Cowgill named one of the best in Northwest League

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Former Kentucky 2008 first-team All-American Collin Cowgill, a Lexington native and former Kentucky High School Mr. Baseball, has been named the 20th-best prospect in the low Class A Northwest League, Baseball America announced.

Cowgill, a 5-foot-9, 195-pound right-handed hitter, needed just 20 games in the Northwest League to rank as the league leader in home runs, cranking out 11 roundtrippers for the Yakima Bears. A Henry Clay High School graduate, Cowgill hit .304 (24-for-79) with three doubles, one triple and 28 RBI. Cowgill showed a good eye, drawing 12 walks to 17 strikeouts, stealing 5-of-5 bases. After crushing Northwest League pitching in his 20 games, Cowgill was promoted to the Midwest League, where he hit .249 (50-for-201) with 13 doubles, three triples, one homer and 17 RBI.

“Cowgill led the NWL with 11 homers despite playing in just 20 games before moving up to low Class A, where he batted just .249/.346/.358,” Baseball America’s Nathan Rode detailed in his prospect breakdown. “He doesn't look the part of a power hitter at 5-foot-9, but he has a keen eye, plenty of bat speed and strength in his 195-pound frame. He may be more of a mistake hitter than a slugger, but he has an intriguing all-around package of skills and could develop along the lines of Reed Johnson.

“Though he's not quick out of the box, Cowgill is a slightly above-average runner once he gets going and has the instincts to steal an occasional base. He also covers substantial ground in center field and has a good arm for the position.”

While at Kentucky, Cowgill had one of the more prolific careers in the 104-year history of the program. As a fourth-year junior in 2008, Cowgill hit .361 with 19 home runs and 60 RBI, stealing 23-of-27 bases and drawing a team-best 49 walks. Cowgill added 15 doubles and two triples during the year, contributing seven outfield assists – five of which came as runners attempted to score from second on a routine single to the outfield. In 2006, while leading UK to its first Southeastern Conference Championship in school history, Cowgill hit .291 with 16 home runs and 56 RBI, scoring 61 runs.

During his career, Cowgill ranks eighth all-time in UK season history in home runs (19), 10th in RBI (60) and first in runs scored (80). With 37 career home runs, Cowgill ranks third all-time and his 140 career RBI checks in ninth in UK history. A first-team Academic All-American, Cowgill scored 166 career runs, fourth-best all-time.

Fellow former UK standout Sawyer Carroll, a consensus first-team All-America selection in 2008, was tabbed as one of the prospects who just missed the list. Carroll, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound lefty hitter, batted .299 (53-for-177) in 46 games, adding 14 doubles, three triples, eight homers and 39 RBI. A native of Henryetta, Okla., Carroll drew 32 walks to 48 strikeouts, stealing 5-of-7 bases, slugging .548 and reaching base at a .403 clip. After his opening 46 professional games with Eugene, Carroll was promoted to the Midwest League, where he hit .219 (14-for-64) in just 18 games, adding three doubles and eight RBI.

“In no particular order, guys that just missed were Sawyer Carroll, Steven Hensley, Dan McDaniel, Daniel Thomas and Carlos Pimentel,” Rode said in a web-chat on the rankings. “Carroll's power is intriguing and there are some that believe his bat is well polished. He has some work to do to stay in the outfield, but the bat could profile for first base. Carroll probably moves to first, where the bat could play, but if he sticks with working hard he could be usable in the outfield.”

During his two-year career at Kentucky, Carroll established himself as one of the top hitters to ever step foot in Lexington, leading the SEC with a .419 average in 2008 and exiting as the all-time career record holder in batting average (.386).

Carroll set the school record in 2008 for RBI in a season (83), ranking second for hits in a season (97), sixth in doubles (22), second in slugging percentage (.782) and fourth in on-base percentage (.514). Carroll’s .656 career slugging percentage ranks sixth all time and his .483 career on-base percentage ranks second in the UK record books.

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