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:
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.
Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com breaks down the Reds’ offseason outlook and concludes due to budget constraints the team will likely have to hope for contributions from 2009 Bats like Drew Stubbs.
UK alum Collin Cowgill has been removed from the Scottsdale Scorpions’ roster in the AFL. I haven’t seen an official report, but I’d imagine the injury that cause Collin to miss most of the second half of the season probably contributed.
None of the Kentucky players appeared in the Scottsdale/Peoria game in the AFL Wednesday.
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.”
The 2009 MLB regular season is officially over for all but two teams. The Twins and Tigers will play on Tuesday to determine the winner of the AL Central, and Kentucky native Jon Rauch should play a key role if the Twins get a lead in that game. Today, check out the BluGrass Baseball players making an impact in the final regular season games:
2009 Louisville Bat Homer Bailey won his eighth game for Cincinnati, putting him in good shape for a 2010 Reds’ rotation spot. 2009 Bat Drew Stubbs was 3-4, bringing his average to .267 in his time with the Reds.
Morehead alum Jon Rauch earned his 17th hold of the season for Minnesota, helping the Twins force a one-game playoff on Tuesday.
Bellarmine alum Todd Wellemeyer took his tenth loss of the season for St. Louis, finishing 2009 at 7-10, 5.89 ERA.
Former Bat Edwin Encarnacion hit his 13th home run for Toronto.
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.
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
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.