The college statistical leaderboard is pretty useless this early in the season, but it at least offers a glimpse at what players are off to a hot start to the 2011 season. With that in mind check out the second in-season edition of the 2011 leaderboard. We’ll look at batting statistics today, remembering that players must have 2.5 at-bats per team game to be eligible.
- Richie Rodriguez — EKU — .583 (14-24)
- Matt Rice — WKU — .500 (15-30)
- Austin Grisham — EKU — .438 (7-16)
- Ryan Wright — UofL — .435 (10-23)
- Luke Maile — UK — .419 (13-31)
- Michael Williams — UK — 2
- Jacob Daniel — EKU — 2
- Taylor Davis — Morehead St. — 2
- 10 players tied with one home run
- Matt Rice — WKU — 12
- Jacob Daniel — EKU — 10
- Taylor Davis — Morehead St. — 10
- Taylor Black — UK — 9
- Ryan Hutchinson — WKU — 9
- Taylor Black — UK — 10
- Travis Redmon — Morehead St. — 8
- Kes Carter — WKU — 8
- Braden Kapteyn — UK — 8
- Four players tied at seven runs.
- Chad Wright — UK — 4/4
- Logan Robbins — WKU — 3/3
- Jared Andreoli — WKU — 2/2
- Richie Rodriguez — EKU — 2/2
- Thomas McCarthy — UK — 2/2
- Richie Rodriguez — EKU — .643
- Matt Rice — WKU — .529
- Jacob Daniel — EKU — .500
- Luke Maile — UK — .486
- Taylor Black — UK — .486
- Taylor Davis — Morehead St. — .486
- Richie Rodriguez — EKU — .792
- Ryan Wright — UofL — .783
- Ryan Hutchinson — WKU — .704
- Taylor Davis — Morehead St. — .688
- Jacob Daniel — EKU — .682
Highlights and recaps from Sunday Kentucky collegiate baseball action:
- Western Kentucky University closed out the Baseball at the Beach Tournament with a disappointing 4-1 loss to previously winless Pacific. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Taylor Haydel took the loss after surrendering four runs on seven hits in five and two-third innings while striking out six and walking none. At the plate junior second baseman Ivan Hartle and freshman third baseman Scott Wilcox were the only Hilltoppers with multiple hits, and both finished the game 2-4. Sophomore shortstop Logan Robbins scored the only run of the game for WKU. (Box Score)
- The University of Louisville salvaged one win in its three-game series versus Toledo with a 4-2 victory following a late rally on Sunday. The Cards scored three runs in the sixth inning, highlighted by a home run from junior second baseman Ryan Wright and a RBI double from sophomore first baseman Cade Stallings. Freshman left-handed pitcher Cody Edge earned his first collegiate victory after surrendering one run on one hit in two innings of relief. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Mike Nastold surrendered one run on three hits in four innings while striking out four and walking two. The Cards took the lead in the sixth inning on a RBI-groundout from senior catcher J. J. Ethel. (Box Score)
- The University of Kentucky loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh inning and scored two runs without recording a hit to earn a 3-1 win in the rubber match of its three-game series vs. Illinois-Chicago. Freshman right-handed pitcher Trevor Gott earned his first collegiate victory after inducing a double play when he entered the game in the sixth inning with two men on base and one out. Senior left-handed pitcher Mike Kaczmarek recorded the final four outs to earn his first career save. No UK batter recorded multiple hits in the game, but sophomore center fielder Brian Adams was 1-2 with a run scored and a hit-by-pitch. (Box Score)
- Murray State University couldn’t finish of its series sweep of Bowling Green St. as it dropped a 4-2 decision in a rain-shortened Sunday game. Junior right-handed pitcher Tyler Beers took the loss after surrendering four runs, two of which were earned, on seven hits in six innings while striking out three and walking none. Redshirt freshman outfielder Ty Stetson and junior second baseman Travis Isaak were each 2-3 in the game. Junior first baseman Jacob Rhodes was the only other Murray St. batter to record a hit, and he drove in two runs. (Box Score)
- Eastern Kentucky University earned its first series win of the season after holding off a late Purdue rally to preserve a 7-6 win in the rubber match of the series Sunday. Senior designated hitter Jacob Daniel finished the game 3-5 with one RBI. Freshman catcher Sean Hagen and senior center fielder Ryan Faidley each tallied two hits and scored two runs in the game. Senior right-handed pitcher Stephen Hefler earned the win after surrendering two runs on six hits in five and one-third innings while striking out one batter and walking four. Purdue rallied for three runs in the ninth inning off junior right-handed pitcher Lincoln Wagner, but EKU senior closer Ryne Purcell got the final out for his second save of the season. (Box Score)
- In its Sunday double-header Morehead State University surrendered 35 runs in two games, dropping game one 18-1 and game two 17-9 to Purdue. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Cody Gibson took the loss in game one after surrendering seven runs, five of which were earned on nine hits in two and two-third innings. In game two junior right-handed pitcher Matthew Robertson took the loss after surrendering 11 runs, seven of which were earned in three and one-third innings. Junior catcher Taylor Davis was 5-8 with three RBI and two runs scored in the two games, and redshirt sophomore designated hitter Kellen Begeman was 3-5 with two RBI and one run scored in game two. (Box Score, GM 1) (Box Score, GM 2)
Hitter of the day: C Taylor Davis (Morehead St.)
