Adcock, Shaffer, Nidiffer win BluGrass Baseball MiLB awards

Minor League Baseball

Nathan Adcock; Photo by mwlguide via Flickr

The 2010 MiLB season is over for all but a handful of Kentucky minor leaguers still active in the playoffs, so it is time for the BluGrass Baseball 2010 MiLB awards.

Hitter of the year: OF Jake Shaffer (High A High Desert)

  • Former NKU outfielder and Walton native Jake Shaffer excelled during his first full professional season in 2009 but brought his game to a new level in 2010. Shaffer led all Kentucky minor leaguers in batting average (.336), on-base percentage (.388) and slugging percentage (.511). The left-handed batter spent all but three games of 2010 at High Desert and slugged nine home runs, drove in 78 runs and scored 58 times.
  • Honorable Mention: Former UK outfielder, turned second baseman, Jason Kipnis finished second to Shaffer in batting average (.307), on-base percentage (.386) and slugging percentage (.492) and led Kentucky minor leaguers with 96 runs scored…Former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill slugged 16 home runs, drove in 83 runs and scored 89 times…Former UofL infielder Chris Dominguez led the state with 21 home runs and 101 RBI.

Pitcher of the year: RHP Nathan Adcock (High A Bradenton)

  • Elizabethtown native Nathan Adcock has struggled since being drafted out of North Hardin High School in 2006, but came into his own this season. Adcock finished the season 11-7 with a 3.38 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 141 and one-third innings. The right-handed pitcher ranked among the top five Kentucky MiLB pitchers in ERA, strikeouts, batting average against, wins and innings pitched.
  • Honorable Mention: LCA alum Robbie Ross was 12-11 with a 3.58 ERA and 111 strikeouts…Former UK left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin was 6-4 with a 3.11 ERA in an injury-shortened season…One-time Madisonville resident Matt Klinker was 11-10 with a 3.79 ERA between AA Carolina and the Louisville Bats.

Rookie of the year: C/1B Marcus Nidiffer (Short-season Tri-City)

  • Former UK catcher and 2010 Astros non-drafted free agent Marcus Nidiffer spent his debut season proving he deserved to be selected in the 2010 draft. In 69 games between rookie Greeneville and short-season Tri-City, Nidiffer batted .286 with 14 home runs, 36 RBI and 40 runs scored. Nidiffer’s 14 home runs ranked fifth among all Kentucky MiLB players, including full-season ones.
  • Honorable Mention: Former UofL infielder Phil Wunderlich led Kentucky rookies with a .330 batting average…Former UK left-handed pitcher Logan Darnell was 2-3 with a 2.08 ERA in 11 games for rookie-level Elizabethton…Boyd County native Tyler Gatrell saved 13 games for the GCL Royals

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.

August Awards: Kentucky MiLB Alumni

Minor League Baseball

Logan Darnell; BluGrass Baseball photo

In the fourth August awards post we’ll look at the month’s best performances from alumni of Kentucky schools and those born in the state from around Minor League Baseball:

Hitter of the month: OF Jake Shaffer (High  Desert Mavericks)

  • The former NKU outfielder has been among Kentucky’s best minor leaguers all season and August was no exception. Shaffer batted .356 with three home runs, 20 RBI and 16 runs scored for the month. The Walton native boasted a 1.038 OPS for the month.
  • Honorable Mention: Tyler Kuhn, Shawn Roof, Wade Gaynor, Wes Cunningham, Phil Wunderlich, Lance Ray, Keenan Wiley, John Shelby, Jason Kipnis

Pitcher of the month: LHP Logan Darnell (Elizabethton Twins)

  • The former UK left-handed pitcher struggled as a starter in college, but has been lights out since moving to the rotation for rookie-level Elizabethton. Darnell was 2-2 with a 1.33 ERA and 25 strikeouts compared to just five walks in 27 August innings. Darnell made five starts in the month and has a 1.44 ERA as a starter on the season.
  • Honorable Mention: Chris Rusin, Justin Marks, Bart Carter, Nathan Adcock, Nathan Jones, Marty Popham

Kentucky rookie league playoff participants

Minor League Baseball
Matt Payton bats against UK: BluGrass Baseball photo

Matt Payton: BluGrass Baseball photo

The 2010 MiLB season is winding down with league playoffs set to start over the next week. The three rookie-level leagues have finalized their playoff participants with four Kentucky minor leaguers qualifying for postseason play. Check out a quick break down of each below:

Gulf Coast League

  • Matt Payton — The former Western Kentucky University infielder and 2010 Phillies draftee batted leadoff for the GCL Phillies in the team’s semifinal victory. Payton didn’t record a hit but scored twice. The Phillies face the GCL Rays in a best-of-three series starting tonight.

