MiLB roundup: Legends, Hot Rods win; Bats lose; Cowgill still hot; Duvall, Dominguez homer; Payton has 3-hit debut

College Baseball

Colling Cowgill; Photo: UK Athletics

Highlights from Sunday Kentucky MiLB baseball:

  • The Lexington Legends held off a late rally in a 5-4 win over Augusta. Designated hitter Michael Kvasnicka was 3-4  with two RBI, and shortstop Jiovanni Mier was 2-4 with two doubles and two runs scored.
  • Louisville native and former UofL infielder Adam Duvall slugged his fourth home run of the season for Augusta. Louisville native Jason Chowning was credited with a hold for Lexington after pitching two scoreless innings of relief.
  • The Bowling Green Hot Rods used a quality start from right-handed pitcher Victor Mateo to earn a 5-2 win over Dayton. Mateo improved to 2-2 on the season after surrendering two runs on three hits in six innings while striking out six batters and walking none.
  • The Louisville Bats blew surrendered three runs after the sixth inning in a 5-2 loss to Norfolk. Left fielder Yonder Alonso was 2-3 with one home run, two RBI and one run scored.
  • Lexington native and former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a 2-4 performance for AAA Reno. Cowgill posted his eighth multi-hit game during the streak and is batting .392 on the season with four home runs, 14 RBI and 21 runs scored.
  • Hawesville native and former WKU infielder Wade Gaynor was 4-5 with two doubles, one triple and three runs scored for high A Lakeland.
  • Former UK left-handed pitcher Andrew Albers earned his second win of the season with four and two-third scoreless innings of relief for high A Fort Myers.
  • Louisville native and former WKU infielder Matt Payton made his season debut for high A Clearwater and was 3-4 with two runs scored.
  • Former UofL infielder Chris Dominguez slugged his sixth home run of the season for high A San Jose.
  • Lexington native and former UK outfielder John Shelby was 2-4 with one run scored for AA Montgomery.
  • One-time UK infielder turned outfielder Jason Kipnis, who transferred to Arizona St., was 2-4 with one double, one walk, one RBI and two runs scored.
  • Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere was 2-5 with one run scored for AAA Rochester.
  • Paducah native Eric Roof was 2-4 with one double, two RBI two runs scored and two walks.

Offseason position battle: WKU second baseman

College Baseball

In the latest position battle series post we will look at Western Kentucky University‘s vacant second base position:

The departed: Senior infielder Matt Payton began 2010 as the Hilltoppers primary second baseman and closed out the season at the same position afer briefly moving to shortstop during the middle of the season. Payton was second among WKU batters with a .354 batting average. He led the team with 63 runs scored, 10 triples and a .586 slugging percentage. Payton was the 27th round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies following his senior season.

The returning candidates: Rising junior Logan Robbins started six games at second base for WKU in 2010, but spent the majority of the season as the team’s starting shortstop. Rising sophomore Blake Crabtree played all over the diamond for the Hilltoppers in 2010, including 12 starts at second base. Crabtree started the final seven games of the 2010 season at third base.

Newcomers to watch: Junior-college transfer Ivan Hartle was named the Easton NJCAA Division I Baseball Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 while playing mostly second base for Iowa Western Community College. Head coach Chris Finwood noted freshmen infielders Scott Wilcox and Jordan Cessna as newcomers who had stood out during fall practice.

Wildcard: Rising sophomore Andrew Zimmerman appeared in just three games as a freshman for the Hilltoppers with all three appearances coming on the mound, but the right-handed pitcher was a standout infielder for Riverview High School in Florida. Zimmerman batted .404 with three home runs and 20 RBI as a senior in 2009.

Kentucky Rookie MiLB Leaderboard

Minor League Baseball

Yesterday we looked at the hitting and pitching leaderboards for full-season Kentucky minor leaguers in advance of the BluGrass Baseball MiLB awards post. If you saw that post you already know former UK catcher Marcus Nidiffer was named the rookie of the year, but looking at the statistical leaders among players that made their professional debuts in 2010 is still helpful.

