LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Former Kentucky All-Southeastern Conference second baseman Chris Bisson, a fourth-round pick in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft of the San Diego Padres, has opened his professional career with the Eugene Emeralds in the class A short-season Northwest League.
Bisson, a native of Orleans, Ontario, opened up his professional career in the last two games with the Emeralds, registering one hit, two walks and two stolen bases. In his professional debut on Tuesday, Bisson hit leadoff, drew a walk, stole a base and scored once. On Wednesday, Bisson went 1-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base.
A two-time second-team All-SEC second-base selection by the league coaches, Bisson had a highly successful career at Kentucky, functioning as an everyday starter for the last two seasons. After earning back-to-back All-SEC accolades in 2009-10, Bisson became the first UK player to be honored by the conference coaches in consecutive seasons for the first time in over 10 years, dating back to catcher John Wilson (1999-00).
In 2010, Bisson batted .329 (69-for-210) with 12 doubles, one triple, five homers and 35 RBI, stealing a conference-best 32 bases in 39 attempts. Bisson, who reached base safely in 49 of 51 starts in 2010, became the first UK player to steal 30 or more bases since Chad Green stole a school-record 55 bags in 1995.
LITTLE PROMOTED TO CLASS A WEST MICHIGAN
Former Kentucky right-handed reliever Matt Little has been promoted to the West Michigan Whitecaps of the low class A Midwest League after beginning his professional career with four strong outings in the New York Penn League.
Little, a 31st-round pick of the Detroit Tigers in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft, opened his professional career with four solid outings for the Connecticut Tigers in the rookie-level New York Penn League. In those four outings, Little posted a save and a 1.50 ERA, tossing six innings, allowing six hits and one earned run, walking one and striking out seven. In his debut with the Whitecaps, Little tossed 1.1 shutout innings on Wednesday, not allowing a base runner and striking out one.
During the 2010 season, Little functioned as a primary reliever for the Wildcats, leading the team with seven saves in 13 chances, posting a 2-2 record and a 4.93 ERA in a team-best 24 games. A native of Virginia Beach, Va., Little hurled 42 frames, allowing just 41 hits, walking 24 and striking out 52. Little was especially dominating in the first portion of the season, posting a 0.48 ERA, with four saves and a 1-0 record entering UK’s series with Vanderbilt, earning a spot on the national pitcher of the year watch list. Among his best outings was four shutout inning with a career-high nine strikeouts against Monmouth in an early-season game in San Diego, earning National Pitcher of the Year accolades.
NIDI-BOMB TIME IN TWINBILL
Former Kentucky backstop Marcus Nidiffer
has gotten off to a hot start for the Greenville Astros in the rookie-level Appalachian League, belting five doubles and two homers in his first eight professional games.
A native of Bristol, Tenn., Nidiffer has totaled a 1.227 OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) in his first eight professional games, batting .386 (10-for-26), with five doubles, two homers and six RBI. Nidiffer hit homers in back-to-back games, part of a doubleheader on Tuesday. In the twinbill, Nidiffer went 3-for-7 with a pair of roundtrippers and four RBI.
In his five-year career at Kentucky, Nidiffer played in 153 games with 121 starts, redshirting during UK’s historic 2006 Southeastern Conference Championship campaign. In his career, Nidiffer batted .284 (121-for-426) with 91 runs scored, 18 doubles, two triples, 25 homers and 84 RBI, stealing 7-of-8 bases and finishing with a .512 slugging and a .377 on-base percentage. Nidiffer secured the starting catcher job in 2008, ripping five homers, before exploding as a potent offensive weapon in 2009. In 2009, Nidiffer hit .312 (49-for-157) with 37 runs, six doubles, one triple, 10 homers and 32 RBI. In 2010, Nidiffer hit .320 (47-for-147) with 32 runs, seven doubles, 10 homers and a career-best 35 RBI. Behind the dish, Nidiffer lead the SEC in pickoffs by a catcher last season, catching four runners off base and nabbing eight runners stealing.