Gaynor picked as Tigers best MiLB performer; Playoff previews; Calhoun named pitcher of week

Minor League Baseball

Jacob Goebbert; BluGrass Baseball photo

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Lynn Henning of The Detroit News highlights the best 2010 performances from Detroit Tigers minor leaguers and picks former WKU infielder Wade Gaynor as the standout offensive performer. Henning highlighted former UK infielder Ryan Strieby‘s balky wrist as the most ominous injury.
  • MiLB.com previews the Southern League playoffs and spotlights former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill in the series between Mobile and Jacksonville.
  • Jason Stella of the Louisville Bats media relations department previews the team’s playoff series with Durham.
  • Mark Maloney of the Lexington Herald-Leader recaps the Lexington Legends season, highlighting standout performances including outfielder Jacob Goebbert‘s RBI and doubles records.
  • Former Murray St. right-handed pitcher Daniel Calhoun was named Midwest League pitcher of the week after going 3-0 without giving up a run for Quad Cities.
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Bunning mocks Strasburg; Webb hits snag in rehab, may comeback as a reliever if he pitches in 2010

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Republican U.S. Sen. and Kentucky Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning has decided to weigh in on the Washington Nationals decision to hold Stephen Strasburg from his last start. Bunning told Jonathan Allen of Politico “Five-hundred twenty starts, I never refused the ball. What a joke.” Bunning went on to clutch his arm sarcastically and cry “My arm!”
  • Bunning’s comments led to this hilarious tweet from the “OldHossRaburn” Twitter account, which is supposed to be the modern incarnation of the 1880s pitcher of the same name: “Dear Sen. Bunning, I am not impressed by your inability to complete 368 of your 519 starts. Ouch, my arm! Yrs, Hoss.”
  • In part two of the Mobile Press Register‘s examination of the off-the-field life of minor league baseball players, Jared Macarin focuses on players’ fear they won’t ever make the big leagues. Former UK outfielder and Mobile BayBears slugger Collin Cowgill told Macarin “It’s like you’re interviewing for a job every single day.”
  • Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports Ashland native and Diamondback’s right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb had to cancel a bullpen session after failing to get lose Wednesday.
  • In a separate story Piecoro reports Webb may consider coming back as a reliever if he wants to pitch this season.

Paxton stands to lose big from attempted return to UK; Clark breaks Legends save record; Williams staying at UofL

College Baseball, Minor League Baseball

James Paxton; Photo: UK Athletics

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-Register profiles 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-Leader profiles 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.

Hart wants to stay with Brewers; Cowgill an All-Star; Webb’s rehab progressing; Miller approaching vesting option

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Brandon Webb; Photo by SD Dirk via Flickr

Roundup of the latest stories from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports Bowling Green native Corey Hart wants to stay with the Milwaukee Brewers despite the swarm of trade rumors surrounding him.
  • The Birmingham Press-Register reports former University of Kentucky outfielder and Arizona Diamondbacks prospect¬†Collin Cowgill has been named to the AA Southern League All-Star team to replace a promoted player.
  • Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports Ashland native and Arizona Diamondbacks right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb felt good after his latest throwing session and may face hitters shortly after the All-Star break.
  • Business First of Louisville reports the Louisville Bats rank second in the International League in home attendance.
  • Mike Axisa of MLBTradeRumors reports Louisville native and St. Louis Cardinals left-handed pitcher Trever Miller‘s $2 million 2011 contract option will vest automatically with 14 more appearances.
  • A name to watch for Lexington Legends fans: The Astros have signed top 16-year-old Dominican Republic outfielder Ariel Ovando, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. Ovando could end up in Lexington in the next couple of years.

Minor League Roundup: Dominguez has big night; Bats, Hot Rods win; Legends lose; Cowgill, Green, Sellers homer

Minor League Baseball

Chris Dominguez; UofL Photo

Now that the college season and draft are officially out of the way, BluGrass Baseball will shift its focus to a greater emphasis on the Minor Leagues during the second half of the MiLB season. Each morning we’ll update you on what the three in-state teams did the day before and some highlights from other Kentuckians in the minors. Links below will take you to MiLB.com box scores.

