Notebook: Former Kentucky Stars in Pro Baseball
Kentucky has had a program-record 42 players drafted or sign a professional contract in the seven years of the UK head coach Gary Henderson era. Since 2004, Kentucky has had 64 players drafted or sign a professional contract, including 21 in the first-10 rounds. The Wildcats have had at least four players selected in the MLB Draft in each year under Henderson.
Andrew Albers (Toronto Blue Jays/Canadian National Team/Triple-A Buffalo)
- LHP – L/L – North Battleford, Saskatchewan
- Kentucky from 2005-08 (Signed 13th round, 2006)
2015 (MLB): 1-0, 3.38 ERA, 1 APP, 2.2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 SO
2015 (Triple-A): 2-11, 5.70 ERA, 20 APP, 15 GS, CG, 83.2 IP, 110 H, 26 BB, 53 SO)
Returned to affiliated baseball after pitching professionally in Korea in 2014 … Made a return to the big leagues after 10 starts in his debut in 2013.
UK Career: Four-year standout for the Wildcats ranks among the all-time leaders in wins, appearances, saves and innings pitched. Had a 20-18 record and a 4.47 ERA in his UK career, saving 12 games in 239.1 innings and striking out 185. Served as UK’s weekend starter as a freshman, primary closer as a sophomore (seven saves) and weekend starter as a junior. Returned to the bullpen as a senior, saving five games in 31 appearances, with a 2.40 ERA.
Kyle Barrett (Miami Marlins/New York-Penn League) – OF – L/R – Douglasville, Ga.
- 2013-15 (15th round, 2015)
2015 (NYP): .091/.167/.091, 4 G, 1-for-11
Made his professional debut … Season was hampered by injury.
UK Career: Was a three-year starter in the outfield, manning a corner before sliding into the centerfield role after the drafting of Austin Cousino in 2014. Hit .354 in 53 games, with his 84 hits pacing the SEC in the regular season. He finished with 12 doubles, three triples, one homer and 26 RBI, stealing seven bases. During his junior year, reached base safely in 44 of his 52 starts and reached base safely in 111 of his 129 games. In his three-year career, totaled a .324 average with 106 runs, 174 hits, 22 doubles, four triples and two homers, driving in 59 runs and stealing 21 bases. Was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2013 after hitting .349 to lead the club, adding 14 RBI and four steals. In 2014, Barrett batted .253 with six doubles, one homer and 19 RBI, swiping 10 bases. During the 2014 summer, Barrett was named the starting centerfielder for the Cape Cod League All-Star Game.
Joe Blanton (Pittsburgh Pirates/Kansas City Royals)
- 2000-02 (First round, 2001)
2015 (MLB): 7-2, 2.84 ERA, 36 APP, 4 GS, 2 SV, 76 IP, 16 BB, 79 SO
Started the season, his first since 2013, with the Royals, before becoming a vital piece of the Pirates bullpen.
UK Career: Struck out 133 in 100 innings as a junior for legendary UK coach Keith Madison ... One of the top pitchers in school history.
Austin Cousino (Seattle Mariners/Arizona Rookie League/Low Class-A Clinton)
– OF – L/L – Dublin, Ohio
- 2012-14 (15th round, 2015)
2015 (-A): .190/.253/.254, 57 G, 44-for-232, 11 2B, 2 3B, 12 RBI, 9-13 SB
2015 (AZL): .429/.480/.524, 7 G, 9-for-21, 3B, 4 RBI, 2-3 SB
Battled injury throughout the year, but played in 64 games in his first full professional season.
UK Career: The 2012 Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year, Cousino paced the Wildcats to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances, including a school-record 45-win season in 2012. Cousino started all 178 games of his UK career, hitting .295 (216-for-732) with 47 doubles, seven triples, 19 homers and 48 steals. Cousino owned a .456 slugging and a .386 on-base percentage in his career, charting 17 outfield assists. The 2013 and 2014 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner and a two-time selection by the SEC coaches to the All-SEC Defensive Team, Cousino had junior season where he played in 61 games, hitting .308, with 15 doubles, four triples, four homers and 38 RBI, stealing a career-high 19 bases. In 2012, Cousino earned freshman All-America accolades after hitting .319 with 20 doubles, two triples, nine homers and 41 RBI, swiping 15 bags. After entering his sophomore season as the Baseball America SEC Preseason Player of the Year, Cousino hit .249 with 12 doubles, one triple, six homers and 27 RBI, stealing 14 bases. Cousino is a three-time member of a USA Baseball National Team, playing on the collegiate national team twice in his UK career, leading the USA club in hitting after his freshman season in 2012. He also played on the 2009 USA Baseball 16-U National Team, earning MVP honors of the IBAF World Championship.