Batting Average (2.7 PA/team game)

  • Phil Wunderlich (SS Hudson Valley) – .330
  • Andrew Clark (SS Spokane) – .295
  • Richie Rowland (R Missoula) – .291
  • Wes Cunningham (SS Eugene) – .290
  • Lance Ray (Low A Beloit) – .289

On-base Percentage

  • Wes Cunningham (SS Eugene) – .415
  • Andrew Clark (SS Spokane) – .401
  • Lance Ray (Low A Beloit) – .372
  • Marcus Nidiffer (SS Tri-City) – .372
  • Phil Wunderlich (SS Hudson Valley) – .372

Slugging Percentage

  • Marcus Nidiffer (SS Tri-City) – .535
  • Phil Wunderlich (SS Hudson Valley) — .478
  • Wes Cunningham (SS Eugene) – .449
  • Drew Lee (R Bristol) – .435
  • Lance Ray (Low A Beloit) – .417


  • Marcus Nidiffer (SS Tri-City) – 40
  • Wes Cunningham (SS Eugene) – 34
  • Andrew Clark (SS Spokane) – 32
  • Drew Lee (R Bristol) – 32
  • Phil Wunderlich (SS Hudson Valley) – 31


  • Marcus Nidiffer (SS Tri-City) – 14
  • Drew Lee (R Bristol) – 5
  • Richie Rowland (R Missoula) – 5
  • Adam Duvall (SS Salem-Keizer) – 4
  • Phil Wunderlich (SS Hudson Valley) – 4
  • Jayson Langfels (SS Tri-City) – 4


  • Andrew Clark (SS Spokane) – 41
  • Drew Lee (R Bristol) – 39
  • Marcus Nidiffer (SS Tri-City) – 36
  • Phil Wunderlich (SS Hudson Valley) – 36
  • Richie Rowland (R Missoula) – 34

Stolen Bases

  • Cameron Conner (R Idaho Falls) – 15
  • Marcus Nidiffer (SS Tri-City) – 9
  • Matt Payton (R GCL Phillies) – 9
  • Wes Cunningham (SS Eugene) – 7
  • Chris Bisson (SS Eugene) – 5
  • Drew Lee (R Bristol) – 5

Hit the jump to see the pitching leaders.

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 win; Legends, Hot Rods lose; Arnold homers twice; Nidiffer, Sellers also go deep

Minor League Baseball

Chad Reineke; Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Highlights from Saturday Kentucky MiLB action:

  • Right-handed pitcher Chad Reineke led the Louisville Bats to a 5-2 win over Norfolk. Reineke surrendered just four hits and struck out four in six innings to move to 8-7 on the season.
  • Delmarva scored eight runs over the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to blow open the game en route to a 9-1 win over the Lexington Legends. Right-handed pitcher Jose Cisnero fell to 6-6 on the season despite surrendering just three runs on three hits in six innings.
  • The Bowling Green Hot Rods scored five runs in the top of the ninth inning but surrendered three runs in the bottom half of the inning to suffer a 6-5 loss to Fort Wayne. Shortstop Tyler Bortnick slugged his seventh home run of the season.
  • Former UofL catcher and 2010 Giants draftee Jeff Arnold was 3-4 with two home runs, three RBI and two runs scored for short-season Salem-Keizer.
  • Former UK catcher Marcus Nidiffer homered for the second straight game and for the tenth time this season for rookie-level Greeneville.
  • Former UofL first baseman and 2010 Rangers draftee Andrew Clark tallied three hits and scored twice for short-season Spokane.
  • Former WKU infielder and 2010 Phillies draftee Matt Payton was 3-5 with a run scored for the rookie-level GCL Phillies.
  • Former EKU infielder Neil Sellers slugged his fourth home run of the season for AAA Lehigh Valley.
  • Former Kentucky Wesleyan right-handed pitcher Cory Wade earned his third win of the season for AAA Albuquerque.
  • Former Union College right-handed pitcher Marty Popham earned his fifth win for high A Kinston after striking out 10 in five scoreless innings.
  • Boyd County native and 2010 Royals NDFA Tyler Gatrell earned his ninth save of the season for the rookie-level AZL Royals.

