South Atlantic League baseball
What: Three-game series
When: Thursday through Saturday (7:05 each night)
Where: Whitaker Bank Ballpark
Tickets: Call (859) 422-7867
Major League affiliates: Kansas City Royals (Legends), San Francisco Giants
Probable pitchers (Legends listed first): Thursday, RH Luis Santos (1-0, 0.96) vs. RH Keury Mella (2-0, 1.69); Friday, RH Luke Farrell (0-0, 4.15) vs. LH Carlos Diaz (1-1, 2.89); Saturday, RH Jake Junis (1-1, 0.75) vs. LH Matt Lujan (2-0, 1.38).
GreenJacket to watch: Friday starter Keury Mella (6-foot-2, 200 pounds, bats and throws right, from Bonao, Dominican Republic) is rated by Baseball America as the 13th-best prospect in the Giants system. Signed for $275,000 in 2011, Mella threw for the Dominican Summer League Giants in 2012 (3-3, 2.47) and the Arizona League Giants last year (3-2, 2.25), combining for 116 strikeouts to 39 walks. Baseball America says in part: “Mella throws a heavy, above-average fastball that sits 93-95 mph with sinking action. He is learning to harness a power curve that has plus movement, and his changeup is functional even if he throws it infrequently.”
Legend to watch: RF Fred Ford (6-5, 200, bats and throws right, from St. Peters, Mo.) leads the league with 14 RBI through Tuesday and with a .676 slugging percentage. He is batting .351 through his first 12 games, with two homers, six doubles, seven runs and three stolen bases. Ford spent last season with the Legends, tying Bubba Starling for the club lead in homers (13). Selected in the seventh round of the 2012 draft, he led Fort Zumwalt South High School to the Missouri Class 4A state championship in 2009. He led Jefferson College to the NJCAA World Series in 2011 and 2012, and earned an associate degree from the Missouri school in 2012. He also was an NJCAA All-American and region player of the year in 2012, batting .430 with 16 homers, 75 RBI and 32 stolen bases. By signing with the Royals, he passed on an opportunity to play for Western Kentucky University. In 2012, he finished among the Appalachian League leaders in homers (3rd), walks (T4th), games (T5th), total bases (T6th), OPS (7th) and slugging (9th).
Radio: WLXG-AM 1300