It was, to use Hunter Renfroe’s own word, “humbling” to be sent back to the minor leagues after almost five months as a big league regular with San Diego. “You either grow from it or you fail from it,” the ex-Mississippi State standout told The Associated Press. The 25-year-old rookie returned to the Padres with some vigor on Monday, hitting a three-run homer in his first at-bat that propelled the team to a 4-2 win over Arizona. Renfroe went down to Triple-A El Paso on Aug. 18 and hit .509 with four home runs in 14 games, then helped the club reach Game 5 of the Pacific Coast League Championship Series. Monday’s homer was Renfroe’s 21st for the Padres. He also struck out for the 126th time; he has just 26 walks. How Renfroe handles the last two weeks of the season will be closely scrutinized. P.S. Brent Suter threw five shutout innings and fellow former Biloxi Shuckers star Brett Phillips threw out a runner from center field to end the game as Milwaukee kept its playoff drive alive with a 3-0 win at Pittsburgh.
He’d surely much rather be in the big leagues, but Hunter Renfroe is doing something now that he wouldn’t be doing in San Diego: Chasing a championship. The ex-Mississippi State star, demoted by the Padres last month, has helped Triple-A El Paso reach the Pacific Coast League finals. He drove in the go-ahead run on Friday night as the Chihuahuas beat Reno 7-6 to complete a three-game sweep in the semifinals. In 14 regular season games for El Paso, Renfroe batted an eye-popping .509 with four homers, 18 RBIs and 18 runs. He went 3-for-12 with a homer and three RBIs in the Reno series. “Hunter came down here with a smile on his face, ready to play some baseball,” El Paso manager Rod Barajas told milb.com. Renfroe was hitting .230 with 20 homers for the Padres when he was sent down, ostensibly to work on making more contact. El Paso awaits the winner of the other PCL semifinal between Memphis and Colorado Springs. Former Ole Miss standout David Goforth pitches for Colorado Springs, a Milwaukee affiliate, and worked in Friday’s game, a 16-15 win that put the Sky Sox up 2-1 in the series. MSU product Dakota Hudson, one of St. Louis’ top prospects, got the win for the Redbirds on Wednesday night, allowing one earned run in six innings. P.S. In his first MLB appearance since July 31, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College alum Tony Sipp pitched a clean inning for Houston in its 9-8 loss to Oakland. Veteran left-hander Sipp, having a difficult year, has a 6.27 ERA. … Ex-Northwest Mississippi CC star Cody Reed made his first big league appearance since May 3, pitching an inning (one unearned run) for Cincinnati in a loss to the New York Mets.
The San Diego Padres finally decided to hit the reset button on Hunter Renfroe, sending the struggling Mississippi State product back to the minors on Saturday. Renfroe, a highly touted prospect and the Padres’ opening day right fielder, has experienced many peaks and valleys this season. To wit: 20 home runs and 24 doubles with a .230 average, 125 strikeouts and 26 walks. “Sometimes it’s the absolute best thing you can do for a guy,” Padres manager Andy Green told the San Diego Union-Tribune. The Padres also want Renfroe to work on his defense while at Triple-A El Paso. It’s unclear whether Renfroe will return to the big league club in September, when rosters expand. P.S. There already has been a lot to absorb in the MLB Transactions page this weekend. On Friday, St. Louis recalled ex-Ole Miss star Mike Mayers from Triple-A Memphis. He pitched that night against Pittsburgh, yielding four earned runs in 2/3 of an inning, and then was optioned back to Memphis on Saturday. Thanks for playing. … Detroit recalled Richton’s JaCoby Jones from Triple-A Toledo on Friday. Jones, who was the Tigers’ opening day center fielder, started on Saturday and went 1-for-2, “boosting” his average to .151 in 23 MLB games spread over three stints with the Tigers this season. Jones was scuffling before he was hit in the face by a pitch in late April and sent back to the minors. He was hitting .243 with nine homers and 12 steals for Toledo. … Former Picayune High star T.J. House was called up by Toronto on Saturday. The left-hander, 5-7 with a 4.44 ERA in 27 games for Cleveland from 2014-16, was 9-11, 4.72 at Triple-A Buffalo. … Also on Saturday, Seattle placed Southwest Mississippi Community College alum Jarrod Dyson on the 10-day disabled list. Dyson was hitting .340 this month and is at .255 with 28 stolen bases, 56 runs and 30 RBIs in 109 games on the season, his first with the Mariners.
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.
