In yesterday’s Baseball America Toronto Blue Jays top prospects chat an interesting name from Kentucky past came up. If you think back to the 2008 draft Heath High School had one of the country’s top pitchers in right-handeder Daniel Webb, who was committed to play at the University of Kentucky. After word spread that the UK commits had a pact to only sign for first-round money or play together in Lexington, Webb slipped to the 12th round in 2008 (where he was drafted by the Diamondbacks in the hope to have two Kentucky Webbs in their rotation one day). Webb didn’t qualify to play at UK and ended up in junior college where he underperformed in 2009. He signed with the Blue Jays as their 18th round pick but didn’t make his professional debut last season. Check out what BA’s Nathan Rode had to say about the Paducah-native.
Paul (Buffalo): Dannie Webb was a highly touted power pitcher out of high school prior to the 2008 draft but did not sign. He went to juco and did not really wow anyone there before being selected by the Jays. What have been the reports been now that he has signed with the Jays, and where will he start 2010?
Nathan Rode: The Jays went over slot to get Webb in the 18th round this year. He fits in the back of the Top 30 with his live arm. He can sit in the low 90s and run it up to 94. However, I’ve been told his curve isn’t quite what it was in high school. One scout felt he was a reliever with his slingy arm action and there are some makeup questions as well. My guess is he’ll start 2010 in Low A.
On a side-note…doesn’t it seem like the Diamondbacks or Blue Jays have been at the center of every Kentucky story recently?
We had a brief hiatus in the early signing period breakdowns for the Thanksgiving holiday, but now we’ll pick back up with Morehead State. The Golden Eagles finished 2009 at 20-32, but did boast a 12-10 Ohio Valley Conference record. Coach Jay Sorg signed six freshman for 2011 during the fall. I’ve included some 2009 highlights and Sorg’s comments on each player below.
P — Ryan Rogers — Wabash Valley JC — Owensboro Catholic
- 6-1, 3.13, 63 IP, 55 SO
- Sorg: “We believe Ryan can be in our starting rotation right away. He has the ability to throw three quality pitches for strikes at any time. He knows how to make the big pitch. Ryan is an ultra-competitor and proven winner. His experience against top college hitters will be invaluable to our club. This guy knows how to pitch. Coach Fournier and his staff do a tremendous job of recruiting and developing great players. We are very fortunate to get Ryan into our program.”
P — Noah Smallwood — West Jessamine High School
- .198 BA against, 1.34 ERA, 42 SO, 34 IP
- Sorg: “Noah is one the most improved pitchers in the state. He continues to gain velocity and has developed a sharper breaking ball. His fastball showcases a tremendous amount of run and sink. We really like his upside and feel that he will be a good fit for our staff.”
P — Kyle Williams — Shawnee Community College — Heath HS
- Signed with Shawnee as an outfielder but moved to the mound in 2009.
- Sorg: “Kyle really has the chance to be a great signing for us. He has taken to pitching quickly. Kyle has a free and easy arm that showcases in the low to mid 90’s. He already has an idea and feel for pitching. More innings of development could put him over the top. We feel he will have an immediate impact on our staff despite his limited time on the mound.”
C — Caden Cleveland — Oklahoma City, OK
- .541 BA, 30-game hitting streak, Diamond Baseball First Team All-American
- Sorg: “Caden is a guy who is capable of being an impact middle of the order hitter for us very early in his career. He had several offers from schools in power conferences. Caden is a draftable talent on the field but even more impressive is his high character off the diamond. It speaks volumes about his family and upbringing. This is a big signing for us.”
SS — Bud Morton — West Jessamine High School
- .385 BA, .497 on-base percentage, 36 SB
- Sorg: “With Bud, we believe that our program has landed the most exciting position player in the state. He is one of the fastest players at any level. His speed and athleticism can instantly change the course of a game. He plays with an energy and passion that is contagious. He has been one of the most fun and dedicated players we have ever recruited. We know under Coach Hamilton’s system that he is tough and well-trained. We are excited to get him on campus.”
OF/P — Duran Elmore — Danville High School
- .408 BA, .520 on-base, 46 SB — 1.62 ERA, 106 SO, 77 IP
- Sorg: “Duran is another athletic player who fits well into our system. He is a young senior and we believe there is a tremendous upside to an already great player. He follows a long line of impact Eagle players coached by Paul Morse. He is very competitive and knows how to win impact points in the course of a game. He is a great addition to our club.”
All quotes are via a Morehead news release you can read here.
A commenter on one of the BluGrass Baseball record book posts asked about high school records for stolen bases. KHSAA keeps the entire Kentucky high school baseball record book online here, but I like the idea of highlighting some of the records here, especially as baseball news grows a little thinner during the offseason. So to start this series we’ll look at the original question regarding stolen bases.
Career Stolen Base Leaders
- Thomas Tolliver — Raceland — 2003-2006 — 164
- Noah Welte — St. Patrick — 1997-2000 — 139
- Jeff Taylor — Barbourville — 1988-1991 — 137
- Brock Wright — Heath — 2002-2005 — 130
- Jeff Gumm — Green Co. — 1977-1980 — 127
Single-Season Stolen Base Leaders
- Mark Dingledine — Madisonville-North Hopkins — 1970 — 92
- Noah Welte — St. Patrick — 2000 — 71
- Steve Greene — Henderson Co. — 1988 — 63
- David French — East Carter — 1992 — 60
- Patrick Donahue — Union Co. — 1999 — 59
NOTE: The original comment also asked about records since 2000. The career leaders since 2000: Tolliver (03-06, 164), Wright (02-05, 130), Kurt Riley (Livingston Central, 03-06, 123), Hank Gabbard (Hazard, 00-04, 115), Nick Bobrowski (Green Co., 00-03, 114)…The single-season leaders since 2000: Welte (2000, 71), Chris Coffey (Russell Co, 2006, 54), Josh Lemmings (Russell, 2006, 50), Wright (Heath, 2005, 50)