26 Jul

the pitching news

Recalled from Triple-A earlier in the day, Chris Stratton jumped right into the fray for San Francisco on Tuesday and registered a rare four-inning save in an 11-3 win against Pittsburgh. The ex-Mississippi State star relieved Madison Bumgarner – who earned his first win of the year – in the sixth and yielded six hits and two runs the rest of the way for his first career save. Stratton has a 7.71 ERA in 14 big league innings in 2017. … Ole Miss alum Lance Lynn, the subject of trade rumors, worked six-plus innings for St. Louis but got no decision in a 3-2 win over Colorado. Lynn, who allowed one run Tuesday, has yielded just two runs in his last four starts. He has a 3.21 ERA for the year, though he has given up 21 home runs. … UM product Drew Pomeranz labored through five innings (105 pitches), allowing three runs on four hits and four walks, for Boston at Seattle. Pomeranz left with a lead, but the Red Sox didn’t hold it and fell 6-5 in 13 innings. Pomeranz is 10-4 with a 3.59 ERA for the first-place BoSox. … Tony Sipp, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College alum from Pascagoula, retired one of the two hitters he faced – one reached on an error – in first-place Houston’s 5-0 win against Philadelphia. Former Mississippi Braves standout Charlie Morton went seven innings for his eighth win. Veteran left-hander Sipp has a 5.16 ERA in 35 appearances, few of those in high-leverage situations. … Former State star Brandon Woodruff was reinstated from the disabled list by Milwaukee and sent to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Woodruff, still awaiting his MLB debut, was roughed up in a rehab start for Colorado Springs on Monday. … Kendall Graveman, another former Bulldogs hurler, will make at least on more rehab start for Triple-A Nashville before returning to Oakland, according to reports. Ole Miss alum Bobby Wahl, also on the DL for the A’s, was assigned to Nashville for rehab work. P.S. Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs was ejected from a game on Tuesday for the first time in his big league career. Brookhaven native Lance Barksdale was the umpire who ran Bryant for barking about a called third strike.

25 Jul

good old summertime

The Hattiesburg Black Sox, making their first trip to the National Baseball Congress World Series, play their second game in the storied amateur event tonight against the Great Bend (Kan.) Bat Cats in Wichita, Kan. Jaylyn Williams had a couple of hits and scored the game-winning run for the Black Sox in their opener on Sunday, a 5-4 win against the Inland Empire (Calif.) Golden Bears. Hattiesburg was held without a hit for the first six innings, according to the NBC website. Nathan Stewart got the save for the Black Sox, champions of the Magnolia Adult Baseball League and the Mississippi Semi-Pro State Tournament. … Playoffs get underway in the Cotton States League this week, starting with the Tupelo Thunder against the North Delta Dealers tonight in New Albany. The Golden Triangle Jets and Tippah County Tribe play Thursday. The Tallahatchie Rascals and HillCountry Generals, the top two in the regular season standings, await the winners in the Saturday semifinals. The Generals’ Luke Miller leads the college summer league in batting at .453. The Dealers’ Alan Rickman is the top pitcher, with a 5-0 record and 1.42 ERA. … Brandon High’s J.T. Ginn and Hattiesburg High’s Joe Gray are on the roster for Saturday’s Under Armour All-America Game, to be played at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The duo also was picked for the Perfect Game All-American Classic on Aug. 13 at Petco Park in San Diego. Both games will be televised by MLB Network. … Three Mississippians were selected for USA Baseball’s 14U National Team Development Program, which is being held this week in Cary, N.C. Logan Forsythe of Biloxi, Easton Hood of Tupelo and Collin Reuter of Olive Branch made the 40-man roster. (Noah Foster of Tupelo and Drew Tucker of Laurel were on the alternate list.) The program includes “skill development sessions, off-field education seminars and intrasquad games,” according to the USA Baseball website. … Dallas Woolfolk of Ole Miss registered four saves and a 0.87 ERA in 10 games for the Collegiate National Team, which went 15-5 this summer. Mississippi State’s Konnor Pilkington had a 2.65 ERA in five games (four starts).

25 Jul

going roof

Hunter Renfroe went where no man has gone before last September when he blasted a home run onto the roof of the iconic Western Metal Supply Co. Building beyond the left field wall at Petco Park in San Diego. On Monday night, the Mississippi State alum did it again. Renfroe’s seventh-inning shot, the first of two homers he hit in a 5-3 loss to the New York Mets, came off Jacob deGrom and travelled an announced 431 feet. “I’m proud of both of them,” Renfroe, speaking of his roof bombs, told The Associated Press. Renfroe now has 19 homers on the season, one more than fellow Mississippi native Corey Dickerson. Renfroe has 23 homers in his 101 MLB games and an even 100 as a pro. He hit 77 in 438 minor league games after the Padres drafted him in the first round in 2013.