- Stats: 4-8, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R
- Honorable Mention: Travis Isaak (Murray St.), Kellen Begeman (Morhead St.), Jacob Daniel (EKU), Ryan Faidley (EKU), Ryan Wright (UofL)
Pitcher of the day: RHP Mike Nastold (UofL)
- Stats: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO
- Honorable Mention: Trevor Gott (UK), Jordan Cooper (UK), Tyler Beers (Murray St.), Stephen Hefler (EKU)
In the final “Opening Weekend Review” post we’ll look at Morehead State University, which finished 0-3 on the weekend:
- Pitching staff needs a mulligan on opening weekend: The Eagles may have begun their 2011 schedule on Friday, but no one sent the memo to the Morehead St. pitching staff. The Eagles surrendered 36 runs in three games with the low point coming in an 18-0 blowout loss on Saturday. Despite the abysmal performance by the staff, two of the Eagles’ starting pitchers actually pitched fairly well. On Friday senior right-handed pitcher Trey Smith surrendered three runs on seven hits in six innings but took a loss after the Eagles’ offense mustered only two runs. On Sunday sophomore right-handed pitcher Garrick Whittle surrendered three runs, two of which were earned, in five and two-third innings in a no decision.
- Mixed results for All-OVC catcher: Morehead St. junior catcher Taylor Davis, a preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference selection, was just 1-7 in the Eagles’ first two games, but exploded with a 3-5 performance on Sunday. Davis slugged a home run, drove in two runs and scored twice in game three. Senior second baseman Travis Redmon was another bright spot on offense for the Eagles, finishing the weekend 5-14 (.357) with two runs scored.
- Defense blows Sunday game: After committing three errors in the first two games that did not result in any unearned runs, the Morehead St. defense imploded on Sunday. The Eagles committed eight errors in the game that contributed to seven unearned runs crossing the plate. Junior right-handed pitcher Matthew Robertson took the loss in that game after surrendering six unearned runs in the eighth inning. Senior third baseman Casey Branham had the worse defensive day for the Eagles with three errors.
Morehead State University suffered a 9-2 loss to Western Carolina in its opening game of the 2011 season, despite a quality start from ace Trey Smith. Smith, a senior right-handed pitcher, surrendered three runs on seven hits in six innings while striking out three and walking three. Western Carolina blew the game open with a six-run seventh innings. All six runs were charged to sophomore right-handed pitcher Cody Gibson, though Smith was still credited with the loss.
Offensively, the Eagles were paced by senior second baseman Travis Redmon, who finished the game 2-5 with a run scored. Senior first baseman Michael Fear also tallied two hits in four at-bats for Morehead St. The Eagles tried to mount a rally in the top of the ninth inning. After loading the bases with one out, junior center fielder Andrew Deeds scored on an RBI-walk from freshman catcher Cole Cleveland, who was making his collegiate debut in a pinch-hit appearance. (Box Score)
BluGrass Baseball player of the game: Trey Smith — 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO
Matt Rice bats for WKU: BluGrass Baseball photo
With just two days remaining until the start of the 2011 college baseball season it’s time to unveil the 2011 preseason BluGrass Baseball All-State team. Eligible players either play for a Kentucky college or attended a Kentucky high school. Check out the team below, with short bios on the first-team players. Remember, we’ll update this team at midseason and after the regular season is over.
