With today’s announcement of the AAA All-Star game rosters each of the full-season Minor Leagues has unveiled its All-Star roster. I’ve listed the Kentucky-related players below on each team with links to the full roster:
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.
Baseball America released its top 10 prospects list for the Houston Astros Friday and several Lexington Legends made the cut. The Astros’ system still ranks toward the bottom of the major league organizations, but the talent improvement from 2008 to 2009 was a nice indication of the improvement of the system overall. Here’s a glimpse at the Legends who made the cut and their statistics. The analysis of the list is subscriber only, so you’ll have to check out BA for the full package.
#3 RHP Jordan Lyles
7-11, 3.24 ERA, 167 SO/38 BB
145 IP, 26 GS, 134 hits
BA: “He has the repertoire and control to fit in the middle of a big league rotation, and each of his pitches has enough projection for him to become a potential frontline starter.”
#6 RHP Ross Seaton
8-10, 3.29 ERA, 88 SO/39 BB
137 IP, 24 GS, 137 hits
BA: “At Lexington, Seaton stood out more with his size and control than his stuff.”
#8 OF Jay Austin
.267, 23 SB, 49 runs
BA: “He has enticing tools, but he has a lot of refining to do if he’s going to be more than an extra outfielder in the major leagues.”
The Legends’ season ended Monday with a 5-1 victory over Bowling Green. Lexington finished the season at 68-72, the best full-season record of any Astros’ affiliate. The Legends roster showed a vast improvement in talent from 2008 to 2009 as its record showed, but I thought we’d highlight a few specific performances from the 2009 Legends.
Offensive Player of the Year — 1B Brian Pellegrini
This wasn’t even close. Pellegrini led the Legends in batting average (.291), home runs (27), RBI (74), total bases (203), on-base percentage (.396) and slugging (.578). Brian ranked second in the minor leagues in home runs (34) behind fellow Astros’ farmhand Jonathan Gaston. Pellegrini also set the Legends’ records for single-season home runs (27), career home runs (48) and career RBI (143).
Outfielder Jay Austin was the only other Legend to record at least 100 hits (106). Second baseman Albert Cartwright led the team in runs scored (65).
Pitcher of the Year — RHP Jordan Lyles
The race for pitcher of the year was much more heated than the offensive award. Four Legends starting pitchers had sub-4 ERAs, and five pitchers logged over 100 innings. Lyles takes the award after leading the team in innings (144.2), strikeouts (167) and games started (26). Jordan also ranked second among Legends’ starting pitchers in ERA (3.24) and third in wins (7). Lyles’ 167 strikeouts are second most in one season by a Legends starting pitcher.
Robert Bono led the Legends starters with 10 wins and a 3.20 ERA. Relief pitcher Henry Villar posted a 2.60 ERA in 43 games and struck out 109 batters in 90 innings pitched.
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.
Sunday’s Futures Game will be remembered for its four-hour rain delay, and the representatives from Kentucky minor league teams would probably prefer it remain that way. The two Bluegrass representatives combined to go 0-3 with a strikeout and four men left on base. Bowling Green right fielder Kyeong Kang popped out in a pinch hit appearance in the top of the seventh before remaining in the game to play left field in the bottom of the inning, and Louisville outfielder Chris Heisey earned the start in left field for the U. S. team, but was 0-2 with a strikeout in the game.
Here is the complete box score for the Futures Game.
Jim Callis at Baseball America also has a recap of the World team’s 7-5 victory.
The MLB All-Star break will be interesting for both Futures Game outfielder Chris Heisey and Louisville outfielder Drew Stubbs. Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce broke his wrist and will be out for an extended time. John Fay at the Cincinnati Enquirer breaks down the likelihood of the Reds calling up one of the two Louisville prospects to replace Bruce.
The Reds did recall Adam Rosales from Louisville to take Bruce’s roster spot Sunday.
Ross Bagienski recaps the Bats’ 8-4 victory over the Columbus Clippers Sunday.
The Legends and Hot Rods were off Sunday. Lexington opens a four-game series in Delmarva tonight, and Bowling Green starts a four-game set in Lakewood.