EKU unveils All-Century Team; Former Ky. major leaguer dies; Brandon Webb needs to step up in 2011

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

EKU All-Century Team; Photo by Chris Radcliffe

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Eastern Kentucky University unveiled its All-Century Baseball team, which includes current minor leaguers Christian Friedrich, Jayson Langfels, Neil Sellers and Josh Anderson.
  • Tom Gage of The Detroit News reports Ewing native and 18-year MLB veteran Woodie Fryman died Friday in Lexington. Fryman was 70 years old. Fryman was 141-155 with a 3.77 ERAa in his MLB career.
  • Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe lists former UK right-handed pitcher and Ashland native Brandon Webb among the players that need to step up for their teams in 2011.
  • John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer runs down some Reds’ questions entering Spring Training, including several that affect 2010 Louisville Bats. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty notes Bats pitchers Sam LeCure and Matt Maloney, who makes his offseason home in Louisville, are being groomed as depth behind the six starting rotation candidates, meaning they will likely begin 2011 with the Bats.
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Top 2011 Ky. Collegians — No. 18 RHP Casey Lucchese

College Baseball

Inspired by College Baseball Daily’s list of the top 100 college baseball players, BluGrass Baseball is counting down the top 25 returning Kentucky collegians in advance of the 2011 season. We continue the list today with a returning draftee who will likely close for one of the top teams in the country this season.

No. 19 — RHP Casey Lucchese — College of Charleston (Paul Laurence Dunbar HS)

Casey Lucchese; College of Charleston photo

Senior right-handed pitcher Casey Lucchese returns to college after being selected in the 39th round of the 2010 draft by the Chicago Cubs. Lucchese was 4-0 with a 3.18 ERA in 21 relief appearances in 2010. The Paul Laurence Dunbar High School alum struck out 52 batters and walked 16 in 39 and two-third innings. He held opponents to a .222 batting average last season. Lucchese appeared in one game for the Lexington Hustlers during the summer.

College of Charleston enters the 2011 season ranked No. 20 team in the country as ranked by Baseball America. Aaron Fitt of BA projects Lucchese as the team’s primary 2011 closer writing Lucchese “was the team’s most reliable reliever last year, and he should do fine as the closer thanks to an 88-92 fastball and a swing-and-miss curve.” The Lexington Herald-Leader included Lucchese on its 2007 all-city team, which also included minor leaguers Ben Revere, Robbie Ross, Jayson Langfels, Tyler Oliver and Thomas Royse and current college standouts Nick Maronde, Cameron Flynn, Justin Riddell and Travis Redmon.

Offseason position battle: EKU third baseman

College Baseball

The offseason position battle series moves to Richmond today with a look at Eastern Kentucky University‘s vacant third base position:

The departed: Junior third baseman Jayson Langfels started ever game at third base for EKU in 2010 and batted .353 with 16 home runs, 52 RBI and 61 runs scored. Langfels has since moved on to professional baseball as the 16th round pick of the Colorado Rockies. Langfels’ 61 runs scored and .696 slugging percentage led the team and his 18 career triples are a Ohio Valley Conference record.

Returning candidates: Rising junior infielder Dustin Dunlop was the only other Colonel to appear in a game at third base in 2010 after pinch running for Langfels against the University of the Cumberlands. Dunlop spent most of his time at second base in 2010 but did play some third base as a freshman in 2009. Rising senior Bryce Labhart, rising sophomore Alex Hughes, rising junior Richie Rodriguez and rising sophomore Matt Phipps are the other returning infielders on the roster. Rodriguez and Phipps ended 2010 as the starting shortstop and second baseman respectively.

Newcomers to watch: Incoming freshmen infielders Bryan Solomon, Alex Arovits and Mitch Durbin each boasted strong performances during the EKU fall World Series. When Solomon signed with the Colonels head coach Jason Stein called him “a complete third baseman” who could hit for average and power while playing great defense with a “great arm.” Solomon may also pitch for the Colonels.

Wildcard: The candidates for EKU’s vacant infield positions appear to be fairly straight forward, so don’t look for any surprises. Head coach Jason Stein could conceivably move one of the team’s surplus outfielders to the infield or rearrange incumbents Rodriguez, Phipps and Dunlop.

Kentucky Rookie MiLB Leaderboard

Minor League Baseball

Yesterday we looked at the hitting and pitching leaderboards for full-season Kentucky minor leaguers in advance of the BluGrass Baseball MiLB awards post. If you saw that post you already know former UK catcher Marcus Nidiffer was named the rookie of the year, but looking at the statistical leaders among players that made their professional debuts in 2010 is still helpful.

