BOZICH | Louisville players, Jo Adell dominate Baseball America - WDRB 41 Louisville News

  • Which former Louisville baseball player will be the next one to make the major leagues?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Zack Burdi, White Sox
    41 votes
    Kyle Funkhouser, Tigers
    14 votes
    Will Smith, Dodgers
    8 votes
    Nick Solak, Rays
    16 votes
    Brendan McKay, Rays
    85 votes
    4 votes

BOZICH | Louisville players, Jo Adell dominate Baseball America Prospect Handbook

Posted: Updated:
Brendan McKay is one of nine former Louisville players featured in the Baseball America Prospect Handbook. Brendan McKay is one of nine former Louisville players featured in the Baseball America Prospect Handbook.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Nearly every story will be a college basketball story until further notice. But before John Lewis and I depart for St. Louis and the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament this week, there is news to share from the Baseball America Prospect Handbook.

According to my unofficial count, at least 15 players with local connections were ranked among the Top 30 prospects within the 30 major-league franchises.

The performance was led by Dan McDonnell’s consistently powerful University of Louisville program, which placed nine former players in the book. Kentucky has four, Indiana one and Ballard High School one.

Here’s the list, with several sentences from the Baseball America talent evaluators. If you want to purchase the book, it’s available from Amazon for $22.83.(Here is the link.)


Drew Ellis, 3b; No. 9 prospect, Arizona Diamondbacks: “Ellis’ pro debut at short-season Hillsboro started well, but he tailed off as he wore down following a long college season … Ellis struggled with wood bats in college summer leagues and did so again in his pro debut. He will seek a strong year from start to finish in 2018, perhaps at high Class A Visalia.”

Zack Burdi, RP; No. 11 prospect, Chicago White Sox: “Burdi’s stuff is that of a long-time closer, but he’s been used just once in his pro career in back-to-back games, and he got shellacked in the second outing. There’s also a chance the White Sox could utilize him as a ‘multi-inning’ relief ace. Burdi is rehabbing from (Tommy John elbow) surgery and could return late in 2018.”

Lincoln Henzman, RP; No. 19 prospect, Chicago White Sox: “Henzman starts his arsenal with a heavy low-to-mid 90s fastball and couples it with an average slider with varying bite in the mid-80s. His slider has flashed plus at its best. He’s also got a split-type change-up as his third pitch with average potential.”

Kyle Funkhouser, RP; No. 11 prospect, Detroit Tigers: “Funkhouser’s control is much better than it was late in his college career, and he shows average command when he’s really locked in. He should head back to (high Class A) Lakeland, but a midseason promotion could be in the offing if he performs as he has so far.”

Will Smith, C; No. 9 prospect, Los Angeles Dodgers: “He is an above-average receiver with soft hands that allows him to handle 100-mph arms, and he consistently pops times of sub-1.95 seconds on throws to second base because of a lightning quick transfer … The quality of Smith’s defense can get him to the majors as a back-up, while improved contact skills could make him an everyday option.” (Smith is also a product of Kentucky Country Day High School.)

Corey Ray, OF; No. 10 prospect, Milwaukee Brewers: “The Brewers sent Ray to the Arizona Fall League with the hope of salvaging something from 2017, but he struggled badly there, too. He might have to repeat the Carolina League to re-establish his plate discipline and hitting setup.”

Nick Solak, 2B; No. 12 prospect, New York Yankees: “Solak solidified his reputation as one of the polished hitters in the system. He brings a short, quick line-drive stroke designed to spray line drives to all fields.” (Note: Solak was traded to Tampa Bay after the book was published.)

Nick Burdi, RP; No. 25 prospect, Pittsburgh Pirates: “Burdi will begin the season on the disabled list (while recovering from elbow surgery) and likely won’t be available until the second half. However, if he can return to form, the Pirates hope he can become a go-to high-leverage reliever.”

Brendan McKay, 1B-P; No. 3 prospect, Tampa Bay Rays: “The Rays will allow McKay to play both ways until the dual responsibility becomes too much. McKay is determined to make the most of the rare opportunity to play both ways, and is supremely confident that he’ll succeed. He will likely open 2018 at low Class A Bowling Green (Ky.), but could move quickly once he starts building a foundation in pro ball.”


A.J. Reed, 1B; No. 24 prospect, Houston Astros: “It’s hard to see Reed pushing aside (big leaguer) Yuli Gurriel, and Collin Moran has passed him as a back-up plan. He might need a change of scenery. Slugging first basemen/DH don’t land much in trade unless they’ve produced in the big leagues, so for now he’s headed back to Triple A.”

Riley Mahan, 2B; No. 18 prospect, Miami Marlins: “Though his swing most often results in line drives, there is some untapped power in his frame that should continue to develop as he matures physically … He has a chance to move up the Marlins’ system relatively quickly, due mostly to his pedigree as an advanced college bat.”

Evan White, 1B; No. 2 prospect, San Francisco Giants: “White projects as a high-average hitter with 15-20 home run power and Gold Glove defense at first base. He’ll get his first taste of full season ball in 2018.”

Kyle Cody, RP; No. 7 prospect, Texas Rangers: “Cody has the stuff to become a No. 3 or No. 4 starter. He’ll likely return to high Class A Down East to begin 2018, but he should be in the upper levels soon and be ready to help the major league club in 2019.”


Sam Travis, 1B; No. 7 prospect, Boston Red Sox: “The 2018 season may be pivotal in shaping Travis’ future. If he can make swing adjustments to turn raw strength into in game power, he could carve out a big-league role. But a return to Pawtucket is likely until he proves he has the power to be a first baseman.”


Jo Adell, OF, No. 2 prospect, Los Angeles Angels: “The dynamic Adell has the ability, makeup and intangibles to grow into an all-star caliber outfielder. The degree to which he translates his physical skills and attributes into baseball-specific skills will determine whether he becomes a superstar.”

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