  • Recently signed outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. was 3-5 with his first home run to lead the Louisville Bats to a 7-2 win over the Toledo Mud Hens.
  • Five different Bowling Green Hot Rods recorded two hits in the team’s 5-3 win over the Lansing Lugnuts. Right-handed pitcher Jason McEachern earned the win after holding the Lugnuts scoreless on four hits for six and one-third innings while striking out four and walking two.
  • The Lexington Legends lost 4-3 to the Rome Braves despite a relatively solid pitching performance from Brad Dydalewicz, who surrendered four runs on seven hits in seven innings and struck out four while walking three.
  • Former UK and Henry Clay High School standout Collin Cowgill launched his seventh home run of the season for the AA Mobile BayBears.
  • Former UofL third baseman Chris Dominguez was 4-5 with a home run, double, stolen base, two RBI and three runs scored for the low A Augusta GreenJackets.
  • Lafayette High School alum Chaz Roe continued his struggles for AAA Colorado Springs, allowing seven runs on nine hits in five and one-third innings to take his eighth loss of the season.
  • UofL alum and Futures Game selection Trystan Magnuson continued his stellar pitching for the AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats with two and one-third scoreless innings. Magnuson allowed just one hit, struck out four Reading Phillies and walked none.
  • EKU alum Neil Sellers was 2-5 with a home run, double, two RBI and two runs scored in that same game for the Phillies.
  • UofL alum and 2010 draftee Thomas Royse took the loss in his first professional decision after allowing five runs on five hits in three and one-third innings for the rookie-level Great Falls Voyagers.
  • Campbellsville alum Richie Rowland was 2-4 with a double, two RBI and one run scored in that same game for the Missoula Osprey.
  • UK alum Andy Green was 2-5 with a home run for the AAA Buffalo Bisons.

Mr. Ky. Baseball: Where are they now?

High School Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Austin Kearns; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

We did this last summer, but with Monday’s announcement that Western Hills shortstop J. T. Riddle had been named the 2010 Mr. Baseball it’s always fun to look back on previous Mr. Baseballs and see where they are today. Check out the list below with each player’s most recent baseball affiliation:

  • 2010: J. T. Riddle (Western Hills) — Riddle has signed to play college ball at the University of Kentucky in 2011 and was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 35th round of the 2010 MLB draft.
  • 2009: Luke Maile (Covington Catholic) — Maile is a rising sophomore at UK and was 7-25 with three home runs and six RBI in limited action as a freshman.
  • 2008: Zack Cox (Pleasure Ridge Park) — Spent 2010 as a sophomore at Arkansas where he was named an All-American by several outlets after batting .429. Cox was the first-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2010 MLB draft.
  • 2007: Ben Revere (Lexington Catholic) — Revere was the Minnesota Twins’ first round pick in 2007 and has done nothing but hit in his Minor League career. Revere is currently batting .307 with 21 stolen bases for the AA New Britain Rock Cats and was named the fifth best prospect in the Twins’ system by Baseball America prior to the 2010 season.
  • 2006: Nathan Adcock (North Hardin) — After three and one-half mediocre season in the Seattle Mariners’ organization Adcock was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009 as part of the Jack Wilson trade. Adcock is having his best season to date in 2010 for the high A Bradenton Marauders where he is 6-2 with a 2.99 ERA in 13 starts.
  • 2005: Chaz Roe (Lafayette) — Roe was the Colorado Rockies’ first-supplemental round pick in the 2005 MLB draft and has worked his way through the Minor Leagues to AAA. Last year was Roe’s best season to date when he went 7-3 with a 3.15 ERA for AA Tulsa, but he has struggled so far in 2010 to the tune of a 5-7 record and 5.86 ERA in hitter-friendly AAA Colorado Springs.
  • 2004: Collin Cowgill (Henry Clay) — Cowgill was a standout in his four seasons at UK and has continued to excel in professional baseball after the Arizona Diamondbacks took him with their fifth-round pick in 2008. Named the ninth best prospect in the D’Backs farm system by Baseball America prior to the 2010 season, Cowgill is batting .280 with five home runs and 43 RBI for AA Mobile this season.
  • 2003: Josh Ellis (Paul Laurence Dunbar) — While older brother A.J. Ellis has carved a niche for himself as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ backup catcher this season, Josh is still working his way through the Diamobacks system after the team selected him in the 11th round of the 2007 draft. Ellis is 1-0 with a¬† 2.86 ERA in 18 relief appearances between AAA Reno and AA Mobile this season.
  • 2002: Brad Corley (Pleasure Ridge Park) — Corley was the Pirates second-round pick as an outfielder in 2005 and was named the tenth best prospect in the team’s system by Baseball America entering the 2008 season. Corely’s career stalled after that honor. and he hasn’t advanced past AA since. He was acquired by Colorado in 2009 and is currently playing for short-season Tri-City as he attempts to become a full-time pitcher.
  • 2001: Jeremy Sowers (Ballard) — Sowers was the Indian’s first-round pick in 2004 out of Vanderbilt University and has appeared in 72 games over parts of four season with the Indians. Sowers is 18-30 as a MLB starting pitcher, and he is currently struggling to the tune of a 1-4 record and 6.49 ERA as a left-handed reliever for AAA Columbus.
  • 2000: Spencer Graeter (Ballard) — Greater batted .307 with 14 home runs and 98 RBI in four seasons for UK from 2001-2004 but never appeared in affiliated ball.
  • 1999: Joe Blanton (Franklin-Simpson) — Blanton has appeared in two World Series and even earned a victory in game four of the Philadelphia Phillies World Series win in 2008. Blanton is just 2-5 with a 6.96 ERA in eight starts for Philadelphia this season, but is 65-59 with a 4.34 ERA in seven MLB seasons with the Oakland Athletics and Phillies.
  • 1998: Austin Kearns (Lafayette) — Kearns won a job as a reserve outfielder with the Cleveland Indians in Spring Training and has worked his way into a starting role. On the season Kearns is batting .288 with seven home runs an 32 RBI. In nine MLB seasons, Kearns has batted .258 with 112 home runs and 454 RBI with the Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals and Indians.
  • 1997: Scott Hodges (Henry Clay) — Hodges was the Montreal Expos’ first-round pick in 1997 and spent nine seasons in the Minor Leagues appearing as high as AAA. In 2005 he was diagnosed with lymphoma, ending his career.
  • 1996: Aaron McGlone (Greenup Co.) — McGlone batted .345 with eight home runs and 51 RBI for UK in 2000, but never appeared in affiliated ball.
  • 1995: Brad Wilkerson (Apollo) — Wilkerson spent parts of eights season in the Major Leagues, batting .247 with 122 home runs and 399 RBI for the Expos, Washington Nationals, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays. He retired in 2008 before briefly making a comeback with the Phillies during Spring Training this season only to announce his retirement for good.
  • 1994: Scott Downs (Pleasure Ridge Park) — Downs was the Chicago Cubs’ third-round pick in 1997 out of UK, and has spent parts of ten season in the big leagues. Over the past four seasons he has carved out a niche as one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball with the Toronto Blue Jays. In 2010 he is 2-5 with a 3.34 ERA in 34 games for the Blue Jays.
  • 1993: Dion Newby (Harrison Co.) — Newby played collegiately at North Alabama but never appeared in affiliated ball.
  • 1992: Shon Walker (Harrison Co.) — Walker was the Pirates first-round pick in 1992 and last appeared in affiliated ball in 1998 at High A Lynchburg.
  • 1991: Trever Miller (Trinity) — Miller’s long Major League career is still going strong as a left-handed reliever in the St. Louis Cardinals’ bullpen. Miller is 0-1 with a 3.12 ERA in 25 games for the Cardinals this season and is 18-16 with a 4.17 ERA over 12 MLB seasons. Miller was the Detroit Tigers’ first-round pick in 1991.
  • 1990: Darren Burton (Pulaski Co.) — Burton was the Royals’ fifth-round pick in 1990 and last appeared in affiliated ball at AA Altoona in 2001. He spent parts of six seasons in AAA.
  • 1989: Tab Brown (St. Xavier) — Brown was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1989 and spent at least two seasons in the Braves’ organization.