League playoffs from across Minor League Baseball are set to begin this week. Last week we looked at the Kentucky alumni participating in rookie league playoffs, so I thought I’d do the same for the other minor leagues:
Pacific Coast League (AAA)
Tacoma Rainers — Josh Lueke
International League (AAA)
Louisville Bats — Matt Klinker
Columbus Clippers — Jeremy Sowers (DL)
Texas League (AA)
Springfield Cardinals — Antone DeJesus
Eastern League (AA)
New Hampshire Fisher Cats — Trystan Magnuson
Harrisburg Senators — Zach Dials
Southern League (AA)
Tennessee Smokies — Chris Rusin (DL)
Jacksonville Suns — Graham Taylor (DL)
Mobile BayBears — Collin Cowgill, Sean Coughlin, Josh Ellis
California League (High A)
Stockton Ports — Justin Marks
High Desert Mavericks — Jake Shaffer
Ranch Cucamonga Quakes — Jon Townsend
Florida State League (High A)
Dunedin Blue Jays — Justin McClanahan
Bradenton Marauders — Jordan Newton, Nathan Adcock
MLB.com has compiled its draft roundups for each of the 30 major league franchises. I’ve linked the relevant roundups for the Kentucky audience below with a reminder of what Kentucky players mentioned in the roundup went to that team.
Still no word about Joe Blanton’s role for the Phillies in the World Series. I think its safe to say he’ll be in the pen for the first three games, but after that it’s anyone’s guess. Until we find out, here are some Tuesday morning links:
Baseball America says Daviess County alum Tyler Blandford had the best fastball in the Seattle Mariners draft class. (subscription required)
BA says WKU alum Wade Gaynor has the best power in the Tigers’ draft class. (subscription required)
2009 Bat Chris Heisey was 2-4 with his third home run and teammate Yonder Alonso was 0-3 with two walks and two runs scored in the AFL Monday.
The Phillies rotation is still up in the air according to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News.
However, John Heyman of Sports Illustrated tweeted Monday that the Phillies would use Cliff Lee in games 1,4,7; Pedro Martinez in game 2; Cole Hamels in games 3 and 5; and the game six starter is still in question.
The Phillies were off Saturday, so no Bluegrass ties in the Yankees extra-inning win. But don’t fear, here are several Kentucky storylines to get you through a Sunday morning:
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel confirmed what we had expected: UK alum Joe Blanton will start opposite Randy Wolf in game four of the NLDS against the Dodgers.
All indications point to the D’Backs picking up Ashland-native Brandon Webb’s 2010 contract option.
Andy Burns and Marcus Nidiffer highlighted UK baseball’s parent weekend scrimmage.
The Messenger-Inquirer reports Owensboro Catholic Coach Allen Cox is brining Kentucky minor-leaguers, Logan Johnson, Tyler Blandford, Wade Gaynor and Justin Marks to his baseball camp in Owensboro this week.
2009 Bat Chris Heisey was 2-3 with a home run and two runs scored in the Arizona Fall League Saturday. Yonder Alonso was 0-3.
Baseball America is unveiling its top ten prospect lists from each of 17 different collegiate summer leagues over the next week to subscribers, but the magazine has released its top prospect in each league for free. Baseball America named Murray State first baseman Wes Cunningham the top prospect in the Jayhawk League and UK INF/P Braden Kapteyn the top prospect in the New York Collegiate Baseball League.
BA has also released the top ten lists for five leagues. Kentucky Native Tyler Blandford was named the second best prospect in the California Collegiate League and Wes Cunningham wasn’t the only Murray State Racer crack the top ten in the Jayhawk League. BA also ranked Murray State RHP Chris Craycraft as the ninth best player in the league.
With the conclusion of the collegiate summer leagues, rankings of the top prospects in each league are starting to emerge. As I head about them I’ll pass them along. Earlier today we already told you that UofL’s Tony Zych had been named the 17th best prospects on the collegiate Team USA by Baseball America.
According to UK Athletics, RHP Logan Darnell has been named the third best prospect in the Alaska Collegiate Summer League by PGCrosschecker.com. PGCrosschecker also selected Kentucky native and Seattle Mariners’ draft pick Tyler Blandford as the top prospect in the California Collegiate Summer League.
The New York Collegiate Baseball League has also released its own list of top prospects from the summer. UK outfielder and pitcher Braden Kapteyn was named the top prospect in the league after a summer that saw him take home all-league and MVP honors.
Earlier this week we brought you some links of Baseball America’s coverage of the Bowling Green Hot Rods. We told you then that BA writer Ben Badler was currently covering the Lexington Legends’ series in Greensboro, N. C. Well, Badler’s reports are in an on the Web.
Monday’s midnight deadline for MLB teams to sign their draft picks was newsworthy for surprising reasons in the Bluegrass. While Kentucky natives Tyler Blandford and Daniel Webb both signed with the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays respectively, the news of the day was the improbable return of LHP James Paxton to UK. The rising seniors turned down first-supplemental round money from the Blue Jays and elected to return to UK to pair with Alex Meyer for one of the top one-two punches in the country. We’ll break down the Paxton news later, but rest assured that his is monumental news for the 2010 Cats.
Baseball America’s Aaron Fitt reports Paxton will return to UK.
UK Athletics provides a press release about Paxton returning for his senior season.
Jim Callis reported that Owensboro native Tyler Blandford (5th Round) signed with the Mariners for $325,000.
We’re just under 12 hours from the midnight deadline for MLB teams to sign their 2009 draft picks, and the first signing-day deal with Kentucky ties has gone down. According to Baseball America, The Toronto Blue Jays have signed 18th round pick Daniel Webb from Northwest Florida State Junior College. Webb was a 2008 graduate of Heath High School in Paducah, Ky., and was originally committed to attend UK in 2009 before enrolling at junior college because of academic and draft issues.
The Jays also have yet to sign first-supplemental round pick James Paxton, the UK pitcher, so this may not be the last we here from Toronto on deadline day. Click the jump to see the full list of draftees with Kentucky ties who have yet to sign their contract.