texas Rangers plan for Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb to throw of a mound for the first time on Sunday.
  • Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com talks with Louisville native and former Bellarmine right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer, who says he realizes he is a long-shot to make the Cubs’ roster but hopes his previous experience in pitching well during Spring Training to make a team will pay off.
  • C. Ray Hall of the Courier-Journal profiles the multiple aces of University of Louisville‘s starting rotation.
  • Mark Sheldon of MLB.com profiles Louisville Bats outfielder Dave Sappelt and his fast ascension through the minor leagues.

Cubs, Nationals up pursuit of Webb; Reynolds could be traded; Ross, Magnuson mentioned in prospect chats

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Brandon Webb; Photo by SD Dirk via Flickr

It may be difficult to think about baseball with snow blanketing most of the Bluegrass State, but the Hot Stove League hasn’t taken time off for the winter weather. With that in mind here’s a rundown of the latest Kentucky baseball news to keep you warm:

  • Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets that the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals have stepped up their pursuit of Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb. Crasnick notes several other teams are interested in Webb, but the Cubs and Nationals lead the pack.
  • Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic reports the Baltimore Orioles remain the most likely landing spot for Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds, who was born in Pikeville, if he is traded.
  • In the Texas Rangers’ top 10 prospects chat, Aaron Fitt of Baseball America notes that Lexington native Robbie Ross has seen his prospect status dip some as many people in the Rangers’ organization think he will end up as a reliever. (subscription required)
  • In the Oakland Athletics’ top 10 prospects chat, Jim Shonerd of BA notes former UofL right-handed pitcher Trystan Magnuson is in the A’s top 30 prospects after recently being traded to the organization and could make his big league debut in 2010. (subscription required)
  • John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports Louisville Bats catcher Devin Mesoraco was named the Cincinnati Reds’ minor league player of the year and Bats outfielder Dave Sappelt was named the minor league hitter of the year.

Revere leads AFL in SBs; Kipnis, Lueke also excel

Minor League Baseball


Ben Revere; Photo by Pat Neshek

The Arizona Fall League season came to an end over the weekend, meaning several Kentucky players saw the official end of their 2010 seasons. Check out a quick rundown of Kentucky AFL stats below:


  • OF Ben Revere (Lexington Catholic) — .295/.358/.330, 20 R, 12 SB, 9 RBI
  • 2B Jason Kipnis (UK) — .295/.337/.628, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 13 R
  • RHP Josh Lueke (NKU) — 0-1, 0.79 ERA, 2 SV, 12 SO/3 BB, 11.1 IP
  • 3B Zack Cox (PRP) — .262/.333/.446, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 8 R
  • RHP B. J. Rosenberg (UofL) — 0-1, 8.53 ERA, 10 SO/8 BB, 12.2 IP
  • RHP Henry Mabee (Morehead St.) — 0-0, 6.92 ERA, 5 SO/9 BB, 13 IP
  • RHP Michael Broadway (Paducah) — 0-1, 10.13 ERA, 5 SO/1 BB, 5.1 IP
  • OF Dave Sappelt (Louisville Bats) — .291/.316/.319, 10 RBI, 9 R
  • C Devin Mesoraco (Louisville Bats) — .242/.250/.455, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 7 R
  • LHP Philippe Valiquette (Louisville Bats) — 0-1, 14.14 ERA, 5 SO/5 BB, 7 IP

Revere led the AFL with 12 stolen bases.

Kipnis named Indians’ MiLB player of year; Louisville Bats standouts selected to Reds MiLB all-star team

