Offseason position battle: UK third baseman

College Baseball

UK Athletics Wallpaper

We will begin our second lap in the “Offseason position battle” series with a look at the vacant University of Kentucky third base position:

The departed — This season was supposed to be the year that Colorado native Andy Burns, arguably the highest ranked high school position player to ever sign with Kentucky, rode his immense talent to an early MLB draft selection. Burns batted .279 with 18 home runs and 63 RBI over two seasons at UK before deciding to transfer to Arizona following the 2010 season. The only other Cat to appear at third base during the 2010 season was since departed senior utility man Gunner Glad.

Returning candidates — The only returning infielders who didn’t start in 2010 on the roster are redshirt senior Neiko Johnson and redshirt freshman Tyler Townsend.  Johnson batted just .171 in 33 games as a junior but is better suited for second base, where he filled in for an injured Chris Bisson in 2010. Townsend redshirted during the 2010 season.

Newcomers to watch — Freshman infielder Dallen Reber belted a three-run home run in game two of the Fall World Series. In an interview with College Baseball Daily head coach Gary Henderson listed freshman infielders Paul McConkey, J. T. Riddle and Matt Reida as standouts in fall camp. Henderson noted Reida was the most advanced defensive infielder of the group, though he probably profiles as a second baseman or shortstop. Junior college transfer Thomas McCarthy slugged two home runs and a double during game one of the Fall World Series. McCarthy batted .415 with three home runs and 36 RBI in 36 games for Feather River College in 2010.

Wildcard — We listed UK redshirt freshman football quarterback Ryan Mossakowski as the wildcard in UK’s first base race after The Cat’s Pause reported he would play baseball this spring, but his quarterback’s arm could also fit at third base. Mossakowski is unlikely to contribute early in the 2011 season after missing two years following shoulder surgery in high school, but could fit in later in the season as wide receiver Brian Adams did in the outfield at the end of the 2010 season.

Draft Preview: University of Kentucky

College Baseball, Major League Baseball

UK Athletics Wallpaper

While the Cats missed out on the NCAA tournament they will compete with the University of Louisville for most players selected in the MLB draft over the next three days. Even without senior left-handed pitcher James Paxton, the University of Kentucky should enjoy another impressive draft. Check out some of the UK players with the most hope of hearing their names called below:

The sure thing

  • Junior second baseman Chris Bisson is ranked No. 149 on Baseball America‘s top 200 draft prospects list and represents the best prospect among current Kentucky collegians. BA writes that Bisson is likely the best second baseman in the draft that is likely to stay at that position as a professional. After being hit by a pitch in the face early in the 2010 season, Bisson missed only a week but struggled for several weeks following the injury at the plate. Bisson’s intangibles are off the charts and he demonstrated plus speed leading the Southeastern Conference in 2010 and Cape Cod League in summer 2009 in stolen bases. Bisson profiles as a leadoff hitter as a professional and should go in the first five rounds.

Other prospects of note:

  • Junior left-handed pitcher Logan Darnell struggled as a weekend starting pitcher for UK in 2010, but a late-season move to the pen will likely foreshadow his professional role. Darnell enjoyed mixed success as a reliever in 2009, so he has shown he can perform admirably in the role. A mid-season bout with shoulder tendonitis has to scare teams a little, but Baseball America projects Darnell will likely be drafted in the first ten rounds.
  • Junior closer Matt Little burst onto the scene in 2010 after sitting out 2009 following his transfer from Louisberg Junior College and was nearly unhittable for much of the year. Little struggled late in the conference schedule, but still stands a good chance of being selected in the mid-rounds of the draft after striking out 52 batters in 42 innings. Little pitched in the prestigious Cape Cod League during summer 2009.
  • Junior outfielder Lance Ray was among the SEC’s best hitters in the second half of 2010, slugging .720 in just 118 at-bats. He’ll need to find a full-time position to succeed in professional ball, but Ray could very well have slugged his way into a draft selection. He could boost his status even more by returning for his senior season and performing well for an entire year.
  • Junior shortstop Taylor Black was the team’s best defender and even slugged 10 home runs. Black will likely return to UK for his senior year, but could be a valuable late-round pick for a professional team.
  • Redshirt senior utility man Gunner Glad likely has a future as a professional after playing all over the diamond and leading the team with 12 home runs. Glad’s versatility will help him as a professional as he played first, second, third and outfield in 2010. Look for Gunner to come off the board after round 20.
  • Redshirt senior catcher Marcus Nidiffer and redshirt senior outfielder Keenan Wiley have both experience mixed success at UK and should be late-round selections this week.

