In the sixth University of Kentucky post in the “offseason position battle” series we will look at the vacant midweek starting pitcher positions:
The departed — UK returns each of its three weekend starting pitchers, but head coach Gary Henderson needs to fix a problem from the last two seasons by finding a suitable starting pitcher for midweek matchups to provide much-needed depth. Left-handed pitcher Logan Darnell, a 2010 senior, made 11 weekend starts for UK in 2010 before moving to the bullpen at the end of the season…Right-handed pitcher Sean Bouthilette, a 2010 sophomore, started seven games for the Cats in two years before transferring to Campbellsville University…Right-handed pitcher Jordan Cooper was UK’s primary midweek starter early in the 2010 but cemented himself as the Cats’ Saturday starting pitcher during conference play and will reprise that role in 2011…Right-handed pitcher Joe Devine started three midweek games for UK in 2010 but transferred to Georgetown College prior to this season.
Returning candidates — Sophomore right-handed pitcher and outfielder Sam Kidd started five games for UK last season and finished the year 1-2 with an 8.89 ERA in 12 total appearances. Kidd didn’t last longer than four innings in any of his 12 appearances…Sophomore right-handed pitcher Walter Wijas excelled in a bullpen role for UK in 2010 but also pitched well in his one start on the season, earning a no decision after surrendering one run in three and one-third innings against Florida. Wijas also pitched four and one-third scoreless innings of relief in a UK win against LSU.
Newcomers to watch — Freshman left-handed pitcher Corey Littrell was the 43rd round pick by the Washington Nationals in the 2010 MLB draft and a first-team all-state selection by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association as a senior at Trinity High School. Littrell was considered the top high school draft prospect in Kentucky and was the Louisville Slugger Kentucky High School Player of the Year. As a senior at Trinity, Littrell was 8-3 with a 1.90 ERA…Freshman right-handed pitcher Jonathan Paquet was the 36th round selection of the New York Yankees in the 2010 draft, even though his high school did not field a baseball team. Paquet made two starts for Quebec during the Baseball Canada Cup…Junior college transfer Alex Phillips started 12 games for Lower Columbia College in 2010, finishing the season 9-1 with a 1.52 ERA in 71 innings pitched.
Wildcard — Freshman infielder and right-handed pitcher J. T. Riddle, 2010 Mr. Kentucky Baseball, will likely push for early playing time on offense but could also serve a valuable role as a midweek starter or reliever. Riddle was 8-0 with a 1.26 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 60 innings as a senior at Western Hill High School en route to a first-team all-state selection by the KHSBCA. Riddle walked just 12 batters as senior in high school.
Christian Friedrich; Photo by Matt McGee via Flickr
Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com profiles Louisville native and St. X alum Matt Anderson‘s attempted return to MLB with the Philadelphia Phillies. Anderson was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 draft, and is 15-7 with a 5.19 ERA in 257 career games. A shoulder injury derailed his career in 2003.
Tracy Ringolsby of Baseball America ranks former EKU left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich the No. 4 prospect in the Colorado Rockies system.
Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranks one-time UK outfielder turned second baseman Jason Kipnis the No. 4 second base prospect in MiLB.
On Tuesday we linked comments from Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, who said he would not trade former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton before Opening Day. Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports the Phillies have decided Blanton’s role as rotation depth is worth more than his trade value.
Derek Poore of the Courier-Journal reports Blue Jays farmhand Trystan Magnuson, former major league pitcher Paul Byrd, UofL head coach Dan McDonnell, former Astro Chris Burke and others will speak at the BaseballCon held at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville on Jan. 28-29.
Yesterday we listed the newcomers on the newly released University of Kentucky roster, but also of interest were the 2010 players no longer on the roster. BluGrass Baseball has confirmed third baseman Andy Burns transferred to Arizona, outfielder Cory Farris transferred to Cumberland University, right-handed pitcher Joe Devine transferred to Georgetown College, outfielder Navarro Hall transferred to Columbus State University, right-handed pitcher Chase Greene transferred to Eastern Kentucky University and right-handed pitcher Sean Bouthilette transferred to Campbellsville University. Right-handed pitcher Kyle Jackson and left-handed pitcher Jon Carlson are also no longer on the roster.
University of Louisville sophomore infielder Ryan Wright has been selected to the 22-man 2010 Team USA Collegiate National Team.
University of Kentucky and Lexington Hustlers right-handed pitcher Joe Devine was named an all-star in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League.
Lexington native Wes Wilson (Indiana), Morehead State University outfielder Cameron Flynn, Morehead St. and Hustlers infielder Travis Redmon, and Lexington native and Hustlers outfielder Justin Riddle were also named GLSC all-stars.
Georgetown College outfielder Tyler Fisher was named a New York Collegiate Baseball League all-star.
UK catcher Michael Williams was named a all-star in the New England Collegiate baseball League.
The two non-OVC teams swept the in-state matchups Friday in the season’s last mid-week games. Check out recaps and awards from the games below:
No. 11 University of Louisville rode five RBI from senior catcher Jeff Arnold to a 14-3 blowout of Eastern Kentucky University Tuesday. Arnold was 2-5 with two runs scored, and five Cardinals tallied at least two hits in the game. Senior third baseman Phil Wunderlich was 3-5 with a run scored and RBI. Junior center fielder Josh Richmond, who was playing in his fourth game since missing 29 games with a broken hand, launched his first home run of the season. EKU senior first baseman Anthony Ottrando launched his 17th home run of the season. UofL senior right-handed pitcher Tyler Mathis was credited with the win after pitching two perfect innings. (Box Score)
Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Joe Devine earned his first University of Kentucky career victory in a 6-3 win over Murray State University. Devine allowed one run on three hits in five and one-third innings and struck out four while walking one. UK junior second baseman Chris Bisson was 2-5 in the game, and six different Cats scored a run. Murray St. senior catcher Jason Laws and senior outfielder Daniel Hill each homered in the game. UK left-handed pitcher Logan Darnell earned his first save of the season but surrendered two runs in one and two-third innings. (Box Score)
Hitter of the day: C Jeff Arnold (UofL)
Stats: 2-5, 2 R, 5 RBI, 1 2B, 1 3B
Honorable Mention: Andrew Clark (UofL), Phil Wunderlich (UofL), Anthony Ottrando (EKU), Chris Bisson (UK), Jason Laws (Murray St.)
Pitcher of the day: RHP Joe Devine (UK)
Stats: 1-0, 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO
Honorable Mention: Tyler Mathis (UofL), Eric Sanders (EKU), Marc Harmon (Murray St.)
Western Kentucky University is off this week until Friday, but the other five division one Kentucky baseball teams are in action. Check out the midweek schedule below with links to follow the game and pitching probables listed when available.