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Jason Kipnis; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Latest links and notes from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports the Cleveland Indians named one-time UK outfielder Jason Kipnis, who transferred to Arizona State, the organization’s minor league player of the year.
  • Kipnis’ cycle in the AAA playoffs for the Columbus Clippers is nominated for the MiLB AAA game of the year award. You can vote here.
  • PRP alum and St. Louis Cardinals’ 2010 first-round pick Zack Cox was 2-5 with a double and two RBI for the Surprise Rafters of the Arizona Fall League.
  • Former UofL right-handed pitcher B. J. Rosenberg pitched a scoreless inning and struck out two for the Mesa Solar Sox of the AFL.
  • Louisville Bats catcher Devin Mesoraco was 2-4 with a run scored for the Peoria Saguaros of the AFL.
  • While no Kentucky player will suit up for the World Series beginning tomorrow the San Francisco Giants wouldn’t have made it there without contributions from a variety of players, including Louisville native Todd Wellemeyer, Chris Haft of MLB.com writes.
  • Josh Jackson, writing for MiLB.com, selected Bats catcher Devin Mesoraco, third baseman Juan Francisco, outfielder Dave Sappelt, outfielder Wladimir Balentien and designated hitter Luis Terrero to the Cincinnati Reds’ organizational all-star team.

Venters, Conrad, Braves eliminated; J. D. Martinez up for best low A hitter; Blanton biding time for NLCS start

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

J. D. Martinez; Lexington Legends photo

Kentucky Monday playoff highlights and the latest links from around Bluegrass State baseball:

  • The Atlanta Braves were eliminated from the playoffs with a 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants. Braves left-handed reliever Jonny Venters, born in Pikeville, entered the game in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and let the eventual winning run score before getting out of the jam. Former Lexington Legend Brooks Conrad flew out in a ninth-inning pinch hit appearance for Atlanta.
  • Louisville Bats outfielder Todd Frazier tallied two hits, including a double, in Team USA’s 4-1 win over Cuba in the Pan Am Qualifying Tournament.
  • Voting for MiLB.com’s hitters of the year is open with a couple of Kentucky candidates in the running. Lexington Legends outfielder J. D. Martinez is nominated for best low A hitter and Bats outfielder Dave Sappelt is nominated for best AA hitter.
  • Danny Wild of MLB.com honors former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill as one of the Diamondbacks’ organization all-star.
  • Ed Barkowitz of the Philadelphia Daily News reports former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton is biding his time for a probable game-four NLCS start.

Venters, Rauch have perfect outings in losses; Mesaraco, Sappelt among Southern League top prospects

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Colling Cowgill; Photo: UK Athletics

Kentucky highlights from Thursday playoff action and the latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Atlanta Braves left-handed reliever Jonny Venters, born in Pikeville, pitched a perfect one and two-thirds innings while striking out two in the team’s 1-0 loss to San Francisco.
  • Former Morehead St. right-handed pitcher Jon Rauch retired both batters he faced in the Twins’ 5-2 loss to the Yankees. Lexington native Austin Kearns did not appear in the game for the Yankees.
  • In Baseball America‘s top 20 Southern League prospect rankings, Ian Gordon ranks Louisville Bats catcher Devin Mesaraco No. 7 and Bats outfielder Dave Sappelt No. 15.
  • In the accompanying online chat Gordon wrote of former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill: “He’s got that Sheffield-like barrel wrap and high finish, and he basically has CF skills out there in left. He does struggle with good fastballs, though, and might be the kind of guy who turns out to have Triple-A batting tools.” (subscription required)
  • Western Kentucky University has announced its fall practice schedule.
  • Michael Grant of The Courier-Journal reports Bats manager Rick Sweet has still not heard from the Reds if he will be back in Louisville in 2011.
  • John Erardi of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports 2010 Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman could have a similar impact on this season’s playoffs as Francisco Rodriguez had for the Angels during his rookie season in 2002.

Kipnis leads Columbus to AAA title; Bats, Gaynor honored

Minor League Baseball

Jason Kipnis; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball, including the final MiLB game of 2010:

  • One-time UK outfielder turned second baseman Jason Kipnis was a single shy of hitting for the cycle for the second consecutive game as he helped lead AAA Columbus to a 12-6 win over Tacoma in the AAA National Championship. Kipnis finished the game 3-4 with a double, triple, home run, one RBI and three runs scored.
  • John Wagner, writing for Baseball America, selects former WKU infielder Wade Gaynor as the best player in the Detroit Tigers’ farm system this season.
  • John Fay, writing for BA, named Louisville Bats catcher Devin Mesoraco the Reds’ best minor league player this season, Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman the Reds’ best pitcher and Bats outfielder Dave Sappelt as one to watch in the system.
  • Mike Fields of the Lexington Herald-Leader writes on his blog that PLD alum A. J. Ellis is a big hit with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

