Chowning signs; Wood to make MLB debut Thursday

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Travis Wood; Photo via Flickr by mwlguide

Latest links from around Kentucky MiLB:

  • Eastern High School (Louisville) alum and former Oklahoma right-handed pitcher Jason Chowning has signed with the Houston Astros as the team’s 28th-round draft pick according to a Astros’ news release.
  • Danville native Patrick Cooper has been assigned to the short-season Connecticut Tigers. He was the Tigers’ 14th-round pick in the 2010 draft.
  • Jim Shonerd of Baseball America examines the best and worst Minor League offenses and reports the Bowling Green Hot Rods have the third most stolen bases of any MiLB team.
  • Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle profiles Lexington Legends first baseman Kody Hinze and his excellent season in Lexington.
  • Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports Louisville Bats left-handed pitcher Travis Wood will make his MLB debut Thursday when he is promoted by the Cincinnati Reds to start against the Chicago Cubs.

Burke contemplating retirement after release

Minor League Baseball

Chris Burke; Photo by grovesa16 via Flickr

Louisville native and St. Xavier High School alum Chris Burke is contemplating retirement after being released by the Cincinnati Reds, Michael Grant of the Courier-Journal reports. Burke had spent all of 2010 with the Louisville Bats. The 30-year-old outfielder is perhaps most famous for his game-winning home run, above, in the bottom of the 18th inning of game four of the 2005 National League Division Series. The victory clinched the series win for the Houston Astros. Burke told Grant he has been contacted by several Major League teams but would only consider continuing to play if he had a chance for a MLB callup this season. (Read more)

Glad, Nidiffer sign professional contracts as NDFAs

College Baseball

Gunner Glad, Gary Henderson: UK Athletics photo

The University of Kentucky has announced senior first baseman Gunner Glad and senior catcher Marcus Nidiffer have signed professional contracts with the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros respectively. Glad led all qualifying UK batters with a .336 batting average, 12 home runs and 45 RBI in 2010. He spent most of his time at first base but also played third base, the outfield and some second base in his time at UK. Nidiffer batted .320 with 10 home runs and 35 RBI as a senior. His season was highlighted by a go-ahead grand slam in his final home at-bat to send UK to a series sweep of defending College World Series champion LSU. If Nidiffer stays with the Astros past this season he could conceivably be assigned to the Lexington Legends in 2011. (Read more)

Lexington Legends May Awards

Minor League Baseball

May awards for the Lexington Legends:

Hitter of the month: OF J. D. Martinez

  • Stats: 27-109 (.339), 5 HR, 22 RBI, 24 R
  • Honorable Mention: Kody Hinze, Jose Altuve, Miguel Arrendell

Pitcher of the month: RHP Robert Donovan

  • Stats: 3-1, 1.50 ERA, 5 GS, 10 SO, 23 IP
  • Honorable Mention: Arcenio Leon, Jose Trinidad, Wander Alvino, David Duncan, Kirk Clark

2010 Lexington Legends Opening Day Roster

Minor League Baseball

The Lexington Legends have announced their 2010 Opening Day roster after the parent club Houston Astros confirmed Minor League player assignments Sunday. The team will be headlined by 2009 first-round pick shortstop Jiovanni Mier, ranked the No. 2 prospect in the Astros’ organization by Baseball America. Fourteen of the new Legends were 2009 draft picks. Pitchers David Duncan, Arcenio Leon and Jose Trinidad, infielder Kody Hinze and infielder-outfielder Andy Simunic each spent part of 2009 with the Legends and catcher Jonathan Fixler was a Legend in 2008. Four Opening Day Legends were ranked by Baseball America as one of the top 30 prospects in the Astros’ organization, and I’ve included their rankings in parentheses when applicable. Each pitcher is listed by throwing arm, and batters’ information is listed bats/throws. (Numbers have not yet been assigned.)

Pitchers

  • RHP — Bushue, Tanner (BA #7) — 2nd round (2009)
  • RHP — Cisnero, Jose — NDFA (2007)
  • RHP — Clark, Kirk —  FA (2009)
  • RHP — Donovan, Robert — 23rd round (2009)
  • LHP — Duncan, David — 5th round (2008)
  • RHP — Leon, Arcenio (BA #19) — NDFA (2005)
  • RHP —  MacDonald, James — 18th round (2009)
  • RHP — Minaya, Juan — NDFA (2008)
  • LHP —  Pitkin, Colton —  41st round (2007)
  • RHP — Sarisky, Daniel — 40th round (2009)
  • RHP — Schurz, Michael — 44th round (2009)
  • RHP — Trinidad, Jose — NDFA (2006)
  • RHP — Walker, Brandt — 8th round (2009)

Catchers

  • Fixler, Jonathan — R/R — 19th round (2007)
  • Garcia, Rene — R/R — 35th round (2008)

