NKU OF named DII preseason all-Ameircan; Revere, Chapman among top MiLB prospects at their positions

College Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Ben Revere; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Northern Kentucky University senior outfielder Jason Crisper has been named a preseason NCAA DII all-American by Baseball America.
  • Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranks Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere the No. 9 outfield prospect in MiLB.
  • Mayo ranks 2010 Louisville Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman the No. 1 left-handed pitching prospect in MiLB. Former Bowling Green Hot Rods left-handed pitcher Matt Moore checked in at No. 7 on the list.
  • May ranks 2009 Lexington Legends right-handed pitcher Jordan Lyles the No. 10 right-handed pitching prospect in MiLB.
  • Mark Sheldon of MLB.com answers a few questions about 2010 Louisville Bats in his Reds mailbag, including Travis Wood, Juan Francisco and Chris Valaika.
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Final Kentucky winter league statistics

Minor League Baseball

Juan Francisco; Photo by mwlguide via Flickr

Earlier this offseason we brought you the final statistics from the prestigious Arizona Fall League. With the Caribbean Winter Leagues wrapping up their season I thought we’d bring you a rundown of Kentucky performances from those leagues:

  • Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune reports Louisville Bats third baseman Juan Francisco was named the MVP of the Dominican Winter League for the second consecutive season.
  • Francisco batted .322 with eight home runs, 30 RBI, 29 runs scored for Gigantes del Cibao.
  • PLD alum Josh Ellis, a right-handed pitcher and Diamondbacks’ farmhand, pitched two scoreless innings for Gigantes.
  • One-time Madisonville resident and 2010 Louisville Bat Matt Klinker was 2-2 with an 8.40 ERA in four starts for Yaquis de Obregon of the Mexican Winter League.
  • Former UofL third baseman Chris Dominguez batted .357 with seven RBI, six runs scored and a stolen base in 10 games for Leones de Ponce of the Puerto Rican Winter Baseball League.
  • Former UK outfielder Antone DeJesus batted .343 with three RBI, six runs scored and a stolen base in 25 games for Indios de Mayaguez of the Puerto Rican Winter League.

Baseball America ranks six Bats among top 10 Reds prospects and six Ky. collegians in top 100 draft prospects

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Aroldis Chapman; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • J. J. Cooper of Baseball America has published the magazine’s top 10 prospects list for the Cincinnati Reds with several 2010 Louisville Bats included on the list. Cooper ranked left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman No. 1, catcher Devin Mesoraco No. 3, first baseman Yonder Alonso No. 4, third baseman Juan Francisco No. 7, shortstop Zack Cozart No. 8 and utility man Todd Frazier No. 9.
  • Cooper touched on a number of other Bats’ prospects in the accompanying online chat. (subscription required)
  • BA has also released its first rankings for the top 100 college 2011 draft prospects with several Kentucky collegians making the cut. The article is behind the website’s paywall so I won’t give away all the rankings but will note University of Kentucky junior right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer led Kentuckians at No. 21. University of Louisville junior right-handed pitcher Tony Zych, UofL junior infielder Ryan Wright, Lexington Catholic alum and Florida left-handed pitcher Nick Maronde, former UK third baseman Andy Burns and Western Kentucky University outfielder Kes Carter were included in the top 100.
  • Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports Cleveland Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore may not be ready for Opening Day, which could mean more playing time early for Lexington native Austin Kearns.
  • Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports and Rivals.com breaks down the reasons for optimism and reasons for worry for each of the Southeastern Conference baseball teams, noting UK needs more consistency and big seasons from talented and so-far underachieving pitchers.