Home runs in back-to-back games, including a walk-off for San Diego on Monday night, is a good sign for Hunter Renfroe, who has been struggling of late. Here’s another: The Mississippi State product from Crystal Springs has walked nine times in his last nine games. He walked twice in his first 30 games this season. Being more selective should translate to being more productive. “He’s making an adjustment back to the league right now and that’s really good to see,” Padres manager Andy Green told The Associated Press. Renfroe’s homer on Monday – on a 3-2 pitch in the 10th inning against Milwaukee’s Oliver Drake – was his seventh of the season and first career walk-off. “That’s pretty special,” Renfroe said. He lifted his average, which had dipped to .200 a few days ago, to .217, and he now has 17 RBIs. He has fanned 43 times in 143 at-bats. In his 11-game MLB debut in 2016, he hit .371 with four homers and five punchouts in 35 at-bats. P.S. Ex-East Central Community College star Tim Anderson (see previous post) was back on the Chicago White Sox’s bench on Monday and is expected to be back in the lineup tonight against the Los Angeles Angels.
The numbers are in. MLB’s Statcast numbers, that is, on Hunter Renfroe’s ginormous home run, the one that went where no ball has gone before – the roof of the Western Metal Supply Co. building beyond the left-field wall at San Diego’s Petco Park. Statcast put the distance of Wednesday night’s blast at 434 feet and the exit velocity of the ball off the bat at 109 mph. “I think we all know he’s got a ton of raw power. I wasn’t expecting that,” Padres manager Andy Green told mlb.com. Former Mississippi State star Renfroe, 6 feet 1, 220 pounds, now has four homers in 21 MLB at-bats, with 12 RBIs and six runs. No doubt there are some old Copiah Academy fans who are saying today, “Oh yeah, we saw this coming.” Renfroe hit a Mississippi private school-record 20 bombs for Copiah as a senior just six short years ago. He hit 15 homers his junior year at the Gallman school. He started slowly at State but flexed his muscles as a junior in 2013, belting 16 homers (while batting .345) and earning All-America honors. He also won the Ferriss Trophy that year and was drafted in the first round by the Padres. He hit 77 minor league homers before crashing The Show on Sept. 21. Elsewhere in MLB: Ole Miss product Seth Smith drove in two runs to help Seattle crush Houston 12-4 and hang 2 games out of an American League wild card berth. … Jarrod Dyson, the former Southwest Mississippi Community College star, got two hits, two runs and his 29th steal of the year as Kansas City beat Minnesota 5-2. But Ned Yost’s Royals were eliminated from AL wild card contention just the same. … The fingerprints of former Mississippi Braves were all over Atlanta’s 12-2 win against Philadelphia. The incredible Freddie Freeman extended his hit streak to 30 games; rookie Dansby Swanson – who can play a little, too – went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs; Daniel Castro had three hits and three RBIs; Mallex Smith scored a run; John Gant threw a scoreless inning; and Rio Ruiz got his first big league knock, a triple. … And a blast from another past: John Jaso’s cycle was the first by a Pittsburgh player since former Jackson Generals star Daryle Ward turned the trick in 2004. Ward had five career triples.
This audition, if that’s what it is, is going rather nicely for Hunter Renfroe. The Crystal Springs native and Mississippi State alum belted two homers and drove in a San Diego rookie record seven runs on Tuesday in a 7-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. “Boy can play,” winning pitcher Paul Clemens, the former Mississippi Braves star, told mlb.com. “Boy can play the game.” Renfroe, who hit 30 bombs in Triple-A this year, is 6-for-17 with three homers and eight RBIs since his call-up. His second homer on Tuesday was a grand slam and came against fellow Mississippian Louis Coleman. Renfroe is wearing No. 71; he figures to have a lower number next season, when he figures to start in right field for the Padres. Elsewhere in MLB: McComb’s Jarrod Dyson, batting leadoff for Kansas City, sparked the Royals’ 4-3, 11-inning win over Minnesota, scoring a run and driving in a run. The Royals remain alive, barely, in the American League wild card race. … Former Ole Miss star Chris Coghlan, bidding for a spot on the Chicago Cubs’ postseason roster, went 2-for-4 with three RBIs in a 6-4 win that eliminated Pittsburgh from postseason contention. Ex-State standout Adam Frazier, having a fine rookie year (.299) for the Pirates, drew a walk and scored a run. … Texas, 93-65 and vying for best record in the AL, beat Milwaukee 6-4, with State product Mitch Moreland contributing a 1-for-4 effort and flawless defense at first base. … UM alum Seth Smith drove in a run for Seattle, but the Mariners squandered a lead and lost to Houston 8-4 in a key game between AL wild card contenders. … In a game that meant essentially nothing, East Central CC alum Tim Anderson went 3-for-5 with his eighth homer to power the Chicago White Sox to a 13-6 victory against Tampa Bay, which got two hits from Meridian CC’s Corey Dickerson. … Boston announced that ex-Ole Miss standout Drew Pomeranz (sore forearm) won’t start again this season and will work out of the bullpen in the postseason — if he makes the roster. Left-hander Pomeranz, who has worked a career-high in innings between San Diego and Boston, is 3-5 with a 4.68 ERA for the Red Sox.