Batting Average (2.7 PA/team game)

  • Phil Wunderlich (SS Hudson Valley) – .330
  • Andrew Clark (SS Spokane) – .295
  • Richie Rowland (R Missoula) – .291
  • Wes Cunningham (SS Eugene) – .290
  • Lance Ray (Low A Beloit) – .289

On-base Percentage

  • Wes Cunningham (SS Eugene) – .415
  • Andrew Clark (SS Spokane) – .401
  • Lance Ray (Low A Beloit) – .372
  • Marcus Nidiffer (SS Tri-City) – .372
  • Phil Wunderlich (SS Hudson Valley) – .372

Slugging Percentage

  • Marcus Nidiffer (SS Tri-City) – .535
  • Phil Wunderlich (SS Hudson Valley) — .478
  • Wes Cunningham (SS Eugene) – .449
  • Drew Lee (R Bristol) – .435
  • Lance Ray (Low A Beloit) – .417

Runs

  • Marcus Nidiffer (SS Tri-City) – 40
  • Wes Cunningham (SS Eugene) – 34
  • Andrew Clark (SS Spokane) – 32
  • Drew Lee (R Bristol) – 32
  • Phil Wunderlich (SS Hudson Valley) – 31

HR

  • Marcus Nidiffer (SS Tri-City) – 14
  • Drew Lee (R Bristol) – 5
  • Richie Rowland (R Missoula) – 5
  • Adam Duvall (SS Salem-Keizer) – 4
  • Phil Wunderlich (SS Hudson Valley) – 4
  • Jayson Langfels (SS Tri-City) – 4

RBI

  • Andrew Clark (SS Spokane) – 41
  • Drew Lee (R Bristol) – 39
  • Marcus Nidiffer (SS Tri-City) – 36
  • Phil Wunderlich (SS Hudson Valley) – 36
  • Richie Rowland (R Missoula) – 34

Stolen Bases

  • Cameron Conner (R Idaho Falls) – 15
  • Marcus Nidiffer (SS Tri-City) – 9
  • Matt Payton (R GCL Phillies) – 9
  • Wes Cunningham (SS Eugene) – 7
  • Chris Bisson (SS Eugene) – 5
  • Drew Lee (R Bristol) – 5

Hit the jump to see the pitching leaders.

MiLB Roundup: Bats win; Legends, Hot Rods lose; Langfels, Cunningham, Townsend homer; Mabee gets win

Minor League Baseball

Wes Cunningham: BluGrass Baseball photo

Highlights from Tuesday Kentucky MiLB action:

  • The Louisville Bats opened their seven-game homestand with a 5-1 win over Indianapolis. Right fielder Wladimir Balentien was 3-4 with two home runs, four RBI and two runs scored.
  • The Lexington Legends blew a 4-0, eighth inning lead in an eventual 5-4 loss to Augusta. Right-handed pitcher Jose Cisnero took a no decision despite facing the minimum 21 batters through seven shutout innings. Cisnero surrendered one hit and struck out four.
  • The Bowling Green Hot Rods failed to secure a series split against South Bend with a 3-2 loss Tuesday. Center fielder Ty Morrison was 2-4 with two RBI.
  • Former EKU third baseman and 2010 Rockies draftee Jayson Langfels slugged his fourth home run of the season for short-season Tri-City.
  • Former NKU outfielder Jake Shaffer was 3-5 with a triple, two RBI and two runs scored for high A High Desert.
  • Former Murray St. first baseman and 2010 Padres draftee Wes Cunningham slugged his fourth home run of the season for short-season Eugene.
  • Former Morehead St. right-handed pitcher Henry Mabee earned his third win of the season with two shutout innings for AA Birmingham.
  • London native Jon Townsend slugged his sixth home run of the season for high A Rancho Cucamonga.