Other Eligible Juniors

  • RHP Kyle Jackson
  • INF Neiko Johnson
  • LHP Mike Kaczmarek
  • RHP Nick Kennedy

High School Signees

  • Trinity LHP Corey Littrell is the best high school player in the state, but Baseball America reports he’s unlikely to forgo his commitment to UK.
  • BA also ranks Tates Creek RHP Trevor Gott and LCA OF Lucas Witt among the top 25 Kentucky draft prospects.
  • BA ranked Danville native RHP Blake Perry, who attends a prep school in Florida, as the No. 71 prospect in the Sunshine state. Perry has been rising up team’s draft boards with an impressive senior campaign where he hit 92 mph with his fastball and boasted a 76 mph curveball at a recent showcase.

BluGrass Baseball Hitting Leaderboard: June 1

College Baseball

Check out the  BluGrass Baseball hitting leaderboard updated through conference tournament action. Remember, these stats are final for all teams except UofL. To be eligible for the percentage categories (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage) a player must have at least 2.5 at-bats per team game. The college leaderboard is now permanently accessible on its own page on the left sidebar here.

Batting Average

  • Zack Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .432
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .432
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .412
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .408
  • Andrew Clark — UofL — .377

Home Runs

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 22
  • Phil Wunderlich — UofL — 20
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 18
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 17
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — 17

RBI

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 86
  • Ryan Wright — UofL — 77
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — 67
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 66
  • Matt Rice — WKU — 65

Runs

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 77
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 69
  • Adam Duvall — UofL — 66
  • Matt Payton — WKU — 63
  • Jeff Arnold — UofL — 62

Stolen Bases

  • Chris Bisson — UK — 32/39
  • Neiko Johnson — UK — 24/25
  • Richie Rodriguez — EKU — 21/28
  • Logan Robbins — WKU — 18/20
  • Jeff Arnold — UofL — 16/19
  • Jonathan Roof — Michigan St. (St. Mary’s) — 16/22

On-Base Percentage

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .540
  • Zack  Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .514
  • Andrew Clark — UofL — .481
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .485
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .476

Slugging Percentage

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .824
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .795
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .765
  • Phil Wunderlich — UofL — .697
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .696

BluGrass Baseball Hitting Leaderboard: May 25

College Baseball

Check out the final regular season hitting BluGrass Baseball leaderboard updated through Sunday’s games. Stats will continue to update through postseason play for UofL, WKU, Murray St. and EKU, but the season is over for Morehead St. and, barring a miracle NCAA bid, UK. To be eligible for the percentage categories (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage) a player must have at least 2.5 at-bats per team game. The college leaderboard is now permanently accessible on its own page on the left sidebar here.

Batting Average

  • Zack Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .432
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .432
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .415
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .412
  • Andrew Clark — UofL — .385

Home Runs

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 20
  • Phil Wunderlich — UofL — 19
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 18
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 17
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — 17

RBI

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 77
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — 67
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 66
  • Ryan Wright — UofL — 66
  • Matt Rice — WKU — 63

Runs

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 69
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 69
  • Adam Duvall — UofL — 63
  • Matt Payton — WKU — 62
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — 61

Stolen Bases

  • Chris Bisson — UK — 32/39
  • Neiko Johnson — UK — 24/25
  • Richie Rodriguez — EKU — 19/26
  • Logan Robbins — WKU — 17/19
  • Jonathan Roof — Michigan St. (St. Mary’s) — 16/22

On-Base Percentage

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .540
  • Zack  Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .514
  • Andrew Clark — UofL — .488
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .485
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .484

Slugging Percentage

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .835
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .795
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .765
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .736
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — .721

BluGrass Baseball Hitting Leaderboard: May 18

College Baseball

Check out the hitting BluGrass Baseball leaderboard updated through Sunday’s games. To be eligible for the percentage categories (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage) a player must have at least 2.5 at-bats per team game, which means UK outfielder Lance Ray still isn’t eligible after moving into the starting lineup halfway through the season. The college leaderboard is now permanently accessible on its own page on the left sidebar here.