Collin Cowgill (Los Angeles Angels/Triple-A Salt Lake) – OF – R/L – Lexington, Ky.
- 2005-08 (Fifth round, 2008)
2015 (MLB): .188/.233/.290, 10-for-69, 55 G, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 2 RBI, 2-3 SB
2015 (Triple-A): .364/.404/.500, 16-for-44, 12 G, 3 2B, HR, 4 RBI
Was hampered by the injury bug while serving as the fourth outfielder for the Angels to open the season … Returned after a rehab stint in Triple-A to impact the Angles as a reserve outfielder in September.
UK Career: One of the top players in program history, earned first-team All-America honors in 2008. Finished his UK career as a fourth-round draft pick in 2008, when he hit .361 with 15 doubles, two triples, 19 homers, 60 RBI and 23 steals. In his three-year career, hit .306 (171-for-558) in 165 games, with 35 doubles, four triples, 37 homers and 140 RBI, stealing 32 bases. As a sophomore, helped lead UK to the first SEC Championship in program history, batting .298 with 16 homers and 61 RBI.
Logan Darnell (Triple-A Rochester) – LHP – L/L – Joelton, Tenn.
- 2008-10 (Sixth round, 2010)
2015 (Triple-A): 5-1, 2.78 ERA, 35 APP, 7 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 77.2 IP, 77 H, 25 BB, 66 SO
After pitching as a starter for the majority of his career, transitioned to the role of relief workhorse for 2015 in his second season in triple-A … Made his MLB debut with the Twins in 2014.
UK Career: Appeared in 57 games with 11 starts, posting a 10-8 record and a 5.05 ERA, with four saves in 137.1 innings, walking 62 and striking out 114. Highlight of his career came in 2010 when he threw a complete-game shutout at San Diego.
Cameron Flynn (Miami Marlins/High Class-A Jupiter) – OF – L/L – Lexington, Ky.
- 2010-12 (23rd round, 2012)
2015 (+A): .194/.248/.224, 91 G, 57-for-294, 6 2B, HR, 18 RBI, 10-15 SB
Played in 91 games, despite battling injuries, for in high class-A.
UK Career: Had a great season for the Wildcats in 2012, helping UK to a school-record 45 wins. Appeared in 59 games with 52 starts, batting .268 (52-for-194) with nine doubles, nine homers and 36 RBI. Transferred from Morehead State after redshirting the 2011 season due to injury.
Trevor Gott (Los Angeles Angels/Triple-A Salt Lake/Double-A Arkansas) – RHP – R/R – Lexington, Ky.
- 2011-13 (Sixth round, 2013)
2015 (MLB): 4-2, 3.02 ERA, 48 APP, 47.2 IP, 43 H, 16 BB, 27 SO
2015 (Triple-A): 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 7 APP, 8.1 IP, 7 H, 5 BB, 10 SO
2015 (Double-A): 1-0, 3.20 ERA, 18 APP, 8 SV, 19.2 IP, 19 H, 7 H, 20 SO
Made a splashing MLB debut in 2015, climbing from double-a to the big leagues with the Angels … Was a key middle-inning reliever through the summer for LAA, before taking over a seventh-inning role late in the year.
UK Career: The most decorated reliever in Kentucky history, setting a school-record for saves in career (21) and season (12). Appeared in 69 games in his career, with a 2.30 ERA and a 9-5 record, striking out 107 in 82.1 innings. As a sophomore, set the school record with nine saves and a 3-0 record with a 2.16 ERA, before a dominating junior season in 2013. Saved a single-season record 13 games in 23 outings in 2013, with a 4-1 record and a 1.20 ERA, striking out 35 and walking five in 30 innings.
