Mitch Moreland, one of several Boston hitters caught in a power drought, is showing signs of breaking out. The former Mississippi State star from Amory homered for the third straight game on Sunday in a 12-3 Red Sox win at Oakland. He now has five on the year. The Red Sox, trying to keep pace with Baltimore and New York in the American League East, rank 29th in the big leagues with 38 homers. … Corey Dickerson, generating a lot of All-Star buzz these days, got two more hits for Tampa Bay on Sunday, boosting his MLB-leading hit total to 59. The Meridian Community College product is batting .347 (ninth in the big leagues) and slugging .635 (eighth). He has 11 homers, five in his last 10 games. … Former Ole Miss star Zack Cozart is hitting .351 (fourth in MLB) for Cincinnati. He didn’t play Sunday (sore wrist) as the tumbling Reds lost for the eighth time in nine games. … East Central CC alum Tim Anderson is 12-for-26 with three homers in six games since returning from a trip home to Birmingham for the funeral of a close friend. Anderson, in an early season slump, is now hitting .264 with five bombs and 11 RBIs for the Chicago White Sox. … Ex-Petal High standout Anthony Alford took an 0-for-3 on Sunday and is still looking for his first big league hit since last week’s call-up by Toronto. … Baltimore’s Adam Jones hit his 124th homer at Camden Yards on Sunday, equaling ex-State star Rafael Palmeiro for the most in the Orioles’ home park.
The numbers are good, very good: .367, six home runs, 15 RBIs, 12 runs. The numbers were posted by a collection of Mississippians in the majors – 12 of them – on Thursday night. Collectively, the 12 who played went 18-for-49. Adam Frazier (Mississippi State) and Tim Anderson (East Central Community College) had three-hit games. Frazier drove in four runs. He and Anderson homered, as did Seth Smith (Ole Miss), Hunter Renfroe (State), Mitch Moreland (State) and Jarrod Dyson (Southwest CC). Dyson scored three times and stole two bases. Frazier, Anderson, Billy Hamilton (Taylorsville) and Chris Coghlan (Ole Miss) rapped doubles. Zack Cozart (Ole Miss) had two hits and an RBI. Tyler Moore (State) and Stuart Turner (Ole Miss) struck out in pinch-hit appearances, but every Mississippian who started got at least one knock, save for Brian Dozier (Southern Miss). He had a tough day, going 0-for-9 in a doubleheader, though he did contribute a sac fly. All in all, a very good day for the Magnolia State boys. And the hottest hitter of them all, Corey Dickerson (Meridian CC, .335, nine homers, 18 RBIs), didn’t have a game on Thursday. P.S. Baseball America’s latest Top 500 draft prospects list shows just two Mississippians: State’s Brent Rooker at No. 64 and Jake Mangum at 160.
These are trying times for Tim Anderson, the former East Central Community College standout and current Chicago White Sox shortstop. Anderson is away from the team this weekend, attending the funeral of a longtime friend who was shot and killed last weekend in Anderson’s hometown of Tuscaloosa, Ala. Anderson has been struggling on the field most of this season. He is hitting .221 with two homers and two steals in 29 games, and his defense also has been spotty. After a strong rookie season (.283, nine homers, 10 bags) in 2016, Anderson signed a 6-year, $25 million contract in the off-season. The White Sox drafted Anderson 17th overall in 2013, the year he led ECCC to a state championship. Obviously, the organization believes in him and believes he’ll bounce back from this adversity. As manager Rick Renteria told theathletic.com, “Experiences occur and you deal with them and then you hopefully grow with them.” Anderson is scheduled to return to the club on Monday in Anaheim, where they’ll play the Angels. We should wish him well. P.S. Adam Frazier, activated from the disabled list on Friday, was back in the Pittsburgh lineup on Saturday, batting leadoff and playing left field. The ex-Mississippi State star, who had been sidelined with a hamstring injury, went 1-for-5 as the Pirates beat Arizona 4-3 to stop a six-game skid. Utility man Frazier is hitting .291 with five RBIs and five runs.
