A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Chris Curley, Taylor Rogers headline 2013 BluGrass Baseball All-MiLB Team


Chris Curley bats for Kannapolis in 2012. (File photo by Jon Hale)

Chris Curley bats for Kannapolis in 2012. (File photo by Jon Hale)

 

The regular season concluded for the majority of Kentucky Minor League Baseball players Monday, ending what was a productive step in the careers of several of the state’s best alumni.

 

[widgets_on_pages id=”Jon”]

With at least 32 former Bluegrass State starts set to participate in MiLB postseason play, it’s time to look at the 2013 BluGrass Baseball All-MiLB Team.

 

Each member of the team is listed below with honorable mentions when applicable. Note that some positions, like shortstop, were obvious choices with little depth among Kentucky minor leaguers, while others, like starting pitcher, had a plethora of qualified candidates.

 

All MiLB Team

 

Catcher — Luke Maile (Low A Bowling Green)

 

Luke Maile catches for UK. (File photo by Jon Hale)

Luke Maile catches for UK. (File photo by Jon Hale)

Former Covington Catholic High School and UK catcher Luke Maile was the only Kentucky native to suit up for one of the state’s three MiLB teams this season, but he did more than attract fans looking for a Kentucky rooting interest to Bowling Green.

 

Maile was named a Midwest League Postseason All-Star after batting .283 with four home runs, 49 RBI, 45 runs scored and eight stolen bases in 95 games for the Hot Rods. Maile boasted a .351 on-base percentage, compiling 41 walks versus 54 strikeouts. In Baseball America’s annual best tools surgery, Midwest League managers and coaches voted Maile as the league’s best defensive catcher after he threw out 36 of 70 (51.4 percent) attempted base stealers.

 

Honorable Mention: Jeff Arnold (High A San Jose)

 

First Base — Ryan Huck (Rookie AZL A’s/SS Vermont)

 

The 2013 BluGrass Baseball College Player of the Year, Ryan Huck wasted no time adjusting to professional ball, batting .475 with two home runs, 11 RBI and nine run scored in 10 games for the rookie-level AZL Athletics to earn his first promotion less than one month after being selected by the A’s in the 27th round of June’s draft out of Western Kentucky University.

 

With three games remaining in the New York-Penn League regular season, Huck is batting .290 with five home runs, 26 RBI and 22 runs scored in 53 games between the AZL A’s and short-season Vermont. Huck boasts a .472 slugging percentage and .852 OPS in his first professional season. He leads all Kentucky minor leaguers in on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS.

 

Honorable Mention: Andrew Clark (AA Trenton)

 

Second Base — Patrick Brady (High A High Desert/AA Jackson)

 

Former Henry Clay High School and Bellarmine infielder Patrick Brady showed a consistent ability to hit and reach base through his first three seasons in the Seattle Mariners organization, but like many small-college draftees Brady was used mostly in a reserve role. Brady posted his best season to date in 2013, reaching the AA Southern League before being sent back to high A High Desert where he could earn more regular playing time.

 

In 69 games between High Desert and AA Jacksonville, Brady posted career highs in batting average (.287), home runs (12), RBI (40), walks (26), stolen bases (seven), slugging percentage (.508) and OPS (.862). While the majority of Brady’s work came at second base, he continued to prove his value as a utility player by appearing at second base, first base, third base and left field.

 

Honorable mention: Ryan Wright (High A Bakersfield)

 

Third Base — Andy Burns (High A Dunedin/AA New Hampshire)

 

Former UK infielder Andy Burns transferred to Arizona following his sophomore season in Lexington, but he never suited up for the “other” Wildcats after being drafted in the 11th round of the 2011 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays following his redshirt transfer season. Burns struggled through his first two seasons as a professional but dominated the high A Florida State League for 64 games to earn a promotion to AA New Hampshire in 2013.

 

Burns finished the season with a .288 batting average, 15 home runs, 85 RBI, 85 runs scored and 33 stolen bases in 128 games between New Hampshire and high A Dunedin. He spent 64 games at both levels, and while his averaged dipped in the Eastern League, Burns’ power remained consistent with seven of his 15 home runs coming for New Hampshire. In Baseball America’s best tools survey, Florida State League managers and coaches voted Burns the league’s best defensive third baseman.

 

Honorable mention: Adam Duvall (AA Richmond)

 

Shortstop — Chris Curley (High A Winston-Salem)

 

Former Beechwood High School and Campbellsville infielder Chris Curley was the only Kentucky minor leaguer primarily playing shortstop to enjoy any sustained success in 2013, but the lack of competition for this spot doesn’t diminish his season. Curley was named the 2013 Carolina League MVP after batting .280 with 24 home runs, 92 RBI, 90 runs scored and 14 stolen bases in 136 games for high A Winston-Salem. He led the league in home runs, RBI, runs scored, total bases and games played.

