The 2010 Minor League Baseball regular season is in the books for the state’s three minor league teams. Today we’ll start a series looking at the season’s best performances from each team and Kentucky alumni in the minors. In the first season awards post we’ll look at the Lexington Legends.
Hitter of the year: OF J. D. Martinez
Outfielder J. D. Martinez was selected as the South Atlantic League most valuable player, so picking him as the Legends best offensive player was a no brainer. Martinez batted .362 with 15 home runs, 64 RBI and 83 runs scored in just 88 games. Despite spending the final two months of the season in AA, Martinez still recorded enough SAL plate appearances to win the league batting title. He also led the league in slugging and on-base percentage.
Honorable Mention — Outfielder Jacob Goebbert set new Legends records with 98 RBI and 48 doubles…First baseman Kody Hinze also broke the previous team RBI record with 97 and slugged 19 home runs….Second baseman Jose Altuve was named All-league after batting .308 in 94 games.
Pitcher of the year: RHP Jose Cisnero
Right-handed starting pitcher Jose Cisnero led the Legends with eight wins, a 3.65 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 133 innings. Cisnero made 26 starts on the season and boasted a 1.29 WHIP. His 126 strikeouts ranked seventh in the South Atlantic League
Honorable Mention — Left-handed pitcher Luis Cruz fell just short of qualifying for the league ERA race but boasted a 3.61 mark with 88 strikeouts in 99 and two-third innings…Closer Kirk Clark set the Legends’ single-season and career saves record with 29…Right-handed pitcher Tanner Bushue led the team with 133 and two-third innings pitched.
The Louisville Bats won their 11th consecutive home game and recorded their 15th win in the last 16 games with a 8-7 victory over Norfolk Sunday. Catcher Corky Miller was 3-4 with two doubles, three RBI and one run scored.
Lexington Legends closer Kirk Clark, the franchise saves record holder, blew just his sixth save of the season by surrendering two runs in the ninth inning in the Legends’ 2-1 loss to Delmarva. left-handed pitcher Luis Cruz surrendered just two hits in seven shutout innings while striking out four and walking three batters.
The Bowling Green Hot Rods wasted a strong starting performance from right-handed pitcher Albert Suarez in a 5-2 loss to Fort Wayne. Suarez surrendered just one hit in four innings and struck out four batters while walking none.
Former UK left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin earned his first AA victory after surrendering two runs in six innings for AA Tennessee. Rusin struck out four and walked none.
Former UK catcher Sean Coughlin was 3-3 with a home run, five RBI and two runs scored for AA Mobile.
In what turned out to be a big night for former Cats in Mobile, former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill slugged his 13th home run of the season for the BayBears.
Former UofL first baseman and 2010 Rangers draftee Andrew Clark was 3-4 with two RBI and a run scored for short-season Spokane.
Former WKU outfielder Chad Cregar slugged his 15th home run of the season for low A Greensboro and drove in three runs.
Former NKU right-handed pitcher Nathan Jones fell to 8-5 on the season for high A Winston-Salem after surrendering three runs in five innings.
Frankfort native and 2010 Royals draftee Cameron Conner was 3-6 with a triple, walk and run scored for the rookie-level AZL Royals.
Danville native and 2010 Tigers draftee Patrick Cooper suffered his worst professional start to-date but still escaped with a no decision despite surrendering six runs in two and two-third innings for low A West Michigan.
In the third July awards post we’ll look at the best performances from the Lexington Legends for the month:
Hitter of the month: INF Andrew Simunic
The Legends don’t boast many standout performances from July with two of their better hitters receiving promotions by the end of the month. However second baseman Andrew Simunic stands out above the remaining Legends with a .333 batting average, one home run, 13 RBI, 19 runs scored and three stolen bases in 24 July games.
Honorable Mention: Jonathan Meyer, Jonathan Fixler, Jose Altuve, Jacob Goebbert
Pitcher of the month: LHP Luis Cruz
Legends pitcher fared much better than their offensive counterparts during July with several standout performances. Chief among those performances was left-handed starting pitcher Luiz Cruz, who finished July at 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA in five starts. Cruz struck out struck out 28 and walked just five in 32 and one-third innings.
Honorable Mention: Jose Cisnero, Juan Minaya, Wander Alvino, Kirk Clark
The Louisville Bats slugged four home runs en route to an 11-7 win over Charlotte. First baseman Yonder Alonso, designated hitter Juan Francisco, outfielder Chris Dickerson and outfielder Wladimir Balentein each homered for the Bats.
Lexington Legends closer Kirk Clark set the new Legends career and single-season saves record with his 22nd save in a 3-2 win over Rome. Right-handed pitcher Jose Cisnero earned the win after surrendering two runs in six innings.
