Today I’m unveiling the first of two All BluGrass Baseball teams for the 2009 season. As with most features on the site, we’ll divide BluGrass players into two divisions: one made of rosters of the state’s three minor league teams and the other made of Kentucky natives and college alums. The first team comes from the rosters of the Louisville Bats, Bowling Green Hot Rods and Lexington Legends.
- Catcher: Jake Jeffries, Bowling Green Hot Rods — .261, eight home runs, 50 RBI
- First Base: Brian Pellegrini, Lexington Legends — .291, 27 home runs, 74 RBI
- Second Base: Isaias Velasquez, Bowling Green Hot Rods — .278, two home runs, 40 RBI
- Third Base: Juan Francisco, Louisville Bats — .359, five home runs, 19 RBI
- Shortstop: Tim Beckham, Bowling Green Hot Rods — .275, five home runs, 63 RBI
- Left Field: Daniel Dorn, Louisville Bats — .275, 14 home runs, 47 RBI
- Center Field: Drew Stubbs, Louisville Bats — .268, three home runs, 39 RBI
- Right Field: Kyeong Kang, Bowling Green Hot Rods — .307, five home runs, 42 RBI
- Starting Pitcher 1: Matthew Moore, Bowling Green Hot Rods — 8-5, 3.15, 176 SO
- Starting Pitcher 2: Jordan Lyles, Lexington Legends — 7-11, 3.24, 167 SO
- Starting Pitcher 3: Matt Maloney, Louisville Bats — 9-9, 3.08, 125 SO
- Starting Pitcher 4: Chris Andujar, Bowling Green Hot Rods — 10-4, 2.70, 79 SO
- Starting Pitcher 5: Justin Lehr, Louisville Bats, 13-3, 3.31, 60 SO
- Closer: Henry Villar, Lexington Legends, 3-4, 2.60, 109 SO
Notes: Third base was, by far, the worst position among the three teams. Francisco wins due to his domination of AAA pitching in his brief audition for Louisville. The rotation had plenty of competition with as many as five other starters having an argument for inclusion. If we’d included multiple relievers, Logan Ondrusek, Patrick Urckfitz and Josh Roenicke could have all made the team. Arguably the state’s top position prospect (Chris Heisey) didn’t make the cut because of spending half the season in AA and posting worse numbers than his teammate Dorn in the half season of AAA.
Now that the minor-league season is officially over for the three teams in the Bluegrass I thought we’d look at where their players ranked in various categories among full-season minor leaguers. Players were on the roster of each team at the end of the season unless noted; the ranking number is among all full-season players.
- 2) Brian Pellegrini — LEX — 34
- 11) Chris Heisey — LOU — 162
- 3) Todd Frazier — LOU — 45
- 2) Travis Wood — LOU — 1.77
- 1) Matt Moore — BG — 176
- 4) Jordan Lyles — LEX — 167
- 1) Matt Moore — BG — 12.88
- 6) Jordan Lyles — LEX — 10.39
Batting Average Against
- 1) Matt Moore — BG — .195
- 4) Travis Wood — LOU — .204
Hit the jump to see more rankings.
Louisville Bats vs. Indianapolis Indians
- Full-season minor league ERA leader Travis Wood takes the mound tonight in game one of a four-game set with Indianapolis. Wood is 2-1 with a 2.55 ERA for Louisville and is with a 1.44 ERA on the season between AA Carolina and Louisville. Wood has struggled with his conrol in AAA with 14 strikeouts compared to 12 walks, but on the season he has 117 strikeouts and just 49 walks in 143.2 innings.
- Louisville infielder Wes Bankston is currently enjoying a five-game hitting streak and has three hits in each of his last two games. During the streak, Bankston is 10-22 (.455) with two home runs and five RBI.
- Outfielder Drew Stubbs will be among the Bats happy to see the Indians return to town. Stubbs is 10-28 (.357) with two double and four runs scored in nine games against Indianapolis this season. Starting pitcher Ben Jukich is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in two games against the Indians.
- Indianapolis will send Pirates prospect Virgil Vasquez to the mound in the series opener tonight. Vasquez is 7-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 16 starts for Indianapolis this season. Virgil has 64 strikeouts and just 13 walks in 92.2 innings pitched.
