The Louisville baseball team has long been the dominant college squad in the Bluegrass with three College World Series trips and five straight super regional appearances to its credit.
But it is Kentucky, just now playing in a super regional for the first time, that has the advantage when it comes to putting players on Major League Baseball rosters.
There are eight former Wildcats in the majors compared to four for the Cardinals.
When it comes to the top overall player from either school, it is a tight race this season between former UK pitcher James Paxton, now with the Seattle Mariners, and ex-Louisville outfielder Adam Duvall, who stars for the Cincinnati Reds.
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Here is a quick look at how the season is going for all 12 ex-Cats and ex-Cards in the majors this season (overall statistics through June 9):
Ex-Cats in Major League Baseball
James Paxton, Seattle Mariners: Paxton, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound left-hander nicknamed “Big Maple,” would be among the leading Cy Young candidates if he hadn’t missed a few starts with a forearm strain. And he could still end up in that conversation if he continues to pitch the way he has so far this season. He is 5-0 with a 1.69 ERA in eight starts. He has 55 strikeouts in 48 innings.
Alex Meyer, Los Angeles Angels: The 6-foot-9 right-hander’s numbers — 2-3 with a 4.08 ERA — are more impressive when you throw out his first two starts when he went 0-2 with a 9.39 ERA. He struck out nine batters and gave up one unearned run in six innings in his last start, when he took his third loss in a 4-0 shutout against the Detroit Tigers.
JT Riddle, Miami Marlins: The former Western Hills star, a rookie shortstop, is known for his fielding and not his hitting. But he has done very well at both so far. He struggled at the plate early when his batting average didn’t reach .200 until May 15. But a red-hot second half of that month and a solid June so far has him batting .271 with eight doubles, three home runs and 21 RBI.
Luke Maile, Toronto Blue Jays: Injuries at the catcher position have given the former Covington Catholic standout plenty of opportunities in his first season with the Blue Jays, who have been thrilled with his performance behind the plate. “He’s just in control of the game, he’s really smart. … It’s a luxury to have someone like that,” starter Joe Biagnini told The Toronto Star. Maile has batted .125 with two home runs and four RBI in 24 games.
Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians: The two-time All-Star second baseman, who started his college career at Kentucky before transferring to Arizona State, began the season on the injured list and has struggled at the plate since his return. A career .270 hitter, he is batting .226 with seven home runs and 22 RBI in 36 games.
Taylor Rogers, Minnesota Twins: The left-handed reliever is 3-1 with a 3.10 ERA in 28 appearances. He has 14 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings.
Chris Rusin, Colorado Rockies: He pitches many of his games in a hitter’s ballpark, but that hasn’t fazed the left-hander so far. He is 2-0 with a 2.30 ERA and one save in 21 games. He has 26 strikeouts and a 0.89 WHIP in 31 1/3 innngs.
Joe Blanton, Washington Nationals: The former Franklin-Simpson star and longtime major leaguer was coming off one of his best seasons — 7-2 with a 2.48 ERA for the Los Angeles Dodgers — but this campaign hasn’t gone so well. He was 0-2 with a 9.49 ERA in 14 games for the Nationals before landing on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. He is closing in on a return to the active roster, though, after making a rehab appearance for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators on Thursday (June 8).
Ex-Cards in Major League Baseball
Adam Duvall, Cincinnati Reds: The 2016 All-Star, a Louisville native who started out at Western Kentucky before ending up with the Cardinals, is hitting .281 with 14 home runs and 46 RBI. His batting average up considerably from his breakout season last year when he hit .241 with 33 homers and 103 RBI.
Tony Zych, Seattle Mariners: The right-handed reliever is 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA and one save in 15 2/3 innings over 18 games. He has been consistently solid in parts of three seasons so far for Seattle with a career record of 3-1 with a 2.64 ERA in 43 games.
Chad Green, New York Yankees: The right-hander is in his second stint with the Yankees this season. He is 0-0 with a 1.62 ERA in seven relief appearances covering 16 2/3 innings. He has 20 strikeouts and a 0.60 WHIP.
Adam Engel, Chicago White Sox: The centerfielder made his major league debut on May 27. He is batting. 250 with three stolen bases in 16 at-bats.