The playoffs are officially underway with the Texas Rangers up 4-0 on Tampa Bay at the time of this posting. The playoffs aren’t without plenty of Kentucky connections as every team except the Giants has a player with Bluegrass State connections. Check out the list of Kentucky natives and former minor league players participating in the playoffs below:
Cincinnati Reds (NL Central)
- Edison Volquez — Louisville Bats (2010)*
- Johnny Cueto — Louisville Bats (2007)
- Aroldis Chapman — Louisville Bats (2010)
- Logan Ondrusek — Louisville Bats (2008, 09, 10)
- Bill Bray — Louisville Bats (2007, 08, 09, 10)
- Homer Bailey — Louisville Bats (2007, 08, 09, 10)
- Travis Wood — Louisville Bats (2009, 2010)
- Joey Votto — Louisville Bats (2007)
- Jay Bruce — Louisville Bats (2007, 08, 09)
- Drew Stubbs — Louisville Bats (2008, 09)
- Jonny Gomes — Louisville Bats (2009)
- Ryan Hanigan — Louisville Bats (2003, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10)
- Chris Heisey — Louisville Bats (2009)
- Paul Janish — Louisville Bats (2007, 08)
- Juan Francisco — Louisville Bats (2009, 10)
Philadelphia Phillies (NL East)
- Joe Blanton — Franklin-Simpson HS (UK)
Atlanta Braves (NL Wild Card)
- Jonny Venters — Born in Pikeville, Ky. (HS in Florida)
- Brooks Conrad — Lexington Legends (2003)
Minnesota Twins (AL Central)
- Jon Rauch — Oldham Co. High School (Morehead St.)
New York Yankees (AL Wild Card)
- Austin Kearns — Lafayette High School
Tampa Bay Rays (AL East)
- Ben Zobrist — Lexington Legends (2005)
Texas Rangers (AL West)
- Josh Hamilton — Louisville Bats (2007)*
*– Volquez and Hamilton both played for Louisville only during rehab assignments.
Tim Beckham; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
We have plenty of hot stove news for your Tuesday morning. I’ll be back later with a breakdown of the WKU early recruiting class. I will hopefully crank out another post today, but I will be traveling so it might be this evening.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America writes while the Rays won’t admit it publicly they know they should have drafted Giants top prospect Buster Posey over 2009 Hot Rod Tim Beckham with the first pick in 2008.
- Former Lexington Legends manager Tim Bogar will serve as the Red Sox’s third base coach in 2010 after being passed over for the Astros’ managerial job this offseason.
- Carrie Muskat of MLB.com writes Louisville-native Dan Uggla is probable too expensive for the Cubs, and she answers a question in her mailbag about UK alum Chris Rusin.
- Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports the Marlins are almost 100 percent certain they will keep infielder Jorge Cantu. That likely further ensures arbitration-eligble Uggla is on his way out of cost-cutting Florida.
- Ken Rosenthal and John Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com report the Reds have to decide if they are willing to let 2009 Louisville Bats Drew Stubbs and Chris Heisey man the outfield in 2010 before they offer a contract to slugger Jonny Gomes.
Baseball America has released its top 20 prospect rankings for the International League and Louisville Bats outfielders Drew Stubbs and Chris Heisey made the cut. BA ranks Stubbs 14th on the list and Heisey 20th. Stubbs led the International League in stolen bases before an August callup to Cincinnati where he batted .267 with eight home runs and 17 RBI in 42 games. Heisey excelled at AA Carolina, earning a Futures Game selection, before cooling off a little after his promotion to Louisville.
Here’s a look at both players’ International League stats a brief snippet Josh Leventhal’s analysis. Scouting reports are subscriber only on BA’s site so I encourage you to sign up for a membership to read the whole thing:
#14 OF Drew Stubbs
- .268/.353/.360 57 runs, 46 stolen bases
- “Stubbs has above-average raw power, speed and arm strength. He became more disruptive on the basepaths by improving his reads and picking his spots to steal.”
#20 OF Chris Heisey
- “Heisey employs a patient approach at the plate, making consistent hard contact with a quick bat. He’s a plus runner and capable basestealer.”
Photo by angela n. via Flickr
ESPN has released its list of top 100 fantasy keepers for 2010. Keepers in fantasy baseball are players that a fantasy owner has control of for multiple seasons. The list doesn’t necessarily reflect the best fantasy players, because youth is rewarded since an owner will control the player for multiple years. You can see the full list here, but these are the Kentucky players and their rankings:
- 23 — Mark Reynolds — Arizona Diamondbacks — Pikeville, Ky.
- 40 — Joey Votto — Cincinnati Reds — Louisville Bats
- 56 — Adam Dunn — Washington Nationals — Louisville Bats
- 69 — Hunter Pence — Houston Astros — Lexington Legends
- 80 — Ben Zobrist — Tampa Rays — Lexington Legends
- 83 — Jay Bruce — Cincinnati Reds — Louisville Bats
- 92 — Drew Stubbs — Cincinnati Reds — Louisville Bats
- 99 — Dan Uggla — Florida Marlins — Louisville, Ky.
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.
A BluGrass player was recognized by his major league team and several players with Kentucky ties had major-league impact. Check those stories in today’s links:
- The Tampa Rays named LHP Matt Moore the MVP of the Bowling Green Hot Rods.
- Jeff Wallner of MLB.com profiles former Bat Juan Francisco.
- Lexington Legends Hall of Famer Hunter Pence hit his 24th home run of the season for Houston.
- 2009 Bats Drew Stubbs (8) and Ryan Hannigan (3) both went deep for Cincinnati and Ramon Ramirez pitched a scoreless inning of relief.
- Mark Reynolds Home Run Record Watch: 0-4, 2 K’s
More major-league notes in today’s links plus a look back at one minor league team’s season, a college tournament and more about the state’s top draft prospect.
- The Hot Rods have posted their own season recap.
- The schedule for the Big East/Big Ten baseball challenge has been set with Louisville opening against Michigan.
- Loyal readers saw us report this earlier, but UK Athletics has a news release about James Paxton being named the seventh best college prospect by Baseball America.
- UK alum Joe Blanton picked up his 10th win of the season for the Phillies.
- Former Bats Jonny Gomes and Drew Stubbs homered and Jared Burton picked up the win in Cincinnati’s 6-5 victory over Houston.