Jeff Arnold; BluGrass Baseball photo
Highlights from Thursday Kentucky MiLB action:
- The Bowling Green Hot Rods scored a single run in the ninth inning to earn a 9-8 win over Lake County. Former UofL infielder Phil Wunderlich was 3-5 with one home run, one RBI and three runs scored, and shortstop Derek Dietrich was 2-4 with one home run, five RBIs and two runs scored.
- The Louisville Bats blew a ninth-inning lead in a 6-5 loss to Buffalo. Shortstop Zach Cozart was 3-4 with one home run, one RBIs and one run scored, and third baseman Todd Frazier was 3-4 with two doubles, one RBI and two runs scored.
- The Lexington Legends and Hagerstown Suns each tallied 11 hits, but the Legends left 11 men on base in an 8-2 loss. First baseman Tyler Burnett was 3-4 with one RBI and one run scored.
- Louisville native and former UofL catcher Jeff Arnold was 2-4 with one double, two RBI and two runs scored for low A Augusta.
- Former UK first baseman Ryan Strieby slugged his fourth home run and drove in two runs for AAA Toledo.
- Former Kentucky Wesleyan right-handed pitcher Cory Wade earned his first win of the season with a scoreless inning of relief for AAA Durham and boasts a 1.00 ERA in 18 innings in 2011.
- Danville native Patrick Cooper earned his first win of the season with two scoreless innings of relief for low A West Michigan
- Former UK infielder Gunner Glad was 2-4 with one double, two RBIs and one run scored for low A Beloit.
- Lexington native and former UK outfielder John Shelby slugged his fourth home run of the season for AA Montgomery.
- Former UK infielder Chris Bisson drove in three runs for low A Fort Wayne.
- Former UK left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin took a no decision after surrendering four runs on five hits in five innings while striking out six batters and walking two for AA Tennessee.
- Louisville native and former Bellarmine right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer took the loss in his season debut, surrendering four runs on eight hits in three and two-third innings for AAA Iowa.
Wladimir Balentien; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
The Louisville Bats were eliminated from the International League playoffs by Durham Sunday, bringing the team’s 2010 season to an end. The Bats used a late-season rally to finish at 79-65 on the season and win the IL West Division. In the third end of season awards post we’ll look at the best 2010 performances from the Cincinnati Reds’ AAA affiliate.
Hitter of the month: OF Wladimir Balentien
- Bats outfielder Wladimir Balentien was one of the few Louisville batters to spend the whole season with the team. Balentien batted .282 with 25 home runs 78 RBI and 71 runs scored. The outfielder also stole 12 bases in 13 tries, boasted a .337 on-base percentage and .536 slugging percentage.
- Honorable Mention — Infielder Chris Valaika led the team with a .304 batting average…First baseman Yonder Alonso batted .296 with 12 home runs in 101 games after a May promotion from AA…Outfielder Todd Frazier, shortstop Zach Cozart and third baseman Juan Francisco each slugged at least 17 home runs.
Pitcher of the month: LHP Matt Maloney
- Left-handed starting pitcher Matt Maloney made 23 starts for Louisville on the season and led the team with 10 wins, a 3.34 ERA and 134 and two-third innings pitched. Maloney struck out 104 batters and walked just 28 on the season.
- Honorable Mention — Left-handed pitcher Travis Wood boasted a 3.06 ERA in 16 games…Cuban phenom Aroldis Chapman won nine games, saved eight and led the team with 125 strikeouts in 39 games between the bullpen and starting rotation…Right-handed pitcher Ben Jukich won seven games and struck out 103 in 115 and one-third innings.
Juan Francisco; Photo by mwlguide via Flickr
Highlights from Monday Kentucky MiLB action:
- Right-handed pitcher Matt Maloney surrendered just one unearned run in six innings to lead the Louisville Bats to an 11-2 blowout win over Charlotte. Shortstop Zach Cozart, third baseman Juan Francisco, outfielder Wladimir Balentein and catcher Wilkin Castillo each homered in the game for Louisville.
- The Bowling Green Hot Rods scored three runs in the eighth inning to earn a 7-5 come-from-behind win over Peoria. Designated hitter Cody Rogers homered and right fielder Brett Nommensen was 3-4.
- The Lexington Legends were off Monday.
- Former UK infielder and 2010 Padres draftee Chris Bisson was 3-4 for short-season Eugene.
- Former UK outfielder/first baseman and 2010 Twins draftee Lance Ray slugged his first professional home run for low A Beloit.