C — Matt Rice — Western Kentucky University
- .369/.446/.585, 10 HR, 65 RBI, 51 R
- Rice was the first-team catcher on the 2010 BluGrass Baseball postseason All-State Team and returns to WKU after declining to sign with the New York Yankees as the team’s 50th round draft pick this summer. Rice may have been Mr. Irrelevant in the draft after being selected with the last pick, but he’s far from irrelevant in Kentucky college baseball as he should be in the running all season for the player of the year award. Rice was named All-Sun Belt Conference following the 2010 season, and recently was named the preseason Sun Belt player of the year by Baseball America.
- Second Team: J. J. Ethel (UofL) — .303/.384/.459, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 15 R
1B — Rich Witten — Coastal Carolina (Danville High School)
- 2010: .312/.393/.584, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 22 R
- After spending most of 2010 as a key reserve for the Chanticleers before moving into the starting lineup as the everyday first baseman in time for postseason play. Witten is expected to begin 2011 as the NCAA-regional hopeful’s first baseman and hopes to build on his strong postseason play. Witten was named to the Myrtle Beach All-Regional team after batting .278 with a double, home run and 6 RBI in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. As a junior at Danville High School Witten slugged 25 home runs, the second most in a single season in KHSAA history.
- Second Team: Zak Wasserman (UofL) — .324/.405/.419, 11 RBI, 9 R
2B — Ryan Wright — University of Louisville
- 2010: .366/.413/.638, 16 HR, 80 RBI, 61 R
- Junior infielder Ryan Wright has already been named a preseason all-American by three different outlets, including a second-team selection by Baseball America. Wright leads returning Kentucky collegians in 2010 RBI, runs scored and home runs and ranks second in 2010 batting average and slugging percentage. The second baseman spent the summer with Team USA, where he led everyday players with a .361 batting average and 18 runs scored. UofL head coach Dan McDonnell recently called Wright a “RBI mongrel,” noting the junior has 146 RBI in two seasons at UofL.
- Second Team: Travis Redmon (Morehead St.) — .333/.411/.497, 7 HR, 18 RBI, 42 R
3B — Andrew Deeds — Morehead State University
- 2010: .305/.356/.603, 13 HR, 39 RBI, 43 R
- Junior infielder Andrew Deeds leads a weak crop of Kentucky third baseman returning from the 2010 season. Deeds ranks third among returning Kentucky collegians in 2010 home runs and slugging percentage. The Trinity High School alum finished the 2010 season on a 12-game hitting streak and tallied 12 multi-hit games on the year. In the Eagles’ series against in-state rival EKU, Deeds was 7-15 with four home runs and six RBI.
- Second Team: Colton Moore (Murray St.) — .328/.383/.429, 1 HR, 39 RBI, 23 R
SS — Richie Rodriguez — Eastern Kentucky University
- 2010: .357/.405/.496, 5 HR, 37 RBI, 55 R, 21 SB
- Junior shortstop Richie Rodriguez led the Colonels in batting average, stolen bases and hits in 2010. He ranks second in 2010 stolen bases and third in 2010 batting average and runs scored among returning Kentucky collegians. The Miami, Fla., native was named a Louisville Slugger freshman all-American following the 2009 season. Rodriguez started every game in 2010 at shortstop and the leadoff slot in the lineup for EKU. He tallied 24 multi-hit games in 2010 including five four-hit games.
- Second team: Taylor Black (UK) — .270/.386/.489, 11 HR, 37 RBI, 44 R, 12 SB
OF — Stewart Ijames — University of Louisville
- 2010: .324/.406/.570, 14 HR, 63 RBI, 47 R
- Redshirt junior outfielder Stewart Ijames returns to Louisville after declining to sign with the New York Yankees as the team’s 29th round pick in the 2010 draft. Ijames was named second-team All-Big East and selected to the all-Big East Tournament Team following the 2010 season. He ranks third among returning Kentucky collegians in 2010 batting average and RBI and fifth in 2010 slugging percentage. Ijames was named a Ping! Baseball and Louisville Slugger freshman all-American in 2008 and missed the 2009 season with a shoulder injury.
- Second Team: Ryan Faidley (EKU) — .324/.420/.605, 12 HR, 46 RBI, 44 R
OF — Kes Carter — Western Kentucky University
- 2010: .341/.418/.484, 7 HR, 53 RBI, 40 R, 14 SB
- Junior outfielder Kes Carter was named first-team all-Sun Belt following the 2010 season and returns to WKU hoping to improve his draft status. Carter ranks fourth among returning Kentucky collegians in 2010 on-base percentage and fifth in 2010 RBI and stolen bases. The outfielder recorded a 15-game hitting streak last season between April 6 and 25 and committed just one error in 2010. Carter was selected in the 43rd round of the 2008 draft by the Florida Marlins following his senior season in high school.
- Second Team: Chad Wright (UK) — .316/.388/.413, 2 HR, 37 RBI, 36 R, 12 SB
OF — Jared Andreoli — Western Kentucky University
- 2010: .341/.415/.484, 5 HR, 49 RBI, 61 R, 14 SB
- Junior outfielder Jared Andreoli led the Hilltoppers with 32 multi-hit games in 2010 and tallied a 15-game hitting streak from March 12 to April 3. Among returning Kentucky collegians Andreoli ranks first in 2010 runs scored, fifth in stolen bases and fifth in on-base percentage. Andreoli ranked eight in runs scored in the Sun Belt Conference last season and fifth in triples. The outfielder leads returning Hilltoppers in total bases and tallied six sacrifice bunts last season.
- Second Team: Daniel Pugh — .335/.438/.447, 4 HR, 32 RBI, 45 R
DH — Taylor Davis — Morehead State University
- 2010: .350/.412/..596, 11 HR, 57 RBI, 40 R
- Junior catcher Taylor Davis was named preseason all-Ohio Valley Conference after his strong 2010 season. Davis ranks fourth among returning Kentucky collegians in 2010 batting average and RBI and fifth in 2010 home runs. The junior started 36 games at catcher, six at designated hitter and three at third base for the Eagles in 2010. Davis tallied a 13-game hitting streak, 19 multi-hit games and 13-multi-RBI games last season. The catcher has been selected to play in the prestigious Cape Cod League during the summer of 2011.
- Second team — Braden Kapteyn (UK) — .297/.403/.484, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 31 R
SP — Matt Koch — University of Louisville
- 2010: 3-0, 3.27 ERA, 31 SO/9BB, 44 IP
- Sophomore right-handed pitcher Matt Koch did not qualify for the ERA title in 2010, but was outstanding after moving into the Cards’ weekend rotation during conference play. Koch appeared in 11 games for UofL in 2010, including six starts. He surrendered just one run in six innings in UofL’s win over Vanderbilt in the NCAA Regional, earning a spot on the all-regional team. Koch moved into the weekend rotation on April 30 against Rutgers and remained there for the rest of the season. He was the 37th round pick of the Boston Red Sox in the 2009 draft out of high school.
- Second Team: Anthony Bazzani (EKU) — 5-3, 5.47 ERA, 41 SO/30 BB, 77.1 IP
SP — Justin Amlung — University of Louisville
- 2010: 5-2, 4.27 ERA, 55 SO/14 BB, 65.1 IP
- Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung was named the 2010 freshman of the year and boasts the lowest qualifying 2010 ERA of any returning Kentucky pitcher. Amlung started 10 games for the Cards last season, beginning the year as a midweek starter before moving into the weekend rotation. He surrendered just three home runs in 65.1 innings pitched that season and begins the season as UofL’s Saturday starting pitcher.
- Second team: Jordan Cooper (UK) — 4-5, 5.71 ERA, 35 SO/27 BB, 58.1 IP
SP — Alex Meyer — University of Kentucky
- 2010: 5-3, 7.06 ERA, 63 SO/36 BB, 51 IP
- Junior right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer has struggled in two season on campus, but he begins 2011 in the same place he has the last two years as arguably the state’s most talented player. Baseball America recently ranked Meyer the No. 34 prospect in the 2011 draft and selected him to its preseason All-Southeastern Conference team. Meyer is 6-7 with a 6.34 ERA and 143 strikeouts in his UK career but should be a first-round pick in 2011 with a strong season.
- Second Team: Jake Donze (Murray St.) 6-6, 6.02 ERA, 71 SO/56 BB, 83.2 IP
RP — Rye Davis — Western Kentucky University
- 2010: 3-4, 2.72 ERA, 9 saves, 63 SO/20 BB, 49.2 IP
- Relief pitcher might be the most hotly contested spot on the All-State team with redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Rye Davis and UofL top draft prospect Tony Zych. Davis was the 36th round pick of the Cleveland Indians during the summer of 2010 but returned to WKU in hopes of improving his draft status, that may have been hurt when he missed all of 2009 after being struck in the face by a line drive. Davis leads returning Kentucky collegians in 2010 appearances and ranks second in strikeouts and saves.
- Second Team: Tony Zych — 5-2, 5.13 ERA, 1 save, 50 SO/11 BB, 61.2 IP
Over the past few weeks BluGrass Baseball has been counting down the top 25 Kentucky collegians in advance of the 2011 college baseball season. As with any list of this kind there are plenty of arguments to be made about players who you think were too high, too low, incorrectly left off the list or incorrectly included on it. I’m sure you have plenty of arguments of your own but I’ve included some of the arguments I think could be made below:
Nick Maronde; Florida photo
Most glaring omission — Lexington Catholic High School alum Nick Maronde is undoubtedly one of the top 2011 draft prospects among Kentucky collegians, but his undefined role on the University of Florida pitching staff and mixed performance during his first two seasons on campus kept him off the list. Maronde, a left-handed pitcher, is 5-1 with a 4.93 ERA in his collegiate career but will likely pitch in middle relief for the No. 1 Gators this season. If Maronde pitched on any of other team he might be an important weekend starting pitcher or closer, but as a middle reliever I didn’t find room for him on the list.
Biggest stretch — If we were hosting a fantasy draft of Kentucky collegians Georgetown College outfielder Tyler Fisher most likely goes nowhere near the top 25, but his summer league performance led me to included him as the last player in the top 25 if for no other reason than to give some notoriety to a small-college player.
Players most likely to jump onto the list following the season — In addition to Maronde, one could easily envision University of Louisville senior right-handed pitcher Gabriel Shaw, UofL sophomore first baseman Zak Wasserman, University of Kentucky sophomore left-handed pitcher Taylor Rogers, UK outfielder Brian Adams, Western Kentucky University sophomore catcher and first baseman Ryan Huck, Morehead State University second baseman Travis Redmon and Eastern Kentucky University senior outfielder Ryan Faidley as having 2011 seasons that might propel them into consideration for this list following the season.
Performance versus talent — This list tended to value college performance over talent, but in a few cases I did give a players MLB draft prospect status added weight. The two most obvious cases of this dilemma came with UK junior right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer and UofL junior right-handed pitcher Tony Zych. Neither player’s 2010 statistics warrant inclusion in the top six players, but Meyer and Zych rank as the top two draft prospects in the state. If either player lives up to his potential in 2011, the duo could climb to the top of this list.
Following the completion of the “offseason position battle” series we will post a lineup project for each of the five division one schools this week. The lineups are based on the position battle posts and are only a guess and what each Opening Day lineup might look like. We will also include weekend rotations, midweek starters and closers for good measure. We are working in reverse order of the 2010 records, begining the series with Morehead State University.
- C — Taylor Davis
- 1B — Michael Fear
- 2B — Travis Redmon
- 3B — Andrew Deeds
- SS — Austin Haney
- LF — Daniel Pugh
- CF — Luke Bainer
- RF — Ryan Conner
- DH — Bud Morton
- RHP — Trey Smith
- RHP — Josh Schneider
- RHP — Cody Gibson
- LHP — Garrick Whittle
- RHP — Matthew Robertson
*A previous version of this post incorrectly to identified Ryan Conner as Eric Sanders. This post has also been amended to include information learned after its original publishing.
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 a returning draftee who will likely close for one of the top teams in the country this season.
No. 19 — RHP Casey Lucchese — College of Charleston (Paul Laurence Dunbar HS)
Casey Lucchese; College of Charleston photo
Senior right-handed pitcher Casey Lucchese returns to college after being selected in the 39th round of the 2010 draft by the Chicago Cubs. Lucchese was 4-0 with a 3.18 ERA in 21 relief appearances in 2010. The Paul Laurence Dunbar High School alum struck out 52 batters and walked 16 in 39 and two-third innings. He held opponents to a .222 batting average last season. Lucchese appeared in one game for the Lexington Hustlers during the summer.
College of Charleston enters the 2011 season ranked No. 20 team in the country as ranked by Baseball America. Aaron Fitt of BA projects Lucchese as the team’s primary 2011 closer writing Lucchese “was the team’s most reliable reliever last year, and he should do fine as the closer thanks to an 88-92 fastball and a swing-and-miss curve.” The Lexington Herald-Leader included Lucchese on its 2007 all-city team, which also included minor leaguers Ben Revere, Robbie Ross, Jayson Langfels, Tyler Oliver and Thomas Royse and current college standouts Nick Maronde, Cameron Flynn, Justin Riddell and Travis Redmon.
Predictions, based on pure speculation, for 2011 Kentucky baseball that are sure to go wrong:
- University of Kentucky junior right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer finally cashes in on the promise that had him ranked among the top prospects to attend college in 2008 with an All-SEC season. Meyer’s performance secures his status as a first-round pick this June.
- Ashland native and 2006 Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb rebounds after missing most of two seasons with a shoulder injury to win 15 games for the reigning American League champion Texas Rangers.
- University of Louisville junior infielder Ryan Wright is named a postseason first-team All-American after leading the Cards to their third consecutive Big East Conference championship.
- The Lexington Legends unveil the new “Ale-8-One Ballpark.”
- The National League all-star team features three players born in Kentucky: Corey Hart, Dan Uggla and Jonny Venters.
- Western Kentucky University wins the Sun Belt Conference and enters the NCAA tournament as a two seed.
- UofL (Stewart Ijames, Tony Zych, Derek Self, Ryan Wright, Drew Haynes and Gabriel Shaw) and WKU (Jared Andreoli, Kes Carter, Ivan Hartle, Matt Rice, Rye Davis and Brian Edelen) both have six players drafted in June.
- Four members of UK’s vaunted junior class are selected in the draft: Meyer, Cory Farris, Chad Wright and Braden Kapteyn. Senior Taylor Black is also selected.
- Kentucky’s three Ohio Valley Conference schools each see one player drafted: Eastern Kentucky University junior shortstop Richie Rodriguez, Murray State University junior catcher Jacob Rhodes and Morehead State University senior infielder Travis Redmon.
- Morehead St. infielder Bud Morton wins the 2011 BluGrass Baseball freshman of the year award, Meyer wins pitcher of the year and Wright wins player of the year.
- PRP alum Zack Cox wins BluGrass Baseball MiLB player of the year and former UK left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin wins MiLB pitcher of the year.
- Nine Kentucky minor leaguers make their MLB debuts in 2011: Matt Klinker, Josh Lueke, Trystan Magnuson, Collin Cowgill, Christian Friedrich, Jason Kipnis, Nathan Adcock, Chaz Roe and Ryan Strieby.
- Harrison County High School repeats as KHSAA state baseball champions.
- Tates Creek High School outfielder and WKU signee Ryan Fucci wins Mr. Kentucky Baseball.
- After losing much of its recent talent to the majors the Louisville Bats run of playoff appearances ends.
- Boosted by the Tampa Bay Rays signing six players from the first three rounds of the 2010 draft, the Bowling Green Hot Rods finish 2011 as the state’s best minor league team.
Drew Lee; Morehead St. photo
In the next offseason position battle post we’ll look at the vacant Morehead State University shortstop position:
The departed: Senior shortstop Drew Lee left Morehead with one of the most prolific careers in Eagles’ history after being selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 12th round of the 2010 MLB draft. Lee batted .412 with 17 home runs, 66 RBI, 60 runs scored and 156 total bases in 2011. The 2010 All-American batted over .400 for two straight seasons for Morehead and finished his collegiate career with several school records, including the career hits and RBI records. The Mount Sterling native was named an Appalachian League all-star during his first professional season in 2010.
Returning candidates: Lee started 47 of Morehead St.’s 50 games at shortstop in 2010 with the other three starts going to rising sophomore Austin Haney. Haney was just 2-22 (.091) in 15 games for the Eagles last season but is the only shortstop listed on Morehead St.’s 2011 roster. Rising senior utility man Casey Branham recorded one start at second base in 2010, but could conceivably move over to shortstop if head coach Jay Sorg is confident in his defense. Branham slugged two home runs in game three of the Eagles’ fall blood bowl series.
Newcomers to watch: Freshman infielder Bud Morton batted .395 with a .487 on-base percentage as a junior at West Jessamine High School while primarily playing shortstop. Morton excelled during the fall blood bowl series, highlighted by a three-hit game in game three. Morton stole 36 bases as a senior in high school.
Wildcard: Rising senior Travis Redmon had a strong summer for the Lexington Hustlers after making 46 starts at second base for Morehead St. in 2010. Head coach Jay Sorg could conceivably move Redmon to shortstop if he feels the standout of the Haney, Branham, Morton trio would be better suited defensively at second base.