Bruce struggles in Reds’ loss; Venters excels in Braves’ win; Kipnis among Eastern League top prospects

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Jay Bruce; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky highlights from Friday playoff action and the latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Former Louisville Bats outfielder Jay Bruce homered but also allowed two runs to score when he lost a ball in the lights during the seventh inning in the Cincinnati Reds’ 7-4 loss to the Phillies. Left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman, who spent most of 2010 with the Bats, took the loss.
  • Atlanta Braves left-handed pitcher Jonny Venters, born in Pikeville, surrendered two hits in a scoreless inning in the team’s 5-4 win over the Giants.
  • John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports the Red Sox were one of 21 teams scouting Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb during an Instructional League appearance Thursday.
  • John Manuel of Baseball America ranked one-time UK outfielder turned second baseman Jason Kipnis No. 9 on the magazine’s Eastern League top 20 prospects list.
  • In the accompanying online chat Manuel also answered several questions about Kipnis. (subscription required)

Kentuckians in MLB Playoffs

Major League Baseball

The playoffs are officially underway with the Texas Rangers up 4-0 on Tampa Bay at the time of this posting. The playoffs aren’t without plenty of Kentucky connections as every team except the Giants has a player with Bluegrass State connections. Check out the list of Kentucky natives and former minor league players participating in the playoffs below:

Cincinnati Reds (NL Central)

  • Edison Volquez — Louisville Bats (2010)*
  • Johnny Cueto — Louisville Bats (2007)
  • Aroldis Chapman — Louisville Bats (2010)
  • Logan Ondrusek — Louisville Bats (2008, 09, 10)
  • Bill Bray — Louisville Bats (2007, 08, 09, 10)
  • Homer Bailey — Louisville Bats (2007, 08, 09, 10)
  • Travis Wood — Louisville Bats (2009, 2010)
  • Joey Votto — Louisville Bats (2007)
  • Jay Bruce — Louisville Bats (2007, 08, 09)
  • Drew Stubbs — Louisville Bats (2008, 09)
  • Jonny Gomes — Louisville Bats (2009)
  • Ryan Hanigan — Louisville Bats (2003, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10)
  • Chris Heisey — Louisville Bats (2009)
  • Paul Janish — Louisville Bats (2007, 08)
  • Juan Francisco — Louisville Bats (2009, 10)

Philadelphia Phillies (NL East)

  • Joe Blanton — Franklin-Simpson HS (UK)

Atlanta Braves (NL Wild Card)

  • Jonny Venters — Born in Pikeville, Ky. (HS in Florida)
  • Brooks Conrad — Lexington Legends (2003)

Minnesota Twins (AL Central)

  • Jon Rauch — Oldham Co. High School (Morehead St.)

New York Yankees (AL Wild Card)

  • Austin Kearns — Lafayette High School

Tampa Bay Rays (AL East)

  • Ben Zobrist — Lexington Legends (2005)

Texas Rangers (AL West)

  • Josh Hamilton — Louisville Bats (2007)*

*– Volquez and Hamilton both played for Louisville only during rehab assignments.

Reds win NL central on walk-off HR; Kearns, Yankees clinch playoff spot; Revere could be on Twins postseason roster

College Baseball, Major League Baseball

Jay Bruce; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Links from around Kentucky baseball fans as Reds fans come back down from last night’s euphoria:

  • The Cincinnati Reds clinched the NL Central on a walkoff home run from former Louisville Bats outfielder Jay Bruce. The Reds currently have 24 former Bats on their active roster. Six former Bats played in the division clinching win, and 2010 Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman got the win.
  • Lexington native Austin Kearns and the New York Yankees clinched an AL playoff spot with a 6-1 win over the Blue Jays. The Yankees remain one-half game back of the Rays in the AL East.
  • Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, born in Louisville, tallied his 100th RBI of the season after slugging his 32nd home run in a 3-2 loss to Atlanta.
  • Eric Nelson of WCCO reports Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere is grateful for his chance to play for the Twins this season.
  • Aaron Gleeman of the Minnesota Post reports, despite being called up on Sept. 1 Revere is still in the running for the final bench spot on the Twins playoff roster thanks to some disabled list roster maneuvering.
  • Sam Schreiber of WAVE reports former University of Louisville baseball player Isaiah Howes has made his first public comments since shooting former UofL football player Daniel Covington.
  • David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News projects former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton would start game four of the NLCS and World Series if the Phillies were to advance that far.