Kipnis named Indians’ MiLB player of year; Louisville Bats standouts selected to Reds MiLB all-star team

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Jason Kipnis; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Latest links and notes from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports the Cleveland Indians named one-time UK outfielder Jason Kipnis, who transferred to Arizona State, the organization’s minor league player of the year.
  • Kipnis’ cycle in the AAA playoffs for the Columbus Clippers is nominated for the MiLB AAA game of the year award. You can vote here.
  • PRP alum and St. Louis Cardinals’ 2010 first-round pick Zack Cox was 2-5 with a double and two RBI for the Surprise Rafters of the Arizona Fall League.
  • Former UofL right-handed pitcher B. J. Rosenberg pitched a scoreless inning and struck out two for the Mesa Solar Sox of the AFL.
  • Louisville Bats catcher Devin Mesoraco was 2-4 with a run scored for the Peoria Saguaros of the AFL.
  • While no Kentucky player will suit up for the World Series beginning tomorrow the San Francisco Giants wouldn’t have made it there without contributions from a variety of players, including Louisville native Todd Wellemeyer, Chris Haft of MLB.com writes.
  • Josh Jackson, writing for MiLB.com, selected Bats catcher Devin Mesoraco, third baseman Juan Francisco, outfielder Dave Sappelt, outfielder Wladimir Balentien and designated hitter Luis Terrero to the Cincinnati Reds’ organizational all-star team.

Chapman, Alonso among best IL prospects; Kentucky players make AFL debuts; Zobrist, Rays eliminated

Uncategorized

Aroldis Chapman; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The league championship series are set with a few Kentucky players remaining in the playoffs. Check out some links from around Kentucky baseball while you muster through far too many days without baseball before the second round of the playoffs:

  • Former Lexington Legends infielder Ben Zobrist and the Tampa Bay Rays were eliminated in a 5-1 loss to the Texas Rangers.
  • John Wagner of Baseball America ranks Louisville Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman No. 3 and first baseman Yonder Alonso No. 12 on the magazine’s top 20 International League prospects list.
  • In the accompanying online chat, Wagner answers a number of questions about Bats players including Todd Frazier, Zack Cozart, Juan Francisco, Chris Valaika and Travis Wood. (subscription required)
  • Frazier was 2-4 with a triple, RBI and run scored for Team USA in the team’s 7-2 loss to the Dominican Republic in the Pan Am Qualifying Tournament.
  • PRP alum Zack Cox, the Cardinals’ 2010 first-round pick, was 0-5 with four strikeouts in his Arizona Fall League debut for the Surprise Rafters.
  • Former NKU right-handed pitcher Josh Lueke pitched a scoreless inning in his AFL debut for the Peoria Javelinas.
  • Atlanta Braves right-handed pitching prospect Michael Broadway, born in Paducah, surrendered one run in one inning in his AFL debut for the Phoenix Desert Dogs.
  • Bats catcher Devin Mesoraco was 3-4 with a home run, three RBI and run scored for the Peoria Saguaros of the AFL. Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere was 0-1 in the game for Peoria.

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.

End of season awards: Louisville Bats

Minor League Baseball

Wladimir Balentien; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The Louisville Bats were eliminated from the International League playoffs by Durham Sunday, bringing the team’s 2010 season to an end. The Bats used a late-season rally to finish at 79-65 on the season and win the IL West Division. In the third end of season awards post we’ll look at the best 2010 performances from the Cincinnati Reds’ AAA affiliate.

Hitter of the month: OF Wladimir Balentien

  • Bats outfielder Wladimir Balentien was one of the few Louisville batters to spend the whole season with the team. Balentien batted .282 with 25 home runs 78 RBI and 71 runs scored. The outfielder also stole 12 bases in 13 tries, boasted a .337 on-base percentage and .536 slugging percentage.
  • Honorable Mention — Infielder Chris Valaika led the team with a .304 batting average…First baseman Yonder Alonso batted .296 with 12 home runs in 101 games after a May promotion from AA…Outfielder Todd Frazier, shortstop Zach Cozart and third baseman Juan Francisco each slugged at least 17 home runs.