Jerad Grundy (Oakland Athletics/Low Class-A Beloit) – LHP – L/L – Hinsdale, Ill.
- 2012-13 (10th round, 2013)
2015 (-A): 0-1, 5.25 ERA, 21 APP, 1 GS, 1 SV, 36 IP, 43 H, 19 BB, 32 SO
Pitched in 21 games in low class-A for the Athletics organization … Was released at the end of the season.
UK Career: Served as a weekend starter for the Wildcats for two seasons after transferring from Miami (Fla.). Started 30 games in two years, with a 12-9 record and a 4.31 ERA, tossing 169 innings, walking 56 and striking out 124. As a junior, started 16 games with a 6-3 record and a 3.78 ERA. Won six games as a senior with 61 strikeouts in 83.1 innings.
Max Kuhn (Oakland Athletics/Low Class-A Beloit) – C/INF – R/R – Zionsville, Ind.
- 2012-14 (13th round, 2014)
2015 (-A): .241/.320/.376, 131 G, 116-for-481, 29 2B, 3 3B, 10 HR, 59 RBI, 1-2 SB
Had a workman-like first full professional season, playing in 131 games in low class-A … Transitioned to a full-time role as a catcher, also seeing time at the corner infield posts.
UK Career: Kuhn, a second-team All-SEC selection, hit .289 (133-for-460) in his UK career, playing in 121 games with 116 starts. Kuhn belted 27 doubles, two triples, 13 homers and owns 90 RBI, stealing 10 bases, while owning a .441 slugging and a .406 on-base percentage. In 2014, Kuhn had a career year with the bat, hitting .324 with 18 doubles, one triple, eight homers and 58 RBI, owning 43 walks for a .437 on-base percentage. As a freshman, Kuhn played in five games off the bench, collecting one hit. As a sophomore, Kuhn started 54 of UK’s 55 games, hitting .242 with nine doubles, one triple, five homers and 29 RBI, stealing seven bases.
Corey Littrell (St. Louis Cardinals/High Class-A Palm Beach) – LHP – L/L – Louisville, Ky.
- 2011-13 (Fifth round, 2013)
2015 (+A): 9-9, 2.69 ERA, 27 APP, 17 GS, CG, 130.1 IP, 125 IP, 21 BB, 93 SO
In first full season after being traded from the Angels to the Cardinals, totaled 130.1 innings and a sub-3.00 ERA.
UK Career: One of the top pitchers in program history, completed his career in 2013 with a 21-13 record and a 4.20 ERA in his 46 game – 43 start – UK career. Earned All-SEC honors in 2012, with a 9-2 record and a 2.74 ERA. As a junior in 2013, had a 6-5 mark with a 3.72 ERA, tossing a staff-high 94.1 innings.
Luke Maile (Tampa Bay Rays/Triple-A Durham) – C/1B – R/R – Crestview Hills, Ky.
- 2010-12 (Eighth round, 2012)
2015 (MLB): .171/.171/.257, 15 G, 6-for-35, 3 2B, 2 RBI
2015 (Triple-A): .207/.298/.296, 61-for-294, 9 2B, 3B, 5 HR, 29 RBI, 1-2 SB
Served as the reserve catcher for the majority of the season in triple-A Durham, before making his MLB debut as the reserve backstop in September for the Rays.
UK Career: All-SEC backstop completed his decorated career in 2012, leading UK to a school-record 45 wins. Batted .295 (130-for-441) in 139 games in his three-year career, with 23 doubles, three triples and 24 homers in 93 RBI, while stealing 17 bases. As a junior, led UK at the plate with a .319 average, with 12 homers and 51 RBI.
Alex Meyer (Minnesota Twins/Triple-A Rochester) – RHP – R/R – Greensburg, Ind.
- 2009-11 (First round, 2011)
2015 (MLB): 0-0, 16.88 ERA, 2 APP, 2.2 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 3 SO
2015 (Triple-A): 4-5, 4.79 ERA, 38 APP, 8 GS, 92 IP, 101 H, 48 BB, 100 SO
Made his MLB debut with a pair of relief outings for the Twins … Transitioned from a starting pitching role to a relief role midway through the season.
