30 Oct

next man up?

Former Harrison Central High star Bobby Bradley recently made Cleveland’s minor league organization all-star team and will almost certainly make the Indians’ 40-man protected roster this off-season. When the fifth-year pro will make his big league debut is less certain. Bradley, a left-handed hitting first baseman with impressive power, reached Triple-A Columbus this past season at age 22. The Indians’ No. 7 prospect hit 27 homers and drove in 83 runs between Double-A and Triple-A. He batted just .224, however, and reportedly still needs to polish up his defense. “He’s just a kid, so he’s got plenty of time,” Indians farm director James Harris recently told milb.com. “We’re confident he’ll become an all-around better player.” The Indians have veteran Yonder Alonso at first base and under contract for 2019. Bradley figures to get significant playing time in spring training and then return to Triple-A, where he’ll wait in the wings. Four Mississippians debuted in the big leagues last season: Braxton Lee, Dakota Hudson, Cody Carroll and Spencer Turnbull. Bradley could be first up in 2019. P.S. Demarcus Evans, the former Petal High star, is on the East roster for Saturday’s Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game, a showcase event for the showcase league. Evans is a power-armed pitching prospect in the Texas Rangers’ system. Also on the East squad are Atlanta prospects Cristian Pache, an outfielder, and Kyle Muller, a pitcher, and Milwaukee prospect Keston Hiura, an infielder. Pache and Muller played for the Mississippi Braves in 2018, and Hiura was with Biloxi. MLB Network will televise the Fall Stars Game at 7 p.m. … Former M-Braves star Ronald Acuna is on the team of big leaguers headed overseas next week for the MLB Japan All-Star Series. The first game is Nov. 8 in Tokyo. MLB Network will carry all the games live.

02 Nov

boys of fall

Alas, ex-Harrison Central High standout Bobby Bradley did not win in the fan voting for the final two rosters spots in Saturday’s Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game. Bradley, a top-rated Cleveland prospect with 87 home runs in four pro seasons, is batting .273 with two homers in 11 games for Glendale. … DeSoto Central High alum Austin Riley and fellow Mississippi Braves alum Ronald Acuna, who are in the Fall Stars Game, homered for Peoria on Tuesday, the fourth for each. That’s one off the league lead, which belongs to M-Braves alum Alex Jackson. Riley is batting .342, Acuna .377 with an amazing 18 runs in 15 games. … Ex-Southern Miss star Cody Carroll, who is not in the Fall Stars Game, leads the AFL with four saves for Scottsdale. The New York Yankees prospect has not allowed a run in nine innings of work and has 14 strikeouts. … Mississippi State product Zac Houston, a Detroit farmhand, struck out three batters in 1 1/3 innings for Mesa on Tuesday, running his AFL total to 11 in 6 1/3. He has yielded three hits and no runs. … Former Meridian Community College standout Wade Wass was a late addition to the Los Angeles Angels’ AFL team and is 1-for-9 in two games for Scottsdale. Wass, a catcher, hit .257 with 11 homers for Double-A Mobile this past season but was injured in late July and didn’t play again.

30 Oct

star attractions

Need a break from football on Saturday? Check out the Arizona Fall League’s Fall Stars Game, which will air at 7 p.m. on MLB Network and features several Mississippi connections. Former DeSoto Central High standout Austin Riley, who spent part of 2017 with the Mississippi Braves, is on the West roster, along with fellow Braves prospects and M-Braves alums Ronald Acuna and Touki Toussaint. Riley is having a great AFL campaign, batting .345 with three homers and 13 RBIs; the third baseman hit for the cycle in game for Peoria last week. Braxton Lee, an Ole Miss product from Picayune, is on the East roster. Lee, a Miami prospect and Southern League All-Star this past season, is batting .333 in 10 games for Salt River. Also making the East squad is 2017 Biloxi Shuckers infielder Jake Gatewood, a supplemental first-round pick by Milwaukee in 2014.

01 Nov

center stage

Chris Stratton, the former Mississippi State ace, is slated to start for the East in Saturday’s Fall Stars Game, the Arizona Fall League’s All-Star showcase. Stratton, 2-1 with a 3.94 ERA in four starts for Scottsdale, reached the big leagues in 2016 with San Francisco. The right-hander is joined on the East squad by 2016 Biloxi Shuckers stars Brett Phillips and Jacob Nottingham, Mississippi Braves alum Evan Phillips and former Petal High standout Anthony Alford. (Richton’s JaCoby Jones, a .341 hitter, was not selected.) The game is set for 7 p.m. (Central Time) in Surprise, Ariz., and will be televised by MLB Network. … Alford is slipping. A little. According to Baseball America. The 2017 prospect rankings are trickling out on the magazine’s web site, and Alford, the former Mr. Baseball, is ranked No. 2 in the Toronto system after being No. 1 last year. Alford had injury issues in 2016 playing at the high Class A level (.233, nine homers, 18 steals) but has seemingly regained his form in the AFL. He is hitting .295 with two homers and eight RBIs for Mesa. … M-Braves alum Dustin Peterson had three hits, Brett Phillips three, Jones two and 2017 M-Braves candidate Travis Demeritte two (including a homer) as Salt River banged out 20 hits and 17 runs in a game on Monday.

