Today marks the turn of the calendar to July so its time to look back at June awards for each of the three Kentucky Minor League teams, other Kentuckians in MiLB and Kentucky major leaguers. We’ll start by looking at the Louisville Bats:
Hitter of the month: SS Zach Cozart
Stats: 32-116 (.276), 4 HR, 15 RBI, 12 R
Honorable Mention: Todd Frazier, Wilkin Castillo, Juan Francisco
Pitcher of the month: LHP Travis Wood
Stats: 2-2, 1.26 ERA, 5 GS, 35.2 IP, 37 SO, 6 BBs
Honorable Mention: Chad Reineke, Jesus Delgado, Carlos Fisher, Lee Tabor, Pedro Viola
The Louisville Bats are set to start play today and will feature two Kentucky natives in the lineup as well as several of the best prospects in the Cincinnati Reds organization. Check out the roster below via the Courier-Journal. I’ve included Baseball America prospect rankings for the Reds organization. Remember top prospects Juan Francisco and Mike Leake are starting the season with the Reds but might appear in Louisville at some point if they struggle, and Yonder Alonso is starting the season in AA but should earn a callup to Louisville early this season.
The Baseball America Prospect Handbook is simply a must-have for any minor-league baseball fan. My handbook, in which Baseball America ranks the top 30 prospects in each organization, came in today, and since I ordered it straight from BA they included a 31st prospect supplement for each team. I’m listing where Kentucy players rank in their organizations below, but I’ll leave all BA’s analysis out as incentive for you to go buy their great product.
Tuesday marked the official expansion of MLB rosters from 25 to 40. While no team actually carries 40 players during the “September Callup” period, many teams bring some young players up from the minor leagues to either reinforce their team for a playoff run or have and extended audition for next season. We’ll use this post to keep track of any players with Kentucky ties that are called up to the big leagues as minor league seasons end. Major-league players who were activated from the disabled list because of the expanded rosters are also noted. New additions are bolded.
C A. J. Ellis — Los Angeles Dodgers — Dunbar Class of 1999
RHP Matt Belisle — Colorado Rockies — 2003-2004 Louisville Bats
C Ryan Hannigan — Cincinnati Reds — 2007-2009 Louisville Bats
OF Corey Hart (DL) — Milwuakee Brewers — Greenwood High
LHP Matt Maloney — Cincinnati Reds — 2009 Louisville Bats
RHP Carlos Fisher — Cincinnati Reds — 2009 Louisville Bats
3b Chris Johnson — Houston Astros –2007 Lexington Legends
SS Tommy Manzella — Houston Astros — 2006 Lexington Legends
3b Edwin Encarnacion (DL) — Toronto Blue Jays — 2005-2007 Louisville Bats
RHP Todd Wellemeyer (DL) — St. Louis Cardinals — Bellarmine
LHP Pedro Viola — Cincinnati Reds — 2009 Louisville Bats
2B Brooks Conrad — Atlanta Braves — 2003 Lexington Legend
RHP Matt Albers — Baltimore Orioles — 2004 Lexington Legends
1B Kevin Barker — Cincinnati Reds — 2009 Louisville Bats
RP Ramon Ramirez — Cincinnati Reds — 2009 Louisville Bats
Lexington Legends slugger Brian Pellegrini launched his 21st home run of the season for Lexington Saturday to move within four home runs of the franchise record 25 long balls in a season. Astros outfielder Hunter Pence and former Legend Beau Herod currently hole the record of 25 home runs.
Pellegrini’s home run wasn’t enough for the Legends’ victory. West Virginia scored four runs in the last three innings to win 5-2.
Matthew Klinker and Pedro Viola combined on a three-hit shutout to give Louisville a 4-0 victory over Toledo in the series opener.
Friedrich checks in at number six and Lexington Legend Jordan Lyles ranked number 11 on this week’s Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet. Bowling Green pitcher Matt Moore was listed “In the Team Photo.”
If you click over to the “Ky. in the Minors” page you can see an in-depth list of every minor league player with Kentucky ties. As always, if you know of a player who is not on the list you can send me an email at email@example.com. So you have a list of every Kentucky player in the minors, but which of those players have the best chance to become impact major leaguers? My goal in this series of posts is to let you know which minor leaguers from Kentucky are top prospects. I’ll start by examining where these players and the members of the state’s three minor league teams rank on their Baseball America’s organization top 30s and will work toward a master list of Kentucky prospects.
In the first installment of the “BluGrass Baseball Top Prospects” post, here are the top organizational prospects on the state’s three minor league teams according to Baseball America.
Bowling Green Hot Rods
#2 — SS Tim Beckham — Beckham ranked only behind Tampa Bay pitcher David Price on the Baseball America top 30 prospects list for the Rays. Since Price is currently pitching for the Rays his prospect status will soon be exhausted, and Beckham should move up to the number one spot. Beckham, the number one pick in the 2008 draft, is from Griffin, Ga., and has all the tools to become an all-star shortstop. In Baseball America’s mid-season prospect report for Tampa Bay, the publication listed Tim Beckham as the player who took the “biggest leap forward.”
#6 — LHP Matt Moore — According to Baseball America, Moore’s only weakness entering 2008 was his control which he dramatically improved on during his time with rookie Princeton. After posting a 2-2 record with a 1.66 ERA in 2008, BA said that Moore only needed to prove himself against tougher competition. Moore, a 2007 8th round pick, hasn’t disappointed this season in Bowling Green. The lefty is 6-3 with a 2.87 ERA with 116 strikeouts and 45 walks in 81.2 innings.
# 18 — C Jake Jeffries — Jeffries was the Rays third round pick in 2008 out of UC Davis. In his first professional season he batted .315 with two home runs and 41 RBI for short season Hudson Valley. Jeffries has continued to hit for Bowling Green this season. He is currently hitting .270 with six home runs and 43 RBI in 77 games. He has shown and exceptional eye at the plate with 28 walks and 25 strikeouts in 281 at-bats.
#27 — OF Kyeong Kang — Kang was the first South Korean to be selected in the MLB amateur players draft. He moved to the United States with his family in high school and was selected by the Rays in the 15th round of the 2006 draft. Kang was named a mid-season all-star in the New York-Penn League in 2008 and finished the year with a .278 average, six home runs and 43 RBI. Kang was selected to represent the Rays for the World team in the 2009 Futures Game. Through 48 games for Bowling Green, Kang is batting .285 with two home runs and 22 RBI.
Hit the jump for the top prospects on the Lexington Legends and Louisville Bats.