UK Career: The second-highest draft pick in the history of the program, had a decorated three-year career for the Wildcats. Finished in 2011 with a 13-12 record and a 4.72 ERA in 211.2 innings, striking out 253. As a junior, was dominant, with a 7-5 record and a 2.94 ERA, striking out 110 in 101 innings. Highlight of career came in a complete-game shutout against No.1 Vanderbilt and ace Sonny Gray as a junior.
James Paxton (Seattle Mariners/Triple-A Tacoma/Arizona Fall League) – LHP – L/L – Ladner, British Columbia
- 2007-09 (Third round, 2010)
2015 (MLB): 3-4, 3.90 ERA, 13 GS, 67 IP, 67 H, 29 BB, 56 SO
2015 (Triple-A): 0-1, 8.10 ERA, 3 GS, 6.2 IP, 12 H, 3 BB, 4 SO
2015 (AFL): 2-4, 4.60 ERA, 7 GS, 29.1 IP, 37 H, 8 BB, 29 SO
Battled injury in 2015 but made 13 MLB starts … Was sent to the Arizona Fall League to gain additional innings due to the injury.
UK Career: Played three seasons for the Wildcats, completing his career in 2009 as a first-round pick of the Blue Jays. Appeared in 55 games with 24 starts, owning an 11-5 record and a 4.91 ERA. Saved two games in his career, tossing 148.1 innings, walking 61 and striking out 168. Had a breakout junior season, striking out 115 in 78.1 innings. As a sophomore, appeared in 17 games with 11 starts, owning a 4-2 record and a 2.92 ERA.
Tim Peterson (New York Mets/Low Class-A Savannah) – RHP – R/R – Puyallup, Wash.
- 2012 (20th round, 2012)
2015 (-A): 1-0, 1.69 ERA, 16 APP, 2 SV, 21.1 IP, 18 H, 7 BB, 22 SO
Was forced to sit out the first portion of the MiLB season but returned to make 16 appearances in low class-A.
UK Career: Was a weapon for the UK bullpen in 2012, appearing in 28 games with a 3-0 record, a save and a 2.42 ERA. Tossed 26 innings, allowing only 24 hits and four walks, striking out 28.
AJ Reed (Houston Astros/High Class-A Lancaster/Double-A Corpus Christi/Arizona Fall League)
- 1B – L/L – Terre Haute, Ind.
2015 (AA): .332/.405/.571, 53 G, 68-for-205, 14 2B, 3B, 11 HR, 46 RBI
2015 (+A): .346/.449/.638, 82 G, 110-for-318, 16 2B, 4 3B, 23 HR, 81 RBI
2015 (AFL): .231/.326/.385, 11 G, 9-for-39, 3 2B, HR, 6 RBI, 1-1 SB
The top player in Kentucky baseball history and one of the top performers in college baseball annals made his first full professional season a big one … Led minor league baseball in homers, walks and slugging … Narrowly missed out on becoming the third all-time player to win Baseball America College and Minor League Player of the Year in consecutive seasons … Was sent to the AFL to work on facing elite left-handed pitching after soaring through two levels in 2015.
UK Career: Completed one of the most historic seasons in college baseball history in 2014, leading the nation in homers (23), slugging (.735) and OPS (1.211), while ranking as SEC leader, and fourth in the NCAA, in pitching victories (12). Hit .336 with 18 doubles, one triple, 73 RBI, 49 walks and a .476 on-base percentage. Finished with a 2.09 ERA in 16 starts, working 112 innings, allowing 98 hits and 29 walks, striking out 71. He is the first player in the storied history of the SEC to rank as the league leader in wins and homers. In his career, Reed charted a .306 average in 172 games, with 35 doubles, three triples, 40 homers and 168 RBI, with a .559 slugging and a .415 on-base percentage. On the mound, Reed – a first-team All-America selection – had a 19-13 record with a 2.83 ERA in 248 innings, allowing just 53 walks and striking out 174. The 2014 SEC Player of the Year, Reed rewrote the UK record book during his career. In UK’s single-season records, Reed ranks first in homers, third in RBI, fifth in total bases, sixth in slugging, second in walks, 13th in on-base percentage, ninth in hit by pitches (14), fifth in ERA, second in wins, third in winning percentage (.857), third in starts and third in innings pitched. In UK career history, Reed ranks second in homers, second in RBI, eighth in total bases, 12th in at-bats, 12th in walks (99), 11th in sacrifice flies (nine), 10th in hit by pitch (26), third in ERA, 10th in wins and 11th in innings pitched. The Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year, Reed is the third all-time SEC player to be named a unanimous national player of the year, joining Dave Magadan (1983) and David Price (2007).