- Former UofL outfielder and 2010 Rangers draftee Joshua Richmond reached base five times via four walks and a single for short-season Spokane. He scored twice and drove in one run. In four professional games, Richmond is 5-13 (.385) with five RBI and four runs scored.
- Former UofL right-handed pitcher and 2010 White Sox draftee Thomas Royse took a no decision for rookie-level Great Falls after surrendering four runs in six innings. Royse struck out seven and walked none.
- Boyd County native and 2010 Royals NDFA Tyler Gatrell picked up his sixth save of the season for the rookie-level AZL Royals and still hasn’t surrendered an earned run in his professional career over 10 appearances.
Marcus Nidiffer, center; Photo: UK Athletics
Highlights from Sunday Kentucky MiLB action:
- The Louisville Bats scored four runs in the first inning and held off a late Lehigh Valley rally to earn a 5-4 win over the IronPigs. Shortstop Zach Cozart was 3-4 with a home run, double, two RBI and two runs scored. Starting pitcher Sam LeCure surrendered just two runs in seven innings and struck out 13 while walking none.
- Former EKU infielder Neil Sellers was 1-4 in the game for Lehigh Valley.
- Hickory Crawdads starting pitcher Jacob Brigham held the Lexington Legends to just one run in a complete game performance to lead Hickory to a 6-1 win over Lexington. Legends right-handed pitcher Robert Donovan took the loss despite surrendering just two runs in six innings and striking out six.
- The Bowling Green Hot Rods tallied just six hits in a 9-0 shutout loss to Peoria. Designated hitter Gabe Cohen was 3-4 in the game.
- Former EKU left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich was forced to leave his start for AA Tulsa without recording an out after being hit under the left elbow with a line drive. Friedrich surrendered two runs on four hits. Check back to BluGrass Baseball for updates of Friedrich’s condition later as he is scheduled to be re-examined today.
- Former UK catcher and 2010 Astros NDFA Marcus Nidiffer extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a 2-6, one home run performance. Nidiffer drove in two runs and scored twice. He is batting .356 with six home runs and 13 RBI in 24 games for rookie-level Greeneville.
- LCA alum Robbie Ross picked up his first win for high A Bakersfield after surrendering four runs, only one of which was earned, in seven innings. Ross struck out eight and walked just one.
- Former UofL first baseman and 2010 Rangers draftee Andrew Clark was 3-4 with a stolen base, walk, RBI and run scored for short-season Spokane.
- Former UofL infielder Chris Dominguez was 2-4 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI for high A Augusta.
- Former UofL right-handed pitcher Trystan Magnuson picked up his fifth save for AA New Hampshire with three scoreless innings.
- Former WKU outfielder Chad Cregar slugged his 11th home run of the season for low A Greensboro.
- Lexington native Jeremy Shelby was 3-6 with a double, RBI and run scored for rookie-level Greensboro.
- Trinity High School alum Tyler Kuhn slugged his third home run of the season for AA Birmingham.
Christian Friedrich; Photo by Matt McGee via Flickr
Last summer I released the first BluGrass Baseball top prospects lists. The list was divided into two sections: top 10 prospects on Kentucky Minor League teams and top 10 Kentucky alumni prospects. Clearly the in-state Minor League team list has changed significantly for the 2010 season, and the natives list has also seen some slight revisions. I’ve included the list below, but you can always find it on the “Top Prospects” page here. A player’s ranking on the Baseball America top 100 prospect list is included in parenthesis next to his name.
BluGrass Baseball Top Prospects (Ky. Minor League Teams)
- LHP Aroldis Chapman (22) — Louisville Bats
- LF/3B Todd Frazier (43) — Louisville Bats
- SS Jiovanni Mier (73) — Lexington Legends
- OF Chris Heisey — Louisville Bats
- RHP Tanner Bushue — Lexington Legends
- 3B Juan Francisco — Louisville Bats
- LHP Travis Wood — Louisville Bats
- RHP Alexander Colome — Bowling Green Hot Rods
- LHP Matt Maloney — Louisville Bats
- SS Zach Cozart — Louisville Bats
BluGrass Baseball Top Prospects (Ky. Alumni)
- LHP Christian Friedrich (33) — EKU — Colorado Rockies
- OF Ben Revere — Lexington Catholic High School– Minnesota Twins
- RHP Robbie Ross — Lexington Christian Academy — Texas Rangers
- 1B Ryan Streiby — UK — Detroit Tigers
- OF Collin Cowgill — UK — Arizona Diamondbacks
- RHP Trystan Magnuson — UofL — Toronto Blue Jays
- 3B Chris Dominguez — UofL — San Francisco Giants
- RHP Chaz Roe — Lafayette High School — Colorado Rockies
- OF John Shelby — UK — Chicago White Sox
- OF Sawyer Carroll — UK — San Diego Padres
I had planned to be in Cincinnati Sunday for the Cubs/Reds game for several weeks as a fan, and while Reds rookie Mike Leake was making his professional debut for the big league club many Reds fans were focused north as Louisville Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman made his AAA debut in Toledo. There were no shortage of media at that event, so I’ve compiled various accounts of the festivities from around the Internet below:
- John Erardi, writing for the Courier-Journal, reports “The Cuban Missile threw a lot of them — missiles, that is — but he’ll need to throw them for strikes more often and be able to mix in his changeup more effectively to win in the big leagues.”
