The Miami Marlins did some shopping in Mississippi during draft season and might just have found a couple of real bargains in the lower rounds. After nabbing highly regarded catcher Nick Fortes out of Ole Miss in the fourth round, the Marlins picked up Meridian Community College outfielder Davis Bradshaw in the 11th and his Eagles teammate Milton Smith Jr. in the 22nd. Both MCC alums signed for modest bonuses, and both are off to great starts in pro ball. Playing in the rookie Gulf Coast League, Bradshaw took a few games to heat up but is currently batting .362, with 17 hits in his last nine games. This probably should come as no surprise. The left-handed hitting Bradshaw batted a crazy .756 as a senior at McLaurin High in 2017 and followed that with a .442 season at MCC. He can also run. He is seven-for-seven in steal attempts and has three triples. Smith, also a lefty-swinging outfielder, hit .349 in his first 15 games with the GCL Marlins and was promoted to high Class A Jupiter, where he went 5-for-11 in five games before being sidelined by an injury. The former Starkville High standout returned to the GCL club on Saturday and got a knock in his first game back. … Fortes, who got a $400,000 bonus as the 117th player drafted last month, is on the roster of the short-season Class A Batavia team but has appeared in only one game. He hit. .319 with 11 homers for the Rebels in 2018.
Ryan Rolison, the first player picked – 22nd overall by Colorado — from Mississippi in this month’s MLB draft, is on the roster of the Grand Junction Rockies but has yet to pitch in the rookie-level Pioneer League. Will Golsan, Rolison’s former Ole Miss teammate and a 26th-round selection by the Rockies, has played for Grand Junction and has some good numbers. The Columbus native is 6-for-13 with a homer and two RBIs. … Nick Sandlin, drafted by Cleveland in the second round out of Southern Miss, made his pro debut on June 18 and threw a scoreless inning for the Arizona League Indians. Sandlin won a national pitcher of the year award as well taking C-USA top pitcher honors and the Ferriss Trophy. … USM alum Luke Reynolds, C-USA player of the year and a 10th-round pick by the Chicago Cubs, has not yet made his debut. … Former Delta State star Zack Shannon, whose 31 homers in 2018 set an all-division state record, is 2-for-10 with no extra base hits in three games for the AZL Diamondbacks. … Ole Miss product Brady Feigl (fifth round by Oakland) pitched for the Vermont Lake Monsters (New York-Penn League) on Thursday night and yielded two runs in an inning of work. … UM alum Nick Fortes (fourth round, Miami) is 1-for-4 with two RBIs in one appearance, on June 16, for Batavia in the NYP League. … On the Marlins’ Gulf Coast League team are former Meridian Community College teammates Davis (Will) Bradshaw and Milton Smith Jr. Bradshaw is 0-for-7 in two games, Smith 1-for-9. … James McArthur, another Ole Miss alum (12th round, Philadelphia), is on the roster of the GCL Phillies West but has not pitched. … Pascagoula High product Willie Joe Garry Jr. made his debut for the GCL Twins on June 19 and went 0-for-4. … Of note: Former Ole Miss standout and erstwhile big leaguer Chris Coghlan is also playing in the AZL, with a Chicago Cubs affiliate. Coghlan, getting his game back in shape after many months off, is 1-for-7 in two games.
Austin Riley, the first Mississippian picked in this year’s draft, is starting to show the power that enticed the Atlanta Braves to take him 41st overall. The former DeSoto Central High star belted his third home run in four games on Monday in the Gulf Coast League. After a slow start to his pro career – hitless in his first five games – Riley has seven knocks in his last 14 at-bats, boosting his average to .250. He has eight RBIs. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Riley, playing third base for the GCL Braves, smacked 11 home runs and 14 doubles as a senior at DeSoto, leading the Jaguars to the MHSAA Class 6A championship.
Austin Riley, the first Mississippian picked in this year’s MLB draft, made his pro debut today for the Gulf Coast League Braves. The former DeSoto Central High star, a supplemental first-round pick by Atlanta, was the DH and batted fourth for the rookie-level club, which rallied to beat the GCL Yankees 8-7 in 10 innings in Florida. Riley struck out in his first two at-bats, was hit by a pitch (and later scored) in his third and grounded out in his fourth. The play-by-play on milb.com indicates that Riley pinch hit for himself (?) in the eighth inning and walked, then struck out again in the 10th. So, he was either 0-for-3 or 0-for-4. … Also debuting today in the GCL: Mississippi Valley State alum Kalik May, who went 2-for-2 with a walk, a run and a steal for the GCL Blue Jays, whose game was suspended by rain in the seventh inning.