MiLB Roundup: Bats win behind Klinker; Legends win; Shelby, Nidiffer, Townsend homer; Revesz wins

Minor League Baseball

John Shelby; Photo: UK Athletics

Highlights from Tuesday Kentucky MiLB action:

  • One-time Madisonville resident Matt Klinker picked up his fourth win of the season for the Louisville Bats in the team’s 8-4 victory over Charlotte. Center fielder Michael Griffin was 2-2 with two home runs, three RBI and two runs scored.
  • Lexington Legends right-handed pitcher Tanner Bushue scattered three hits in seven shutout innings to lead the Legends to a 3-1 win over Rome. Bushue struck out five and walked just one in the game to earn his fifth win of the season.
  • The Bowling Green Hot Rods were off Tuesday.
  • Former UK outfielder John Shelby slugged his seventh home run of the season for AA Birmingham and was 2-3 with one RBI and two runs scored.
  • London native Jon Townsend slugged his fourth home run of the season, drove in four runs, tallied two hits and scored twice for high A Rancho Cucamonga.
  • Former UK catcher and 2010 Astros NDFA Marcus Nidiffer slugged his seventh home run in just 26 professional games for rookie-level Greeneville.
  • Former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill was 3-4 with a double, triple, one RBI and two runs scored for AA Mobile.
  • Former UK infielder Michael Bertram was 3-4 with a double, three RBI and one run scored for AA Erie.
  • Former UofL left-handed pitcher and 2010 Cardinals draftee Bob Revesz pick up his first professional win with a scoreless inning and one-third for rookie-level Johnson City.
  • Former UofL outfielder Boomer Whiting scored three times for AAA Syracuse and was 2-4 with a stolen base.
  • Former WKU infielder and 2010 Phillies draftee Matt Payton scored three times and was 2-4 with two walks and a stolen base for the rookie-level GCL Phillies.
  • Elizabethtown native Nathan Adcock took the loss for high A Bradenton despite allowing just three runs in six innings. He struck out six and walked just one.

2010 Draftees Minor League Debuts

Minor League Baseball

Marcus Nidiffer; BluGrass Baseball photo

Most of the 2010 draftees who have already signed professional contracts have a few Minor League games under their belt by now so I thought I’d update you on their early performances. Check out the list below, organized by draft position, with Minor League team listed and Kentucky connection in parentheses:

  • RHP Thomas Royse (UofL) — Great Falls Voyagers — 0-0, 1 GS, 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 SO
  • 2B Chris Bisson (UK) — Eugene Emeralds — Has not played
  • OF Lance Ray (UK) — Elizabethton Twins — 5-23 (.217), 2 RBI, 2 R
  • SS Jonathan Roof (Paducah) — AZL Rangers — Has not played
  • RHP Neil Holland (UofL) — Vermont Lake Monsters — 0-0, 2 G, 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO
  • 2B Adam Duvall (UofL) — Salem-Keizer Volcanoes — 2-11 (.182), 3 R
  • SS Drew Lee (Morehead St.) — Bristol White Sox — 8-23 (.348), 5 RBI, 3 R
  • 1B Andrew Clark (UofL) — Spokane Indians — 11-28 (.393), 2 RBI, 3 R
  • 3B Michael Mosby (Hawesville) — Bluefield Orioles — 4-10 (.400), 1 RBI, 3 R
  • RHP Patrick Cooper (Danville) — Not assigned to a team
  • 3B Jayson Langfels (EKU) — Tri-City Dust Devils — 2-15 (.133), 1 RBI
  • 1B Wes Cunningham (Murray St.) — Eugene Emeralds — 1-14 (.071), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R
  • OF Cameron Conner (Frankfort) — AZL Royals — 3-18 (.167), 1 RBI
  • C Jeff Arnold (UofL) — Salem-Keizer Volcanoes — 4-14 (.286), 2 R
  • 2B Matt Payton (WKU) — GCL Phillies — 2-19 (.105)
  • RHP Matt Little (UK) — Connecticut Tigers — 0-0, 4 G, 1 SV, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO
  • LHP Jarrett Casey (NKU) — Bristol White Sox — 0-1, 2 G, 1 SV, 2.2 IP, 4 H, 7 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO
  • 1B Tyler Oliver (Lexington) — 7-18 (.389), 5 RBI, 2 R
  • RHP Stephen Shackleford (Louisville) — 0-1, 2 G, 3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO
  • LHP Dean Kiekhefer (UofL) — 0-1, 1 G, 2.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO
  • OF Jeremy Shelby (Lexington) — Bluefield Orioles — 1-8 (.125), 2 R, 1 SB
  • LHP Bart Carter (WKU) — Fort Myers Miracle — 3 G, 4 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO
  • RHP Matt Ridings (WKU) — Out for season after Tommy John Surgery
  • 2B Patrick Brady (Bellarmine) — AZL Mariners — 0-4, 1 R
  • LHP Bob Revesz (UofL) — Johnson City Cardinals — 0-0, 1 G, 2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO
  • C Marcus Nidiffer (UK) — Greenville Astros — 7-16  (.438), 2 RBI, 2 R
  • 3B Gunner Glad (UK) — Elizabethton Twins — 5-20 (.200), 3 R
  • RHP Tyler Gatrell (Boyd Co.) — AZL Royals — 0-0, 2 G, 3.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO
  • OF J. D. Ashbrook (Morehead St.) — 2-11 (.182), 1 R
  • C Richie Rowland (Campbellsville) — 9-17 (.529), 3 RBI, 3 R