 

Since being released by the Atlanta Braves in 2010 and spending more than a year in independent ball, Curley has done nothing but hit in his return to affiliated ball. In 188 games in the Chicago White Sox system, Curley has batted .280 with 35 home runs, 122 RBI, 123 runs scored and 21 stolen bases.

 

Outfield — Cameron Flynn (Low A Greensboro/High A Jupiter)

 

Former Henry Clay High School, Morehead State and UK outfielder Cameron Flynn was named a South Atlantic League Postseason All-Star after batting .308 with seven home runs, 44 RBI and 49 runs scored in 97 games for Greensboro before earning a promotion to high A Jupiter in the season’s final week. Flynn’s .308 batting average was third best in the South Atlantic League.

 

Flynn was best known for his prodigious power in college, but with just eight home runs in 135 career MiLB games that skill has yet to translate to professional ball. He has exhibited an impressive batting eye with a .369 on-base percentage in 2013. Flynn led all full-season Kentucky minor leaguers in batting average and on-base percentage

 

Outfield — Josh Richmond (Low A Kannapolis/High A Winston-Salem)

 

Former UofL outfielder Josh Richmond returned to affiliated ball in May after signing a free agent contract with the White Sox. Richmond hit .375 with one home run, 11 RBI and nine runs scored in 14 games with low A Kannapolis to earn a promotion to the high A Carolina League.

 

He finished the season with a .280 batting average, nine home runs, 42 RBI and 39 runs scored in 72 games between Kannapolis and high A Winston-Salem. Richmond was released by the Texas Rangers in 2012 after batting .178 in 88 games for high A Myrtle Beach.

 

OF — Adam Engel (Rookie Great Falls)

 

The second 2013 draftee to make the team, former UofL outfielder Adam Engel experienced more success with the bat during his first professional season than any of his three years in college. With five games remaining on the Pioneer League schedule, Engel is batting .306 with three home runs, 26 RBI and 41 runs scored. He leads the league with 28 stolen bases.

 

Engel hit just .236 in his last season at UofL but he ranked third nationally with 41 stolen bases in 63 games. He stole just four bases in his first 22 games as a pro before a three-steal performance in game No. 23 spurred him to 24 stolen bases in his next 23 games. Engel was the 19th-round pick of the Chicago White Sox in June.

 

Honorable Mention: Chad Wright (High A Lakeland)

 

Designated Hitter — Chris Dominguez (AAA Fresno)

 

The best season from a Kentucky minor leaguer not to make it in to the “starting eight” of the All-MiLB team may have come from the former Kentucky hitter closest to the major leagues. Former UofL infielder Chris Dominguez hit .294 with 15 home runs, 65 RBI and 60 runs scored in 132 games for AAA Fresno.

 

The former third-round pick failed to match his home run or RBI totals from 2010 and 2011, but his performance represented an impressive rebound after hitting .235 with just five home runs in 95 games in 2012. The Giants appear to have abandoned their experiment in playing Dominguez in left field with only eight of his at-bats on the season coming in the outfield.

 

Starting Pitcher — Taylor Rogers (Low A Clinton/High A Fort Myers)

 

Taylor Rogers pitches for UK. (File photo by Jon Hale)

Taylor Rogers pitches for UK. (File photo by Jon Hale)

Starting pitcher was the deepest position among Kentucky minor leaguers in 2013, highlighted by former UK lefties Chris Rusin and Andrew Albers finding success after MLB promotions, but it is a different Wildcat southpaw who earns the honor here. Former UK left-handed pitcher Taylor Rogers was named a postseason Florida State League All-Star after compiling an 11-7 record and 2.88 ERA on the season.

 

Rogers struck out 93 batters and walked 36 in 25 games between high A Fort Myers and low A Clinton. He ranked second in the Florida State League in ERA and third in wins. His three complete games and two shutouts topped the league.

 

Honorable Mention: Andrew Albers (AAA Rochester), Jack Snodgrass (AA Richmond), Alex Meyer (AA New Britain), Chris Rusin (AAA Iowa)

 

Relief Pitcher — Josh Lueke (AAA Durham)

 

Former Scott High School and NKU right-handed pitcher Josh Lueke may be better know for his troubled off-the-field history than his on-the-field performance, but his 2013 season shows why he remains an option for MLB teams. Lueke dominated the AAA International League, surrendering just four earned runs in 57 and one-third innings pitched.

 

Lueke posted a 3-1 record and 0.63 ERA to go with 17 saves for Durham. He struck out 81 batters and walked 15 in 40 appearances around multiple brief MLB call-ups. Lueke will spend September with the big-league club, giving him a chance to stick with his third professional organization since being drafted in 2007.

 

Honorable Mention: Daniel Webb (High A Winston-Salem/AA Birmingham/AAA Charlotte), Cody Ege (SS Spokane/Low A Hickory/High A Myrtle Beach), Keith Butler (AA Springfield/AAA Memphis), Neil Holland (AA Harrisburg)


Related Posts

Leave a Comment