Kentucky in MiLB Playoffs

Minor League Baseball

Colling Cowgill; Photo: UK Athletics

League playoffs from across Minor League Baseball are set to begin this week. Last week we looked at the Kentucky alumni participating in rookie league playoffs, so I thought I’d do the same for the other minor leagues:

Pacific Coast League (AAA)

  • Tacoma Rainers — Josh Lueke

International League (AAA)

  • Louisville Bats — Matt Klinker
  • Columbus Clippers — Jeremy Sowers (DL)

Texas League (AA)

  • Springfield Cardinals — Antone DeJesus

Eastern League (AA)

  • New Hampshire Fisher Cats — Trystan Magnuson
  • Harrisburg Senators — Zach Dials

Southern League (AA)

  • Tennessee Smokies — Chris Rusin (DL)
  • Jacksonville Suns — Graham Taylor (DL)
  • Mobile BayBears — Collin Cowgill, Sean Coughlin, Josh Ellis

California League (High A)

  • Stockton Ports — Justin Marks
  • High Desert Mavericks — Jake Shaffer
  • Ranch Cucamonga Quakes — Jon Townsend

Florida State League (High A)

  • Dunedin Blue Jays — Justin McClanahan
  • Bradenton Marauders — Jordan Newton, Nathan Adcock

Carolina League (High A)

  • Winston-Salem Dash — Logan Johnson, Nathan Jones, Greg Paiml
  • Kinston Indians — Marty Popham

Midwest League (Low A)

  • Great Lakes Loons — J. B. Paxson
  • Quad City River Bandits — Dean Kiekhefer, Daniel Calhoun
  • Clinton Lumber Kings — Tyler Blandford (DL)
  • West Michigan Whitecaps — Wade Gaynor, Patrick Cooper

South Atlantic League (Low A)

  • Hickory Crawdads — Jonathan Roof

Northwest League (Short-Season)

  • Spokane Indians — Andrew Clark, Josh Richmond

Pioneer League (Rookie)

  • Great Falls Voyagers — Thomas Royse

MiLB Roundup: Bats clinch playoff spot despite loss; Legends win; Hot Rods lose; Adcock wins; Gaynor homers

Minor League Baseball

Nathan Adcock; Photo by mwlguide via Flickr

Highlights from Saturday Kentucky MiLB action:

  • The Louisville Bats clinched a spot in the International League playoffs despite a 4-1 loss to Indianapolis. One-time Madisonville resident Matt Klinker took the loss after surrendering four runs in five and one-third innings.
  • Two Lexington Legends pitcher combined on a seven-hit shutout in a 6-0 win over Rome. Righthanded pitcher Jose Cisnero improved to 8-6 on the season after surrendering four hits in six innings.
  • Great Lakes scored six runs in the first innings and held on to send the Bowling Green Hot Rods to a 7-5 loss. Right-handed pitcher Alex Koronis held the Loons to just one run in four and one-third innings out of the Bowling Green bullpen.
  • Former WKU right-handed pitcher J. B. Paxon recorded a hold with one and one-third scoreless innings for Great Lakes.
  • Former UK left-handed pitcher Logan Darnell took the loss in the decisive game of the Appalachian League finals after surrendering four runs in six and two-third innings for rookie-level Elizabethton.
  • Former UK infielder Michael Bertram was 3-4 with a double, triple, RBI and two runs scored for AAA Toledo.
  • Former UofL outfielder and 2010 Rangers draftee Josh Richmond was 3-4 with a walk, double and RBI for short-season Spokane.
  • Former WKU infielder Wade Gaynor slugged his tenth home run of the season for low A West Michigan.
  • Elizabethtown native Nathan Adcock improved to 11-7 on the season after surrendering two runs in five and two-third innings for high A Bradenton.
  • Covington native Neil Wilson slugged his sixth home run of the season for AAA New Orleans.

Draft Wrap-up: Winners and Losers

College Baseball

The 2010 draft is in the books for the most part, with only former UK left-handed pitcher James Paxton‘s status up in the air, so now is as good a time as any to look at some of the Kentucky winners and losers from the last two-plus months of draft news:

