Wladimir Balentien; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
We’ll begin the final monthly awards series with a look at the best August performances from the Louisville Bats:
Hitter of the month: OF Wladimir Balentien
- Stats: .394/.440/.663, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 16 R
- Honorable Mention: Chris Valaika, Yonder Alonso, Juan Francisco, Drew Sutton, Chris Denove, Todd Frazier
Pitcher of the month: LHP Aroldis Chapman
- Stats: 2-0, 1.35 ERA, 7 SV, 24 SO/4 BB, 13.1 IP
- Honorable Mention: Chad Reineke, Ben Jukich, Justin Lehr, Frederico Baez, Micah Owings
Edison Volquez; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Friday highlights from Kentucky MiLB baseball:
- Cincinnati Reds rehabbing starting pitcher Edison Volquez allowed just one hit in seven innings in his third start for the Louisville Bats, who defeated the Toledo Mud Hens 3-0. Designate hitter Drew Sutton tallied two hits in the game.
- Left-handed pitcher Luis Cruz earned his fourth win of the season for the Lexington Legends who defeated the West Virginia Power 4-1. Second baseman Jose Altuve and left fielder Jacob Goebbert each homered for the Legends.
- The Bowling Green Hot Rods mustered just three hits in a 6-0 shutout loss to the Dayton Dragons. Right-handed pitcher Kirby Yates took the loss despite allowing just one run in five innings.
- Former UK infielder Michael Bertram launched his tenth home run of the season for AA Erie.
- Former UofL infielder Adam Duvall slugged his second professional home run for short-season Salem-Keizer.
- Former UofL left-handed pitcher Justin Marks took a no decision for low A Cane County after allowing just two runs in five and two-third innings.
- Former UofL second baseman Justin McClanahan was 2-5 with a home run and three RBI for high A Dunedin.
- Former Morehead St. shortstop Drew Lee was 3-4 with a double for rookie-level Bristol.
We’ll run down the standouts from May for each of the Kentucky Minor League teams, starting with the Louisville Bats:
Hitter of the month: INF Drew Sutton
- Stats: 25-66 (.379), 2 HR, 15 RBI, 12 R
- Honorable Mention: Wladimir Balentein, Chris Valaika, Daniel Dorn, Luis Terrero, Corky Miller
Pitcher of the month: RHP Sam LeCure
- Stats: 3-1, 2.21 ERA, 5 GS, 29 SO/6 BB, 36.2 IP
- Honorable Mention: Travis Wood, Matt Maloney, Chad Reineke, Enerio Del Rosario
The Louisville Bats are set to start play today and will feature two Kentucky natives in the lineup as well as several of the best prospects in the Cincinnati Reds organization. Check out the roster below via the Courier-Journal. I’ve included Baseball America prospect rankings for the Reds organization. Remember top prospects Juan Francisco and Mike Leake are starting the season with the Reds but might appear in Louisville at some point if they struggle, and Yonder Alonso is starting the season in AA but should earn a callup to Louisville early this season.