Roof, Lee, Cunningham, Payton, Little, Casey sign pro deals

College Baseball, Major League Baseball

Wes Cunningham: BluGrass Baseball photo

Draft pick signings are coming in fast and furious now as team’s look to fill their short-season rosters in time for the start of league play Friday. Here are the latest Kentucky signings I’ve seen:

  • Paducah native and Michigan State junior shortstop Jonathan Roof has signed a professional contract with the Texas Rangers as the team’s eighth round pick.
  • Morehead State University All-Ohio Valley Conference senior shortstop Drew Lee has signed with the Chicago White Sox as the team’s 12th round pick.
  • BluGrass Baseball player of the year and Murray State University senior first baseman Wes Cunningham has signed with the San Diego Padres as the team’s 17th round pick.
  • Western Kentucky University senior second baseman Matt Payton has signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as the team’s 27th round pick.
  • University of Kentucky junior right-handed closer Matt Little has signed with the Detroit Tigers as the teams 31st round pick.
  • Northern Kentucky University senior left-handed pitcher Jarrett Casey has signed with the White Sox as the team’s 32nd round pick.

Day Two Draft Breakdown

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Major League Baseball

Day two of the Major League Baseball amateur player’s draft finished this evening with the completion of round 30. Twenty-six players with Kentucky ties have been drafted so far including three by the Texas Rangers. Check out the full list below:

