August Awards: Kentucky MLB alumni

Major League Baseball

Joe Blanton; UK Athletics Wallpaper

In the final August awards post we’ll look at the month’s best performances from Major League Baseball alumni of Kentucky schools and players born in the state:

Pitcher of the month: RHP Joe Blanton (Philadelphia Phillies)

  • Former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton has struggled for much of 2010, but found a grove in August with a 2-0 record and 2.81 ERA in five starts. The Franklin-Simpson High School alum struck out 26 batters and walked just five in 32 innings in the month.
  • Honorable Mention: Jonny Venters, Tyler Clippard

Hitter of the month: 2B Dan Uggla (Florida Marlins)

  • Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, born in Louisville, kept his hot hitting up in August with a .319 batting average and six home runs. Uggla drove in 18 runs in the month and scored 14 runs.
  • Honorable Mention: Corey Hart, Austin Kearns

Miller’s contract option vests; Lobstein named Midwest League pitcher of week; A.J. Ellis returns to minors

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Trever Miller; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors reports Kentucky’s oldest major leaguer Trever Miller‘s 2011 contract option with the Cardinals vested with his 45th appearance of the season Saturday.
  • Bowling Green Hot Rods left-handed pitcher Kyle Lobstein was named the Midwest League pitcher of the week.
  • Evan Drellich of MLB.com reports Paul Laurence Dunbar alum and Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A. J. Ellis was optioned to AAA Albuquerque to make room for recently acquired Rod Barajas. Ellis will likely be recalled with MLB rosters expand on Sept. 1.
  • Jason Stella of the Louisville Bats media relations department profiles outfielder Dave Sappelt and his contributions since his promotion from AA.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reports Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, born in Louisville, is asking for a five-year contract extension worth between $55 and $65 million.

Morehead signs JUCO pitcher; Lexington youth teams qualify for World Series; Wright, Ijames square off in Cape final

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, Youth Baseball

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Morehead State University signed Oklahoma junior college left-handed pitcher Matt Cartwright to complete its 2010 signing class.
  • The Lexington Herald-Leader reports three Lexington youth baseball teams have qualified for their respective division’s World Series.
  • Jason Stella of the Louisville Bats’ media relations department profiles third baseman/ left fielder Todd Frazier and his recent improvements that have helped propel the Bats into first place in their division.
  • Brent Ingram of the University of Kentucky media relations department is listing the 20 most memorable Bat Cats’ games since 2006 for “Cat Scratches,” starting with No. 16-20.
  • Joe Capozi of the Palm Beach Post reports Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, born in Louisville, has experience a recent surge during the best season of his career after moving to the cleanup spot in the lineup.
  • The finals of the prestigious Cape Cod League have reached a decisive game three with an interesting UK/UofL subplot. Yarmouth-Dennis, featuring University of Louisville outfielder Stewart Ijames, is matched against Coutit, featuring UK outfielder Chad Wright in the championship series. Neither player recorded a hit in game two, but Wright scored two of Cotuit’s three runs in it’s game one win. You can watch the final game of the series here at 3 p.m.

July Awards: Kentucky Major Leaguers

Major League Baseball

Dan Uggla; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

In the final July awards post we’ll look at the month’s best performances from Kentucky major leaguers:

Hitter of the month: 2B Dan Uggla

  • Florida Marlins infielder Dan Uggla, born in Louisville, batted .316 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in July. Uggla scored 20 runs in the month and boasted a 1.009 OPS for the month. July marked the first month Uggla posted a batting average above .300 in the season.
  • Honorable Mention: Bowling Green native Corey Hart batted .310 with four home runs in July.

Pitcher of the month: LHP Scott Downs

  • July was not kind to Kentucky MLB pitchers, but Louisville native and former UK left-handed pitcher Scott Downs managed to escape the trend by not surrendering a run in 11 appearances in the month. Downs was 2-0 in July for the Blue Jays and struck out nine batters while walking three in 10 and two-third innings.
  • Honorable Mention: Braves left-handed reliever Jonny Venters, born in Pikeville was 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in July…Former Morehead St. right-handed pitcher Jon Rauch saved four games in the month for the Twins.

Kentucky MLB Trade Deadline Names to Watch

Major League Baseball

Scott Downs; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

We’re just 23 days from the MLB non-waiver trade deadline so you can expect trade rumors to be heating up over the coming days and weeks. As with most baseball stories, Kentucky players figure to factor in the middle of many of the rumors. I’ve outlined some early Kentucky trade storylines to watch below:

  • The relief pitching market is always a big commodity during July as evidenced in this breakdown by the Boston Globe‘s Chad Finn. Among the hottest relievers on the block is former University of Kentucky left-handed pitcher Scott Downs, currently a set-up man for the Blue Jays. Peter Gammons of MLB.com calls Downs the “hottest name on the market” right now and says he may even attract more interest than perennial All-Star Roy Oswalt.
  • Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweeted earlier this week that the Giants have interest in Brewers outfielder and Bowling Green native Corey Hart, who the Brewers have been rumored to be trying to move at various points in the last year. However, Hart has led the National League in home runs for much of the first half and is worth more than ever after being named to his second All-Star team, so he won’t come cheap.
  • The Cleveland Indians are not very good and may be preparing for another fire sale which means Lexington native Austin Kearns, who has enjoyed a career resurgence this season could be on the move. For now though Kearns isn’t attracting the same level of interest as some other Indians, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com.
  • It wouldn’t be a Kentucky trade rumor breakdown without mention of Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, who was born in Louisville. The Marlins tried to move Uggla throughout most of the offseason but their asking price proved too high. That price may prevent him from be traded before the deadline, but the Marlins and Rockies matchup nicely for a deal if they were motivated to move the slugging infielder, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports.