Winners

  • Blake Perry — Each of the Kentucky players who signed a professional contract could be listed among the winners, but we’ll single out Perry for his monumental rise over the last year. When BluGrass Baseball broke Perry’s commitment to UK  just over a year ago he was a little known former Boyle County High School pitcher who was spending his senior season playing baseball in Florida. Turn the clock a year ahead and Perry not only improved his stock enough to be drafted in the sixth round but also negotiated a signing bonus worth more than three times the recommended slot amount for players drafted after the fifth round without the help of an adviser.
  • Northern Kentucky University — The draft is a double-edged sword for college teams. Schools want their players selected for the notoriety and recruiting help such news brings but also face losing valuable underclassmen and high school signees the better they do. NKU earned some rare publicity for a DII school with two draftees, and while rising senior left-handed pitcher Dave Middendorf appeared likely to sign with the Yankees after being selected, he didn’t sign before the deadline and could offer the Norse a rare returning draftee in 2011.
  • Western Kentucky University — The Hilltoppers had about as good a draft as a Sun Belt Conference team could hope for with three prominent 2010 seniors being selected and signed to professional teams while both underclassmen and one signee selected chose to return to school for 2011. WKU did lose signee Michael Mosby to the Orioles, but rising senior catcher Matt Rice, rising redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Rye Davis and incoming freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman should help the team build on its early 2010 success.

Losers

  • James Paxton — Paxton still hasn’t signed a professional contract with the Mariners, and since his attempt to return to school after being picked in the first-supplemental round in 2009 failed last season he has no college eligibility left. As such he has until a week before the 2011 draft to sign with the Mariners. After dropping to the fourth round in the 2010 draft he stands to lose a substantial amount of money whenever he signs compared to what he would have received if he had signed in 2009. Paxton appears unlikely to suit up in affiliated ball this season unless he signs in the next few days, so he could begin 2011 with just a handful of indy ball innings under his belt over the last two years. Paxton has had some tough breaks since the 2009 draft, but at some point he likely needs to cut his losses, sign a contract and just start pitching again.
  • University of Kentucky — The Cats make the loser list only because they had the most to lose from the draft with 11 underclassmen and signees selected. UK probably expected to lose juniors Chris Bisson and Logan Darnell, but the signings of juniors Matt Little and Lance Ray deal a blow to a depleted bullpen and infield. Ray could have been the center of UK’s 2011 offense, but instead the Cats only really got half a season of production from him before he left for professional ball. The loss of signees Tyler Oliver and Perry only complicates matters. The good news is at least five drafted newcomers will arrive on campus this fall.
  • University of Louisville — The Cards have experienced great success under Dan McDonnell, but he faces his biggest rebuilding job yet in 2011 after losing nine players and one signee to the draft. Four of those loses were seniors, but McDonnell will need to find replacements for key 2010 underclassmen contributors in closer Neil Holland, ace Thomas Royse, slugger Phil Wunderlich, outfielder Josh Richmond and valuable left-handed pitcher Dean Kiekhefer. Rising redshirt junior draftee Stewart Ijames will be back as will two drafted signees, including eighth-round pick Dace Kime.

MiLB Roundup: Bats, Legends win; Hot Rods almost no-hit; Dominguez slugs 17th HR; Nidiffer, Cregar also go deep

Minor League Baseball

Chris Dominguez; UofL Photo

Highlights from Monday Kentucky MiLB action:

  • The Louisville Bats opened their road trip with a 6-5 win over Toledo. Right fielder Daniel Dorn homered and drove in three runs, and first baseman Yonder Alonso was 2-4 with two double, RBI and run scored.
  • The Lexington Legends held off a late Delmarva rally to record a 6-4 win over the Shorebirds. Second baseman Jimmy Paredes was 3-5 with a double, run scored, RBI and his 42nd stolen base of the season. Right-handed pitcher Zachary Grimmett improved to 5-2 on the season after surrendering one run in seven innings.
  • Bowling Green Hot Rods center fielder Ty Morrison singled with two outs in the ninth inning to break up a no-hitter, but was thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double to end the game in the Hot Rods’ 2-0 loss to Fort Wayne. Right-handed pitcher Jason McEachern took the loss despite surrendering just two runs in five innings.
  • Former UofL infielder Chris Dominguez was 3-4 with his 17th home run of the season, four RBI and two runs scored for low A Augusta.
  • Former UK infielder and 2010 Twins NDFA Gunner Glad was 3-5 with a double, RBI and two runs scored for rookie-level Elizabethton.
  • Former UK catcher and 2010 Astros NDFA Marcus Nidiffer slugged his third home run in four games and 11th home run of the season for rookie-level Greeneville.
  • Former UofL outfielder and 2010 Rangers draftee Josh Richmond slugged his third home run of the season for short-season Spokane.
  • Former WKU outfielder Chad Cregar homered for the second consecutive game and 16th time this season for low A Greensboro.
  • Former Murray St. left-handed pitcher Daniel Calhoun moved to 7-0 on the season after picking up the win with two and two-thirds innings on one-run relief for low A Quad Cities.
  • Former Morehead St. shortstop and 2010 White Sox draftee Drew Lee was 3-5 with a double and three RBI for rookie-level Bristol.
  • One-time Madisonville resident Matt Klinker took the loss for AA Carolina after surrendering five runs in seven innings.
  • Trinity High School alum Tyler Kuhn was 3-3 with two runs scored and one RBI for AA Birmingham.
  • Former UK outfielder and 2010 Braves NDFA Keenan Wiley made his professional debut with a 1-2 performance for rookie-level Danville.