24 Jul

new frontier

Passed over in draft after draft by MLB clubs, Tre Hobbs will launch his pro career in the independent Frontier League. The former Delta State star reportedly has signed with the Southern Illinois Miners, who are based in Marion, Ill. Don’t be surprised by any success Hobbs might have. The 5-foot-10 left-hander from Greenville won 22 games over two seasons at Delta State, posting 15 complete games and tossing four shutouts. He was a consensus All-America pick in 2016, when he went 13-2 with a 3.18 ERA. He wasn’t as dominant this year but still won nine games with a 4.18 and 90 strikeouts in 92 innings, helping the Statesmen reach the NCAA Division II World Series. He threw a brilliant three-hitter in a CWS elimination game. … The Frontier League, which has been around since 1993, claims a large number of alumni who have signed with affiliated teams and made the big leagues, including former Ole Miss pitcher Matt Duff and ex-Mississippi Braves hurler Brandon Cunniff.

24 Jul

around the horn

Only one player in the majors was hotter than Alex Presley over the last seven days. The former Ole Miss standout went 13-for-25, including a 3-for-5 on Sunday, for Detroit. His .520 average was second to Chris Taylor’s .542 for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Journeyman Presley, who is with his fifth major league team, is batting .344 on the year for the Tigers, who appear to have waved the white flag on 2017. … Ex-Taylorsville High star Billy Hamilton was hot, too, batting .385 over the last seven days for Cincinnati, another scuffling team. “Billy is hitting the ball on the screws again,” Reds manager Bryan Price said in an Associated Press story. Hamilton (.258 on the season) had three hits and stole two bases on Sunday; he leads the majors with 43 bags. … Southern Miss product Brian Dozier is riding a nine-game hit streak for Minnesota, still contending in the American League Central. He hit his 16th homer on Sunday, his third during the streak. … Former Ole Miss star Bobby Wahl, on a rehab assignment with Oakland, has fanned six batters in two innings of work at Class A Stockton. He has eight K’s in 7 2/3 MLB innings this year; he has been on the disabled list since May 24. … USM alum Dylan Burdeaux, a 20th-round pick by Detroit last month, is batting .294 in four games at Class A West Michigan; the first baseman hit .319 in 13 games at the short-season A level. Burdeaux led NCAA Division I in hits this season with 102 (six more than Mississippi State’s Brent Rooker). … Kirk McCarty, also drafted out of USM in June (seventh round), has a 0.59 ERA in six appearances for Cleveland’s short-season Mahoning Valley club. Left-hander McCarty tossed three hitless innings on Sunday. … Ex-State star Jake Robson, a second-year pro, is batting .340 in 24 games at high-A Lakeland in the Detroit system. The lefty-swinging outfielder is hitting .432 over his last 10 games. … Highly rated Atlanta prospect Kolby Allard yielded a grand slam and a three-run bomb in the Mississippi Braves’ 7-0 loss to Biloxi at Trustmark Park on Sunday. Allard (5-9) has allowed six homers in his last three starts and seen his ERA jump from 2.88 to 3.75. … Ole Miss’ Ryan Rolison got the win with a 1-2-3 inning in Saturday’s Cape Cod League All-Star Game. Rolison, 4-0 with a 1.86 ERA for Orleans this summer, also got rave reviews from Baseball America, which reports that the left-hander is looking like a first-round pick in 2018.

22 Jul

when it’s working

Where’d that come from? It has been an uneven season for Conor Fisk, the Southern Miss product now in the Toronto system. Entering Friday night’s game for Class A Dunedin, the 25-year-old right-hander had a 4-9 record and a 4.13 ERA. Then came his performance against Lakeland, one he’d surely like to bottle. Fisk retired the first 12 batters he faced and the last 12 sandwiched around one hit. He struck out six in his eight-inning effort, leading the Blue Jays to a 1-0 victory. “It was just one of those games where things were working,” Fisk told milb.com. Fisk, drafted in the 24th round out of USM in 2014, has a 3.73 career ERA working mostly out of the bullpen. This is his third stint at high-A Dunedin; he went 10-3, 3.25 for the D-Jays in 2016. While this season has been a trying one for Fisk, over his last seven appearances, all starts, he has been relatively sharp. He has a 2.09 ERA in that span, with only a couple of wobbly outings. He may have made a good case Friday for a move to Double-A. … Ex-Petal High star – and onetime USM quarterback – Anthony Alford, who was with Dunedin for several days on a big league rehab assignment, is now at Double-A New Hampshire. He went 1-for-4 on Friday.

21 Jul

fun with numbers

Numbers tell us something, though not everything, about a player. When you see that a pitcher has 129 strikeouts in 95 innings as a pro, you’re intrigued. That tells you he has swing-and-miss stuff. Batters have hit just .217 with only four home runs against him. Again, good stuff. Other numbers associated with Demarcus Evans are also telling. The former Petal High star, pitching for Hickory in the low Class A South Atlantic League, has walked 19 batters and hit four others in 22 2/3 innings this season. That tells you he has command issues and at least partially explains his 5.56 ERA. A 25th-round pick by Texas in 2015, right-hander Evans, only 20 years old, goes 6 feet 4, 240 pounds — more numbers to like. He had a 2.95 ERA over two levels of rookie ball in 2016, earning a jump to the SAL. He spent several weeks on the disabled list this season, only returning to Hickory on Wednesday, when he worked a clean inning in relief and notched his 34th punchout. Four of his nine appearances this season have been starts. Obviously, Evans has a long way to go and many more numbers to put up. It could be fun to chart his progress.