MiLB Roundup: Bats pick up 8-4 win in game one vs. Durham; Butler gets NYPL playoff save

Minor League Baseball

Chad Reineke; Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Highlights from around Kentucky MiLB playoff action:

  • In game one of the International League playoffs the Louisville Bats used a three-run home run from designated hitter Mike Costanzo to earn an 8-4 win over Durham. Right fielder Sean Henry was 3-4 with a double and three runs scored, and center fielder Dave Sappelt was 3-4 with a double and RBI. Right-handed pitcher Chad Reineke earned the win for the Bats.
  • Former WKU infielder Wade Gaynor was 1-3 in West Michigan’s 4-2 loss to Lake County in the Midwest League playoffs.
  • Former Murray St. right-handed pitcher Daniel Calhoun recorded a hold in Quad Cities’ 4-0 win over Kane County in the Midwest League playoffs.
  • Former UofL outfielder and 2010 Rangers draftee Josh Richmond was 1-4 with a double and run scored for Spokane in its 6-1 win over Yakima.
  • Morgantown native Keith Butler recorded the save in short-season Batavia’s 5-4 win over Tri-City in the New York-Penn League playoffs.

MiLB Roundup: Bats clinch division; Legends, Hot Rods win; Green, Kipnis, Dominguez, Sellers homer; Roe wins

Minor League Baseball

Luis Cruz; BluGrass Baseball photo

Kentucky highlights from the final day of regular season across MiLB:

  • The Louisville Bats clinched their third consecutive International League West Division title with a 6-3 win over Indianapolis. Left fielder Todd Frazier and center fielder Dave Sappelt each homered for Louisville.
  • Lexington Legends left-handed pitcher Luis Cruz was perfect through five innings and the Lexington bullpen held off a late rally to post a 6-5 win over Rome in its final game.  Right fielder Renzo Tello was 3-3 with two doubles and three runs scored.
  • The Bowling Green Hot Rods finished the second half at 30-40 with a 7-1 win over Great Lakes in its final game. Left fielder Dustin Biell was 4-5 with a home run, double, RBI and two runs scored.
  • Former UK infielder Andy Green homered for the second consecutive game and sixth time this season for AAA Buffalo.
  • One-time UK outfielder Jason Kipnis was 3-5 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored.
  • Former UofL infielder Chris Dominguez homered for the second consecutive game and 21st time this season for low A Augusta. Dominguez topped the 100-RBI plateau for the year.
  • Former UofL infielder Logan Johnson was 4-4 with a double, home run, three RBI and three runs scored for high A Winston-Salem.
  • Former EKU infielder Neil Sellers slugged his seventh home run of the season for AAA Lehigh Valley.
  • Former NKU outfielder Jake Shaffer was 3-5 with three doubles, three RBI and a run scored for High Desert and finished the season with a .336 batting average, tops among Kentucky minor leaguers.
  • Lafayette High School alum Chaz Roe earned his ninth win of the season after surrendering three runs in six innings for AAA Colorado Springs.

Cowgill, Sappelt, Valaika, Balentien named to all-league teams

Minor League Baseball

Colling Cowgill; Photo: UK Athletics

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Lexington native and former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill was named to the All-Southern League postseason team. Current Louisville Bats outfielder Dave Sappelt was also selected to the team for his work for AA Carolina.
  • Bats second baseman Chris Valaika and outfielder Wladimir Balentien were selected to the All-International League postseason team.
  • First baseman Yonder Alonso, catcher Corky Miller and right-handed pitcher Carlos Fisher joined left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman as Bats promoted to Cincinnati with the September expansion of rosters.
  • Jason Stella of the Bats’ media relations department recently sat down for an interview with the newest Cincinnati Red: Yonder Alonso.
  • John Manuel of Baseball America breaks down the best prospects in the Arizona Fall League, including Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere.