LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Several Kentucky baseball standouts had stellar summers in their respective collegiate summer leagues and earned rankings among the top prospects, including right-hander Chris Garrison, righty Trevor Gott, catcher Luke Maile, southpaw Alex Phillips, infielder J.T. Riddle, southpaw Taylor Rogers, backstop Michael Williams and outfielder Lucas Witt.
Garrison, a junior transfer from Western Nevada, was rated as the No. 3 prospect in the Far West League. Gott was rated as the No. 60 prospect and Rogers as the No. 42 prospect in the Cape Cod League, Maile as the No. 2 prospect in the Perfect Game League, Riddle the No. 3 prospect in the Great Lakes League, Witt as the No. 15 prospect in the Coastal Plains League and Williams as the No. 40 prospect in the Northwoods League. In addition, Phillips was named to the All-West Coast League first-team as a starting pitcher.
A 6-foot-4, 195-pound righty, Garrison played at Western Nevada, pacing his team to the SWAC Championship in 2011 and earned first-team All-SWAC and SWAC Reliever of the Year honors. Posted an 8-4 record and a 2.64 ERA in 61.1 innings last year for Western Nevada, walking 29 and striking out 62 with five saves. As a freshman at Oregon in 2009, the Rocklin, Calif., native pitched in 12 games with three starts for the Ducks, posting a 4.55 ERA in 31.2 innings. Garrison has been drafted twice in his amateur career, including as a 48th-round pick out of high school in 2009 and a 28th-round pick in 2011.
“(Garrison) succeeded Southern Nevada all-everything Bryce Harper as Nevada’s best JC draft,” Perfect Game USA wrote in their prospect breakdown. “Spurned 28th-round offer from Cubs in June to play at Kentucky; throws three pitches for strikes, including 88-92 FB, has plus slider and splitter.”
A native of Lexington, Ky., Gott earned Cape Cod League reliever of the year honors after pacing the circuit with 13 saves in 13 chances. A Tates Creek product, Gott became the first UK player to earn CCL reliever of the year honors since Scott Smith in 1992. Gott was named as the 60th-best prospect in the league by Perfect Game, despite earning CCL first-team accolades and CCL All-Star honors. Gott posted a 1.29 ERA in 18 relief outings in the regular-season for Orleans, posting 12 saves and 26 strikeouts in 21 innings, walking only four and allowing only 14 hits.
Maile had a dynamic summer in the PG League and the Cape Cod League, earning the No. 3 ranking in the PG League as the backstop for the Amsterdam Mohawks by Perfect Game and as the No. 2 prospect by Baseball America. In 26 games for the Mohawks, Maile hit .378 (34-for-90) with seven doubles, eight homers and 25 RBI, posting a 20-18 walk-strikeout ratio and 1.231 OPS (on-base + slugging percentage).
“Maile played plenty of first base this spring when he wasn't behind the plate, because his bat is too good to keep out of the lineup,” Baseball America’s Michael LeMaire said in the prospect breakdown. “A rock-solid 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Maile has power to spare. One coach put it, ‘when he hits the ball, it's going somewhere hard, and it's going a long way.’ He has a strong arm and consistently produces solid 2.0- to 2.1-second pop times. He has the athleticism to stick behind the plate if he continues to work on his fundamentals, but if he can shorten his swing and improve his plate recognition, his bat will carry him at the next level.”
Phillips starred in the West Coast League, earning All-WCL first-team honors as a starting pitcher. A 6-foot-4, 215-pound southpaw, Phillips appeared in 14 games with 10 starts for the Wenatchee AppleSox. The UK senior went 7-1 with a 1.83 ERA, striking out 63 in 64 innings with only six walks and 41 hits allowed.
A native of Frankfort, Ky., Riddle was tabbed as the fifth-best prospect in the Great Lakes League by Perfect Game and as the No. 3 prospect by Baseball America as the as a two-way standout for the Lexington Hustlers. During the summer, Riddle played in 32 games, mainly at shortstop, batting .343 (37-for-108) with 10 doubles, two triples, three homers and 17 RBI, posting a 19-13 walk-strikeout ratio. On the mound, Riddle charted a 3-1 record overall with a 2.79 ERA in eight games with three starts, striking out 14 in 19.1 frames.
“A two-way player, Riddle was a 35th-round pick of the Red Sox in 2010 after hitting .514 with seven homers and 20 steals as a high school senior to earn Mr. Baseball honors in the state of Kentucky,” Baseball America’s Teddy Cahill detailed. “Using a solid approach at the plate, Riddle hit .343/.454/.556 with three home runs this summer. The lefthanded-hitting Riddle had one of the better swings in the league, spraying line drives from gap to gap. On the mound, he throws an 86-87 mph sinker and a slider, and he could add velocity as he fills out his 6-foot-3, 170-pound body. In seven appearances, he was 2-1, 2.60 with a save.”
Rogers, a native of Littleton, Colo., dominated the Cape Cod League as one of the top starters in the circuit, posting a 1.72 ERA and a 4-4 mark in nine starts. A 6-foot-3, 170-pound southpaw, Rogers tossed 47 innings during the summer, walking only six with 40 strikeouts and 34 hits allowed. He was named the winning pitcher of the 2011 Cape Cod League All-Star Game, held at Fenway Park, home of the tradition-laden Boston Red Sox. Rogers turned in five quality outings in the nine starts he made in the CCL. In two playoff starts for the eventual CCL Champions, Rogers went 1-1 with a 1.17 ERA in 15.1 frames.
Williams, a Knoxville, Tenn., native, was rated as the No. 40 prospect in the Northwoods, despite playing in only 12 games while negotiating with the San Francisco Giants as a 37th-round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft. In his 12 games in the highly-competitive Northwoods League, Williams hit .244 (11-for-45) with a double and three RBI.
A Lexington Christian product, Witt was ranked as the No. 15 prospect in the Coastal Plains League by Perfect Game USA. A native of Lexington, Ky., Witt hit .295 (33-for-112) with four doubles, two triples, two homers, 11 RBI in just 26 games while playing centerfield for Asheboro.
In addition to the players who earned summer honors, several other Wildcats excelled during the summer, including righty Walter Wijas, outfielder Cameron Flynn, All-Southeastern Conference third sacker Thomas McCarthy, infielder Paul McConkey, right-hander Alex Lester, righty Tyler Dunaway, infielder Matt Reida and catcher/infielder Thomas Bernal.
Wijas posted a 4.08 ERA in 17 relief outings in the New York Collegiate League, including eight saves. In 17.2 innings, Wijas walked only five and struck out 22. Flynn finished 23 games in the Northwoods League with a .261 average (23-for-88) with three doubles with three homers and 15 RBI. McCarthy played in 24 games in the Northwoods League with three doubles, two homers and 18 RBI. McConkey batted .341 (31-for-91) with a double and 15 RBI in 33 games. Bernal hit .244 (22-for-90) with four doubles, one homer and 23 RBI in 28 games in the California Collegiate League. Reida batted .214 (40-for-187) with six doubles, three triples, one homer and 22 RBI, stealing nine bases in 60 games in the Northwoods League. Lester pitched in 18 games with one start in the Perfect Game League, posting a 2-2 record and a 1.83 ERA with one save, fanning 34 in 34.1 innings with just seven walks. Dunaway played on the same summer team as Lester, pitching in 17 games with three starts, charting a 2-1 record and a 2.95 ERA in 36.2 innings.