Black, Cooper, Meyer Among NCAA's Top Players

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky baseball standouts Taylor Black, Jordan Cooper and Alex Meyer have been honored as some of the top college baseball players in their respective classes by Baseball America.

As part of Baseball America's extensive college baseball preview edition, the top 50 players in each class are ranked, based on professional potential. UK shortstop Taylor Black was ranked as the 26th-best senior, right-hander Jordan Cooper was tabbed as the 50th-best sophomore in the NCAA and right-hander Alex Meyer was rated as the 20th-best junior in the nation.

A native of Easley, S.C., Black was tabbed as the 13th-best senior position player, the third-best senior in the talent-rich Southeastern Conference and as the seventh-best senior infielder. In his first season in Lexington in 2010, Black was an immediate fixture, starting 55 games at shortstop and batting .270 (48-for-178) with 11 homers, 37 RBI and 12 stolen bases. In SEC play alone, Black hit .300 (30-for-100) with 10 homers and 22 RBI. Defensively, the slick-fielding and strong-armed defender ranked second in the league in assists and checked in 11th in double plays turned. Over the summer, Black - who was a 28th round pick in the 2010 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals - excelled in the Cape Cod League and Coastal Plains League, stealing 28 bases in 23 games in the CPL.

Cooper, a product of Shelbyville, Tenn., checked in as No. 50 overall on the sophomore listing, as the 11th-best sophomore in the SEC and as the 27th-best sophomore pitcher in the nation. A 6-foot-3, 215-pounder, Cooper emerged as one of the top freshmen in the NCAA late in the year in 2010, totaling 20 appearances and eight starts, including five SEC starting assignments. A 17th-round selection in the 2009 MLB Draft by the Pittsburg Pirates, Cooper had a dynamic two-start span late in the year, posting wins against the 2009 and 2010 NCAA Champions on consecutive weekends, earning SEC Freshman of the Week accolades. In a win over the eventual NCAA Champion South Carolina, Cooper tossed 6.2 innings of one-run ball in a 2-1 UK win and then on the following weekend, tossed seven innings in a win over LSU. In addition, Cooper made both starts against rival Louisville, tossing a combined 6.2 shutout innings against the Cardinals, a power in the Big East.

A 6-foot-9, 220-pound native of Greensburg, Ind., Meyer has been one of the top prospects in the nation since arriving on campus as an Aflac All-American in 2009. A 20th round selection in the 2008 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox, Meyer was rated as the fifth-best junior in the SEC and as the 11th-best junior pitcher in college baseball. Earlier in the preseason, Baseball America tabbed Meyer as the 21st-best prospect overall in college baseball and ranked Meyer as the 34th-best prospect in the nation. Over the last two years, Meyer has shown glimpse of being one of the top pitchers in the country, ranking sixth in the NCAA as a true freshman with 12.06 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. As a sophomore, Meyer was limited to just 11 starts due to illness, but had a highlight win over South Carolina, part of his team-high tying five wins.

Kentucky opens its 2011 season on Feb. 18, traveling to face No. 20 College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C. UK will face Marshall and Miami (Ohio) during the trip to Charleston, before returning for a home opener on Feb. 23 against Eastern Michigan.