MiLB Roundup: Bats, Hot Rods win; Legends lose; Friedrich shines; Langfels, Duvall, Richmond have big nights

Minor League Baseball

Christian Friedrich; Photo by Matt McGee via Flickr

Highlights from Thursday Kentucky MiLB action:

  • Rehabbing Cincinnati Reds right-handed pitcher Homer Bailey looked ready for a return to the big leagues after leading the Louisville Bats to a 6-0 win over Norfolk. Bailey surrendered just six hits in seven innings and struck out nine while walking none.
  • Right-handed pitcher Kirby Yates posted his first quality start since July 15 in the Bowling Green Hot Rods 6-4 win over South Bend. Yates surrendered three runs on seven hits in six innings and struck out three batters while walking two.
  • The Lexington Legends scored three runs in the ninth inning, but the game was long out of reach by that point in an 8-3 loss to Hagerstown. Right fielder Jacob Goebbert was 2-4 with a double, one RBI and one run scored.
  • Former EKU left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich earned his third win of the season after surrendering one unearned run on three hits in six innings. Friedrich struck out three and walked one.
  • Former EKU infielder and 2010 Rockies draftee Jayson Langfels tallied three hits, slugged two home runs and drove in six runs for short-season Tri-City.
  • Former UofL infielder and 2010 Giants draftee Adam Duvall slugged his third home run on the season for short-season Salem-Keizer.
  • Former UofL outfielder and 2010 Rangers draftee Josh Richmond slugged his second home run of the season and drove in six runs for short-season Spokane.
  • Ballard High School alum Jeremy Sowers got his third start of  the season for AAA Columbus and took a no decision despite surrendering just one hit in five innings. Sowers struck out five and walked none.

MiLB roundup: Relievers shine, Langfels homers as most leagues take the night off; Wunderlich streaking

Minor League Baseball

Jayson Langfels; EKU photo

An abbreviated roundup of Tuesday Kentucky MiLB action as most leagues did not play yesterday:

  • Each of the three Kentucky MiLB teams had the day off.
  • Former UofL right-handed pitcher and 2010 Nationals draftee Neil Holland pitched a scoreless inning for short-season Vermont and hasn’t surrendered an earned run in his first seven professional outings over nine and two-third innings. On the season he has struck out 10 batters and walked just one.
  • Former UofL infielder and 2010 Rays draftee Phil Wunderlich extended his hitting streak to nine games.
  • Former EKU third baseman and 2010 Rockies draftee Jayson Langfels slugged his first professional home run for short-season Tri-City.
  • In that same game, Boyd County native and 2010 Royals NDFA Tyler Gatrell picked up his fifth save with a scoreless inning for the AZL Royals. Gatrell hasn’t surrendered an earned run in his first eight professional outings and has struck out 15 while walking just three in eight and one-third innings.
  • Former UK outfielder Antone DeJesus was 1-2 with a triple and two RBI for AA Springfield.
  • Frankfort native and 2010 Royals draftee Cameron Conner was 1-3 with a triple, walk, RBI and run scored for the rookie-level AZL Royals.

2010 Draftees Minor League Debuts

Minor League Baseball

Marcus Nidiffer; BluGrass Baseball photo

Most of the 2010 draftees who have already signed professional contracts have a few Minor League games under their belt by now so I thought I’d update you on their early performances. Check out the list below, organized by draft position, with Minor League team listed and Kentucky connection in parentheses:

  • RHP Thomas Royse (UofL) — Great Falls Voyagers — 0-0, 1 GS, 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 SO
  • 2B Chris Bisson (UK) — Eugene Emeralds — Has not played
  • OF Lance Ray (UK) — Elizabethton Twins — 5-23 (.217), 2 RBI, 2 R
  • SS Jonathan Roof (Paducah) — AZL Rangers — Has not played
  • RHP Neil Holland (UofL) — Vermont Lake Monsters — 0-0, 2 G, 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO
  • 2B Adam Duvall (UofL) — Salem-Keizer Volcanoes — 2-11 (.182), 3 R
  • SS Drew Lee (Morehead St.) — Bristol White Sox — 8-23 (.348), 5 RBI, 3 R
  • 1B Andrew Clark (UofL) — Spokane Indians — 11-28 (.393), 2 RBI, 3 R
  • 3B Michael Mosby (Hawesville) — Bluefield Orioles — 4-10 (.400), 1 RBI, 3 R
  • RHP Patrick Cooper (Danville) — Not assigned to a team
  • 3B Jayson Langfels (EKU) — Tri-City Dust Devils — 2-15 (.133), 1 RBI
  • 1B Wes Cunningham (Murray St.) — Eugene Emeralds — 1-14 (.071), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R
  • OF Cameron Conner (Frankfort) — AZL Royals — 3-18 (.167), 1 RBI
  • C Jeff Arnold (UofL) — Salem-Keizer Volcanoes — 4-14 (.286), 2 R
  • 2B Matt Payton (WKU) — GCL Phillies — 2-19 (.105)
  • RHP Matt Little (UK) — Connecticut Tigers — 0-0, 4 G, 1 SV, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO
  • LHP Jarrett Casey (NKU) — Bristol White Sox — 0-1, 2 G, 1 SV, 2.2 IP, 4 H, 7 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO
  • 1B Tyler Oliver (Lexington) — 7-18 (.389), 5 RBI, 2 R
  • RHP Stephen Shackleford (Louisville) — 0-1, 2 G, 3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO
  • LHP Dean Kiekhefer (UofL) — 0-1, 1 G, 2.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO
  • OF Jeremy Shelby (Lexington) — Bluefield Orioles — 1-8 (.125), 2 R, 1 SB
  • LHP Bart Carter (WKU) — Fort Myers Miracle — 3 G, 4 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO
  • RHP Matt Ridings (WKU) — Out for season after Tommy John Surgery
  • 2B Patrick Brady (Bellarmine) — AZL Mariners — 0-4, 1 R
  • LHP Bob Revesz (UofL) — Johnson City Cardinals — 0-0, 1 G, 2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO
  • C Marcus Nidiffer (UK) — Greenville Astros — 7-16  (.438), 2 RBI, 2 R
  • 3B Gunner Glad (UK) — Elizabethton Twins — 5-20 (.200), 3 R
  • RHP Tyler Gatrell (Boyd Co.) — AZL Royals — 0-0, 2 G, 3.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO
  • OF J. D. Ashbrook (Morehead St.) — 2-11 (.182), 1 R
  • C Richie Rowland (Campbellsville) — 9-17 (.529), 3 RBI, 3 R