Batting Average

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .436
  • Zack Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .431
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .427
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .424
  • Andrew Clark — UofL — .393

Home Runs

  • Phil Wunderlich — UofL — 19
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 18
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 18
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 16
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — 16

RBI

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 74
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 65
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — 65
  • Ryan Wright — UofL — 63
  • Matt Rice — WKU — 60

Runs

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 67
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 67
  • Zack Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — 60
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — 59
  • Adam Duvall — UofL — 59

Stolen Bases

  • Chris Bisson — UK — 28/35
  • Neiko Johnson — UK — 23/24
  • Logan Robbins — WKU — 16/18
  • Jeff Arnold — UofL — 14/17
  • Richie Rodriguez — EKU — 14/21

On-Base Percentage

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .536
  • Zack  Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .532
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .506
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .500
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .498

Slugging Percentage

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .862
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .797
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .781
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .746
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — .744

BluGrass Baseball Hitting Leaderboard: May 11

College Baseball

Check out the hitting BluGrass Baseball leaderboard updated through Sunday’s games. To be eligible for the percentage categories (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage) a player must have at least 2.5 at-bats per team game, which means UofL senior first baseman Andrew Clark has qualified for the first time since before he missed three weeks with injury. The college leaderboard is now permanently accessible on its own page on the left sidebar here.

Batting Average

  • Zack Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .446
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .438
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .433
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .416
  • Andrew Clark — UofL — .389

Home Runs

  • Phil Wunderlich — UofL — 19
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 18
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 17
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 15
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — 14
  • Cameron Flynn — Morehead St. — 14

RBI

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 72
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 64
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — 61
  • Matt Rice — WKU — 60
  • Ryan Wright — UofL — 59

Runs

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 66
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 66
  • Jared Andreoli — WKU — 58
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — 56
  • Matt Payton — WKU — 56

Stolen Bases

  • Chris Bisson — UK — 26/33
  • Neiko Johnson — UK — 23/24
  • Logan Robbins — WKU — 15/17
  • Richie Rodriguez — EKU — 14/21
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 13/16
  • Jeff Arnold — UofL — 13/16
  • Jared Andreoli — WKU — 13/18

On-Base Percentage

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .540
  • Zack  Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .525
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .509
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .498
  • Andrew Clark — UofL — .494

Slugging Percentage

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .870
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .801
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .764
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .762
  • Phil Wunderlich — UofL — .750

BluGrass Baseball Sunday Review: Week 12

College Baseball

UK Athletics Wallpaper

Recaps and awards from an Sunday of baseball, heavy on postseason implications:

  • No. 9 University of Louisville scored four runs in the first inning and never looked back in a 10-3 win over Georgetown to secure the series victory. Redshirt freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung held the Hoyas scoreless over six innings for his third win of the season. Senior third baseman Phil Wunderlich slugged his 19th home run of the season, and redshirt sophomore right fielder Stewart Ijames was 3-5 with three RBI and three runs scored. (Box Score)
  • Western Kentucky University may have played its way back onto the NCAA tournament bubble with a 4-2 loss to Arkansas Little Rock Sunday, securing a home series loss for the Hilltoppers. Junior catcher Matt Rice was 3-4 with one RBI in the game, and sophomore left fielder Jared Andreoli tallied two hits. Freshman Taylor Haydel took the loss in relief. The loss dropped WKU into a tie for fifth place in the Sun Belt Conference. (Box Score)
  • Sophomore right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer was outstanding in his return from mono, leading the University of Kentucky to a 9-3 win over No. 6 South Carolina and a must-have series victory in its push for the Southeastern Conference tournament. Meyer allowed just three unearned runs on four hits in seven innings while striking out six and walking three. Sophomore Braden Kapteyn pitched the final two innings for his second save of the season. Redshirt junior right fielder Neiko Johnson was 1-1 with two walks, one run scored and three stolen bases in the game. (Box Score)
  • Senior first baseman Wes Cunningham set or tied three Murray State University records in the Breds’ 18-5 win over Eastern Kentucky University to finish the series sweep. Cunningham was 2-4 with a double, triple, six RBI and two runs scored in the game and tied the school single-season hits record (81) while setting the new single-season RBI record (72) and career triples record (18).  Senior right-handed pitcher Alex Love earned the win after allowing four runs in five and two-third innings. Seven Breds’ batters tallied two hits in the game, and three drove in at least three runs. EKU junior left fielder Bryce Labhart tallied three hits in the game. (Box Score)
  • Morehead State University avoided a series sweep with a 10-9, come-from-behind win over UT Martin. UT Martin jumped out to a 8-1 lead in the fourth inning, but the Eagles scored nine times over the next four innings to take back the lead. Junior left fielder Daniel Pugh drove in three runs and three different Eagles scored twice in the game. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Josh Schneider recorded his team-high seventh win of the season after holding UT Martin scoreless over the final four innings. (Box Score)

Hitter of the day: 1B Wes Cunningham (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 2-4, 1 3B, 1 2B, 6 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB
  • Honorable Mention: Phil Wunderlich (UofL), Stewart Ijames (UofL), Neiko Johnson (UK), Matt Rice (WKU), Colton Moore (Murray St.), Kyle Tiernan (Murray St.), Bryce Labhart (EKU), J. D. Ashbrook (Morehead St.), Daniel Pugh (Morehead St.)

