Notebook: UK Stars in Minor League Baseball
Sept. 16, 2013
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- A total of 21 former Kentucky baseball stars recently concluded their 2013 minor league seasons, with six former Wildcats currently in Major League Baseball. Learn all about their minor league seasons in the 2013 UK baseball MiLB recap.
Brian Adams (2010-12) - San Diego Padres
Low Class-A Fort Wayne TinCaps - 100 games, .211/.250/.328, 6 HR, 45 RBI, 17 SB
2013 Season: Played his first full professional season with the low class-A TinCaps, seeing time in 100 games despite battling injury. Batted .211 (74-for-351) with 17 doubles, three triples, six homers and 45 RBI, stealing 17 bases. A 2012 eighth-round pick by the Padres, had an average that hovered much higher, before going through a 2-for-31 stretch over the last 10 games.
UK Career: Split time with UK football and baseball during his career, before focusing on baseball full-time for the 2012 spring season. Finished his three-year UK career with a .312 average (64-for-205) with 13 doubles, two triples, four homers and 29 RBI, stealing 11 bases. Best season came in 2011, where he hit .288 (36-for-125) with eight doubles, one triple, two homers and 13 RBI, stealing nine bases.
Andrew Albers (2005-08) - Minnesota Twins
Triple-A Rochester Red Wings - 22 starts, 11-5, 2.86 ERA, 132.1 IP, 32 BB, 116 SO
2013 Season: Had a dynamic season with the triple-A Rochester Red Wings, earning his first-career MLB call-up with the Twins, where he has gotten off to a tremendous start to a big league career. Made 22 triple-A starts, with an 11-5 record and a 2.86 ERA, tossing 132.1 innings, walking 32 and striking out 116. Finished the year ranked seventh in the International League in strikeouts, third in wins and fifth in ERA.
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.
Chris Bisson (2007-09) - San Diego Padres
Double-A San Antonio Missions - 32 games, .191/.270/.280, 11 RBI, 2 SB
2013 Season: Earned first career chance at the double-A level in 2013, with the San Antonio Missons in the Padres organization. A former fourth-round pick of the Padres in 2010, batted .191 (17-for-89) with five doubles, one triple, 11 RBI and two steals, sporting a 10-28 walk-strikeout ratio. After playing in his final game on July 1, retired from professional baseball.
UK Career: Former All-SEC second baseman had a strong three-year career for the Wildcats, batting .325 (157-for-483) with 24 doubles, four triples, seven homers and 91 RBI, stealing 48-of-60 bases. Hit .360 as a sophomore with nine doubles, two homers, 52 RBI and 13 steals. Exploded as a junior, batting .329 with 12 doubles, one triple, five homers and 35 RBI, stealing an SEC-leading 32 bases.
Sawyer Carroll (2007-08) - Arizona Diamondbacks
Double-A Mobile BayBears: 22 games, .280/.438/.380, 10 RBI
2013 Season: A former third-round pick in the 2008 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres, spent his first professional season with the Diamondbacks organization. Hit .280 (14-for-50) in 22 games, with three doubles, one triple and 10 RBI, with a 13-9 walk-strikeout ratio.
UK Career: A former consensus first-team All-America outfielder, had a decorated two-year career for Kentucky. Batted .386 (173-for-448) in his career with 45 doubles, five triples, 22 homers and 139 RBI, while stealing 16 bases. As a junior, hit .350 with 23 doubles, three homers and 56 RBI, before returning from the draft for his senior season. Had a .419 average in 2008 with 22 doubles, three triples, 19 homers and school-record 83 RBI, stealing 12-of-12 bases.
Collin Cowgill (2005-08) - Los Angeles Angels
Triple-A Salt Lake City Bees - 37 games, .304/.396/.507, 7 HR, 19 RBI, 5 SB
2013 Season: Earned the starting centerfielder job for the New York Mets on opening day, belting a grand slam. After the Mets began to invest playing time in Marlon Byrd, Cowgill was traded to the Angels, where he became a part-time player for a LA team stacked with outfielders Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton, Peter Bourjous and J.B. Shuck. Played just 37 minor league games in triple-A between the Mets and Angels MLB stints, batting .304 (42-for-138) with seven doubles, seven homers and 19 RBI, stealing five bases.
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 (2008-10) - Minnesota Twins
Triple-A Rochester Red Wings - 12 games, 11 starts, 4.26 ERA, 57 IP, 22 BB, 43 SO
2013 Season: Dominated in double-A for the New Britain Rock Cats, before earning a promotion to the triple-A International League, joining former UK teammate Andrew Albers. Started 15 games in double-A, with a 6-6 record and a 2.61 ERA, striking out 77 and walking 23 in 96.2 innings. Earned a promotion to triple-A where he appeared in 12 games with 11 starts, owning a 4-4 record and a 4.26 ERA in 57 innings, walking 22 and striking out 43.