Appalachian League

  • Logan Darnell, Gunner Glad — Former University of Kentucky teammates Darnell and Glad will look to lead the Elizabethton Twins to victory in the Appalachian League playoffs. Glad is batting .240 with two home runs and 14 RBI for the Twins, and Darnell is 2-3 with a 2.20 ERA in 10 games. Since moving to the starting rotation, Darnell is 2-2 with a 1.44 ERA in five games. The Twins face the Pulaski Mariners in the first round.
  • Bob Revesz — The former University of Louisville left-handed reliever and 2010 Cardinals draftee is 4-2 with a 4.84 ERA in 16 appearances for the Johnson City Cardinals. Revesz will look to be a valuable southpaw out of the Cardinals’ bullpen during the team’s first round series against the Burlington Royals.

Two teams still haven’t qualified for the rookie Pioneer League playoffs.

MiLB Roundup: Bats, Legends, Hot Rods win; Cunningham streaking; Bertram, Glad, Kuhn homer; Darnell gets win

Minor League Baseball

Logan Darnell; BluGrass Baseball photo

Highlights from Friday Kentucky MiLB action:

  • Second baseman Wilkin Castillo drove home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the Louisville Bats to a 2-1 victory over Columbus. Cuban phenom Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth inning for the win and reportedly hit 105 mph on the radar gun.
  • The Lexington Legends scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning to earn a 5-3 win over Kannapolis. Center fielder Grant Hogue was 4-5 with a double and two runs scored.
  • The Bowling Green Hot Rods pitching staff struck out a club-record 18 batters in a 12-6 win over Lake County. Right fielder Brett Nommensen drove in four run in the win.
  • Former UK left-handed pitcher and 2010 Twins draftee Logan Darnell earned the win for rookie-level Elizabethton after pitching six shutout innings.
  • Former UK infielder and 2010 Twins NDFA Gunner Glad supported Darnell with his second home run of the season for rookie-level Elizabethton.
  • Former UK infielder Michael Bertram slugged his 11th home run of the season for AAA Toledo.
  • Former Murray St. first baseman and 2010 Padres draftee Wes Cunningham extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a 1-2, two walk performance for short-season Eugene.
  • Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere returned from his DL stint for AA New Britain with an 0-3 performance.
  • Trinity alum Tyler Kuhn was 3-4 with a home run and double for AA Birmingham.

MiLB Roundup: Legends, Hot Rods win; Bats lose; Darnell excels in no decision; Dominguez perfect at plate

Minor League Baseball

Logan Darnell; BluGrass Baseball photo

Highlights from Kentucky Sunday MiLB action:

  • Indianapolis scored three runs in the eighth inning to send the Louisville Bats to a 4-2 loss. Left-handed pitcher Ben Jukich took a no decision despite surrendering just one run in six and two-third innings.
  • The Lexington Legends recorded an 8-2 win over Augusta behind six shutout innings from right-handed pitcher Tanner Bushue. The Legends ace struck out four and surrendered just three hits.
  • The Bowling Green Hot Rods scored four runs in the 11th inning to earn an 11-7 extra-inning win over South Bend. Three different Hot Rods tallied three hits in the game, and third baseman Julio Cedeno drove in four runs.
  • Former UK left-handed pitcher and 2010 Twins draftee Logan Darnell took a no decision for rookie-level Elizabethton despite surrendering just three hits in seven shutout innings. Darnell struck out 10 and walked four.
  • Former UofL infielder Chris Dominguez was 3-3 with a double and one RBI for low A Augusta.
  • Lafayette High School alum Chaz Roe took a no decision for AAA Colorado Springs after surrendering four runs on 10 hits in six innings.

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, Hot Rods all win; Ross, Darnell earn victories; Dominguez reaches base 5 times

Minor League Baseball

Logan Darnell; BluGrass Baseball photo

Highlights from Tuesday MiLB action:

  • The Louisville Bats extended their winning streak to six games with an 8-7 win over Toledo. Designated hitter Wladimir Balentien was 3-5 with two doubles, a run scored and five RBI.
  • The Lexington Legends offense gave right-handed pitcher Tanner Bushue plenty of run support but he didn’t need it in the team’s 10-3 win over Delmarva. Bushue surrendered just one unearned run on six hits in six innings, and three different Legends tallied three hits in the game.
  • The Bowling Green Hot Rods scored six runs after the sixth inning to earn a come-from-behind 9-5 win over Fort Wayne. Right fielder Brett Nommensen was 3-5 with two triples, five RBI and one run scored.
  • Former UK left-handed pitcher and 2010 Twins draftee Logan Darnell picked up his first career win for rookie-level Elizabethton with five scoreless innings in his second professional start.
  • Former UofL infielder Chris Dominguez was 4-5 with a walk for low A Augusta.
  • Lexington native Robbie Ross picked up his 12th win of the season after surrendering two runs on five hits in five innings for high A Bakersfield. Ross struck out five and walked one.
  • Former UofL left-handed pitcher and 2010 Cardinals draftee Bob Revesz picked up his first career save for rookie-level Johnson City.
  • Frankfort native and 2010 Royals draftee Cameron Conner tripled and drove in three runs for the rookie-level AZL Royals.

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.