Keedy Hoping to Bring Hot Bat to Cubs

UAB's Ryan Keedy was the Cubs' 16th-round selection in the MLB Draft last week. The first baseman enjoyed quite a year in Conference USA this season, batting .423 with 10 home runs and 29 doubles in 60 games as a senior.

"I was very blessed this season," said Keedy, who grew up in Gardendale, Ala., and attended Mortimer Jordan High School. "I ended up having a pretty good season."

Perhaps that is an understatement. Keedy, a left-handed batting 22-year-old, was the Blazers' best hitter, leading the team in average, extra-base hits and RBIs. In his only other C-USA season after transferring from Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Ala., Keedy hit .333 with 14 extra-base hits in 55 games in 2007.

Keedy, listed as 6-foot-3, 220, said that hard work in the off-season and becoming more familiar with his surroundings helped with the spike in his numbers this year.

"Me and a couple of the other guys did a couple of workouts with the football team here," said Keedy. "As much as I hated it, it paid off a lot more than I thought."

As a result, Keedy dropped a few pounds last summer and got stronger as he entered the fall semester and his senior season with the Blazers, he said.

Keedy's primary position is first base, but he has experience at third base from high school and Wallace State. With the Blazers, he mostly played first but also did some emergency pitching out of the bullpen in games his junior season.

"After high school, I pretty much knew I was going to play first," said Keedy. "Coach Putnam recruited me as a first baseman. It wasn't hard at all. It was something that was very easy to do and once I was at UAB, I already knew I would be at first."

Keedy describes himself as a true first baseman, but is willing to play anywhere.

"At this point, probably so," he said. "If they want me to play somewhere else, I'd be more than happy to. Whatever it takes to get me into the lineup."

Keedy said he was scouted by a number of teams, and began getting letters from scouts not long after the season started. The Cubs, with the help of area scout Mike Valarezo, were one of the teams that scouted Keedy and liked what they saw.

"Our guys liked the way he swung the bat," Cubs Scouting Director Tim Wilken said of Keedy. "There's not a lot of fanfare other than good numbers in there. It will be interesting to see him once he goes to Boise. That's where he'll be going."

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