06 Nov

a wrong turn

Scratch JaCoby Jones from Saturday’s Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game. The former Richton High standout has been suspended for 50 games for a “drug of abuse” violation. Rated the No. 10 prospect in Detroit’s system by Baseball America, Jones, a 23-year-old shortstop, just finished his third pro season and is batting .274 with 40 homers overall. He was originally drafted in the third round out of LSU by Pittsburgh in 2013 and traded to the Tigers this summer for big league pitcher Joakim Soria. The suspension reportedly is for a recreational drug, not a performance enhancing drug, if that makes any difference. The suspension starts with the remaining 12 games on Scottsdale’s AFL schedule and will continue through the first 38 games of the 2016 season, wherever Jones is assigned, which will probably be Double-A.

04 Nov

odds and ends

JaCoby Jones, the former Mr. Baseball from Richton, heads a group of Mississippi-connected players named to the Arizona Fall League’s Fall Stars Game. Jones, a shortstop in Detroit’s system currently batting .304 with two homers for Scottsdale, is on the East roster. The West includes 2015 Mississippi Braves starter Lucas Sims and two Biloxi Shuckers alums, outfielder Michael Reed and closer Damien Magnifico. Magnifico had a magnificent run with Milwaukee’s Double-A team last summer, moving into the bullpen and going 4-1 with 20 saves and a 1.17 ERA in 42 appearances. The Fall Stars Game is set for Saturday at 7 p.m. CST and will be televised by MLB Network. … Connor Lien, expected to contend for an outfield spot with the M-Braves next spring, is scuffling in the AFL. He is hitting .171 with a homer, 18 strikeouts and two walks in 41 at-bats for Peoria. Still, Baseball America’s Bill Ballew calls Lien “one of my top sleepers in the organization.” … Jackson native and Ole Miss alumnus Cody Satterwhite, a veteran minor league pitcher, is on the U.S. roster for the first Premier 12 international tournament set for Nov. 8-21. Pool play is in Taiwan and Japan with the semifinals and finals in Tokyo. According to Baseball America, Premier 12 is the top senior event for the International Baseball Federation, now re-branded as the World Baseball Softball Confederation. Satterwhite, currently a New York Mets farmhand, is joined on the American squad by former M-Braves star Tyler Pastornicky and Biloxi Shuckers alum Brett Phillips. … Tampa Bay released former Jackson State catcher Jovany Felipe, who batted .182 in rookie ball this summer after signing as an undrafted free agent. … The Belhaven-William Carey rivalry apparently is no more. With the Blazers moving to NCAA Division III, their 2016 schedule does not include the NAIA Crusaders, their longtime rivals in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference and Southern States Athletic Conference. BU will play Maloney Trophy rivals Millsaps and Mississippi College next season. Carey is playing NCAA D-II’s Delta State and MC in 2016, as well as NAIA Tougaloo.

29 Oct

star power

Former Mississippi State standout Hunter Renfroe shook out of a slump on Tuesday with a couple of hits, including a home run, in the Arizona Fall League. Renfroe, who had gotten off to a hot start in the AFL, is now batting .232 with two homers and six RBIs in 15 games for Surprise. Renfroe, a fast-rising San Diego Padres outfield prospect, is slated to play in the AFL’s Fall Stars Game on Saturday. “It’s going to be cool,” Renfroe told mlb.com. Also booked for the all-star contest is Daniel Castro, who finished the 2014 season as the Mississippi Braves’ starting shortstop. Castro, from Mexico, is batting .231 for Peoria; he batted .277 in 51 games for the M-Braves. … Tim Anderson, the ex-East Central Community College star now in the Chicago White Sox system, also had a good day in the AFL on Tuesday, going 3-for-4 for Glendale. Anderson, a shortstop, is hitting .309 with a homer and six RBIs. … Itawamba CC product Tim Dillard, in the Milwaukee system in 2014, still has not allowed a run over 9 1/3 innings for Zulia in the Venezuelan Winter League. P.S. Ole Miss has set its rosters for the Pizza Bowl fall ball championship. The series, which is essentially a 16-inning game spread over two days, will be held on Friday and Saturday at Oxford-University Stadium. … In Starkville, junior college transfer Logan Elliott and returning star Ross Mitchell combined on a two-hit, five-inning shutout as State continued its fall ball schedule. The Bulldogs are scheduled to play again on Saturday at Dudy Noble Field.