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: Bats, Hot Rods win; Cowgill homers; Richmond perfect at plate; Lee’s streak hits 10 games

Minor League Baseball

Drew Lee; Morehead St. photo

Highlights from Wednesday Kentucky MiLB action:

  • Three different Louisville Bats homered in the team’s 7-5 win over Charlotte. First baseman Yonder Alonso, third baseman Juan Francisco and designated hitter Wladimir Balentien each launched a long ball for Louisville.
  • Bowling Green Hot Rods left-handed pitcher Kyle Lobstein earned his seventh win of the season in the Hot Rods’ 5-3 win over Dayton. Lobstein surrendered three runs in seven innings and struck out five while walking none.
  • The Lexington Legends were off Wednesday.
  • Former UK left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin took  a no decision for high A Daytona despite surrendering just two unearned runs in five innings. Rusin struck out five and walked none.
  • Former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill slugged his 13th home run of the season for AA Mobile.
  • Former UK catcher Sean Coughlin was 3-4 with two doubles and two runs scored for AA Mobile.
  • Former UofL left-handed pitcher and 2010 Cardinals draftee Bob Revesz earned his second win of the season with three scoreless innings of relief for rookie-level Johnson City.
  • Former UofL outfielder and 2010 Rangers draftee Josh Richmond was 3-3 with a walk and two runs scored for short-season Spokane.
  • Former NKU left-handed pitcher and 2010 White Sox draftee Jarrett Casey recorded his longest outing of the season since being moved to the rookie-level Bristol starting rotation but still took a loss after surrendering one earned run in six innings.
  • Also playing for rookie-level Bristol, former Morehead St. shortstop and 2010 White Sox draftee Drew Lee extended his hitting streak to ten games with a 2-3 performance.

MiLB Roundup: Bats, Legends, Hot Rods lose; Marks loses despite strong effort; Darnell debuts; Shaffer has big night

Minor League Baseball

Logan Darnell; UK Athletics wallpaper

Highlights from Wednesday Kentucky MiLB action:

  • The Louisville Bats tallied just four hits in a 2-1 loss to Charlotte. Left-handed pitcher Ben Jukich surrendered just one unearned run in five innings and struck out eight while walking four.
  • Just one Lexington Legends pitcher didn’t surrender a run in a 9-5 loss to Rome. Right-handed pitcher Juan Minaya took the loss after surrendering six runs in four and two-third innings.
  • The Bowling Green Hot Rods tallied eight hits but couldn’t score a run in a 10-0 shutout loss to Quad Cities. Right-handed pitcher Kirby Yates suffered through his worse start of the season after surrendering eight runs in four and two-third innings for the Hot Rods.
  • Former UofL left-handed pitcher and 2010 Cardinals draftee Dean Kiekhefer recorded two shutout innings for Quad Cities and struck out five Hot Rods.
  • Former UofL left-handed pitcher Justin Marks took the loss for low A Cane County despite surrendering just two runs in seven innings. Marks struck out six and walked one.
  • Former NKU outfielder Jake Shaffer was a single shy of the cycle for high A High Desert. Shaffer finished the game 3-4 with a double, triple, home run, three RBI and one run scored.
  • Former UK infielder Andy Green was 3-4 with two doubles and two runs scored for AAA Buffalo.
  • Former UK left-handed pitcher and 2010 Twins draftee Logan Darnell made his professional debut by retiring two of the three batters he faced for rookie-level Elizabethton.
  • Former UofL outfielder and 2010 Rangers draftee Josh Richmond slugged his first professional home run for short-season Spokane.
  • Former WKU infielder Terrence Dayleg was 3-4 with a double and two RBI for low A Greensboro.
  • Former EKU infielder Neil Sellers was 2-2 with two walks and three runs scored for AAA Lehigh Valley.
  • Lafayette High School alum Chaz Roe fell to 6-11 on the season after surrendering five runs in five innings for AAA Colorado Springs.
  • Paducah native Daniel Webb fell to 0-3 for short-season Auburn after surrendering five runs in three innings in his seventh professional start.

Darnell, Richmond sign professional contracts

College Baseball, Major League Baseball

Logan Darnell; UK Athletics wallpaper

University of Kentucky junior left-handed pitcher Logan Darnell and University of Louisville outfielder Josh Richmond have signed professional contracts with the Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers respectively. Darnell’s signing with the Twins as the team’s sixth round 2010 draft pick was announced on the team website. Richmond’s signing with the Rangers as the team’s twelfth round pick was first reported by Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram. Darnell has been assigned to the rookie-level Elizabethton Twins, where he will play alongside former UK teammate Gunner Glad. Richmond will begin his career at short-season Spokane.