  • 1st Round (25) — 3B Zack Cox — Pleasure Ridge Park (Arkansas) — St. Louis Cardinals
  • 3rd Supplemental (114) — RHP Thomas Royse — Paul Laurence Dunbar (UofL) — Chicago White Sox
  • 4th Round (124) — 2B Chris Bisson — Canada (UK) — San Diego Padres
  • 4th Round (132) — LHP James Paxton — Canada (UK) — Seattle Mariners
  • 6th Round (181) — RHP Blake Perry — Danville (Fla. HS) — Arizona Diamondbacks
  • 6th Round (195) — LHP Logan Darnell — Tennessee (UK) — Minnesota Twins
  • 8th Round (237) — RHP Dace Kime — Ohio (UofL signee) — Pittsburgh Pirates
  • 8th Round (255) — OF Lance Ray — Nevada (UK) — Minnesota Twins
  • 8th Round (256) — SS Jonathan Roof — St. Mary’s (Mich. St.) — Texas Rangers
  • 11th Round (326) — RHP Neil Holland — Owensboro Catholic (UofL) — Washington Nationals
  • 11th Round (348) — 2B Adam Duvall — Butler HS (UofL) — San Francisco Giants
  • 12th Round (368) — SS Drew Lee — Montgomery County HS (Morehead St.) — Chicago White Sox
  • 12th Round (371) — 1B Phil Wunderlich — Illinois (UofL) — Tampa Bay Rays
  • 12th Round (376) — OF Josh Richmond — Ohio (UofL) — Texas Rangers
  • 13th Round (406) — 1B Andrew Clark — Indiana (UofL) — Texas Rangers
  • 14th Round (418) — 3B Michael Mosby — Hancock County (Wabash Valley JC) — Baltimore Orioles
  • 14th Round (433) — RHP Patrick Cooper — Boyle County HS (Bradley) — Detroit Tigers
  • 16th Round (500) — 3B Jayson Langfels — Lafayette (EKU) — Colorado Rockies
  • 17th Round (516) — 1B Wes Cunningham — Eastern HS (Murray St.) — San Diego Padres
  • 20th Round (599) — OF Cameron Conner — Frankfort (IU Southeast) — Kansas City Royals
  • 26th Round (798) — C Jeff Arnold — Male HS (UofL) — San Francisco Giants
  • 27th Round (817) — LHP Joel Bender — Ohio (UofL signee) — Cincinnati Reds
  • 27th Round (831) — 2B Matt Payton — Male HS (WKU) — Philadelphia Phillies
  • 28th Round (843) — RHP Jason Chowning — Eastern HS (Oklahoma) — Houston Astros
  • 28th Round (859) — SS Taylor Black — S. C. (UK) — St. Louis Cardinals
  • 29th Round (895) — OF Stewart Ijames — Owensboro Catholic (UofL) — New York Yankees

Draft Preview: Western Kentucky University

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Major League Baseball

Matt Rice bats for WKU: BluGrass Baseball photo

The draft is already underway, but we’ll continue our previews for schools with some players projected to go in later rounds. You can follow the Kentucky-related draft news all day from BluGrass Baseball via Twitter. Check out prospects from Western Kentucky University below:

The Headliners

  • One would think a catcher that has hit as well as Matt Rice has would be a top draft prospect, but a variety of factors have diminished his prospect status. First, he’s a little oversized for the position and doesn’t look pretty at times on defense. But perhaps even more relevant to his draft hopes is his status as a candidate to become WKU’s first Rhodes Scholar. Baseball America projected the potential honor would move Rice down teams boards as they are leery of the prospects of trying to sign him away from Rhodes. Still Rice should go off the board on day two.
  • Senior right-handed pitcher Matt Ridings, the Sun Belt pitcher of the year, was projected to be drafted in the first ten rounds before Tommy John surgery ended his season just before the Sun Belt Conference tournament. Still when asked by BluGrass Baseball, Jim Callis of Baseball America said of Ridings: “Area scouts love him. Someone will take a flier.” Ridings doesn’t have great stuff or eye-popping size, but he’s demonstrated an excellent feel for pitching through his WKU career.
  • Redshirt sophomore closer Rye Davis missed 2009 with an eye injury, but was unhittable during his return this season. Davis saved nine games and struck out 63 in 49.2 innings. Opponents batted just .249 against Davis, who even made a start during the Sun Belt tournament. As a draft-eligible sophomore Davis figures to go late in the draft to a team who hopes it can sign him away from returning to WKU for his junior season.

Senior hoping for chance

  • Senior second baseman Matt Payton batted .354 in 2010 with seven home runs and 55 RBI. Payton figures to be a late senior sign in the draft and will hope to impress a team enough to stick around during short-season ball.
  • Left-handed pitcher Bart Carter was ranked among the top 25 draft prospects in the state by Baseball America after experiencing mixed success in the WKU bullpen in 2010. Carter finished the year 3-1 with a 5.61 ERA, but could get a chance late in the draft as a lefty specialist.

Other eligible juniors

  • OF Matt Bracken
  • OF Chris Bullard
  • OF Monte Ketchum
  • RHP Scott Pederson
  • OF Kory Petri
  • RHP Brian Edelen
  • LHP Garrie Krueger

Other eligible seniors

  • RHP Shane Cameron
  • 1B Jake Wells

High school signees

  • RHP Justin Hageman of Hopkinsville High School was listed by Baseball America as one of the state’s top 25 draft prospects and could be the best candidate of Kentucky high schoolers to sign.