Offseason position battle: UK outfielder

College Baseball

Chad Wright; Photo: UK Athletics

In the fourth University of Kentucky post in out “offseason position battle” series we will look at the vacant outfield position.

The departed — Center fielder Keenan Wiley started all 56 games for UK in 2010, batting .324 with four home runs, 37 RBI, 40 runs scored and 14 stolen bases in 19 attempts. Wiley signed a non-drafted free agent contract with the Atlanta Braves following the season. The Richmond native also provided a steady hand on defense, committing just one error on the season…Outfielder and first baseman Lance Ray did not see much playing time early in the season but worked his way into the everyday lineup with much of his playing time coming in right field. Ray was UK’s best hitter by the end of the season, finishing the year with a .356 batting average, 10 home runs, 34 RBI and 29 runs scored…Utility man Gunner Glad, a 2010 senior, saw extended playing time in the outfield in 2010…Outfielder Cory Farris, a 2010 sophomore, is not listed on the 2011 UK roster.

Returning candidates — Junior outfielder Chad Wright returns to anchor the UK outfield after spending each of his first two seasons at UK as an everyday starter at the corner outfield positions. Wright, who was named a Cape Cod League all-star this summer, could move to center field after Wiley’s graduation…Sophomore Brian Adams started the final eight games of the season in left field, batting .483 with three doubles, one triple, one home run and seven RBI. Adams, a wide receiver on the football team, suffered a hamstring injury toward the end of football season but that injury is not expected to affect his baseball availability…Sophomore outfielder and pitcher Sam Kidd appeared in 10 games as a freshman, mostly as a late-inning defensive replacement.

Newcomers to watch — Lexington Christian Academy alum Lucas Witt comes to UK after being named first-team all state by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association as a senior. In a recent interview with College Baseball Daily UK head coach Gary Henderson singled Witt out as a freshman outfielder who had performed well enough during fall practice to earn early playing time. Witt recorded hits in two of the three Fall World Series games…UK also lists freshman outfielders Damon Sanders, Steven Hoagland, and Ryan Mossakowski on the roster.

Wildcard — Senior left-handed pitcher Mike Kaczmarek has only appeared on the mound during his three-year UK career but began the transition to becoming a two-way player during the fall. Kaczmarek will appear in the outfield for UK some this season, and after experiencing moderate success with the bat during fall practice could push for regular playing time. Henderson could also try freshman infielder Dallen Reber in the outfield if needed.

This post has been updated after UK released its 2011 roster without outfielder Cory Farris, Gavin Patton and Navarro Hall on it.

Ky seniors named Rawlings All-Americans

High School Baseball

Earlier today we linked Perfect Game USA‘s underclassmen high school All-American teams. Perfect Game partnered with Rawlings Sporting Goods to release the senior All-American team a few weeks ago, but several Kentucky high schoolers and in-state college signees were honored, so the list is still worth passing along. I’ve included those players with school and college commitment below, but you can see the full team here.

3rd Team All-American

  • LHP Corey Littrell — Trinity — University of Kentucky
  • C Jake DePew — Granite City (Ill.) — University of Louisville
  • RHP Kim Dace — Defiance (Ohio) — UofL

High Honorable Mention

  • RHP Patrick Maronde — Lexington Catholic — Coastal Carolina
  • LHP Joel Bender — Oak Hills (Ohio) — UofL
  • INF Alex Chittenden — Lawrence Central (Ind.) — UofL
  • RHP Chad Green — Effingham (Ill.) — UofL
  • P Jeffrey Thompson — Floyd Centrall (Ind.) — UofL
  • RHP Trevor Gott — Tates Creek — UK
  • OF Gavin Patton — IMG Academies (Fla.) — UK
  • RHP Blake Perry — Danville, IMG Academies (Fla.) — UK
  • SS Matt Reida — Russiaville (Ind.) — UK
  • OF G. J. Strauss — Chesterfield (Mo.) — Western Kentucky University

Hit the jump for players honored on regional teams

Tuesday Afternoon Notes

College Baseball, High School Baseball

Gavin Patton

A few afternoon notes to pass along:

  • Larry Vaught at the Danville Advocate Messeneger interviews Danville native and UK baseball commitment Blake Perry.  Perry’s commitment was first reported here on BluGrassBaseball.com.
  • In Vaught’s story Perry mentions that his teammate OF Gavin Patton has also committed to play for UK in 2011.
  • Patton batted .418 in 28 games in 2008-2009 and has been selected to participate in the International Power Showcase Home Run Derby along top prospects like SI cover boy Bryce Harper and Dante Bichette Jr.  I’m working on an interview with Patton that I hope to have on the site later this week.
  • We’ve talked a lot recently about the Kentucky college signees who have been drafted in 2009 with the signing deadline coming up Monday, but at PGCrosschecker.com you can browse a database of all 2009 college commitments.
  • Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic talks to UK alum Brandon Webb, who says he plans on pitching somewhere in 2010 and would love to return to the Diamondbacks.