University of Louisville junior third baseman Phil Wunderlich has signed a professional contract with the Tampa Bay Rays as the team’s 12th-round pick, Baseball America reports. Wunderlich batted .355 with 21 home runs 62 RBI and 54 runs scored in 64 games for UofL this season. He was named to the second-team all Big East Conference team following the season. Wunderlich was scheduled to play in the Cape Cod League this summer. He has been assigned to the short-season Hudson Valley Renegades and went 0-4 in his professional debut.
Western Kentucky University senior right-handed pitcher and Sun Belt Conference pitcher of the year Matt Ridings has signed a professional contract with the Kansas City Royals as the team’s 41st-round pick. Ridings was projected to be selected in the first ten rounds of the draft before he underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow just days prior to the draft. Ridings was 9-1 with a 3.01 ERA in 14 starts for WKU on the season. He struck out 90 batters and walked just 17 in 92 and two-third innings.
Morehead State University senior outfielder J. D. Ashbrook has signed a Minor League contract with the Chicago White Sox as a non-drafted free agent, according to a Morehead news release. Ashbrook batted .432 with 18 home runs and 55 RBI en route to being named to the All-Ohio Valley Conference team. The centerfielder will head to the Appalachian League to play for the rookie-level Bristol White Sox alongside former Morehead teammate Drew Lee.
Latest Kentucky MLB draft signings with video of Jeff Arnold at-bat above:
- Boyle County native and Bradley junior right-handed pitcher Patrick Cooper has signed a professional contract with the Detroit Tigers as the team’s 14th round pick.
- University of Louisville senior catcher Jeff Arnold has signed with the San Francisco Giants as the team’s 26th round pick.
- Lexington native and Grambling State senior outfielder Jeremy Shelby has signed with the Baltimore Orioles as the team’s 38th round pick.
- Western Kentucky University senior left-handed pitcher Bart Carter has signed with the Minnesota Twins as the team’s 39th round pick.
The first Kentucky draftee to sign a professional contract is University of Louisville junior right-handed pitcher Thomas Royse, right. The Big East Conference pitcher of the year was the third-supplemental round pick of the Chicago White Sox. Royse, named BluGrass Baseball‘s Kentucky pitcher of the year, led UofL to its second consecutive Big East regular season championship by going 9-1 with a 2.85 ERA as the Cards’ Friday night starting pitcher. Royse will report to short-season Great Falls to begin his professional career, Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune reports. (Read more)
We’ve been overrun with draft coverage over the last three days both on the main website and BluGrass Baseball‘s Twitter, but before too much time elapsed I wanted to make sure and provide the final breakdown of Kentuckians in the draft:
- In total, 43 players who spent time at a Kentucky high school or college were selected in the 2010 draft.
- In addition to the 43 alumni, four out-of-state high schoolers committed to play at a Kentucky university in 2011 were selected.
- The University of Louisville led the way with 10 players drafted plus three high school signees. The University of Kentucky (6), Western Kentucky University (5) and Northern Kentucky University (2) also had multiple players drafted. UK had six high school signees drafted while WKU had two members of its 2011 recruiting class selected.
- Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State University, Murray State University and Bellarmine College each had one player drafted.
- Six Kentucky high schoolers were selected.
- Ten alumni of Kentucky high schools were drafted out of out-of-state colleges, including two from Wabash Valley Junior College.
- The Chicago White Sox led all teams by drafting five Kentucky players. The St. Louis Cardinals (4), San Francisco Giants (3), Washington Nationals (3), Texas Rangers (3), Kansas City Royals (3), Minnesota Twins (3), New York Yankees (3), Seattle Mariners (2), Baltimore Orioles (2), San Diego Padres (2) and Detroit Tigers (2) also drafted multiple players with Kentucky ties.
- Twenty-four different teams drafted Kentucky players.
- Louisville led a Kentucky cities with nine natives drafted. Lexington (7), Owensboro (2), Frankfort (2) and Danville (2) also had multiple natives drafted.
- Twenty-two of Kentucky’s draftees were pitchers with nine throwing from the left side and 13 from the right. Seven outfielders, four shortstops, four first basemen, three third basemen, three second basemen and two infielders were drafted.
James Paxton‘s father told Andy Mead of the Lexington Herald-Leader today that his son plans to pitch in an independent league before entering the Major League Baseball amateur players draft this summer. “He’s a very focused young man, and certainly Major League Baseball is his dream,” Ted Paxton told Mead from his home in Vancover, British Columbia. Mr. Paxton said James would have more to say through attorneys in the near future, likely Sunday. (Read more)