Todd Wellemeyer; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Louisville native and former Bellarmine right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer announced his retirement today, effective immediately, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports. Wellemeyer signed a minor-league contract with the Chicago Cubs in the offseason and entered Spring Training with a chance to earn one of the team’s open starting rotation spots. Wellemeyer pitched well in the spring, posting a 1-2 record an 4.50 ERA in three games, but was slowed by a hip injury. Wellemeyer made his only appearance of the season on Thursday for AAA Iowa, surrendering four runs on eight hits in three and two-third innings while striking out two batters and walking two.
Wellemeyer ends his MLB career with a 32-34 record and 4.83 ERA in 208 games over parts of nine seasons. Wellemeyer struck out 459 batters and walked 305 in 614 and two-third MLB innings. He mad 75 starts in his career. The right-handed pitcher’s best season came in 2008 when he was 13-9 with a 3.71 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 32 starts for the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs selected Wellemeyer in the 4th round of the 2000 draft out of Bellarmine. He made his MLB debut on May 15, 2003. The Cubs traded Wellemeyer to the Florida Marlins on March 28, 2006, and the Royals claimed Wellemeyer off waivers in June of that same season. Wellemeyer joined the Cardinals in 2007 then signed as a free agent with the San Francisco Giants before the 2010 season. He made 13 appearances for the world-champion Giants last season, before the team released him in August. He returned to the Cubs on a minor-league deal in January.
A. J. Ellis; Photo by frankat1stbase3 via Flickr
Stats and highlights from Kentucky Spring Training action:
- PLD alum A. J. Ellis was 1-2 with a home run, three RBI and one run scored for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- Louisville native and former Morehead St. right-handed pitcher Jon Rauch struck out one batter in a scoreless inning for the Toronto Blue Jays.
- Lexington native Austin Kearns was 0-4 with one RBI for the Cleveland Indians.
- Former UK outfielder Sawyer Carroll was added to the San Diego Padres’ roster for Thursday’s game and was 1-2 with one RBI.
- Former UofL third baseman Chris Dominguez was added to the San Francisco Giants’ roster for Thursday’s game and struck out in his only at-bat.
- St. Mary High School alum Shawn Roof was called up from Detroit Tigers minor league camp for Thursday’s game and appeared as a defensive replacement but did not get an at-bat.
- Washington Nationals right-handed pitcher Tyler Clippard, who was born in Lexington, struck out two batters in two scoreless innings.
- Baltimore Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds, who was born in Pikeville, was 2-4 with a home run, one RBI, one walk and two runs scored.
- Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla, who was born in Louisville, was 1-3 with a home run, three RBI and one run scored.
Richie Rowland; Photo: Campbellsville University
Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports former UK left-handed pitcher James Paxton will be in Seattle Wednesday to take a physical in advance of signing his contract with the Mariners as the team’s fourth-round pick in the 2010 draft.
- Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranks former EKU left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich the No. 3 prospect in the Colorado Rockies’ farm system.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports the Arizona Diamondbacks have released former Campbellsville University catcher Richie Rowland, who signed with the team as a non-drafted free agent in 2010 and batted .291 with five home runs, 34 RBI and 19 runs scored in 67 games for rookie-level Missoula during his professional debut.
- Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com reports Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb is taking his return from injury one step at a time and for now pitching in a Spring Training game still isn’t on the radar.
- Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports Louisville native and former Bellarmine right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer has no hard feelings toward the San Fransisco Giants after the team released him last August. “I was the biggest fan of them in Kentucky, guaranteed,” Wellemeyer told Muskate of his rooting interest during the playoffs last season.
- Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today reports Cincinnati Reds left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman had a difficult time adapting to U.S. culture while in Louisville last season, but Louisville Bats trainer Tomas Vera has become a friend and confidant for the Cuban defector.
In the opinion of this baseball writer there is not a more important annual publication that Baseball America‘s “Prospect Handbook.” The 2011 edition of the Handbook was mailed this week with mine arriving on Thursday. I cannot recommend the book highly enough if you are a baseball fan, especially one interested in identifying the next MLB stars before your friends. You can purchase the book from BA here. I’m going to list some basic Kentucky info from the book below but won’t give away the rankings or scouting reports in order to encourage you to buy a copy of the book yourself.