Louisville Bats @ Lehigh Valley IronPigs
- Despite Reds’ manager Dusty Baker’s suggestion that injured starting pitcher Micah Owings might not have to make a rehab start, Cincinnati decided to send Owings to Lehigh Valley tonight for a tuneup with the Bats. Owings will be the third Red to make a rehab appearance with Louisville this week. Relief pitcher Jared Burton will take the Reds’ roster spot of recently traded reliever David Weathers today, and outfielder Chris Dickerson will be activated by the Reds in time for Tuesday’s game. Owings is 6-11 with a 5.35 ERA for the Reds this season.
- Right-handed pitcher Logan Ondrusek extended his scoreless innings streak to 7.1 to start his Bats’ career. Ondrusek made his first appearance for Louisville on July 27 and has yet to surrender a run in six games. Logan began the season with high A Sarasota before being called up to AA Carolina. Between the three teams, Ondrusek is 4-1 with a 1.23 ERA.
- Wes Bankston was the offensive star for Louisville in the Bats’ first series against Lehigh Valley this season. Bankston was 7-16 (.438) with a home run and four RBI in four games against the IronPigs. Homer Bailey, Sam LeCure, Justin Lehr and Ben Jukich each picked up a win in Louisville’s four-game sweep of Lehigh Valley.
- The IronPigs will send Drew Carpenter to the mound in the series opener tonight. Carpenter is 9-2 with a 2.72 ERA in 19 games for Lehigh Valley. Drew has 94 strikeouts in 119 innings and has held opponents to a .245 batting average. Carpenter’s 2.72 ERA ranks sixth in the International League.
Lexington third baseman Jeff Hulett lead the Legends in a valiant comeback Friday with two hits and five RBI. Check that storyline and more in the late Saturday links.
- Lexington rallied from an eight-run deficit to win 13-12 in 11 innings Friday.
- Bowling Green catcher Jake Jeffries had three hits and a home run in the Hot Rods’ 9-7 loss to Asheville.
- Rochester shut out Louisville 3-0 to end the bats four-game winning streak.
- “Cat Scratches” has a feature about UK alum Ryan Strieby move to the outfield for the Tigers. The feature is all the way down the page. Strieby is out with a wrist injury currently.
- According to the Gainesville Sun the SEC has banned web videos from games. This issue first arose when the NCAA ejected a blogger from a Louisville baseball game.
Louisville Bats @ Rochester Red Wings
- Louisville sends its ace Matt Maloney to the mound in the opening game of a four-game series in Rochester. Maloney is 7-8 with a 2.72 ERA for the Bats with 97 strikeouts and just 16 walks in 119.1 innings pitched. Matt received a brief callup to Cincinnati earlier this season where he went 0-2 with a 6.11 ERA in three starts for the Reds. Maloney’s 2.72 ERA is eight best in the International League.
- Futures Game representative and Louisville outfielder Chris Heisey is 6-12 in his past three games. During the three-game hitting streak, Heisey has two runs scored and an RBI.
- Among current Bats Drew Stubbs had the best performance in Louisville’s first series against Rochester. Stubbs was 4-15 (.267) with a double and an RBI in the first meeting. Sam LeCure recorded the Bats’ only win in the earlier series with seven shutout innings, eight strikeouts and no walks against the Red Wings.
- Rochester will send RHP Kevin Mulvey to the mound against the Bats. Mulvey is 4-6 with a 4.33 ERA on the season. Kevin earned the win with six innings of two-run ball in his last start. In that game Mulvey struck out nine Gwinnett Braves and walked four. Mulvey is 1-3 with a 4.61 ERA in nine starts at home this season.
Lexington Legends vs. Greenville Drive
- The Legends send top prospect Jordan Lyles to the mound tonight to open a four-game series with Greenville and an eight-game homestand. Lyles is 6-9 with a 3.42 ERA on the season. The 19-year-old right-handed pitcher ranks second in the South Atlantic League with 133 strikeouts. Jordan won his last start with six shutout innings against Charleston.
- Shortstop Brandon Wikoff resumed his assault on SAL pitching since his recent callup with a 2-5 performance Tuesday. Wikoff had gone hitless in his previous two games, but is 14-32 (.438) with five runs scored and six RBI in 8 games with Lexington. The 2009 fifth-round pick has at least two hits in six of eight games with the Legends.
- Lexington closer Patrick Urckfitz recorded his first save in over a month Monday. Urckfitz has 11 saves in 13 opportunities in 2009, but hadn’t pitched in a save situation since July 5 and hadn’t recorded a save since July 2. Patrick actually allowed one run in his save opportunity Monday, ending a seven outing scoreless streak. Urckfitz was 1-0 with two saves and a 0.77 ERA in July.