Infielders

  • Altuve, Jose  — R/R — NDFA (2006)
  • Arrendell, Miguel — L/R — NDFA (2006)
  • Bray, Aaron — L/R — 27th round (2009)
  • Hinze, Kody — R/R — FA 2008
  • Meyer, Jonathan (BA #18) — S/R — 3rd round (2009)
  • Mier, Jiovanni (BA#2) — R/R — 1st round (21st overall pick) (2009)
  • Simunic, Andrew — R/R — 17th round (2008)

Outfielders

  • Goebbert, Jacob — L/L — 13th round (2009)
  • Hogue, Grant — S/R — 35th round (2009)
  • Kemp, Brian — R/R — 19th round (2009)
  • Martinez, Julio — R/R — 20th round (2009)

Thursday afternoon notes: Blanton, Paxton, Webb

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Joe Blanton; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Several important notes to pass along on what has turned out to be a busy Thursday afternoon for Kentucky baseball:

  • University of Kentucky and Franklin-Simpson High School alum Joe Blanton will start the season on the disabled list for the Philadelphia Phillies. Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports Blanton will miss three to six weeks with a strained oblique.
  • Former UK pitcher James Paxton has signed with the Grand Prairie AirHogs of the independent American Association. The team’s season starts in May, so Paxton will have about three weeks to impress scouts before the June draft.
  • Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic reports UK alum and Ashland native Brandon Webb met with D’Backs team doctors today for an examination of his surgically repaired right-shoulder. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com later tweeted Webb received good news and a May return is “highly likely.”
  • Minor League transactions of note from Baseball America: The Astros have released Western Kentucky University alum Ben Paxton, and the Padres have released UK alum Andrew Albers. Paxton signed with the Astros after excelling in indy ball in 2009 but never pitched in a Minor League game, and Albers missed all of 2009 with an arm injury.

Friedrich heads Kentucky players on Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list

Minor League Baseball

Christian Friedrich; Photo by Matt McGee via Flickr

Baseball America has released its top prospects list for all of minor league baseball and several Kentucky players were included in the rankings. Eastern Kentucky University alum Christian Friedrich leads Kentucky prospects on the list at No. 33. I’ve included each BluGrass Baseball player and his ranking below:

  • 22 — Christian Friedrich — EKU — Colorado Rockies
  • 35 — Matt Moore — 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods — Tampa Bay Rays
  • 43 — Todd Frazier — 2009 Louisville Bats — Cincinnati Reds
  • 45 — Yonder Alonso — 2009 Louisville Bats — Cincinnati Reds
  • 67 — Tim Beckham — 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods — Tampa Bay Rays
  • 91 — Jordan Lyles — 2009 Lexington Legends — Houston Astros

* — Cincinnati Reds offseason signee Aroldis Champman ranked at No. 22 on the list and will likely appear for AAA Louisville at some point in 2010. Houston Astros shortstop prospect Jiovanni Mier ranked No. 73 on the list and might appear in Lexington this season. Tampa Bay Rays right-handed pitching prospect Alex Colome ranked No. 68 and will likely head to Bowling Green in 2010.

Baseball America’s Total List

BluGrass Baseball rankings in BA’s 2010 Prospect Handbook

Minor League Baseball

The Baseball America Prospect Handbook is simply a must-have for any minor-league baseball fan. My handbook, in which Baseball America ranks the top 30 prospects in each organization, came in today, and since I ordered it straight from BA they included a 31st prospect supplement for each team. I’m listing where Kentucy players rank in their organizations below, but I’ll leave all BA’s analysis out as incentive for you to go buy their great product.

Houston Astros

  • 3) — RHP Jordan Lyles — 2009 Lexington Legends
  • 4)  — RHP Sammy Gervacio — 2005/2006 Lexington Legends
  • 6) — RHP Ross Seaton — 2009 Lexington Legends
  • 8 — OF Jay Austin — 2009 Lexington Legends
  • 11) — SS Tommy Manzella — 2006 Lexington Legends
  • 12) — RHP Daniel Meszaros — 2009 Lexington Legends
  • 14) — LHP Fernando Abad — 2008 Lexington Legends
  • 15) — RHP Matt Nevarez — 2009 Lexington Legends
  • 19) — RHP Arcenio Leon — 2009 Lexington Legends
  • 20) — C/OF Koby Clemens — 2006/2007 Lexington Legends
  • 21) — OF Brian Bogusevic — 2006 Lexington Legends
  • 23) — RHP Evan Englebrook — 2005 Lexington Legends
  • 25) — OF Collin DeLome — 2008 Lexington Legends
  • 26) — LHP Polin Trinidad — 2007 Lexington Legends
  • 27) — RHP Henry Villar — 2009 Lexington Legends
  • 28) — RHP Ashton Mowdy — 2009 Lexington Legends
  • 29) — LHP Brad Dydalewicz — 2009 Lexington Legends
  • 30) — RHP Kyle Greenwalt — 2009 Lexington Legends

Oakland Athletics

  • 27) — LHP Justin Marks — University of Louisville

Toronto Blue Jays

  • 1) — RHP Zach Stewart — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • 7) — RHP Josh Roenicke — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • 20) — RHP Daniel Webb — Ashland, Ky. (Blazer)
  • 22) — RHP Trystan Magnuson — University of Louisville