- Erardi also provided a recap for the Cincinnati Enquirer, writing “From a vantage point just behind home plate, the view was of a future Red with surprising composure, unafraid to throw his changeup, a nasty, wide-moving slider (when he could throw it for strikes) and a fastball that had the Triple-A hitters overmatched.”
- John Wagner of the Toledo Blade quotes Louisville manager Rick Sweet: “Given time, he’s [Champan] going to be ready to pitch in the big leagues. The stuff is there. He could pitch in the big leagues right now and have some success.”
- Nick Evans of the Bats’ media relations department writes Chapman didn’t disappoint.
- Joe Vardon foresees big things for Chapman in a recap for MLB.com, writing, “The Minor League debut of Reds pitching sensation Aroldis Chapman was befitting a man destined for a quick and major change of scenery.”
- In case you missed the game, the Web stream of Chapman’s performance can be rewatched on ESPN3.
- The Bats did pick up the 2-1 win behind three doubles and a fifth-inning RBI from shortstop Zach Cozart. Outfielder Chris Heisey also homered in the game. (Box Score)
The Louisville Bats are set to start play today and will feature two Kentucky natives in the lineup as well as several of the best prospects in the Cincinnati Reds organization. Check out the roster below via the Courier-Journal. I’ve included Baseball America prospect rankings for the Reds organization. Remember top prospects Juan Francisco and Mike Leake are starting the season with the Reds but might appear in Louisville at some point if they struggle, and Yonder Alonso is starting the season in AA but should earn a callup to Louisville early this season.
- LHP Travis Wood (BA #7) (SP) — 2nd Round (2005)
- RHP Sam LeCure (SP) — 4th Round (2005)
- LHP Matt Maloney (BA #8) (SP) — Phillies 3rd Round (2005)
- RHP Federico Baez — Cubs NDFA (2002)
- RHP Jon Adkins — Athletics 9th Round (1998)
- RHP Chad Reineke — 2005 Lexington Legend — Astros 13th Round (2004)
- RHP Enerio Del Rosario (BA # 19) — NDFA 2005
- LHP Lee Tabor — 30th Round (2006)
- RHP Justin Lehr (SP) — Athletics 8th Round (1999)
- LHP Pedro Viola (BA # 22) — NDFA (2005)
- RHP Carlos Fisher — 11th Round (2005)
- RHP Jared Burton — Athletics 8th Round (2002)
- LHP Aroldis Chapman (BA #1A*) (SP) — Cuban FA (2009)
- Corky Miller — Amateur FA (1998)
- Wilkin Castillo — NDFA 2002
- Jake Long — 37th Round (2005)
- 2B — Chris Burke — St. X High School — Astros 1st Round (2004)
- 3B — Michael Griffin — 14th Round (2005)
- 3B — Drew Sutton — 2005 Lexington Legend — S/R — Astros 15th Round (2005)
- 2B — Chris Valaika (BA #12) — 3rd Round (2006)
- SS — Zach Cozart (BA #10) — 2nd Round (2007)
- 3B/LF — Todd Frazier (BA #1B) — 1st Supp. Round (2007)
- RF — Josh Anderson — Pulaski Co., EKU, 2004 Lexington Legend — 4th Round (2003)
- LF/1B — Daniel Dorn — 32nd Round (2006)
- LF — Chris Heisey (BA #4) — 17th Round (2006)
- OF — Luis Terrero — D’Backs NDFA (1997)
* — Chapman signed after Baseball America released its Reds top 10 prospects list, but is ranked higher than No. 1 Frazier on the overall top 100 prospects list published by the magazine.