Downs competing for closer job; NKU, UofL recaps

College Baseball, Major League Baseball

Scott Downs; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Some afternoon notes for your Thursday:

  • Jordan Bastian of reports the Blue Jays might go with a closer-by-committee including University of Kentucky alum Scott Downs.
  • Chad Hensley of The Northerner, Northern Kentucky University’s independent student newspaper, reports on the Norse’s weekly baseball honors.
  • The Courier-Journal reports on the University of Louisville‘s 4-0 start.
  • Debbie Harbsmeier of WHAS reports on UofL’s victory over Morehead State University.
  • John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer talks to Reds manager Dusty Baker about a number of past and likely future Louisville Bats including: Drew Stubbs, Jay Bruce, Sam LeCure and Aroldis Chapman.

Reds Caravan to stop in Ky.; Hot Rods participate in Offseason prospects camp; Eastern gets indoor facility

High School Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball
The hot stove league is still chugging along at a snails pace as Spring Training gets closer by the day. Check out some offseason updates from local media below:
  • The Cincinnati Reds Winter Caravan will stop in Louisville on Jan. 28 and in Lexington on Jan. 31. The Louisville stop will be at the Louisville Slugger Museum and the Lexington visit will be at the Fayette Mall.
  • Manager Dusty Baker, outfielder Jay Bruce and 2009 Louisville Bat Todd Frazier will be among those participating in the Kentucky events.
  • Former UK pitcher Adam Revelette is now blogging for University of Kentucky Athletics at “Cat Scratches.”
  • Carrie Muskat of the reports 2009 Louisville Bats reliever Jeff Kennard has signed a Minor League contract with the Chicago Cubs and received and invitation to Spring Training.
  • 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods Tim Beckham, Jake Jefferies, Nick Barnese and Matt Moore participated in the Tampa Bay Rays Winter Development Program according to Bill Chastain of
  • Eastern High School in Louisville has opened just the third indoor high school batting facility in the city, Derek Poore of The Courier Journal reports.

BluGrass Baseball top fantasy players

Major League Baseball


Joey Votto; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Tristan H. Cockcroft has released his preliminary rankings for the 2010 top 200 fantasy players. Clearly this list will change based on offseason movement and injuries before March, but it’s never too early to start preparing your fantasy draft. Here are the players with Kentucky ties on the list:


  • 41) 1B Joey Votto — Louisville Bats — Cincinnati Reds
  • 44) 3B Mark Reynolds — Pikevilly, Ky. — Arizona Diamondbacks
  • 58) OF Adam Dunn — Louisville Bats — Washington Nationals
  • 90) INF/OF Ben Zobrist — Lexington Legends — Tampa Bay Rays
  • 100) OF Hunter Pence — Lexington Legends — Houston Astros
  • 114) OF Jay Bruce — Louisville Bats — Cincinnati Reds
  • 136) SP Wandy Rodriguez — Lexington Legends — Houston Astros
  • 145) SP Brandon Webb — Ashland, Ky., UK — Arizona Diamondbacks
  • 146) 2B Dan Uggla — Louisville, Ky. — Florida Marlins
  • 177) 2B Felipe Lopez — Louisville Bats — FA

You can see Cockcroft’s full list here.

Bluegrass players among ESPN’s top 100 keepers

Major League Baseball
Photo by angela n. via Flickr

Photo by angela n. via Flickr

ESPN has released its list of top 100 fantasy keepers for 2010. Keepers in fantasy baseball are players that a fantasy owner has control of for multiple seasons. The list doesn’t necessarily reflect the best fantasy players, because youth is rewarded since an owner will control the player for multiple years. You can see the full list here, but these are the Kentucky players and their rankings:

  • 23 — Mark Reynolds — Arizona Diamondbacks — Pikeville, Ky.
  • 40 — Joey Votto — Cincinnati Reds — Louisville Bats
  • 56 — Adam Dunn — Washington Nationals — Louisville Bats
  • 69 — Hunter Pence — Houston Astros — Lexington Legends
  • 80 — Ben Zobrist — Tampa Rays — Lexington Legends
  • 83 — Jay Bruce — Cincinnati Reds — Louisville Bats
  • 92 — Drew Stubbs — Cincinnati Reds — Louisville Bats
  • 99 — Dan Uggla — Florida Marlins — Louisville, Ky.