- LHP Travis Wood (BA #7) (SP) — 2nd Round (2005)
- RHP Sam LeCure (SP) — 4th Round (2005)
- LHP Matt Maloney (BA #8) (SP) — Phillies 3rd Round (2005)
- RHP Federico Baez — Cubs NDFA (2002)
- RHP Jon Adkins — Athletics 9th Round (1998)
- RHP Chad Reineke — 2005 Lexington Legend — Astros 13th Round (2004)
- RHP Enerio Del Rosario (BA # 19) — NDFA 2005
- LHP Lee Tabor — 30th Round (2006)
- RHP Justin Lehr (SP) — Athletics 8th Round (1999)
- LHP Pedro Viola (BA # 22) — NDFA (2005)
- RHP Carlos Fisher — 11th Round (2005)
- RHP Jared Burton — Athletics 8th Round (2002)
- LHP Aroldis Chapman (BA #1A*) (SP) — Cuban FA (2009)
- Corky Miller — Amateur FA (1998)
- Wilkin Castillo — NDFA 2002
- Jake Long — 37th Round (2005)
- 2B — Chris Burke — St. X High School — Astros 1st Round (2004)
- 3B — Michael Griffin — 14th Round (2005)
- 3B — Drew Sutton — 2005 Lexington Legend — S/R — Astros 15th Round (2005)
- 2B — Chris Valaika (BA #12) — 3rd Round (2006)
- SS — Zach Cozart (BA #10) — 2nd Round (2007)
- 3B/LF — Todd Frazier (BA #1B) — 1st Supp. Round (2007)
- RF — Josh Anderson — Pulaski Co., EKU, 2004 Lexington Legend — 4th Round (2003)
- LF/1B — Daniel Dorn — 32nd Round (2006)
- LF — Chris Heisey (BA #4) — 17th Round (2006)
- OF — Luis Terrero — D’Backs NDFA (1997)
* — Chapman signed after Baseball America released its Reds top 10 prospects list, but is ranked higher than No. 1 Frazier on the overall top 100 prospects list published by the magazine.
Chris Burke; Photo by grovesa16 via Flickr
Earlier this month I posted a Spring Training position battle primer for Kentucky fans looking to keep track of their native sons hoping to make MLB rosters. These were the borderline major leaguers and players assured of making the roster but fighting for a bigger role, not established players. With one week left before Opening Day I thought I’d update each battle so you have a better idea of where the official Kentuckians in the majors count will stand in 2010. A special kudos goes to PLD alum and Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis who appears ready to start the season with the big league club after starting catcher Russell Martin suffered a groin injury.
Toronto Blue Jays: Closer
- University of Kentucky and PRP alum Scott Downs is all but eliminated in the three-way closer race that will go to righties Jason Fraser or Kevin Gregg. Downs recently commented to a Toronto newspaper he prefers pitching in the eighth inning anyway.
San Francisco Giants: Fifth starter
- Louisville-native and Bellarmine alum Todd Wellemeyer has all but wrapped up the fifth starter position after star prospect Madison Bumgarner was sent to AAA this week. Wellemeyer is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA this spring.
Cleveland Indians: Left fielder
- Lexington-native Austin Kearns has likely lost the starting job to top prospects Michael Brantley and Matt Laporta, but should still stick with the Indians as a reserve. The team is very left-handed, so Kearns’ right-handed bat is needed for balance.
Seattle Mariners: Relief pitcher
- Louisville-native Shawn Kelley appears destined to make the team per this MLB.com blog post, but hasn’t had a great spring. Kelley has given up eight runs in 12 innings, but does have 14 strikeouts compared to just one walk.
New York Mets: Relief pitcher
- No one in the Mets bullpen has really stepped up this Spring so Louisville Male alum Sean Green remains firmly in the mix for an Opening Day spot despite a 6.75 ERA and eight walks compared to four strikeouts this spring.
Cincinnati Reds: Utility reserve
- Despite an early camp injury, non-roster invitee and St X alum Chris Burke is still hanging on to a big league Spring Training spot. Burke is batting just .188 in eight games, so he’ll have to sell the Reds on his defensive versatility to avoid spending 2010 in his hometown with the Bats. 2009 Louisville Bat Drew Sutton is still in the mix.
- Candidates: Burke, Sutton, Aaron Miles, Paul Janish
Hit the jump for the concluded competitions.
Todd Wellemeyer; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Spring Training games are officially underway, making today an excellent chance to examine what BluGrass Baseball players are battling for specific roles on major league squads and roster spots. I’ve outlined relevant battles I can think of below, but feel free to include any you would add in the comments section.
Toronto Blue Jays: Closer
- University of Kentucky and PRP alum Scott Downs is in a three-way battle for the Blue Jays closer position. Toronto manager Cito Gaston has said he might use a closer-by-committee approach if none of the three candidates step up. Downs saved nine games in 13 opportunities last season.