Atlanta Braves

  • 22) — LHP Richard Sullivan — Louisville, Ky. (Ballard)

St. Louis Cardinals

  • 27) — LHP Ben Jukich — 2009 Louisville Bats

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • 9) — OF Collin Cowgill — University of Kentucky

San Francisco Giants

  • 18) — 3B Chris Dominguez — University of Louisville

Baltimore Orioles

  • 31) — C Craig Tatum — 2009 Louisville Bats

Philadelphia Phillies

  • 24) — RHP B. J. Rosenberg — University of Louisville

Texas Rangers

  • 7) — LHP Robbie Ross — Lexington, Ky. (LCA)

Tampa Bay Rays

  • 4) — LHP Matt Moore — 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods
  • 6) — SS Tim Beckham — 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods
  • 10) — RHP Nick Barnese — 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods
  • 13) — RHP Joe Cruz — 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods
  • 26) — LHP Frank De Los Santos — 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods
  • 29) — C Jake Jefferies —  2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods
  • 31) — OF Keyong Kang — 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods

Cincinnati Reds

  • 1) — INF/OF Todd Frazier — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • 2) — 1B Yonder Alonso — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • 4) — OF Chris Heisey — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • 5) — 3B Juan Francisco — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • 7) — LHP Travis Wood — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • 8 — LHP Matt Maloney — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • 12) — SS/2B Chris Valakia — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • 14) — RHP Logan Ondrusek — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • 19) — RHP Enerio Del Rosario — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • 22)  — LHP Pedro Viola — 2009 Louisville Bats

Colorado Rockies

  • 2) — LHP Christian Friedrich — Eastern Kentucky University
  • 24) — RHP Chaz Roe — Lexington, Ky. (Lafayette)

Kansas City Royals

  • 19) — OF Jordan Parraz — 2007 Lexington Legends

Detroit Tigers

  • 11) — 1B Ryan Strieby — University of Kentucky
  • 24) — 3B Wade Gaynor — Western Kentucky University
  • 28) — RHP Scott Green — University of Kentucky

Minnesota Twins

  • 5) — OF Ben Revere — Lexington, Ky. (Lex Cath)

Chicago White Sox

  • 25) — OF John Shelby — University of Kentucky
  • 26) — RHP Nathan Jones — Northern Kentucky University

Adcock, Duncan just miss inclusion in BA’s handbook

Minor League Baseball

David Duncan; Photo: Lexington Legends

Baseball America‘s Prospect Handbook is the single most important book for coverage of minor league baseball released every year. BA ranks the top 30 prospects from each organization plus the top 100 prospects in the game in its pages every year. Starting last year they also added a No. 31 prospect supplement for each organization to those who order the book directly from them. Every year several scouting reports get cut from the final edition of the book due to talent added to an organization through trades or late judgment calls. BA releases these reports online in its annual 32nd team, and this year two Kentucky-related minor leaguers made the cut. (Enitre 32nd Team)

RHP Nathan Adcock — Radcliff, Ky. — Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Adcock hasn’t lived up to his billing as a fifth-round draft pick out of Central Hardin yet as a professional. The Pirates acquired him from the Mariners at the trade deadline in the Jack Wilson deal, but his performance didn’t improve after the trade. Adcock was 8-9 with a 5.29 ERA and 86 strikeouts to go with 61 walks in 126 innings.
  • BA: “To find success against more advanced hitters, he’ll have to throw more strikes and locate his pitches better in the zone. Adcock needs to make a lot of strides if he’s going to cut it as a starter, and he may project better as a reliever. He likely will begin 2010 in Double-A.”

LHP David Duncan — Lexington Legends — Houston Astros

  • Duncan joined the Legends midseason after struggling to adjust to High A ball, but he quickly showed why the Astros think highly of him after the demotion. In 10 games with Lexington, Duncan was 4-4 with a 4.29 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 56.2 innings. On the season he was 4-14 with a 5.73 ERA and 102 strikeouts to go with just 29 walks in 125.2 innings between three levels. (David also shares a birthday with a certain Kentucky baseball blogger).
  • BA: “Though he doesn’t miss many bats, he does do a good job of keeping the ball on the ground. Some scouts think he profiles better as a reliever than as a starter. He’ll return to Lancaster in 2010.”

BA is also having a day-long chat to celebrate the release of the handbook. You should stop by for some great info. Already the BA staff has revealed 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rod Keyong Kang will rank No. 31 in the Rays’ supplement.

Legends Hall of Famer Pence avoid arbitration with Astros

Major League Baseball

Hunter Pence; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Lexington Legends Hall of Famer Hunter Pence avoided arbitration with the Houston Astros by agreeing to a one-year contract worth $3.5 million. Pence is under club control for three more seasons. Hunter was named a 2009 National League All-Star and slugged a career high 25 home runs last season.

His fellow Legends Hall of Famer and Astros’ teammate Wandy Rodriguez has yet to agree on a 2010 contract with the team. (Read more from MLB.com)