- The Drive will send recently converted starting pitcher Fabian Wilson to the mound against the Legends. Wilson is 7-3 with a 2.13 ERA on the season but has only started five games for Greenville. Fabian’s last two appearances have come out of the Drive starting rotation, but he hasn’t pitched longer than five innings in a game this season. Wilson has 77 strikeouts in 72 innings and opponents are only batting .176 against him.
I’m going to try a new daily post of game notes for each of the minor league teams that will go up on the site around 6 p.m. EST. The purpose of these posts is to let you know what storylines each team faces going into the game and provide a brief look at the opposition.
Lexington Legends vs. Lake County Captains
- The Legends are only 3-7 in their last 10 games, and only one batter is batting at least .300 in that span. Second baseman Andrew Simunic is 6-20 with 6 runs scored in that span. The only other hitter batting over .250 in those ten games is right fielder Eric Suttle who is batting .273 after appearing in seven of those games.
- David Duncan is finding his stride after being promoted from short-season Tri-City to Lexington. Duncan is 0-1 in his last two starts but has only surrendered three runs in 13 innings of work with 14 strikeouts and just one walk. Duncan pitched seven innings, allowed one run and struck out seven while walking one in a no decision Thursday.
- Kyle Greenwalt will look to end a two-game losing streak when he takes the mound for Lexington tonight. Greenwalt has allowed 12 runs over nine and one-third innings in his last two starts. Greenwalt will likely factor in the decision tonight as he has either a win or loss in each of his last 11 starts.
- Lake County’s big hitter is right fielder Abner Abreu. Abreu is batting .305 on the season with seven home runs and 30 RBI. Danny Salazar gets the start for the Captains tonight. Salazar is 2-3 with a 4.97 ERA in 13 starts this season. Opponents are batting .295 against Salazar.
If you click over to the “Ky. in the Minors” page you can see an in-depth list of every minor league player with Kentucky ties. As always, if you know of a player who is not on the list you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. So you have a list of every Kentucky player in the minors, but which of those players have the best chance to become impact major leaguers? My goal in this series of posts is to let you know which minor leaguers from Kentucky are top prospects. I’ll start by examining where these players and the members of the state’s three minor league teams rank on their Baseball America’s organization top 30s and will work toward a master list of Kentucky prospects.
In the first installment of the “BluGrass Baseball Top Prospects” post, here are the top organizational prospects on the state’s three minor league teams according to Baseball America.
Bowling Green Hot Rods
- #2 — SS Tim Beckham — Beckham ranked only behind Tampa Bay pitcher David Price on the Baseball America top 30 prospects list for the Rays. Since Price is currently pitching for the Rays his prospect status will soon be exhausted, and Beckham should move up to the number one spot. Beckham, the number one pick in the 2008 draft, is from Griffin, Ga., and has all the tools to become an all-star shortstop. In Baseball America’s mid-season prospect report for Tampa Bay, the publication listed Tim Beckham as the player who took the “biggest leap forward.”
- #6 — LHP Matt Moore — According to Baseball America, Moore’s only weakness entering 2008 was his control which he dramatically improved on during his time with rookie Princeton. After posting a 2-2 record with a 1.66 ERA in 2008, BA said that Moore only needed to prove himself against tougher competition. Moore, a 2007 8th round pick, hasn’t disappointed this season in Bowling Green. The lefty is 6-3 with a 2.87 ERA with 116 strikeouts and 45 walks in 81.2 innings.
- # 18 — C Jake Jeffries — Jeffries was the Rays third round pick in 2008 out of UC Davis. In his first professional season he batted .315 with two home runs and 41 RBI for short season Hudson Valley. Jeffries has continued to hit for Bowling Green this season. He is currently hitting .270 with six home runs and 43 RBI in 77 games. He has shown and exceptional eye at the plate with 28 walks and 25 strikeouts in 281 at-bats.
- #27 — OF Kyeong Kang — Kang was the first South Korean to be selected in the MLB amateur players draft. He moved to the United States with his family in high school and was selected by the Rays in the 15th round of the 2006 draft. Kang was named a mid-season all-star in the New York-Penn League in 2008 and finished the year with a .278 average, six home runs and 43 RBI. Kang was selected to represent the Rays for the World team in the 2009 Futures Game. Through 48 games for Bowling Green, Kang is batting .285 with two home runs and 22 RBI.
Hit the jump for the top prospects on the Lexington Legends and Louisville Bats.