- Four Kentucky school alumni were included in the already released top 10 prospect rankings for their respective organizations: Zack Cox, Jason Kipnis, Christian Friedrich and Ben Revere. PRP alum Cox was ranked the No. 2 prospect in the Cardinals organization, one-time UK outfielder Kipnis was ranked the No. 3 prospect in the Indians’ system, former EKU left-handed pitcher Friedrich was ranked the No. 4 prospect in the Rockies’ organization and Lexington Catholic alum Revere was ranked the No. 5 prospect in the Twins’ system.
- Eleven other Kentucky school alumni were included in the 11-30 rankings for their respective organizations: former NKU right-handed pitcher Josh Lueke, former UK first baseman Ryan Strieby, former UofL third baseman Chris Dominguez, former UofL right-handed pitcher Thomas Royse, former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill, former LCA left-handed pitcher Robbie Ross, former NKU right-handed pitcher Nathan Jones, former UofL right-handed pitcher Trystan Magnuson, former WKU third baseman Wade Gaynor, former UofL outfielder Josh Richmond and former Ballard left-handed pitcher Richard Sullivan.
- Three organizations had two Kentucky alumni in the top 30 lists: the White Sox, Rangers and Tigers.
- The Cardinals, Indians, Rockies, Twins, Mariners, Giants, Diamondbacks, Athletics and Braves also had Kentucky alumni included in their respective top 30 rankings.
- The University of Louisville had four alumni ranked on top 20 lists, the University of Kentucky had three alumni listed and Northern Kentucky University boasted former two players in the handbook.
- Two players drafted straight out of Kentucky high schools were ranked on organization top 30s: Revere and Ross.
Aroldis Chapman; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:
- Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranks former EKU left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich the No. 50 prospect in MiLB. He ranks 2010 Louisville Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman No. 6, catcher Devin Mesoraco No. 45 and first baseman Yonder Alonso No. 49. Former Bowling Green Hot Rods left-handed pitcher Matt Moore checked in at No. 27, and Mayo ranked 2009 Lexington Legends right-handed pitcher Jordan Lyles No. 31.
- Andy Baggarly of Baseball America rates former UofL third baseman Chris Dominguez as having the best power and best infield arm in the San Francisco Giants’ system.
- Baggarly also answered a couple of Dominguez questions in the online chat accompanying the prospect rankings. Baggarly speculates the Giants might try Dominguez on the mound if he were to fail as a third baseman. (Subscription required)
- Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb talks to ESPN Dallas about his decision to sign with the Rangers.
- Aaron Fitt of BA reports the NCAA denied former University of Kentucky third baseman Andy Burns‘ request for a waiver allowing him to play immediately at Arizona. Burns will have to sit out the 2011 season as a transfer.
- Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports the Cincinnati Reds’ caravan will stop in Bowling Green, Ashland and Lexington this weekend.
Todd Wellemeyer; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Louisville native and former Bellarmine right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer is going back to the team that drafted him out of college. Wellemeyer has signed a minor-league contract with the Chicago Cubs, Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reports. The contract is worth $800,000 if he makes the team, and Wellemeyer could earn another $400,000 in incentives. The Cubs selected Wellemeyer in the fourth round of the 2000 draft. In an email to BluGrass Baseball Wellemeyer’s representation at Meister Sports Management said the contract contained both a major- and minor-league component.
The Eastern High School alum spent most of the 2010 season with the San Francisco Giants but was released on Aug. 17, 2010. Wellemeyer was 3-5 with a 5.68 ERA in 13 games, including 11 starts, for the Giants in 2010. In an eight-season MLB career Wellemeyer is 32-34 with a 4.83 ERA and 459 strikeouts in 614 and two-third innings pitched. His best season came in 2008 when he was 13-9 with a 3.71 ERA for the St. Louis Cardinals. Levine reports the Cubs envision Wellemeyer as a possible swing-man that could start or relieve, but he will face a crowded competition to make the team. The Cubs return five starting pitchers and boast a plethora of relievers competing for the final spots on the team. Wellemeyer is represented by Meister Sports Management, which employees former UK pitcher Ben Shaffar.