Darnell moved to the weekend rotation for UK to start the 2010 season after spending his previous two seasons in the Cats’ bullpen. He experience mixed results as a starter and eventually moved back to the pen after about with left shoulder tendonitis. On the season, Darnell was 5-3 with a 5.62 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 73 and two-third innings pitched. Baseball America reports Darnell signed for a $125,000 bonus.

Richmond appeared in just 23 games for UofL in 2010 after missing much of the season with a wrist injury. He batted .262 with one home run and 10 RBI on the season but is considered a possible “five-tool player.” In Baseball America’s 2010 draft preview Jim Callis wrote Richmond could have gone as high as the third round if he had been healthy throughout 2010. Just 18 of the 47 players with Kentucky connections selected in the 2010 draft have not signed a professional contract.

Kentuckians in the Cape

College Baseball

Chad Wright; Photo: UK Athletics

Last week we began a series of posts informing you where some of Kentucky’s college baseball players were spending their summer with Western Kentucky University. Today we’ll look at the most prestigious collegiate summer league: the Cape Cod League. I’ve listed Kentucky collegians playing in the Cape below with their school and Cape team.

  • RHP Tony Zych — University of Louisville — Bourne Braves
  • SS Ryan Wright — UofL — Bourne Braves
  • 3B Andy Burns — University of Kentucky — Brewster Wildcats
  • OF Chad Wright — UK — Cotuit Kettleers
  • RHP/1B Braden Kapteyn — UK — Harwich Mariners
  • SS Zach Osborne — Pleasure Ridge Park High School (Tennessee) — Hyannis Harbor Hawks
  • OF Josh Richmond — UofL — Wareham Gatemen
  • RHP Alex Meyer — UK — Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox
  • RHP Derek Self — UofL — Chatham Anglers

UK OF Lance Ray, UofL 3B Phil Wunderlich and OF Stewart Ijames were originally scheduled to play in the Cape Cod League this summer, but have since left their teams. Ray signed with the Minnesota Twins as their eighth round pick. Wunderlich was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 12th round, and Ijames was selected by the New York Yankees in the 29th round.

Season Review: University of Louisville

College Baseball

No. 9 University of Louisville‘s elimination from the NCAA tournament was slightly overshadowed by the draft coverage here at BluGrass Baseball, but now it’s time to finish the season review series with a look at the Big East champion Cardinals. UofL finished the season at 50-14 and one win shy of a NCAA super regional.

  • Hitter of the year: 2B Ryan Wright — The Cards had plenty of hitters to choose from for this honor, as evidenced by their six offensive draftees, but the award goes to the sophomore second baseman who wasn’t even eligible for the draft. Wright was second on the team in batting (.366) behind senior first baseman Andrew Clark (.370) but played in 11 more games than Clark. He led the team in RBI (80), hits (93) and triples (2) and ranked third in runs scored (61). Wright also stole 10 bases in 11 attempts.
  • Pitcher of the year: RHP Thomas Royse — The Big East pitcher of the year was a shoe-in for this award as he lead the state in most major pitching categories. Royse, a third-supplemental round pick by the Chicago White Sox, finished the season at 9-1 with a 2.85 ERA and 99 strikeouts compared to 26 walks in 104 and one-third innings pitched. Opponents batted just .257 against Royse on the season.
  • Season high point: Battling for the Big East Conference regular season title with Connecticut in the season’s final weekend, UofL outscored Notre Dame 23-6 in a series sweep to clinch the title. The Cards all but wrapped up a top eight national seed in the NCAA tournament with the conference championship.
  • Season low point: The vaunted UofL offense picked the worst time to go cold as the Cards were held scoreless for a season-high 15 consecutive innings in back-to-back losses to Vanderbilt to be eliminated from the NCAA tournament. Even worse, the first loss came against soft-tossing lefty Richie Goodenow, who had made just one previous start for Vanderbilt before pitching a complete-game shutout against UofL.
  • Micellaneous: The Cards had five batters, Phil Wunderlich (21), Wright (16), Stewart Ijames (14), Clark (13), Adam Duvall (12), reach double digits in home runs…Royse, Neil Holland, Duvall, Wunderlich, Josh Richmond, Clark, Jeff Arnold, Ijames, Dean Kiekhefer and Bob Revesz were each selected in the 2010 draft…Holland was among the country’s best relievers after saving 17 games and going 8-1 with a 2.08 ERA and .160 batting average against…Freshman right-handed starting pitchers Justin Amlung (5-2, 4.27) and Matt Koch (3-0, 3.27) performed admirably down the stretch, setting UofL up well for the 2011 season.