Wednesday Links: Major League Roundup

Major League Baseball
Dan Uggla; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Dan Uggla; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The playoff races are all but decided, but several BluGrass Baseball players played vital roles in the remaining races Tuesday.  Check those links and more in today’s links:

  • Louisville native Dan Uggla hit his 31st home run of the season while the Marlins dropped Atlanta to three games out of the NL Wild Card.
  • Morehead State alum Jon Rauch picked up his third win in game one of a double-header for the Twins. The Twins remain two games behind Detroit for the AL Central crown.
  • Lexington native Tyler Clippard picked up his third win of the season for Washington.
  • 2009 Bat Homer Bailey picked up his seventh win for the Reds, and former bat Jay Bruce had two home runs in the victory.

September Callups — Updated Sep. 14

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Jay Bruce
Sep. 1 marked the official expansion of MLB rosters from 25 to 40.  While no team actually carries 40 players during the “September Callup” period, many teams bring some young players up from the minor leagues to either reinforce their team for a playoff run or have and extended audition for next season.  We’ll use this post to keep track of any players with Kentucky ties that are called up to the big leagues as minor league seasons end. Major-league players who were activated from the disabled list because of the expanded rosters are also noted. New additions are bolded.

  • OF Jay Bruce (DL) — Cincinnati Reds — 2008, 2009 Louisville Bats
  • 3B Juan Francisco — Cincinnati Reds — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • C A. J. EllisLos Angeles Dodgers — Dunbar Class of 1999
  • RHP Matt BelisleColorado Rockies — 2003-2004 Louisville Bats
  • C Ryan HanniganCincinnati Reds — 2007-2009 Louisville Bats
  • OF Corey Hart (DL) — Milwuakee Brewers — Greenwood High
  • LHP Matt Maloney — Cincinnati Reds — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • RHP Carlos Fisher — Cincinnati Reds — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • 3b Chris Johnson — Houston Astros –2007 Lexington Legends
  • SS Tommy Manzella — Houston Astros — 2006 Lexington Legends
  • 3b Edwin Encarnacion (DL) — Toronto Blue Jays — 2005-2007 Louisville Bats
  • RHP Todd Wellemeyer (DL) — St. Louis Cardinals — Bellarmine
  • LHP Pedro Viola — Cincinnati Reds — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • 2B Brooks Conrad — Atlanta Braves — 2003 Lexington Legend
  • RHP Matt Albers — Baltimore Orioles — 2004 Lexington Legends
  • 1B Kevin Barker — Cincinnati Reds — 2009 Louisville Bats
  • RP Ramon Ramirez — Cincinnati Reds — 2009 Louisville Bats

Thursday Links: Louisville’s Game One Loss

College Baseball, High School Baseball

Jay Bruce

Louisville’s 8-4 loss in game one of the five-game series against Durham was the lead story in the BluGrass Baseball universe Wednesday.  Check out the multitude of game recaps and more in Thursday’s links:

  • The Louisville Bats’ Web site reports their defense faltered in game one.
  • The site also reports on Alonso’s promotion and Jay Bruce’s role with the team.
  • Mike Potter of the Courier-Journal reports the Bats bowed to the Bulls in game one.
  • The box score from game one.
  • Mark Sheldon of reports that Reds’ outfielder Jay Bruce will remain with Louisville through the first round of the playoffs.
  • Michael Grant of the Courier-Journal previews the Bats’ playoff series.
  • UofL Baseball has announced it will hold walk-on tryouts.
  • Murray State Athletics reports former Racer baseball player Tommy Rushing has passed away.
  • I updated the Top Prospects page to include Reds’ top prospect Yonder Alonso.