Dan Uggla; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Over the weekend Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reports Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, who was born in Louisville, is likely to be traded after turning down a contract extension offer from the team. Since Rosenthal’s initial report, Uggla trade rumors have been running rampant. Check out a summary of those below:
- Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post reports via Twitter that the Marlins will shop Uggla at this week’s GM meetings but will ask for a high price.
- Cappozi also tweets Uggla could still sign an extension, but both sides are very bitter toward each other.
- John Paul Morosi and Rosenthal run down the options for the Marlins.
- Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets the Blue Jays have emerged as the favorites to acquire Uggla.
- Rosenthal and Morosi list the Tigers, Nationals, Braves, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Giants, Orioles and Cardinals as possible suitors for Uggla.
Brandon Webb; Photo by SD Dirk via Flickr
The World Series will be over by the end of the week and perhaps as early as tonight, meaning the eve of the Hot Stove league is upon us. The always valuable MLBTradeRumors recently released the list of compensation free agents. Compensation rules can get a little complicated depending on where the free agent signs, but extremely simplified version of the rule is Type A free agents are worth a first-round pick while Type B free agents are worth a supplemental-round pick. For a full explanation of the rules check out MLBTR’s breakdown here.
The Hot Stove league will be ripe with Kentucky news this offseason as the state features a number of free agents. I’ve listed them all below by compensation value. You can see the full free-agent list here.
- LHP Scott Downs (UK) — Toronto Blue Jays
- RHP Jon Rauch (Morehead St.) — Minnesota Twins
- RHP Brandon Webb (UK) — Arizona Diamondbacks
- RHP Todd Wellemeyer (Bellarmine) — San Francisco Giants
- OF Austin Kearns (Lafayette HS) — New York Yankees
Jason Kipnis; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Latest links and notes from around Kentucky baseball:
- Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports the Cleveland Indians named one-time UK outfielder Jason Kipnis, who transferred to Arizona State, the organization’s minor league player of the year.
- Kipnis’ cycle in the AAA playoffs for the Columbus Clippers is nominated for the MiLB AAA game of the year award. You can vote here.
- PRP alum and St. Louis Cardinals’ 2010 first-round pick Zack Cox was 2-5 with a double and two RBI for the Surprise Rafters of the Arizona Fall League.
- Former UofL right-handed pitcher B. J. Rosenberg pitched a scoreless inning and struck out two for the Mesa Solar Sox of the AFL.
- Louisville Bats catcher Devin Mesoraco was 2-4 with a run scored for the Peoria Saguaros of the AFL.
- While no Kentucky player will suit up for the World Series beginning tomorrow the San Francisco Giants wouldn’t have made it there without contributions from a variety of players, including Louisville native Todd Wellemeyer, Chris Haft of MLB.com writes.
- Josh Jackson, writing for MiLB.com, selected Bats catcher Devin Mesoraco, third baseman Juan Francisco, outfielder Dave Sappelt, outfielder Wladimir Balentien and designated hitter Luis Terrero to the Cincinnati Reds’ organizational all-star team.
J. D. Martinez; Lexington Legends photo
Latest links and notes from around Kentucky baseball on the day after the MLB season ended for Kentuckians:
- With the elimination of the Philadelphia Phillies by the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night, Kentucky lost its last MLB playoff participant in former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton.
- I passed this note along on Twitter yesterday, but after waiting nine seasons for his first playoff appearance Lexington native Austin Kearns did not get in a single game for the Yankees during their 2010 playoff run.
- Lexington Legends outfielder J. D. Martinez was voted the best class A hitter by MiLB.com readers.
- On Saturday PRP alum and St. Louis Cardinals 2010 first-round pick Zack Cox was 1-2 with a double, RBI, walk and run scored for Surprise of the Arizona Fall League.
- Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere was 3-4 with a stolen base and run scored for the Peoria Saguaros of the AFL. Former Morehead St. right-handed pitcher Henry Mabee recorded a hold with a scoreless inning for the Saguaros.
- One-time UK outfielder turned second baseman Jason Kipnis homered and drove in two runs for the Peoria Javelinas of the AFL. Former NKU right-handed pitcher Josh Lueke pitched two scoreless innings and struck out one for the Javelinas.
- Kelly Thesier of MLB.com reports the Minnesota Twins’ bullpen could look very different in 2011 as the team has a number of free agent relievers, including former Morehead St. right-handed pitcher Jon Rauch.