A gem of an outing by Jarod Wright of Northwest Mississippi Community College has shaken up the pecking order in the MACJC standings. Wright threw a four-hitter against previously undefeated, No. 1-ranked Jones County JC in Senatobia on Saturday as the Rangers took an 11-1 win. Jones (23-1, 5-1) bounced back to win Game 2 14-2 behind Logan Robbins’ strong start and a grand slam by Shelton Wallace. But first place in the league now belongs to East Central, which improved to 6-0 (and 20-4) with a jaw-dropping sweep of Holmes in Goodman on Saturday. The Warriors, ranked seventh in NJCAA Division II, won 30-1 and 11-2. They hit seven homers on the day, six in Game 1, including a Wyatt Ball grand slam. Cole Prestegard went deep in both games, and pitchers Dylan Marsh and Tanner Elders weren’t too bad either. As fate would have it, JCJC and ECCC hook up Tuesday in Decatur. Could be classic. … Pearl River is also unbeaten in the league at 4-0 (13-5 overall) after a sweep of Northeast in Poplarville on Saturday. New coach Michael Avalon’s Wildcats, who’ve won eight straight, are at Gulf Coast on Tuesday and at Itawamba next Saturday. … ICC moved to 5-1 in the league (18-4 overall) by battering Meridian 17-2 and 5-2 on Sunday. Keith Stepter hit three homers and Tyreque Reed two in the first game of that twinbill. … Sitting at 3-1 in the MACJC is Mississippi Delta, under first-year coach Dan Rives.
Talk about dialed in. Itawamba Community College’s Tyreque Reed went 11-for-12 in four games last week. The sophomore from Houlka hit four home runs, drove in 10 runs, scored eight times, stole three bases and walked four times to boot. A 6-foot-1, 260-pound third baseman/outfielder, Reed helped the Indians sweep doubleheaders from Blue Mountain’s JV team and Snead State, improving to 11-3 on the season. Reed is batting .512 overall with five homers and 19 RBIs. … For the record, Reed is not the MACJC’s top hitter. According to the NJCAA Division II stats page, Coahoma’s Zachary Gilder, a freshman from Olive Branch (Center Hill), is batting a robust .577 through 11 games. Not far behind Reed is East Central’s Luke Yancey, a sophomore from Morton (East Rankin Academy) who is at .500 through 14 games.
Home runs always get attention, especially in spring training games. Mississippi connections Adam Frazier, Tim Anderson and Anthony Alford made the highlight shows on Thursday, each going yard for the first time. Frazier, the versatile left-handed hitter out of Mississippi State, is having a fine spring for Pittsburgh as he tries to secure a role as a utility player. He is 3-for-8 with two RBIs and two runs in Grapefruit League games; he hit .301 as a rookie for the Pirates last season. East Central Community College alum Anderson, who hit .283 with nine homers and 10 steals as the Chicago White Sox’s rookie shortstop in 2016, is 7-for-12 in Cactus League play. A switch-hitter, he has three RBIs and three runs. Former Petal High star Alford, a top-rated prospect likely bound for Double-A this season, is in Toronto’s camp as a first-time 40-man roster member and has showed out well. He is 3-for-12 with a couple of RBIs. Alford, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound outfielder, is projected to make the big leagues in 2018. He has tremendously exciting potential.
Though his team, the defending world champ, has been eliminated from the postseason race, Jarrod Dyson is surging toward the finish line. Dyson, the former McComb High and Southwest Mississippi Community College star, tripled, drove in a run and scored twice in Kansas City’s loss to Minnesota on Thursday. Over his last 15 games, the lefty-hitting outfielder is batting .353 with 10 runs and five RBIs. For the year, he’s at .271 with eight triples, 45 runs, 25 RBIs and 29 stolen bases. Dyson, who made $1.73M in 2016, is arbitration-eligible again after this season, and speculation is the Royals will seek to bring him back. … Also closing with a kick for an also-ran club is Tim Anderson, the rookie out of East Central CC. Anderson, the Chicago White Sox shortstop, had two hits against Tampa Bay on Thursday and is batting .323 over his last seven games. He is batting .280 with eight homers, 28 RBIs, 55 runs and 10 steals since his June call-up. … Worthy of mention is Mississippi State alum Kendall Graveman, whose Oakland team has been out of the hunt for a long time. Though he is winless over his last six starts, Graveman has pitched valiantly in some big games against contenders, including two against Texas and another vs. Seattle on Thursday. “You always need a guy that you look at as your guy,” A’s manager Bob Melvin told csnbayarea.com. “He’s embraced it; I think he’s proud of the fact that he’s that guy.” Graveman finished 10-11 with a 4.11 ERA for a team that currently sits at 67-92.