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.
In the second July Awards post we’ll look at the month’s best performances from the Louisville Bats:
Hitter of the month: 1B Yonder Alonso
Yonder Alonso struggled during the first two months of his AAA career, but he put those struggles behind him in July to the tune of a .366 batting average, nine home runs, 19 RBI and 15 runs scored. Alonso slugged .696 for the month with an OPS of 1.007.
Honorable Mention: Daniel Dorn, Chris Valaika, Juan Francisco, Zack Cozart, Wladimir Balentien
Pitcher of the month: RHP Matt Maloney
The Cincinnati Reds have an embarrassment of starting pitching depth at the moment with Matt Maloney representing their best AAA starter at the moment. In July, Maloney was 3-1 with a 1.00 ERA in four starts. Maloney struck out 17 and walked just three in 27 innings pitched.
Honorable Mention: Aroldis Chapman, Ben Jukich, Enerio Del Rosario, Jared Burton, Joseph Krebs
Mike Marsee of the Danville Advocate-Messenger profiles Boyle County High School pitcher Jacob Bodner and his rise up the recruiting rankings.
Jared Macarin examines the life of minor league baseball players off the field in the first half of a two-part story for the Mobile Press-Register. Macarin’s story’s relies heavily on the off-field exploits of Lexington native and former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill.
Jason Stella of the Louisville Bats media relations department profiles relief pitcher Jared Burton, who he reports is regaining his major league form.
Matt Thacker of the Evening News and Tribune reports Bats left-handed reliever Daniel Ray Herrera was arrested in Clarksville, Ind., early Wednesday morning for public intoxication.
Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports and Rivals.com talks with collegiate Team USA head coach Bill Kinneberg, who lists University of Louisville infielder Ryan Wright among the most impressive players on the roster this summer.
The Louisville Bats are set to start play today and will feature two Kentucky natives in the lineup as well as several of the best prospects in the Cincinnati Reds organization. Check out the roster below via the Courier-Journal. I’ve included Baseball America prospect rankings for the Reds organization. Remember top prospects Juan Francisco and Mike Leake are starting the season with the Reds but might appear in Louisville at some point if they struggle, and Yonder Alonso is starting the season in AA but should earn a callup to Louisville early this season.
We broke down the free agents with Kentucky ties earlier this month, but now I thought we’d look at the arbitration eligible players. Players with three to six years of service time, or designated as “super twos,” are eligible for a salary raise through arbitration. Teams then chose whether to offer these players a contract for the coming season, though the salary generally can’t be less than 80 percent of the previous year’s salary. Some players receive huge raises in arbitration leading smaller market teams to trade them. So if you’re looking for trade candidates or non-tender candidates this is a good place to start.
RHP Joe Blanton — UK — Philadelphia Phillies
C John Buck — Lexington Legends — Kansas City Royals
RHP Jared Burton — Louisville Bats — Cincinnati Reds
The Legends will send top prospect Ross Seaton to the mound for the opener of the homestand tonight against Asheville. Seaton is 8-8 with a 2.67 ERA on the season. The right-handed pitcher has 69 strikeouts in 111.1 innings pitched. Seaton’s 2.67 ERA is fourth best in the South Atlantic League.
Outfielder Brian Pellegrini leads the Legends offensive attack against Asheville. In five games against the Tourists this season, Pellegrini is 8-20 (.400) with three home runs and six RBI. Kyle Greenwalt, Patrick Urckfitz and Robert Bono have Lexington’s three wins against Asheville.
Lexington will have to watch out for Asheville shortstop Thomas Field. Field is 6-17 (.353) with three RBI in five games against the Legends this season. Parker Frazier, Dan Houston and Juan Nicasio each have a win for Asheville against the Legends.
Asheville will send Houston to the mound tonight against the Legends. Houston is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA against Lexington this season and is 5-8 with a 3.95 ERA for the season. Dan has 92 strikeouts in 109.1 innings and is holding opponents to a .269 batting average.
The Legends send right-handed starting pitcher Robert Bono to the mound tonight against the Drive. Bono has been the forgotten man in the Legends rotation behind more highly touted pitchers Ross Seaton, Jordan Lyles and Brad Dydalewicz, but Robert has impressed on the mound with a 8-7 record and 2.94 ERA. Bono has two complete games on the season, but has lost each of his last three decisions. Robert’s last win came on Independence Day.
Second baseman Albert Cartwright extended his hitting streak to five games with a 1-4 performance Thursday. Cartwright is 9-20 (.450) with two doubles and two RBI during the streak. On the season Albert is batting .229 with five home runs and 26 RBI. After batting .328 in 20 games in April, Cartwright’s monthly batting average was below .200 in both month that he played regularly.
Outfielder Steve Brown was the offensive star Thursday with a triple and home run. Brown is batting .244 with four home runs and 31 RBI on the season. 2009 is Steve’s second stint in Lexington after he spent the entire 2008 season with the Legends. Brown is batting .368 with one home run and five RBI in six games in August.
Greenville will send Brock Huntzinger to the mound tonight against the Legends. Huntzinger is 7-8 with a 4.17 ERA on the season. Brock has won each of his last two starts and has recorded a decision in each of his last 11 starts. Huntzinger is 2-5 with a 5.35 ERA in the second half of the season.