- Other candidates: Jason Frasor, Kevin Gregg
St. Louis Cardinals: Fifth Starter
- 2009 Louisville Bats starting pitcher Ben Jukich is in Cardinals camp as the team’s Rule 5 pick. Jukich must be on the 25-man roster all season for the Cardinals to avoid giving him back to the Reds, so he may be given added chance to make the team out of camp. If he doesn’t earn a starting spot he could be considered for a left-handed reliever spot.
- Other candidates: Rich Hill, Mitchell Boggs, Kyle McClellan
Los Angles Dodgers: Right-handed reliever
- Kentucky Wesleyan alum Cory Wade is looking to regain his spot in the Dodgers bullpen one year after shoulder pain led him back to AAA. Wade is in an open competition for a right-handed setup role after Ronald Belisario’s visa trouble getting into the country, but he would probably take a spot in middle relief if it means leaving the minors.
- Other Candidates: Ronald Belisario, Ramon Troncoso, Charlie Haeger
Hit the jump to see more spring position battles.
Monday was another crazy night of baseball in the Bluegrass. Lexington came from behind in the ninth to win in walk-off fashion for the second consecutive game and Bowling Green got in on the walk-off fun as well. Check out those stories and more in today’s hot links:
- Bowling Green’s walk-off victory wasn’t your typical clutch win. The Hot Rods defeated Lake County 3-2 on a walk-off bunt from Robi Estrada.
- Lexington’s second consecutive walk-off victory was even more unorthodox as Michael Diaz “drove” in the winning run with a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch in the ninth to defeat Hagerstown 6-5.
- Louisville cut an 8-0 lead to 8-5 late in the game but couldn’t finish the comeback against Syracuse.
- According to the C-J, Bats’ pitcher Justin Lehr was named the International League pitcher of the week.
- We’ll generally stay away from politics on the blog, but this note is baseball related. Ky. Sen. Jim Bunning, the Hall of Fame pitcher, announced he would not seek re-election in the U. S. Senate.
- Several BluGrass players were called up over the weekend. Former UK pitcher Chris Rusin was promoted from rookie AZL Cubs to short-season Boise. Former UK infielder Michael Bertram was promoted from high A Lakeland to AA Erie. The Reds promoted pitcher Josh Roenicke, pitcher Robert Manuel and infielder Drew Sutton from Louisville to replace injured Reds Jared Burton, Micah Owings and Chris Dickerson.
- I try and tweet roster moves like that as I hear about them. You can follow BluGrass Baseball on twitter here.
Friday was a busy day for baseball in the Bluegrass. Here are some morning links to start your weekend:
Wednesday was a big night for Louisville outfielder Drew Stubbs at the AAA All-Star Game. He was 2-5 with a home run and two RBI in the game. Louisville pitcher Justin Lehr earned the start for the International League and pitched a 1-2-3 first inning.
- Minorleaguebaseball.com provides a recap of the game including quotes from Lehr and Stubbs.
- Here is the box score of Louisville manager Rick Sweet International League 6-5 victory.
- The Bowling Green bullpen blew a lead in the ninth inning to deny Chris Andjuar his SAL-leading 10th victory in a 4-3 loss to Lakewood.
- Delmarva clinched the series victory with a 3-1 win over Lexington Wednesday.
- UofL Sports passes on some updates of Cardinals in summer league action.
- EKU Sports reports that former Colonel Tyler Sellers was named to the AA Eastern League All-Star Team.
- Sellers was 0-2 in the game.
- Jody Demling at the Courier-Journal passes on information about Tates Creek High School two-sport star Ryan Fucci in his recruiting notebook. Fucci is being recruited by UK, UofL, Michigan, Butler and Illinois in baseball.
- David Thomas at the Jackson Sun in Jackson, Tenn., profiles Louisville Bats infielder Drew Sutton.