UK Career: Served as a weekend starter and late-inning reliever for three seasons with the Wildcats. 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 (2012) - Miami Marlins
Low Class-A Jupiter Hammerheads - 97 games, .308/.369/.443, 7 HR, 44 RBI, 2 SB
2013 Season: Had a great season in low class-A, his first professional season after being drafted by the Marlins in the 23rd round of the 2012 MLB Draft. Batted .308 (110-for-357) with 17 doubles, five triples, seven homers and 44 RBI, stealing two bases. Earned a promotion to high class-A for the final game of the regular-season with Jupiter. Finished the year ranked third in the South Atlantic League in average and was named the Marlins player of the month for August, after hitting .333 (34-for-102) over 25 games with seven doubles, three homers and 13 RBI.
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 (2011-13) - San Diego Padres
Low Class-A Fort Wayne TinCaps - 27 games, 2-2, 2.56 ERA, 4 SV, 31.2 IP, 12 BB, 33 SO
2013 Season: Signed with the Padres as a sixth-round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, after shattering UK’s relief records in three years. Appeared in 31 games in his minor league debut, with four appearances in rookie ball before earning a promotion to the Fort Wayne TinCaps, joining former UK teammate Brian Adams on the club. Had a 2-2 record and a 2.56 ERA with Fort Wayne, notching four saves in 31.2 innings, allowing 23 hits and 12 walks, striking out 33.
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 (2012-13) - Oakland Athletics
Class-A Short-Season Vermont Lake Monsters - 12 games, 3 starts, 2-2, 7.14 ERA, 29 IP, 13 BB, 14 SO
2013 Season: Made his professional debut for the Oakland Athletics as a 10th-round pick in 2013 by the Athletics. Appeared in 12 games with three starts, tossing 29 innings, walking 13 and striking out 14.
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.
Braden Kapteyn (2009-11) - Boston Red Sox
Low Class-A Greenville Drive - 10 games, 1-1, 4.58 ERA, 17.2 IP, 19 BB, 15 SO
2013 Season: Pitched in 10 games in relief with the Greenville Drive, before retiring from professional baseball after his final appearance on May 18. Worked 17.2 innings, allowing 15 hits and 19 walks, striking out 15. Made a return to Lexington to face the Legends on April 12 and April 21, working a combined three shutout frames.
UK Career: Former dual-threat standout for the Wildcats finished his UK career in 2011. On the mound, had a 7-3 record and a 6.15 ERA in his career, with eight saves in 71.2 innings, walking 38 and striking out 91. At the plate, hit .304 (153-for-504) in 135 games, with 31 doubles, 16 homers and 97 RBI.
Corey Littrell (2011-13) - Boston Red Sox
Class-A Short-Season Lowell Spinners - 12 games, 10 starts, 0-3, 1.74 ERA, 31 IP, 10 BB, 30 SO
2013 Season: Was a fourth-round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft by the Red Sox, beginning his professional career on a strict pitch count with the rookie-level Lowell Spinners. Appeared in 12 games with two starts, sporting a 0-3 record and a 1.74 ERA, working 31 innings, walking 10 and striking out 30.
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 (2010-12) - Tampa Bay Rays
Low Class-A Bowling Green Hot Rods - 95 games, .283/.351/.402, 4 HR, 49 RBI, 8 SB
2013 Season: Was named the top defensive catcher in the Midwest League by Baseball America’s survey of circuit coaches. Played in 95 games in Bowling Green, Ky., batting .283 (102-for-361) with 25 doubles, three triples, four homers and 49 RBI and stealing eight bases. Was used liberally behind the plate as he established himself as a durable defender, before suffering an injury that cut his season short on Aug. 19.
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 (2009-11) - Minnesota Twins
Double-A New Britain Rock Cats - 13 starts, 4-3, 3.21 ERA, 70 IP, 29 BB, 84 SO
2013 Season: Former first-round pick of the Washington Nationals, was traded to the Twins for centerfielder Denard Span in the offseason. Immediately emerged as one of the top pitching prospects in the Twins organization, making his double-A debut with the Rock Cats, joining former UK teammate Logan Darnell. Worked in 13 games for the Rock Cats, with a 4-3 record and a 3.21 ERA, striking out 84, walking 29 and working 70 innings. After a minor injury after his start on June 1, made three rehab assignments in the rookie Gulf Coast League, allowing just one run with 16 strikeouts in 8.1 innings. Returned to double-A with nine combined shutout innings over two starts in August, striking out 11.
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 (2007-09) - Seattle Mariners
Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers - 26 starts, 8-11, 4.45 ERA, 145.2 IP, 58 SO, 131 SO
2013 Season: Made his triple-A debut with the Rainiers in the Mariners system, before earning a September call-up for his MLB debut, which has been historic through his first two big league starts. Finished with an 8-11 record in 26 starts in triple-A, with 131 strikeouts, 58 walks and 145.2 innings pitched. A former first-round pick in 2009 and a fourth-round selection in 2010, Paxton finished his season ranking sixth in innings pitched and third in strikeouts.
