UK baseball notes: Justin Lewis expected to sign with Rays

Derek Terry, Beat Writer
Cats Illustrated

LEXINGTON, Ky. — UK sophomore pitcher Justin Lewis, an 11th round selection of the Tampa Bay Rays, is in Tampa discussing contraction negotiations, a source told

We're told that Lewis is expected to sign with the Rays while in Tampa. In 2016, only 15 of the 150 players selected between the 11th and 15th rounds didn't sign.

Lewis went 6-4 with a 3.46 ERA during his only season as a starter with UK. As a freshman, Lewis was 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 21 games out of the bullpen. He earned freshman All-American honors for his performance.

With Sean Hjelle and Zack Thompson returning next season, UK will have to find a starter to replace Lewis.




Kailua, Hawaii lefthanded pitcher Joey Cantillo will sign with the San Diego Padres. The Padres selected Cantillo in the 16th round of the MLB Draft. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder was the Hawaii Gatorade Player of the Year in 2017. His decision to sign with the Padres is bad news for UK, but the silver lining is the Wildcats will likely only lose two members of their recruiting class to the MLB Draft. Aaron Perry signed with the Boston Red Sox on Thursday.

In a class that had six players listed in the Baseball America top 500 draft prospects, only losing two players means UK will bring a talented class to campus. Perfect Game ranks UK as having the 10th best class in the nation. UK has nearly a dozen junior college commitments, though junior college commitments aren’t factored into Perfect Game’s rankings.


The Wildcats have several players participating in summer leagues this year. The most notable in the Cape Cod League are outfielder Tristan Pompey, pitcher Chris Machamer and catcher Kole Cottam.

Pompey went 4-for-5 with two home runs and six RBI in his Cape Cod debut with the Wareham Gatemen, but since then things haven’t gone as well. Pompey has collected just one hit in his past 19 at-bats but has drawn six walks. He’s struck out 11 times in 24 at-bats. Pompey is hitting .208 so far. He’ll compete in the college home run derby on Saturday night.

Machamer has appeared in three games to this point, and in 6.2 innings pitched, he’s allowed one earned run and struck out six batters. He’s 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA and one save.

Cottam is swinging the bat well for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. He’s 10-for-29 (.345) with one home runs and four runs driven in.

Other notable players in summer leagues:

IF Luke Becker - Northwoods League

1B T.J. Collett - Perfect Game League

1B Brayden Combs - Perfect Game League

IF Joey Bellini - Valley League

P Brad Schaenzer - New England

IF Zeke Lewis - New England

IF Luke Heyer - Cal Ripken

C J.P. Blitzenhofer - Cal Ripken

P Carson Coleman - Cal Ripken

P Austin Keen - Cal Ripken

Sean Hjelle, Zack Thompson, Tyler Marshall, Brett Marshall (rehab) and Troy Squires are remaining in Lexington for the summer.

Follow Cats Illustrated beat writer Derek Terry on Twitter.

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