Shawn Kelley; Photo by mwlguide via Flickr
Latest links from around Kentucky baseball including a professional contract for a Bluegrass university signee:
- Jim Callis of Baseball America reports Illinois prep catcher Jake DePew, a University of Louisville commitment, has signed a professional contract with the Tampa Bay Rays as the team’s ninth round pick.
- Louisville native and former Bellarmine right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer told Carl Steward of the San Jose Mercury News he was not surprised by the Giants designating him for assignment.
- Doug Miller of MLB.com reports surgery is likely the only option to treat Ballard High School alum and Seattle Mariners right-handed pitcher Shawn Kelley‘s injured pitching elbow.
- In Baseball America’s survey of best AA tools Eastern League managers and scouts voted Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere the fastest baserunner in the league, and Texas League managers and scouts voted former UK outfielder Sawyer Carroll as the best outfield arm in the league. (Subscription required)
- Louisville Bats right-handed pitcher Jared Burton sat down for a question-and-answer session with Jason Stella of the Bats’ media relations department.
Two signees from the University of Louisville and Morehead State University have been named Louisville Slugger All Americans by the Collegiate Baseball newspaper. One of the four players, Duran Elmore, attended a Kentucky high school. Check out the list of players with Kentucky connections below or look at the entire list here:
- RHP Dace Kime — Defiance HS (Ohio) — UofL
- C Jake Depew — Granite City HS (Ill.) — UofL
- OF/LHP Duran Elmore — Danville High School — Morehead St.
- C Caden Cleveland — Christian Heritage Academy (Okla.) — Morehead St.
The Cards have more important things than the draft to worry about tonight with a elimination game against Vanderbilt in the NCAA regional, but the next three days could have huge implications for several Cards. Baseball America projects UofL to have six hitters drafted, but the Cards draft prospects are led by their weekend ace. Check out breakdowns of those players and more below:
The sure thing
- Junior right-handed ace Thomas Royse was untouchable at times during the 2010 season en route to being named Big East Conference pitcher of the year. Baseball America ranks Royse the No. 182 prospect in the draft due to his low-to-mid 90s fastball and good control. Royse is 9-1 with a 2.91 ERA for UofL this season and struck out 94 in 99 innings while walking just 25. BA projects the Lexington native to go between the fourth and sixth rounds.
Other prospects of note:
- Junior outfielder Josh Richmond missed much of the season with a hand injury, but his five-tool talent could land him a selection in the first 10 rounds. Richmond was projected as high as a third-rounder entering the season, but his injury history will likely hurt his stock on draft day. Richmond will need to prove he’s health in summer ball to whatever team drafts him, though he may return to UofL for another year to improve his stock.
- Redshirt sophomore outfielder Stewart Ijames missed the 2009 season with a shoulder injury, but rebounded in 2010 to bat .328 with 14 home runs. Ijames profiles only as a left-fielder as a professional and might be a difficult sign due to his two remaining years of collegiate eligibility.
- No on has ever doubted junior third baseman Phil Wunderlich‘s power, but his lack of a true position hurts his value. The slugger will likely have to move to first as a pro and will hope to be selected in the mid rounds of the draft.
- Senior first baseman Andrew Clark was selected by the Chicago Cubs as their 31st round pick in 2009 and likely improved his draft stock with his senior campaign despite missing time with a rib cage injury. Clark profiles as a good defender at first but some scouts question if he has enough power for the position.
- Junior right-handed pitcher Gabriel Shaw was projected to close for UofL entering the season but instead did a little of everything else. He experience success as a starter in limited action, perhaps boosting his stock. Shaw might improve his stock by starting for an entire season as a senior.
- Junior closer Neil Holland was one of the NCAA’s top relievers in 2010 and will have a chance to replicate that success in professional ball as a mid-to-late round pick. Holland held opposing batters to a .151 average on the season.
- Senior catcher Jeff Arnold and senior shortstop Adam Duvall will have a chance to stick in professional ball as mid-to-late-round senior signs.
Other Eligible Juniors
- OF Drew Haynes
- LHP Bob Revesz
- INF Mark Grieshaber
- LHP Dean Kiekhefer
- C J. J. Ethel
- OF Nate Holland
- LHP Brian Feekin
Other Eligible Seniors
- RHP Tyler Mathis
- RHP Matt Lea
- C Justin Haywood
High School Signees
- Baseball America ranks Bullitt East RHP Brandon Alphin one of six Kentucky high schoolers likely to be drafted.
- BA ranks RHP Jeff Thompson the No. 20 prospect in Indiana.
- RHP Dace Kime and LHP Joel Bender are among the top prep talents in Ohio but are both believed to be headed to Louisville after battling minor injuries this season.
- BA ranked C Jake Depew the No. 20 prospect in Illinois.
- Baseball America also projects Illinois RHP Chad Green could blossom into an early-round pick if he follows through on his UofL commitment.
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
Chris Heisey; Photo via Flickr
More hot stove rumors, baseball commits and minor league news in some Thursday morning links:
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that Lexington-native Austin Kearns probably only makes sense for the Reds if he would agree to a minor league deal.
- Bowling Green Hot Rods 2009 manager Matt Quatraro has been promoted to Tampa Bay Rays minor league hitting coordinator.
- Norm Sanders of the Belleville News-Democrat in Illinois reports UofL commit Jake DePew might consider going pro instead of ending up in Louisville.
- Speaking of baseball commitments, the national signing period is open for baseball so in the coming days we should be getting official word from the Universities about commitments signing their letters of intent.
- 2009 Bat Chris Heisey and teammate Yonder Alonso were both 0-3 with a walk for Peoria in the Arizona Fall League.
- Ben Badler of Baseball America tweets from the AFL game that Heisey is one of the “smartest baserunners” he’s seen in the minors.