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 (2012) - New York Mets
Low Class-A Savannah San Gnats - 18 games, 3 starts, 1-0,5.13 ERA, 26.1 IP, 6 BB, 30 SO
2013 Season: Had a solid season in his first full professional test, splitting time between the rookie-level New York-Penn League and the low class-A San Gnats. Worked 17.2 scoreless innings in his nine appearances in the New York-Penn League, allowing just seven hits and four walks, striking out. Was promoted to the South Atlantic League, where he went 1-0 with a 5.13 ERA in 18 games and his first three professional starts. Tossed 26.1 innings in Savannah, with six walks and 30 strikeouts. Complete minor league numbers included a 3.07 ERA in his 27 outings, with 50 strikeouts and 10 walks in 44 innings.
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.
Alex Phillips (2011-12) - Detroit Tigers
Class-A Short-Season Connecticut Tigers - 16 games, 14 starts, 81 IP, 28 BB, 55 SO
2013 Season: Former UK workhorse in the bullpen completed his first professional season with the rookie-level Connecticut Tigers. Appeared in 16 games with 14 starts, tossing 81 innings, walking 26 and striking out 55. Made one start in the low class-A Midwest League.
UK Career: Appeared in 58 games in relief in his two-year UK career, with a 6-4 record, 10 saves and a 3.08 ERA. As a senior, saved the third-most games in school history (eight), striking out 50 in 59.1 innings.
Lance Ray (2010) - Minnesota Twins
High Class-A Fort Myers Miracle - 23 games, .200/.281/.282, HR, 8 RBI
2013 Season: Repeated high class-A with the Fort Myers Miracle, battling injury issues throughout the season. Finished his season on July 10 in 23 games for the Miracle, batting .200 (17-for-85) with four doubles, one homer and eight RBI, with a 10-20 walk-strikeout ratio. A former eighth-round pick of the Twins, Ray joined former UK teammate Taylor Rogers on the Miracle.
UK Career: Had a breakout season with the Wildcats in 2010, when he emerged late in the year as a blistering hot bat. Hit .356 (42-for-118) in 41 games and 29 starts, with 11 doubles, one triple, 10 homers and 34 RBI. His biggest swing came as a three-run, walk-off homer against LSU in 2010, give UK a series-opening win over the defending NCAA Champion Tigers.
J.T. Riddle (2011-13) - Miami Marlins
Class-A Short-Season Batavia Muckdogs - 59 games, .243/.286/.315, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 6 SB
2013 Season: After helping UK to a 30-win season in 2013, signed as an 11th-round pick of the Marlins in the 2013 MLB Draft. Opened the year on a sluggish pace, before catching fire over the final month of the year, to finish his first professional season with a .243 (54-for-222) with 10 doubles, two homers and 18 RBI. Finished with a 10-26 walk-strikeout ratio and stole 6-of-7 bases.
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 (2010-12) - Minnesota Twins
High Class-A Fort Myers Miracle - 22 games, 21 starts, 11-6, 2.55 ERA, 130.2 IP, 32 BB, 83 SO
2013 Season: Had an all-star summer in the Florida State League in his first full professional season. Ranke second in the FSL in ERA, appearing in 22 games with 21 starts. Finished with a 11-6 record and a 2.55 ERA, tossing 130.2 innings, allowing just 119 hits and 32 walks, striking out 83. Spent the first three starts of the year in low class-A, tossing 10 innings with a 7.20 ERA. Was an 11th round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft by the Twins, joining Alex Meyer, Logan Darnell, Andrew Albers and Lance Ray in the organization.
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 (2006-09) - Chicago Cubs
Triple-A Iowa Cubs - 19 games, 18 starts, 8-7, 3.35 ERA, 121 IP, 27 BB, 69 SO
2013 Season: Was named an all-star in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League, earning his second consecutive MLB call-up with the Cubs. Appeared in 19 games with 18 starts, owning an 8-7 record and a 3.35 ERA, tossing 121 innings, walking 27 and striking out 69. Threw a complete-game shutout on June 17 vs. Omaha, allowing just five hits and striking out eight. Ranked third in the PCL in ERA, a league known for its monster offensive numbers.
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.
Chad Wright (2009-11) - Detroit Tigers
High Class-A Lakeland Flying Tigers - 85 games, .286/.365/.347, 30 RBI, 10 SB
2013 Season: Made his high class-A debut with the Flying Tigers in the Detroit organization. Despite battling injuries, played in 85 games, with a .286 (94-for-329) average with 12 doubles, four triples and 30 RBI, stealing 10 bases. Played in seven games in the rookie Gulf Coast League on a rehab assignment.
UK Career: Finished his three-year career 61 hits shy of UK’s career record. Played in 159 games with 155 starts, batting .339 (211-for-623) with 36 doubles, six triples, 12 homers and 100 RBI, stealing 38 bases in his career. Hit .343 as a freshman with four homers and 23 RBI, before hitting .316 with two homers and 37 RBI as a sophomore. In 2011, led UK with a .359 average, totaling 16 doubles, three triples, six homers and 40 RBI, stealing 16 bases.