The Bowling Green Hot Rods couldn’t over come and early 5-1 deficit after two innings in a 8-7 loss to Quad Cities. First baseman Ryan Wiegand and right fielder Gabe Cohen each homered for the Hot Rods.
Former UK left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin earned his fourth win of the season for high A Daytona after surrendering three runs in six innings. Rusin struck out six and walked none.
Former UK right-handed pitcher Zach Dials was promoted to AA Harrisburg where he surrendered one run in two-thirds of an inning in his debut.
Former UofL right-handed pitcher and 2010 Nationals draftee Neil Holland earned his second win of the season with three scoreless innings for short-season Vermont.
Former UofL infielder and 2010 Rays draftee Phil Wunderlich was 3-5 with two doubles and a run scored for short-season Hudson Valley.
Former WKU outfielder Chad Cregar was 2-4 with a double, three RBI and a run scored for low A Greensboro.
Former NKU outfielder Jake Shafferhomered for the second consecutive game and drove in three runs for high A High Desert.
Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere scored three times, tallied two hits and stole a base for AA New Britain.
London native Jon Townsend slugged his fifth home run of the season, drove in two runs and scored twice for high A Rancho Cucamonga.
Lexington native Josh Ellis picked up his second win of the season after two scoreless innings of relief for AA Mobile.
Latest links and notes from around Kentucky baseball:
Jim Callis of Baseball America has released his annual chart comparing MLB slot recommendations for signing bonuses to drafted players and their actual signing bonuses. No 2010 Kentucky draftee has signed for over-slot as of yet, though Louisville native Zack Cox figures to buck that trend if he signs with the St. Louis Cardinals as the team’s first-round pick.
One interesting note from the chart: Former University of Kentucky left-handed pitcher James Paxton would have signed for $873,000 if he had agreed to a slot-value deal with the Blue Jays as the 37th pick in the draft in 2009. Now, after trying to return to UK only to end up in an independent league after an NCAA investigation into his amateur status, if he signs for slot-value as a fourth round pick in 2010 (which is a big if) he stands to get a $209,700 bonus. That means he could lose around $663,300 by trying to come back to UK for his senior season.
Jared Macarin of the Mobile Press-Registerprofiles former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill, who has “weathered the heat of Mobile to become model of consistency for the BayBears.”
Lexington Legends closer Kirk Clark, a 2010 South Atlantic League All-Star, set the new Legends’ career and single-season saves mark with his 22nd save Thursday night. Mark Maloney of the Lexington Herald-Leaderprofiles the 2009 non-drafted free agent, who told Maloney, the record “feels amazing to actually go out there, compete and accomplish something.”
Michael Grant of the Courier-Journal writes now that Louisville Bats third baseman Juan Francisco is healthy he has found his stroke at the plate.
Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports and Rivals.com reports University of Louisville pitching coach Roger Williams will stay with the Cards after considering taking the same job at the University of South Carolina.
With today’s announcement of the AAA All-Star game rosters each of the full-season Minor Leagues has unveiled its All-Star roster. I’ve listed the Kentucky-related players below on each team with links to the full roster:
Katya Cengel of the Courier-JournalprofilesUniversity of Louisville rising redshirt freshman catcher Asaad Ali and his relationship with his father, famed boxer Muhammad Ali.
Edison Volquez made a rehab start for the Louisville Bats Wednesday and hopes to make two more starts before rejoining the Cincinnati Reds, Michael Grant of the Courier-Journal reports.
Ben Badler of Baseball America breaks down the Reds’ decision to move Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman to the bullpen in hopes of prepping him for a possible big-league callup.
The South Atlantic League All-Star game wasn’t kind to the Lexington Legends‘ representatives. Jose Altuve, Kody Hinze and J. D. Martinez combined to go 2-12 in the game. Reliever Kirk Clark surrendered two hits but no runs in one inning.
The Lexington Legends have announced their 2010 Opening Day roster after the parent club Houston Astros confirmed Minor League player assignments Sunday. The team will be headlined by 2009 first-round pick shortstop Jiovanni Mier, ranked the No. 2 prospect in the Astros’ organization by Baseball America. Fourteen of the new Legends were 2009 draft picks. Pitchers David Duncan, Arcenio Leon and Jose Trinidad, infielder Kody Hinze and infielder-outfielder Andy Simunic each spent part of 2009 with the Legends and catcher Jonathan Fixler was a Legend in 2008. Four Opening Day Legends were ranked by Baseball America as one of the top 30 prospects in the Astros’ organization, and I’ve included their rankings in parentheses when applicable. Each pitcher is listed by throwing arm, and batters’ information is listed bats/throws. (Numbers have not yet been assigned.)