02 May

making the jump

Brent Leach, the Brandon native and former Delta State standout, could make his major league debut as early as today with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The left-handed reliever was summoned from Double-A Chattanooga on Friday. He had posted a 0.69 ERA in 13 1/3 innings with the Lookouts; he pitched at the TeePee last week against the Mississippi Braves. Leach had 15 saves for the Dodgers’ Double-A club last year, when it was in Jacksonville. DSU’s sports information office reports that Leach is the first former Statesman pitcher to make the big leagues since pitcher Matt Miller, now retired, was with Cleveland a couple of years ago. …
On an unrelated though not entirely disconnected topic, former M-Braves outfielder Josh Burrus signed with the Lincoln Saltdogs of the independent American Association on Friday. The Salt Dogs had acquired Burrus from another indy club last week. Burrus is one of those case-in-point stories that illustrates just how tough it is to make it to the major leagues. He was a first-round pick by the Braves in 2001, an all-everything star from Marietta, Ga. He had all the tools; he could run, throw and hit with power. During his time with the M-Braves, he would put on a show in batting practice that would compel you stop and watch. He had decent success in the low minors and arrived in Mississippi in 2005 to replace Jeff Francoeur when Frenchy was called up to the big leagues. But Burrus could not make the adjustment to Double-A. For whatever reason, his great tools weren’t enough. Something was missing. In three tours at the TeePee, he never hit better than .221 and he struck out a ton. It’s hard enough getting out of A-ball. Most don’t. But it’s even harder getting past Double-A. As former M-Braves manager Brian Snitker once said, “This is where we cut the herd.” Only the very best keep moving. Burrus was a good ballplayer, just not quite good enough. Now he’s playing indy ball, which is fine. But it’s not where Burrus or the Braves imagined he would be eight years after he was drafted.

Mike Christensen

Mike Christensen

A long-time sports fan and 30-year newspaper veteran muses on all things baseball in Mississippi. Contact: mwchristens@gmail.com
Mike Christensen

Latest posts by Mike Christensen (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: