UofL outfielder Stewart Ijames was named the eighth best prospect in the Coastal Plains League by Baseball America. BA is releasing its top ten prospects list in each of 17 collegiate summer leagues over the next week. Ijames spent the summer playing for Thomasville in the Costal Plains League.
Ijames missed all of the 2009 season with a shoulder injury but hit .282 with 12 home runs and 37 RBI. Aaron Fitt of BA wrote “Ijames will go as far as his bat carries him, as he’s’ a below average runner who will be limited to left field, though he does have some arm strength.”
Stewart batted .351 with eight home runs as a freshman in 2008 for UofL. At 6-1, 215 lbs. Ijames has plenty of power in his left-handed swing according to Fitt.
With their sixth straight loss the Bowling Green Hot Rods fell eight games out of first place in the South Atlantic League Southern Division. Check out the Hot Rods’ dwindling playoff hopes and other storylines in some Monday morning hot links:
Tim Beckham extended his hitting streak to seven games, but Bowling Green lost 9-3 to Kannapolis.
How about this pitching line for an evening? 18.1 innings pitched, eight hits, two runs, one earned run, 16 strikeouts and eight walks. That’s the combined pitching line of the three starting pitchers for Kentucky minor league teams Tuesday. Only one of the pitchers picked up a win, but a 0.50 ERA and 2-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio isn’t bad.
Nick Barnese took a no decision after pitching six and one-third innings and allowing two hits, one unearned run, three walks and eight strikeouts against Greenville.
Jordan Lyles also received a no decision, in a 1-0 Legends’ loss to Asheville, after pitching six shutout innings and allowing one hit, two walks and striking out seven.
The Legends also dropped the suspended game finished Tuesday night 5-0 to Asheville. The two losses drop Lexington to 8.5 games out of first place (into a tie for sixth) and may end any hopes of a playoff run for the Legends.
UK Athletics has a story about Chris Bisson leading the Cotuit Kettleers to the Cape Cod League championship series.
According to BlueJays.com Toronto GM J. P. Ricciardi is still hopeful that the team will sign its first five draft picks before the Monday deadline, including UK pitcher James Paxton.
The Columbus Dispatch profiles AAA Indianapolis manager Frank Kembas Jr., an EKU alum and former Cincinnati Reds minor leaguer.
LCA alum Robbie Ross surrendered three runs, including an RBI to UofL alum Chris Dominguez, in five innings to earn a no-decision for short-season Spokane.
UK alum Ryan Strieby was back in the lineup for AA Erie and playing first base again Tuesday. Strieby had been out of action since July 20 with a wrist injury. He went 1-4 with a run scored and a walk in his return.
UK alum Sawyer Carroll is 4-12 with a double and a triple in his first four games for AA San Antonio.
With the non-waiver trade deadline officially in the past the next important date on the baseball calendar is the Aug. 17 deadline to sign draft picks. 2009 is the second year that teams have faced an August deadline to sign draft picks, but the date was pushed back from Aug. 15 to Aug. 17 because of the 15th falling on a weekend. With that deadline just two weeks from today, I thought we’d look at the remaining unsigned players with Kentucky ties. (Contract status is according to Baseball America’s draft database)
ADDED: JON HEDGES, JAMES JONES, TIM DUNN 8/5/09
UK Players and Signees
LHP James Paxton — 1st Supp. (37) Toronto Blue Jays
RHP Stephen Inch — 6th Round Philadelphia Phillies — Vauxhall Academy, Edmonton
RHP Jordan Cooper — 17th Round Pittsburgh Pirates — Central HS, Shelbyville, Tenn.
RHP Sam Kidd — 39th Round Philadelphia Phillies — Ohio County High School, Hartford, Ky.
C Luke Maile — 43rd Round Boston Red Sox — Covington Catholic HS, Park Hills, Ky.
OF Brian Adams (Football)– 45th Round Cincinnati Reds — South Forysth HS, Cumming, Ga.
UofL Players and Signees
SS Jason Thompson — 11th Round Boston Red Sox — Germantown (Tenn.) HS
1b Andrew Clark — 31st Round Chicago Cubs
RHP Matt Koch — 37th Round Boston Red Sox — Washington HS, Cherokee, Iowa
WKU Players and Signees
RHP Matt Ridings — 25th Round Washington Nationals
Other Kentucky Natives
RHP Tyler Blandford — Davies County High School; Oklahoma State — 5th round Seattle Mariners
RHP Daniel Webb — Heath High School, Paducah, Ky.; Northwest Florida State JC — 18th round Toronto Blue Jays
RHP Patrick Cooper — Boyle County, Ky.; Des Moines Area CC — 34th round Arizona Diamondbacks
1b Jon Hedges — Owensboro, Ky., Olney Central College — 43rd round Minnesota Twins
RHP James Jones — Ballard County High School, John A Logan College — 45th round Cleveland Indians
RHP Tim Dunn — Carlisle County High School, Tevecca Nazarene University — 46th Round Cincinatti Reds
Kentucky pitcher James Paxton is the only one of the listed players who is almost certain to sign, and Davies County product Tyler Blandford was said to have second-round talent so the Mariners might offerr him over slot money to not return to Oklahoma State. The Phillies and Red Sox will likely make a late push to sign UK recruit Stephen Inch and UofL recruit Jason Thompson, their sixth and 11th round picks respectively. You can probably feel safe counting on the rest of these players to end up on campus in the fall, but that won’t make sleeping any easier for the state’s college coaches over the next two weeks.
The MLB trade season is officially in full gear with three major moves Wednesday. We told you about the Mariners/Pirates deal that sent Hardin County native Nathan Adcock to Pittsburgh, but the biggest trade of the day may also have Kentucky implications. The Phillies received reigning AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee for four prospects. With Lee and Pedro Martinez joining the Philadelphia rotation, two pitchers must move to the pen and one candidate is UK alum Joe Blanton. Blanton leads the team in innings, has a 4.11 ERA and has a history of good second halves so hopefully his spot is safe.
Check out more trade breakdown and other, BluGrass Baseball news in today’s hot links:
The Bluegrass has a world champion baseball player in the form of UofL closer Tony Zych. Zych and his teammates on the Collegiate USA National Team won the 2009 World Baseball Challenge Sunday with a 8-1 victory over Germany. UofL head coach Dan McDonnell served as the first-base coach for Team USA.
Team USA finished the summer with a 19-5 record, winning its last five games to clinch the title. Zych didn’t appear in the championship game but had an ERA of 2.91 with 17 strikeouts in 15.2 innings during the summer. Zych, a freshman, pitched out of the pen for most of 2009 for the Cardinals before moving to the rotation in his final three appearances. He won each of his three starts including six strong innings in UofL’s NCAA Regional Championship win over Vanderbilt.
I saw Zych pitch in one of his two losses during the 2009 season. He was Louisville’s closer at the time and blew a save in the state rivalry against Kentucky at home. At the time Zych was 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA. He surrendered two runs in that game, but he obviously had as much talent as anyone on the Louisville roster. UK coach Gary Henderson was generous in his praise of the UofL reliever.
“Your kids get confidence that they did it against Louisville’s best guy,” Henderson said.
You can find full coverage of Team USA’s win at the team’s home page.
Wednesday was a big night for Louisville outfielder Drew Stubbs at the AAA All-Star Game. He was 2-5 with a home run and two RBI in the game. Louisville pitcher Justin Lehr earned the start for the International League and pitched a 1-2-3 first inning.
Minorleaguebaseball.com provides a recap of the game including quotes from Lehr and Stubbs.
Here is the box score of Louisville manager Rick Sweet International League 6-5 victory.
The Bowling Green bullpen blew a lead in the ninth inning to deny Chris Andjuar his SAL-leading 10th victory in a 4-3 loss to Lakewood.
Delmarva clinched the series victory with a 3-1 win over Lexington Wednesday.
Jody Demling at the Courier-Journal passes on information about Tates Creek High School two-sport star Ryan Fucci in his recruiting notebook. Fucci is being recruited by UK, UofL, Michigan, Butler and Illinois in baseball.
David Thomas at the Jackson Sun in Jackson, Tenn., profiles Louisville Bats infielder Drew Sutton.
Louisville junior pitcher Justin Marks signed a professional contract to play baseball with the Oakland Athletics. Marks was named a third-team All-American by Baseball America and signed for a $375,300 signing bonus according to the Web site. Marks was the A’s third round pick, but second pick overall.
The Reds added former UK pitcher Greg Dombrowski to the 60-day DL.
The Rockies placed former EKU pitcher Christian Friedrich on the 7-day DL.
Lexington Legends’ pitcher Jordan Lyles garnered a tweet from BA writer Ben Badler this morning for his 10-strike out performance last night. Badler said Lyle’s was “bumgarner-ing” his way through the SAL in honor of Giants’ top prospect Madison Bumgarner.