Inspired by College Baseball Daily’s list of the top 100 college baseball players, BluGrass Baseball is counting down the top 25 returning Kentucky collegians in advance of the 2011 season. We finish the countdown today with the Kentucky position player who has already been named to three different preseason all-American teams.
No. 1 — 2B Ryan Wright — University of Louisville
Ryan Wright; UofL photo
UofL junior second baseman Ryan Wright batted .366 with 16 home runs, 80 RBI and 61 runs scored in 2010, serving as the Cards’ most consistent hitter throughout the season. Wright leads returning Kentucky collegians in 2010 RBI, runs scored and home runs and ranks second in 2010 batting average and slugging percentage. The middle infielder, who spent most of his time at second base in 2010 and will return there this season, was named a second-team preseason All-American by Louisville Slugger and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and a third-team preseason All-American by Baseball America.
Wright spent the summer with the collegiate Team USA, leading the team with a .361 batting average and 18 runs scored. He slugged two home runs, tallied 12 RBI and stole three bases for Team USA. Baseball America named Wright a second-team All-American following the 2010 season and recently ranked him the No. 30 college prospect for the 2011 draft. Wright was also selected to the first-team All-Big East Conference team, the All-Big East Tournament team and the ABCA All-South Region team following the 2010 season. In 2009 Wright received freshman All-American honors from Louisville Slugger, NCBWA and Ping! Baseball.
Inspired by College Baseball Daily’s list of the top 100 college baseball players, BluGrass Baseball is counting down the top 25 returning Kentucky collegians in advance of the 2011 season. We continue the list today with one of the best relievers in all of college baseball.
No. 3 — RHP Tony Zych — University of Louisville
Tony Zych; UofL photo
UofL junior right-handed pitcher Tony Zych began 2010 as a weekend starting pitcher for the Cards, but after struggling early in the season he moved back to his more comfortable relief role. On the season Zych was 5-2 with a 5.13 ERA in 22 games, including five starts. Zych struck out 50 batters and walked 19 in 59 and two-third innings pitched. The Illinois native was the 46th round pick of the Chicago Cubs in the 2008 draft out of high school
During the summer 2010 Zych recorded 12 saves and posted a 0.89 ERA in 20 and one-third innings pitched for the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod League. Zych was named a Cape Cod all-star and was honored with the postseason outstanding pro prospect and relief pitcher awards in the league. Baseball America recently ranked Zych the No. 25 prospect for the 2011 draft and named the relief pitcher a first-team preseason all-American. Zych spend the summer of 2009 as a pitcher for Team USA.
Aroldis Chapman; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
The league championship series are set with a few Kentucky players remaining in the playoffs. Check out some links from around Kentucky baseball while you muster through far too many days without baseball before the second round of the playoffs:
- Former Lexington Legends infielder Ben Zobrist and the Tampa Bay Rays were eliminated in a 5-1 loss to the Texas Rangers.
- John Wagner of Baseball America ranks Louisville Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman No. 3 and first baseman Yonder Alonso No. 12 on the magazine’s top 20 International League prospects list.
- In the accompanying online chat, Wagner answers a number of questions about Bats players including Todd Frazier, Zack Cozart, Juan Francisco, Chris Valaika and Travis Wood. (subscription required)
- Frazier was 2-4 with a triple, RBI and run scored for Team USA in the team’s 7-2 loss to the Dominican Republic in the Pan Am Qualifying Tournament.
- PRP alum Zack Cox, the Cardinals’ 2010 first-round pick, was 0-5 with four strikeouts in his Arizona Fall League debut for the Surprise Rafters.
- Former NKU right-handed pitcher Josh Lueke pitched a scoreless inning in his AFL debut for the Peoria Javelinas.
- Atlanta Braves right-handed pitching prospect Michael Broadway, born in Paducah, surrendered one run in one inning in his AFL debut for the Phoenix Desert Dogs.
- Bats catcher Devin Mesoraco was 3-4 with a home run, three RBI and run scored for the Peoria Saguaros of the AFL. Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere was 0-1 in the game for Peoria.
Joe Blanton; UK Athletics Wallpaper
Latest links from around Kentucky baseball as you enjoy a triple-header of playoff baseball:
- Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton is part of the Phillies “disposable duo” after getting pushed to the side in favor of Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt. Brookover notes the Phillies are 47-30 in games started by Blanton since he joined the team.
- La Velle E. Neal III of the Minnesota Star-Tribune reports the Twins are enjoying unusual depth in their bullpen including former Morehead St. right-handed pitcher Jon Rauch.
- Louisville Bats outfielder Todd Frazier was 1-2 with a double, two walks, one RBI and two runs scored in Team USA’s 8-3 win over the Dominican Republic in the Pan American Qualifying Tournament.
- Our condolences go out to Murray State University after Breds freshman left-handed pitcher Thomas McGurk was killed in a car accident on Saturday.
- J. J. Cooper of Baseball America ranked 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods ace Matt Moore the No. 1 prospect in the Florida State League in his top 20 prospects ranking.
