Today I’m unveiling the first of two All BluGrass Baseball teams for the 2009 season. As with most features on the site, we’ll divide BluGrass players into two divisions: one made of rosters of the state’s three minor league teams and the other made of Kentucky natives and college alums. The first team comes from the rosters of the Louisville Bats, Bowling Green Hot Rods and Lexington Legends.
- Catcher: Jake Jeffries, Bowling Green Hot Rods — .261, eight home runs, 50 RBI
- First Base: Brian Pellegrini, Lexington Legends — .291, 27 home runs, 74 RBI
- Second Base: Isaias Velasquez, Bowling Green Hot Rods — .278, two home runs, 40 RBI
- Third Base: Juan Francisco, Louisville Bats — .359, five home runs, 19 RBI
- Shortstop: Tim Beckham, Bowling Green Hot Rods — .275, five home runs, 63 RBI
- Left Field: Daniel Dorn, Louisville Bats — .275, 14 home runs, 47 RBI
- Center Field: Drew Stubbs, Louisville Bats — .268, three home runs, 39 RBI
- Right Field: Kyeong Kang, Bowling Green Hot Rods — .307, five home runs, 42 RBI
- Starting Pitcher 1: Matthew Moore, Bowling Green Hot Rods — 8-5, 3.15, 176 SO
- Starting Pitcher 2: Jordan Lyles, Lexington Legends — 7-11, 3.24, 167 SO
- Starting Pitcher 3: Matt Maloney, Louisville Bats — 9-9, 3.08, 125 SO
- Starting Pitcher 4: Chris Andujar, Bowling Green Hot Rods — 10-4, 2.70, 79 SO
- Starting Pitcher 5: Justin Lehr, Louisville Bats, 13-3, 3.31, 60 SO
- Closer: Henry Villar, Lexington Legends, 3-4, 2.60, 109 SO
Notes: Third base was, by far, the worst position among the three teams. Francisco wins due to his domination of AAA pitching in his brief audition for Louisville. The rotation had plenty of competition with as many as five other starters having an argument for inclusion. If we’d included multiple relievers, Logan Ondrusek, Patrick Urckfitz and Josh Roenicke could have all made the team. Arguably the state’s top position prospect (Chris Heisey) didn’t make the cut because of spending half the season in AA and posting worse numbers than his teammate Dorn in the half season of AAA.
The Hot Rods finished 2009 at the bottom of the South Atlantic League Southern Division, and had more wins than only two teams in the league. The Hot Rods finished second-to-last in batting in the league and finished four from the bottom in team-ERA, but the team wasn’t lacking for prospects. We looked at the Legends’ batter and pitcher of the year Tuesday, so today we’ll look at Bowling Green’s.
Offensive Player of the Year — OF Kyeong Kang
- Kang didn’t lead the team in home runs or RBI, and he just missed qualifying for the league batting race. Kang, the first South Korean to be selected in MLB’s amateur draft, didn’t make his 2009 debut until May 12 so he only appeared in 89 games. So why exactly was he the offensive player of the year? Well, there wasn’t a lot of competition, and Kang made up for lost time with his second-half performance. The outfielder’s season highlight was being selected to the Futures Game, but he also batted .307 with a .390 on-base percentage and team-high .880 OPS. In the second half of 2009, Kang batted .328 with four home runs and 26 RBI with a .940 OPS.
- 2008 MLB first-overall draft pick Tim Beckham was Kang’s chief competition for the award. Beckham held his own during his first full professional season, batting .275 with five home runs and a team-high 63 RBI, but his two-month slump to the tune of .245 batting average in June and July lost him the war.
Pitcher of the Year — LHP Matthew Moore
- Just as in Lexington the pitching award was much more competitive that the offensive one. Matthew Moore led the minor leagues with 176 strikeouts, he ranked second on the team in wins (8) and innings pitched (123). Moore was even better in the second half of the season with a 5-2 record and 2.91 ERA in 13 games.
- Chris Andujar led the team in wins (10) and ERA (2.70). His 2.70 ERA was fourth-best in the South Atlantic League, and if he hadn’t spent 14 games in the bullpen he might have taken the award from Moore.
The 2009 season is officially in the books for the Lexington Legends and Bowling Green Hot Rods. Lexington defeated Bowling Green 4-1 in the final game of the season to earn a series sweep of the cross-state rivals. Legends outfielder Eric Suttle waited till the final game to hit his first home run of the year, a ninth inning solo shot. Lexington finished its season at 68-72 and Bowling Green finished 64-74. The Legends were led home runs, batting average and RBI by Brian Pellegrini, and in wins and ERA by Robert Bono. Bowling Green was led in OPS by Kyeong Kang and in wins and ERA by Chris Andujar.
Sorry for the late posting today, but don’t fear there are plenty of BluGrass Baseball storylines to keep you busy before the long weekend. Three top pitching prospects were in action last night for the three minor league teams. Check out those games and more in some afternoon links:
- Travis Wood posted another stellar start for Louisville, but the Bats had to rally late to pull off a 4-2 victory against Indianapolis.