Pitcher of the month: LHP Matt Maloney

  • Left-handed starting pitcher Matt Maloney made 23 starts for Louisville on the season and led the team with 10 wins, a 3.34 ERA and 134 and two-third innings pitched. Maloney struck out 104 batters and walked just 28 on the season.
  • Honorable Mention — Left-handed pitcher Travis Wood boasted a 3.06 ERA in 16 games…Cuban phenom Aroldis Chapman won nine games, saved eight and led the team with 125 strikeouts in 39 games between the bullpen and starting rotation…Right-handed pitcher Ben Jukich won seven games and struck out 103 in 115 and one-third innings.

August Awards: Louisville Bats

Minor League Baseball

Wladimir Balentien; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

We’ll begin the final monthly awards series with a look at the best August performances from the Louisville Bats:

Hitter of the month: OF Wladimir Balentien

  • Stats: .394/.440/.663, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 16 R
  • Honorable Mention: Chris Valaika, Yonder Alonso, Juan Francisco, Drew Sutton, Chris Denove, Todd Frazier

Pitcher of the month: LHP Aroldis Chapman

  • Stats: 2-0, 1.35 ERA, 7 SV, 24 SO/4 BB, 13.1 IP
  • Honorable Mention: Chad Reineke, Ben Jukich, Justin Lehr, Frederico Baez, Micah Owings

MiLB Roundup: Bats, Legends, Hot Rods lose; Cox debuts with 4-hit game; Brady homers; Wiley tallies 4 hits

Uncategorized

Zack Cox; University of Arkansas photo

Highlights from Wednesday Kentucky MiLB action:

  • One-time Madisonville resident Matt Klinker couldn’t earn a victory in his return to the Louisville Bats, who suffered a 6-2 loss to Indianapolis. Third baseman Juan Francisco and left fielder Todd Frazier each homered in the game.
  • The Lexington Legends surrendered over 10 runs in a game for the second time this month in a 13-1 loss to Kannapolis. Center fielder Grant Hogue was 2-3 for Lexington.
  • The Bowling Green Hot Rods opened their final homestand of the season with a 3-1 loss to Lake County. Center fielder Dustin Bell homered for Bowling Green.
  • PRP alum and 2010 Cardinals first-round pick Zack Cox made his professional debut with a 4-5 performance for the rookie-level GCL Cardinals.
  • One-time UK outfielder Jason Kipnis was 3-5 with a double and two runs scored for AA Akron.
  • Former UK outfielder and 2010 Braves NDFA Keenan Wiley was 4-5 with a double and run scored for rookie-level Danville.
  • Former WKU left-handed pitcher and 2010 Twins draftee Bart Carter earned his second win of the season with four scoreless innings of relief for the rookie-level GCL Twins.
  • Former Union College right-handed pitcher Marty Popham posted a quality start for high A Kinston but took a no decision after surrendering three runs in six innings.
  • Former Bellarmine infielder and 2010 Mariners draftee Patrick Brady slugged his first professional home run for the rookie-level AZL Mariners.
  • Hawesville native and 2010 Orioles draftee Michael Mosby was 3-4 for the rookie-level GCL Orioles.

Stretch drive breakdown: Louisville Bats

Minor League Baseball

Counting tonight’s game with the Indianapolis Indians, the Louisville Bats have 15 games remaining the regular season. The Bats currently sit a half game in front of Columbus for the International League West Division lead. The Clippers lead the wild card race by two games so Louisville’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 11. Any combination of 11 Bats wins and Buffalo loses will put Louisville in the playoffs.

The Bats have three games left versus Indianapolis before a two game home series against Columbus. Louisville then finishes the season with a five game home-and-home season with Toledo and a five game home-and-home series with Indianapolis. The Bats’ three remaining opponents are a combined two games under .500, so you have to like their chances for reaching the postseason.

The biggest question facing Louisville is what exactly its roster will look like if it does reach the playoffs. The Bats have been helped by recent AA callups, but if the Reds promote Aroldis Chapman, Juan Francisco or Yonder Alonso when MLB rosters expand on Sept. 1 the Bats playoffs chances could be seriously hurt. Cincinnati is playing for a division title, so Louisville’s postseason aspirations will take a back seat to the big league club’s needs.