Bill Ballew of Baseball America has released the magazine’s top 20 prospects ranking for the low A South Atlantic league, including several players with Kentucky ties in the bottom quarter of the list. Ballew ranked Lexington Christian Academy alum and Rangers left-handed pitching prospects Robbie Ross at No. 15 on the list, Lexington Legends outfielder and Houston Astros prospect J. D. Martinez at No. 17 and former UofL infielder and San Francisco Giants prospect Chris Dominguez at No. 20.
Ballew writes of Ross, “He does have a great deal of polish, though, as he pitches to both sides of the plate and keeps the ball down in the zone. He’s not afraid of throwing strikes and letting hitters put the ball in play, using his stuff to generate groundouts.” The southpaw went 8-7 with a 2.59 ERA in 16 games for Hickory before a midseason promotion to high A. Martinez led the SAL in batting at .362, and Dominguez led the league with RBI with 101. (Read more, subscription required)
The BA ranking wasn’t the only honor for Martinez in recent days as the Houston Astros named the outfielder the organization’s minor league player of the year. Martinez batted a combined .341 with 18 home runs and 89 RBI between Lexington and AA Corpus Christi. Former Lexington Legends right-handed pitcher Jordan Lyles was named the Astros minor league pitcher of the year. (Read more)
With today’s announcement of the AAA All-Star game rosters each of the full-season Minor Leagues has unveiled its All-Star roster. I’ve listed the Kentucky-related players below on each team with links to the full roster:
Union College alum Marty Popham was named the high A Carolina League pitcher of the week, and Lexington Legends second baseman Jose Altuve was named the South Atlantic League player of the week for their performances June 7-13. Popham, a Louisville native, was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two starts for the Kinston Indians. Popham struck out 12 and walked just one in 13 innings.
Altuve, a SAL All-Star, was 7-19 (.368) with three home runs, seven RBI and seven runs scored on the week. Altuve also stole two bases and legged out a triple and a double. His week was highlighted by a four-hit, four-RBI performance on Saturday. (Read more)
The most recent slate of Minor League players of the week has been released and several players with Kentucky ties have been honored with the best performances in their respective leagues. I’ve listed those players below along with their stats for the week:
RHP Sam LeCure — Louisville Bats — AAA International League — 2-0, 16 IP, 0 R, 9 H, 3 BB, 13 SO
OF Ben Revere — Lexington, Ky. — AA Eastern League — 14-26 (.538), 4 R, 3 RBI, 2 2Bs, 5 SB
RHP Nathan Adcock — Elizabethtown, Ky. — High A Florida State League — 1-0, 2 GS, 12 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 12 SO
Some MiLB links and updates to pass along for your Monday morning:
Michael Grant of the Courier Journal profiles Somerset native, Lexington Legends hall of famer and Eastern Kentucky University alum Josh Anderson‘s slow start for the Louisville Bats.
Michael Compton of the Bowling Green Daily News profiles Western Kentucky University alum Wade Gaynor and his return to Bowling Green with the West Michigan Whitecaps. Gaynor was 3-15 in the three-game set against the Hot Rods.
Mark Maloney of the Lexington Herald-Leader recaps the Lexington Legendshome opener. Be sure to check out the photo gallery from the game to see the Legends “tuxedo jerseys.”
Standings Update: The Bats currently sit in last place of the International League west division at 4-7. The Hot Rods are seventh in the Midwest League eastern division at 3-8, and the Legends are third in the South Atlantic League southern division at 6-5.
Outfielder Daniel Dorn leads the Bats with a .343 average, four home runs and seven RBI. Third baseman Jonathan Meyer leads the Legends with a .386 average, first baseman Kody Hinze leads the team with three home runs and outfielder Jacob Goebbert leads Lexington with 12 RBI. Catcher Mark Thomas leads the Hot Rods with a .417 average in six games, two home runs and five RBI.
Baseball America’s list of the top 20 South Atlantic League prospects is out and several members of the Hot Rods and Legends were included. Check out the full list here, but you can see some analysis of the Kentucky players below.
#3 — LHPMatt Moore — Bowling Green Hot Rods
8-5, 3.15 ERA, 176 SO, 123 IP
Moore led the minors with 176 strikeouts, receiving lavish praise from the BA staff: “If he can continue to refine his command, he profiles as a top-of-the-rotation starter.
#5 — SS Tim Beckham — Bowling Green Hot Rods
.275, 5 HR, 63 RBI
While Beckham’s number won’t blow anyone away, the 2008 first-overall pick was playing in his first full season of professional baseball. BA writes: “With his plus bat speed and strong wrists, he projects to hit .300 with 20 home runs in the big leagues.”
#6 — RHP Jordan Lyles — Lexington Legends
7-11, 3.24, 167 SO, 145 IP
The Astros shocked the baseball world when they took Lyles in the first-supplemental round in 2008, but he’s done nothing but make them look like geniuses since. BA writes: “Lyles showed the stuff of a potential frontline starter this season. His fastball now sits at 89-91 mph and touches 93.”
#16 — RHP Nick Barnese — Bowling Green Hot Rods
6-5, 2.53, 62 SO, 75 IP
Barnese spent part of the season in BG’s bullpen, but BA writes that as a starter he and Moore gave the Hot Rods the best lefty/righty combo in the league. BA writes: “His best attribute might be his ability to throw any of his pitches in any count with confidence.”
BA is hosting a chat with Matt Forman at 3 p.m. about SAL prospects, so more Bowling Green and Lexington prospects might come up then.
The minor league season ends this weekend for two of the three Kentucky teams, and fittingly they play each other. Barring a league change, this will be your last chance to see Bowling Green and Lexington will meet for the foreseeable future. The Hot Rods’ short stint in the South Atlantic League will end after only one season as Bowling Green moves to the Midwest league in 2010. The action gets started tonight when overlooked starting pitchers Kyle Greenwalt and Chris Andujar match up. Both prospects are having fine seasons, but have been overshadowed by more heralded teammates.
I’d break down the series further, but Mark Maloney of the Herald-Leader has already done a wonderful job.