Remember too that any number of Kentucky minor leaguers could be moved in deals for established MLB names. For the latest trade rumors from all of baseball you can’t do any better than MLBTradeRumors.com.

Kentucky MLB June Awards

Major League Baseball

Corey Hart; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

In the final June awards post we’ll look at the best June performances from Kentucky Major Leaguers:

Hitter of the month: OF Corey Hart (Bowling Green) — Brewers

  • Stats: 33-105 (.314), 5 HR, 27 RBI, .381 OBP, .562 SlG
  • Honorable Mention: Dan Uggla (Florida), Austin Kearns (Indians)

Pitcher of the month: RHP Jon Rauch (Morehead) — Twins

  • Stats: 1-0, 1.00 ERA, 8 G, 4 Saves, 8 SO/0 BB, 9 IP
  • Honorable Mention: Trever Miller (Cardinals), Tyler Clippard (Nationals), Scott Downs (Blue Jays), Aaron Cook (Rockies)

BluGrass Baseball MLB May Awards

Major League Baseball

Corey Hart; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

In the final May awards post we’ll look at the standout performances among Kentucky natives in Major League Baseball. Remember, players need only to have been born in the state or attended school here to qualify:

Hitter of the month: Corey Hart (Bowling Green, Brewers)

  • Stats: 23-91 (.253), 10 HR, 22 RBI, 16 R,
  • Honorable Mention: Dan Uggla (Louisville, Marlins), Mark Reynolds (Pikeville, Diamondbacks), Austin Kearns (Lexington, Indians)

Pitcher of the month: Tyler Clippard (Lexington, Nationals)

  • Stats: 4-3, 3.24 ERA, 14 G, 17 SO, 16.2 IP
  • Honorable Mention: Jon Rauch (Louisville, Twins), Scott Downs (Louisville, Blue Jays), Shawn Kelley (Louisville, Mariners)

BluGrass Baseball Major League April Awards

Major League Baseball

Dan Uggla; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

We ran down the minor league awards earlier this week, but before we get too deep in May I thought I’d select a hitter and MLB pitcher of the month for April. To be eligible a player must be born in Kentucky or an alumnus of a Kentucky school. (All eligible players are listed on the Ky. in the Majors page)

Player of the month: 2B Dan Uggla (Marlins)

  • Stats: .295/.364/.534
  • Dan Uggla, born in Louisville, displayed his usual power during the first month of the season but also boasted an unusually high batting average. The slugger was second among Kentucky major leaguers in home runs, RBI and batting average, but stood out for his consistency across categories.
  • Honorable Mention: Mark Reynolds (Pikeville), Austin Kearns (Lexingt0n), Corey Hart (Bowling Green)

Pitcher of the month: RHP Jon Rauch (Twins)

  • Stats: 1-0, 7 Sv, 1.80 ERA, 8 SO/2 BB, 10 IP
  • Jon Rauch, a Louisville native and Morehead State alum, was named the Twins’ closer after All-Star Joe Nathan had season-ending Tommy John surgery priory to the start of the season. He didn’t disappoint during April with seven saves in eight chances and one win.
  • Honorable Mention: Tyler Clippard (Lexington), Trever Miller (Louisville)

Kentuckians on MLB Opening Day rosters

Major League Baseball

Throughout the season you can view the Kentuckians on Major League rosters list by accessing the “Ky. in the Majors” tab at the top of the page or clicking this link. But with MLB’s first official game set to start in just hours I thought I’d post the list of Kentucky natives or college alumni that made Major League Opening Day rosters here:

National League

  • Joe Blanton SP (DL) — Franklin-Simpson High School, UK — Philadelphia Phillies
  • Tyler Clippard RP — Lexington, Ky. (HS-Fla.) — Washington Nationals
  • Aaron Cook SP — Fort Campbell, Ky. (HS-Ohio) — Colorado Rockies
  • Sean Green RP — Louisville, Ky., UofL — New York Mets
  • Corey Hart OF — Bowling Green, Ky. — Milwaukee Brewers
  • Trever Miller RP — Louisville, Ky. — St. Louis Cardinals
  • Mark Reynolds 3B — Pikeville, Ky., (HS-Va.) — Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Dan Uggla 2B — Louisville, Ky., (HS-Tenn.) — Florida Marlins
  • Brandon Webb SP (DL) — Ashland, Ky., UK — Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Todd Wellemeyer SP — Louisville, Ky., Bellarmine — San Fransisco Giants
  • Cory Wade RHP (DL) — Kentucky Wesleyan — Los Angeles Dodgers

American League

  • Scott Downs RP — Louisville, Ky., UK — Toronto Blue Jays
  • Jon Rauch RP — Louisville, Ky., Morehead State –Minnesota Twins
  • Shawn Kelley RP — Louisville, Ky., Austin Peay — Seattle Mariners
  • Austin Kearns OF — Lexington, Ky. — Cleveland Indians

More honors for UK players; Boyle County alum named top Miss. Valley prospect

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Major League Baseball

UK Athletics Wallpaper

A few afternoon links to pass along:

  • Baseball America ranks Boyle County High School alum and Bradley right-handed pitcher Patrick Cooper as the top newcomer and 2010 draft prospect in the Missouri Valley League. (subscription required)
  • University of Kentucky Athletics reports seven players were named as top draft prospects in their respective classes by PGCrossChecker.
  • UK also reports SEBaseball selected second baseman Chris Bisson and catcher Marcus Nidiffer to their second-team preseason All-SEC squad.
  • Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, born in Louisville, tells Joe Frisario of MLB.com that he’s happy to still be a Marlin.
  • The 2009 Western Kentucky University 2009 Sun-Belt Championship team was recognized at the WKU basketball game Thursday.