J.T. Riddle (Miami Marlins/+ Class-A Jupiter/AA Jacksonville/AAA New Orleans/Arizona Fall League)
- IF/OF – R/R – Frankfort,Ky.
- 2011-2013 (13th round, 2013)
2015 (AA): .289/.323/.422, 44 G, 50-for-173, 6 2B, 3B, 5 HR, 20 RBI
2015 (+A): .270/.311/.314, 45 G, 50-for-185, 6 2B, 9 RBI, 7-10 SB
2015 (AAA): .667/.800/.667, 1 G, 2-for-3
2015 (AFL): .217/.245/.348, 12 G, 10-for-46, 3 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 1-2 SB
Broke out on the prospect map in 2015 after securing a full-time reputation as a defensive wizard at shortstop … Played at three different levels, getting three at-bats in triple-A in the finale of the MiLB season, before earning an invite to the AFL … Broke out in the AFL with a homer and three doubles.
UK Career: Three-year starter as second base and rightfield for UK after winning Mr. Baseball honors in Kentucky in 2010. Batted .283 (170-for-601) in three years, with 28 doubles, three triples, nine homers and 83 RBI, stealing 16 bases and sporting a .358 on-base percentage. Best season of his career came as a freshman, batting .288 with three homers, before hitting .279 with five homers and a sophomore. After a great start to 2013’s opening weekend, slumped the final 13 weeks of the year, with a .283 average with seven doubles, two triples, one homer and 20 RBI, stealing six bases.
Taylor Rogers (Minnesota Twins/Triple-A Rochester/Arizona Fall League) – LHP – L/L – Littleton, Colo.
- 2010-12 (11th round, 2012)
2015 (Triple-A): 11-12, 3.98 ERA, 28 APP, 27 GS, 2 CG, 174 IP, 190 H, 44 BB, 126 SO
2015 (AFL): 2-2, 2.88 ERA, 6 GS, 25 IP, 17 H, 11 BB, 21 SO
Starred as the triple-A workhorse lefty in the rotation, working a career-high 174 innings … Was shut down late in the year, thwarting a September MLB call-up, but was invite to the AFL after a lay-off … Pitched in the AFL title game, starring as a strike-throwing lefty who made six starts.
UK Career: One of the top starters in UK baseball history, stepped right into the weekend rotation as a true freshman in 2010. Appeared in 45 games with 42 starts in his career, with a 13-18 record and a 5.34 ERA. Worked 249.1 career innings, walking 55 and striking out 172. As a junior in 2012, was UK’s Friday-night starter for a school-record team, with a 6-4 record and a 4.53 ERA in 89.1 innings with 84 strikeouts.
Chris Rusin (Colorado Rockies/Triple-A Albuquerque) – LHP – L/L – Devine Child, Mich.
- 2006-09 (Fourth round, 2009)
2015 (MLB): 6-10, 5.33 ERA, 24 APP, 22 GS, 2 CG, 1 SHO, 131.2 IP, 170 H, 41 BB, 86 SO
2015 (Triple-A): 3-2, 6.29 ERA, 7 APP, 6 GS, 34.1 IP, 47 H, 11 BB, 18 SO
Was promoted from Triple-A midway through the year and made 22 starts in the big leagues for the Colorado Rockies.
UK Career: Had a decorated four-year career for the Wildcats, winning the second-most games in school career history. Appeared in 56 games with 45 starts, owning a 23-11 record and a 4.14 ERA. Worked 302.1 innings, allowing 95 walks and striking out 274. Was named All-SEC in 2008 with a 6-3 record and a 3.33 ERA. As a senior, fanned 108 in 94.1 innings.
Chandler Shepherd (Boston Red Sox/High Class-A Greenville/Low Class-A Lowell/Arizona Fall League)
- RHP – R/R – Louisa, Ky.