Pitcher of the day: RHP Alex Meyer (UK)

  • Stats: 1-0, 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO
  • Honorble Mention: Justin Amlung (UofL), Alex Love (Murray St.), Josh Schneider (Morehead St.), Braden Kapteyn (UK)

BluGrass Baseball Hitting Leaderboard: May 4

College Baseball

Check out the hitting BluGrass Baseball leaderboard updated through Sunday’s games. To be eligible for the percentage categories (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage) a player must have at least 2.5 at-bats per team game, which means UofL senior first baseman Andrew Clark is still not eligible in those categories after missing three weeks due to injury. The college leaderboard is now permanently accessible on its own page on the left sidebar here.

Batting Average

  • Zack Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .443
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .440
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .425
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .409
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .407

Home Runs

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 17
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 17
  • Phil Wunderlich — UofL — 17
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 15
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — 14

RBI

  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 62
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 60
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — 58
  • Matt Rice — WKU — 55
  • Ryan Wright — UofL — 53

Runs

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 62
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 61
  • Jared Andreoli — WKU — 57
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — 55
  • Matt Payton — WKU — 54

Stolen Bases

  • Chris Bisson — UK — 24/31
  • Neiko Johnson — UK — 20/21
  • Logan Robbins — WKU — 15/17
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 13/16
  • Richie Rodriguez — EKU — 13/20

On-Base Percentage

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .547
  • Zack  Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .525
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .513
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .500
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — .484

Slugging Percentage

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .851
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .824
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .818
  • Phil Wunderlich — UofL — .765
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .751

BluGrass Baseball Hitting Leaderboard: April 27

College Baseball

Check out the hitting BluGrass Baseball leaderboard updated through Sunday’s games. To be eligible for the percentage categories (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage) a player must have at least 2.5 at-bats per team game, which means UofL senior first baseman Andrew Clark is still not eligible in those categories after missing three weeks due to injury. The college leaderboard is now permanently accessible on its own page on the left sidebar here.

Batting Average

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .446
  • Zack Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .446
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .426
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .410
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .409

Home Runs

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 17
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 15
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 14
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — 14
  • Phil Wunderlich — UofL — 13
  • Cameron Flynn — Morehead St. — 13

RBI

  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 62
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — 58
  • Matt Rice — WKU — 53
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 51
  • Taylor Davis — Morehead St. — 49

Runs

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 62
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 57
  • Jared Andreoli — WKU — 56
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — 55
  • Matt Payton — WKU — 53

Stolen Bases

  • Chris Bisson — UK — 21/25
  • Neiko Johnson — UK — 19/20
  • Logan Robbins — WKU — 14/16
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 13/16
  • Richie Rodriguez — EKU — 13/20

On-Base Percentage

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .548
  • Zack  Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .525
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .513
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .497
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — .484

Slugging Percentage

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .834
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .827
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .818
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .757
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — .735

BluGrass Baseball Hitting Leaderboard: April 20

College Baseball

Check out the hitting BluGrass Baseball leaderboard updated through Sunday’s games. To be eligible for the percentage categories (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage) a player must have at least 2.5 at-bats per team game, which means UofL senior first baseman Andrew Clark is still not eligible in those categories after missing three weeks due to injury. The college leaderboard is now permanently accessible on its own page on the left sidebar here.

Batting Average

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .460
  • Zack Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .444
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .430
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .408
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .405

Home Runs

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 17
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 15
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 14
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — 12
  • Phil Wunderlich — UofL — 12
  • Cameron Flynn — Morehead St. — 12

RBI

  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 61
  • Anthony Ottrando — EKU — 50
  • Matt Rice — WKU — 49
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 49
  • Taylor Davis — Morehead St. — 49

Runs

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — 62
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — 54
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 50
  • Matt Payton — WKU — 49
  • Jared Andreoli — WKU — 48
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — 48

Stolen Bases

  • Neiko Johnson — UK — 17/18
  • Chris Bisson — UK — 15/19
  • Logan Robbins — WKU — 13/15
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — 12-14
  • Jared Andreoli — WKU — 12/15

On-Base Percentage

  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .561
  • Zack  Cox — Arkansas (PRP) — .538
  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .506
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .506
  • Matt Payton — WKU — .472

Slugging Percentage

  • Wes Cunningham — Murray St. — .846
  • Jayson Langfels — EKU — .803
  • J. D. Ashbrook — Morehead St. — .867
  • Drew Lee — Morehead St. — .762
  • Matt Payton — WKU — .718