- Asheville took the series finale with Lexington 6-4 with David Duncan on the mound for the Legends.
- With Matt Moore on the mound, Kyeong Kang had two hits and three RBI for Bowling Green in a 7-6, 12-inning loss in the final road game of the season.
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, writing for Baseball America, examines the Reds recent callups from AA to Louisville and from Louisville to Cincinnati. (subscriber only)
I’ll be back later with a preview of the Lexington/Bowling Green series and other news before Labor Day.
The big news of the night was Brian Pellegrini matching the Legends’ single-season home run record, but that wasn’t the only BluGrass Baseball storyline from Tuesday. Check out those stories in today’s hot links:
- Kyeong Kang picked up in September where he left off in August with two doubles, but Bowling Green fell 3-0 to Greenville.
- Brian Pellegrini tied the single-season home run record in Lexington’s 3-1 victory over Asheville.
- Louisville didn’t look much like a division champion in a 9-2 loss to Columbus.
- Baseball America ranked Kentucky native and Arkansas third baseman Zach Cox as the second best prospect in the prestigious Cape Cod League (subscriber only).
- Yahoo Sports’ Kendall Rogers picks UK and UofL as two of his 30 baseball teams to watch for 2010.
With the last full month of the minor league season in the books I thought we’d look at the best performances from August on each of the Bluegrass minor league teams.
- 1B Brian Pellegrini — Pellegrini batted .262 with six home runs and 17 RBI. Brian walked 19 times for a .394 on-base percentage; he also slugged .495 for the month with an .889 OPS. Pellegrini led the Legends in home runs and RBI for the month.
- LHP David Duncan — Duncan was tied for the Legends’ August lead with three wins. David also lost one decision in five starts. Duncan had a 4.85 ERA with 22 strikeouts and four walks in 26 innings.
- LHP Brad Dydalewicz — Dydalewicz also had a 3-1 record in August but had a 4.94 ERA. He struck out 23 and walked 15 in 31 innings.
- RHP Brian Wabick — Wabick was the best Lexington reliever in August with a 2-1 record and 1.50 ERA in 10 games. Brian struck out 19 and walked four in 24 innings.
Lexington’s losing streak reached 11 games and all three Kentucky minor league teams lost again Thursday. Check out those storylines and more in Friday’s hot links:
Wednesday wasn’t a pretty night on the diamond for Kentucky minor league teams. Each team lost, and Lexington lost its ninth straight. Check out those storylines and more in today’s hot links:
With the Kentucky minor league teams playing afternoon games today we have an abbreviated notes post.
- First I’d like to welcome Rob Gidel to BluGrass Baseball. Rob gave me my first job in baseball and knows as much about the sport as anyone I know. He was the former director of media relations for the Lexington Legends, and was the youngest solo play-by-play man in minor league baseball in 2008. Rob will be posting here from time to time. His first post below first appeared on Kentucky Sports Radio, a UK sports blog that Rob helped found.
- Louisville native and member of the All-Time BluGrass Baseball Team, Dan Uggla hit his 20th home run of the season on Aug. 5. According to the Phil Rogers at the Chicago Tribune, Uggla became just the second 2nd baseman in major league history to hit at least 20 home runs in his first four seasons. The other was 2009 Hall of Fame inductee Joe Gordon.
- Bowling Green Hot Rods outfielder Kyeong Kang’s 10-game hitting streak ended Saturday with an 0-2 performance. Kang did reach base via a walk.
- Louisville Bats outfielder Drew Stubbs stole his 44th base of the season Saturday. The 44 steals lead the International League, Reds organization and rank 11th among all minor leaguers.
- Legends’ prospect Ross Seaton had a rare bad start Saturday. Seaton allowed six runs (2nd most on the season) in just four innings (shortest start of the season).
Lexington Legends vs. Asheville Tourists
- The Legends will send top prospect Ross Seaton to the mound for the opener of the homestand tonight against Asheville. Seaton is 8-8 with a 2.67 ERA on the season. The right-handed pitcher has 69 strikeouts in 111.1 innings pitched. Seaton’s 2.67 ERA is fourth best in the South Atlantic League.
- Outfielder Brian Pellegrini leads the Legends offensive attack against Asheville. In five games against the Tourists this season, Pellegrini is 8-20 (.400) with three home runs and six RBI. Kyle Greenwalt, Patrick Urckfitz and Robert Bono have Lexington’s three wins against Asheville.
- Lexington will have to watch out for Asheville shortstop Thomas Field. Field is 6-17 (.353) with three RBI in five games against the Legends this season. Parker Frazier, Dan Houston and Juan Nicasio each have a win for Asheville against the Legends.
- Asheville will send Houston to the mound tonight against the Legends. Houston is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA against Lexington this season and is 5-8 with a 3.95 ERA for the season. Dan has 92 strikeouts in 109.1 innings and is holding opponents to a .269 batting average.