- 2010-12 (13th round, 2012)
2015 (+A):0-2, 3.61, 28 APP, 6 SV, 52.1 IP, 48 H, 7 BB, 46 SO
2015 (-A): 3-0, 1.23 ERA, 7 APP, 1 SV, 14.2 IP, 16 H, 3 BB, 16 SO
2015 (AFL): 1-1, 3.98 ERA, 9 APP, 1 SV, 11.1 IP, 5 H, 6 BB, 16 SO
Emerged more on the prospect map in 2015, pitching in relief at two levels, before earning an invite to the AFL, where he allowed only five hits in 11.1 innings.
UK Career: Shepherd has had a decorated career for the Wildcats, owning a 13-6 mark in 60 games and 19 starts, charting a 3.45 ERA in 188 innings, saving two games, walking 57 and striking out 128. Shepherd opened his UK career in 2012 on the school-record 45-win team, appearing in 18 games with nine starts, owning a 3-1 record and a 3.83 ERA, saving one NCAA Tournament game in 56.1 innings. As a sophomore, Shepherd served as UK’s go-to reliever, appearing in 26 games with one start, owning a 5-0 record and a 2.77 ERA in 55.1 innings. After an all-star summer in the Cape Cod League, Shepherd – who was also the 2012 Perfect Game Collegiate League Pitcher of the Year – shined early in the UK weekend rotation in 2014. After a forearm laceration handcuffed his junior campaign and forced him out for 21 days, Shepherd finished the year 5-5 with a 3.66 ERA in 16 games and nine starts, hurling a career-best 76.1 innings, striking out 56.
Micheal Thomas (Detroit Tigers/New York-Penn League/GCL Rookie) – C – R/R – Elizabethtown, Ky.
- 2008-12 (22nd round, 2012)
2015 (GCL): .167/.262/.241, 22 G, 9-for-54), 2B, HR, 2 RBI
2015 (NYP): .000/.333/.000, 0-for-2
Served as a key catching contributor for a pair of rookie-level teams … Hit his first professional home run.
UK Career: Thomas starred for the Wildcats behind the plate in 2014, starting 57 of UK’s 62 games behind the plate. He hit .315 with 11 doubles, one triple, eight homers and 45 RBI as a senior, with a .484 slugging and a .402 on-base percentage. A defensive dynamo for two seasons, Thomas finished his 137-game UK career with a .995 fielding percentage. In his career, Thomas hit .279 (107-for-383) with 17 doubles, one triple, 12 homers and 70 RBI, with six steals. After collecting 26 at-bats in his first three years on campus, Thomas emerged as the everyday backstop in 2013, belting three homers and owning 21 RBI. As a senior, Thomas solidified himself as one of the top defensive catchers in college baseball, while serving as a middle-of-the-order run producer. He finished 2014 ranked fifth in the Southeastern Conference, and first among league catchers, in homers, ranking 12th in RBI.
Ka’ai Tom (New York-Penn League) – OF – L/R – Kanahoe, Hawaii
- 2014-2015 (Third round, 2015)
2015 (NYP): .283/.374/.403, 66 G, 73-for-258, 18 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 14-19 SB
Made his professional debut in 66 games in the New York-Penn League.
UK Career: Tom had a .352 career average in two seasons with the Wildcats. He has 148 career hits, the second-most hits for a two-year UK player in program history, just behind Sawyer Carroll (2007-08; 173). Tom ranks 28th in UK career annals in hits, while charting 29 doubles, one triple, eight homers and 92 RBI, stealing 29-of-34 bases in his career. Tom has a 45-43 walk-strikeout ratio in his career, with a .429 on-base percentage. As a junior in 2015, Tom led UK with 51 RBI and a .375 average, with 16 doubles, one triple, five homers and 51 RBI, stealing 15-of-16 bases. A first-team All-SEC selection in 2014, Tom reached base safely in 51 of his 55 games in 2015 and in 99 of his 109 career games. After a one-year junior college career at Fort Scott (Kan.), Tom joined the UK roster in 2014 and immediately slid into the lineup behind unanimous national player of the year AJ Reed. Tom hit .328 in 2014, with 13 doubles, three homers and 412 RBI, stealing 14-of-18 bases. He batted .373 in SEC play in 2014, narrowly missing the batting crown in league games.