Jacob Goebbert; BluGrass Baseball photo
Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:
- The Houston Astros named Lexington Legends outfielder Jacob Goebbert the team MVP. Former Legends Brandon Barnes and Koby Clemens were named team MVPs at high A Lancaster and AA Corpus Christi respectively.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America ranked Bowling Green Hot Rods right-handed pitcher Alexander Colome No. 16 on his top 20 Midwest League prospects list.
- In the accompanying online chat, Callis touches on a number of Midwest League prospects including former WKU infielder Wade Gaynor.
- Bowling Green native Corey Hart topped 100 RBI on the season with a RBI Thursday.
- Paul Gattis of The Huntsville Times reports on the pink movement in professional sports to raise awareness of breast cancer research including the role Louisville Slugger played in the movement.
- Louisville Bats outfielder Todd Frazier and Team USA will begin pool play at 7:30 tonight in the Pan American/World Cup Qualifying Tournament.
Ben Revere; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:
- Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere tallied his first two MLB hits while batting leadoff for the Twins on Sunday.
- Also on Sunday, Paul Laurence Dunbar alum A. J. Ellis lined a walk-off single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th inning to send the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 7-6 win over Colorado.
- Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb has another bullpen session on Saturday, and George Von Benko of MLB.com reports the Diamondbacks ace still hopes to get in a game before the end of the season.
- Nathan Rode of Baseball America reports right-handed pitcher Ricky West of Louisville has been invited to the 14U Team USA trials.
- J. J. Cooper of BA recaps weekend MiLB playoff action, including one-time UK outfielder Jason Kipnis‘ cycle for AAA Columbus.
Todd Wellemeyer; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Latest links from around Kentucky baseball, including bad news for one Bluegrass major leaguer:
- Cash Kruth of MLB.com reports the San Francisco Giants designated Louisville native and former Bellarmine right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer for assignment. The team can now trade Wellemeyer or, if he clears waivers, assign him to AAA.
- Courier-Journal columnist Eric Crawford writes “baseball is being very good to us” as former Louisville Bats contribute in big ways to the Cincinnati Reds’ playoff run.
- The C-J also reports July set a new attendance record for the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory.
- University of Louisville rising junior infielder Ryan Wright was named the best designated hitter at the FISU World University Baseball Championships and finished the summer for Team USA batting .361 with two home runs, 18 runs scored and 12 RBI.
- Baseball America has released its annual “Best Tools” list for AAA and several Louisville Bats were among those honored by International League managers and scouts. Left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman was voted to have the best fastball and breaking pitch, infielder Chris Valaika was voted as the best defensive second baseman and outfielder Wladimir Balentien was voted to have the best outfield arm.
- Ken Neuhauser of the Courier-Journal talks with Kentucky baseball historian and author Philip Von Borries about his most recent book: “The Louisville Baseball Almanac”
Colling Cowgill; Photo: UK Athletics
Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:
- Mike Marsee of the Danville Advocate-Messenger profiles Boyle County High School pitcher Jacob Bodner and his rise up the recruiting rankings.
- Jared Macarin examines the life of minor league baseball players off the field in the first half of a two-part story for the Mobile Press-Register. Macarin’s story’s relies heavily on the off-field exploits of Lexington native and former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill.
- Jason Stella of the Louisville Bats media relations department profiles relief pitcher Jared Burton, who he reports is regaining his major league form.
- Matt Thacker of the Evening News and Tribune reports Bats left-handed reliever Daniel Ray Herrera was arrested in Clarksville, Ind., early Wednesday morning for public intoxication.
- Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports and Rivals.com talks with collegiate Team USA head coach Bill Kinneberg, who lists University of Louisville infielder Ryan Wright among the most impressive players on the roster this summer.
Links from around Kentucky college baseball:
- University of Louisville sophomore infielder Ryan Wright has been selected to the 22-man 2010 Team USA Collegiate National Team.
- University of Kentucky and Lexington Hustlers right-handed pitcher Joe Devine was named an all-star in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League.
- Lexington native Wes Wilson (Indiana), Morehead State University outfielder Cameron Flynn, Morehead St. and Hustlers infielder Travis Redmon, and Lexington native and Hustlers outfielder Justin Riddle were also named GLSC all-stars.
- Georgetown College outfielder Tyler Fisher was named a New York Collegiate Baseball League all-star.
- UK catcher Michael Williams was named a all-star in the New England Collegiate baseball League.
Two UofL alumni are pitching well for their respective countries in the 2009 World Cup currently taking place in Italy. B. J. Rosenberg, a Philadelphia Philles prospect, has a 1.93 ERA and 10 strikeout in 4.2 innings of work for Team USA, which clinched a spot in the finals with a victory over Puerto Rico Wednesday. Trystan Magnuson, a Blue Jays’ prospect, is 2-0 without allowing a run in 5.2 innings of work for Team Canada. (Read more)
The United States plays Cuba today and the Netherlands Friday before defending its title in the finals Sunday. Canada has matchups with the Netherlands, today, and Cuba, tomorrow, left on its schedule. Canada will then play Saturday in the consolation games against the team that finished with the same rank in group 2.