Minor league assignments for 2010 draftees

Minor League Baseball

Chris Bisson; Photo: UK Athletics

Minor League Baseball short-season league play began over the weekend, and rookie leagues are set to start this week so most of the 2010 Kentucky draftees have been given their first professional assignments. You can always access these assignments for all Kentucky minor leaguers on the “Ky. in the Minors” page, but here’s a rundown of the players making their professional debuts listed in draft order:

  • Thomas Royse — University of Louisville — Rookie Great Falls Voyagers
  • Chris Bisson — University of Kentucky — Short-Season Eugene Emeralds
  • Jonathan Roof — Paducah, Ky., Michigan St. — Rookie AZL Rangers
  • Neil Holland — University of Louisville — Short-Season Vermont Lake Monsters
  • Adam Duvall — University of Louisville — Short-Season Salem-Keizer Volcanoes
  • Drew Lee — Morehead State University — Rookie Bristol White Sox
  • Andrew Clark — University of Louisville — Short-Season Spokane Indians
  • Jayson Langfels — Eastern Kentucky University — Short-Season Tri-City Dust Devils
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray State University — Short-Season Eugene Emeralds
  • Jeff Arnold — University of Louisville — Short-Season Salem-Keizer Volcanoes
  • Matt Little — University of Kentucky — Short-Season  Connecticut Tigers
  • Jarrett Casey — Northern Kentucky University — Rookie Bristol White Sox
  • Dean Kiekhefer — University of Louisville — Rookie Johnson City Cardinals
  • Patrick Brady — Bellarmine University — Rookie AZL Mariners
  • Bob Revesz — University of Louisville — Rookie Johnson City Cardinals
  • Marcus Nidiffer — University of Kentucky — Rookie Greenville Astros
  • Daniel Webb — Paducah, Ky., (2009 Draftee) — Short-Season Auburn DoubleDays

There are nine other confirmed Kentucky signees from the 2010 draft that have yet to be assigned a team so look for an update later this week when Rookie level rosters are finalized.

Langfels signs with Rockies; Rice to return to WKU

College Baseball, Major League Baseball

Jayson Langfels; EKU photo

Eastern Kentucky University junior third baseman Jayson Langfels has signed a professional contract with the Colorado Rockies as the team’s 16th round selection in the 2010 MLB amateur players draft. Langfels will forgo his senior season at EKU and will likely report to short season ball later this summer. The Lafayette High School alum batted .353 with 16 home runs, 61 runs scored and 52 RBI in 2010. As a sophomore, Langfels led the Ohio Valley Conference with a .441 batting average with 12 home runs and 72 RBI.

Western Kentucky University junior catcher Matt Rice will not sign with the New York Yankees after being selected with the last pick in the 2010 draft. Rice, who boasts a 4.0 grade point average in Mechanical Engineering and is in the running to become WKU’s first Rhode’s Scholar, batted .369 with 10 home runs, 65 RBI and 51 runs scored in 2010. Rice told MLB.com “I definitely have an interest in playing professionally. Hopefully next year, something would work out.” (Read more)