Meyer, Paxton, Rogers Honored by Baseball America

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky baseball pitchers Alex Meyer, James Paxton and Taylor Rogers have been ranked among the top-10 prospects in their respective classes, it was announced Wednesday in the 2010 Baseball America Southeastern Conference season preview.

The Baseball America season preview contains a comprehensive preseason look at the SEC in 2010, with the Wildcats picked as one of nine league teams to claim a berth in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, joining Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. UK was picked to finish fifth in the rugged SEC Eastern Division.

As part of its college season preview, UK junior second baseman Chris Bisson was tabbed as a third-team preseason All-American by Baseball America, in a voting of MLB scouting directors.

“Kentucky will challenge Alabama for having the SEC’s best infield,” Baseball America’s Editor in Chief John Manuel said in his breakdown. “Sophomores Braden Kapteyn (.319/.377.482), a 1B/RHP, and 3B Andy Burns (.287/.360/.466) provide power while Jr. 2B Chris Bisson, who led the Cape Cod League in stolen bases, slides over from short to accommodate premium defender SS Taylor Black, a junior-college transfer. As was the case in 2009, Kentucky has excellent talent on the mound with hard-throwing Jr. LHP Logan Darnell, whose fastball touched 94 mph in the fall, and So. RHP Alex Meyer, whose fastball sat in the 94-97 mph range and who figures to be a first-round pick in 2011.”

Meyer, a 6-foot-9, 220-pound right-handed pitcher, was tabbed as the second-best prospect available out of the SEC for the 2011 MLB Draft. The Greensburg, Ind., native checks in just behind Vanderbilt flame-throwing sophomore Sonny Gray. As a freshman in 2009, Meyer had moments of showing that he has the potential to be one of the top starting pitchers in college baseball, ranking sixth in the NCAA in strikeouts per nine innings, after fanning 80 in 59.2 innings. The former Aflac High School All-American made breakout starts on the road in 2009, at eventual CWS Champion LSU, at Alabama and at Ole Miss, fanning 10 in 6.1 innings at 2009 SEC Champion Ole Miss and striking out 10 in a career-high seven innings at Alabama. Meyer struck out a career-best 12 in just five innings in the season finale at Florida.

A native of Ladner, British Columbia, Paxton is rated as the fifth-best prospect in the talent-rich 2010 MLB Draft Class. A 6-foot-4, 220-pound southpaw, Paxton was a supplemental first-round draft selection in 2009 by the Toronto Blue Jays and is the highest drafted player to elect to return to college for the 2010 season. Paxton showcased an electric pitching arsenal in 2009, ranking third in the nation in strikeouts per nine innings, charting 115 punch-outs in just 78.1 innings, issuing just 20 walks.

Rogers, a 6-foot-3, 170-pound left-hander, is considered one of the top freshman pitching talents in the nation and is rated by Baseball America as the seventh-best newcomer in the SEC in 2010. A native of Littleton, Colo., Rogers is rated as the fifth-best high school newcomer in the conference and the third-best pitching newcomer in 2010. A 37th-round MLB Draft pick in 2009 by the Baltimore Orioles, Rogers had a breakout summer in 2009 at the Connie Mack World Series, leading his team to the national championship.

Kentucky opens its 107th season Feb. 19 at the Caravelle Resort Invitational in Myrtle Beach, S.C., hosted by Coastal Carolina. UK will open with Virginia Tech Feb. 19 at noon ET, before facing off with West Virginia Feb. 20 at 11 a.m. ET. Sunday, UK will face the host and 12th-ranked Chanticleers at 3 p.m. ET. All games will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with Dick Gabriel calling the action.