Jarrod Dyson – and the Seattle Mariners – got some bad news on Monday when it was revealed that the M’s center fielder would have season-ending surgery for an apparent sports hernia. The Southwest Mississippi Community College product from McComb hit .251 with five homers, 30 RBIs, 56 runs and 28 steals in 111 games. He also had 11 outfield assists. The Mariners, still in the American League wild card hunt, will no doubt miss Dyson. “When he was healthy, he did a lot for us in the outfield defense-wise and what he can do on the bases, that’s his game,” Seattle manager Scott Servais told the Seattle Times. Dyson, 33, is a free agent at the end of this season. He joins a sizable list of Mississippians in the majors who have suffered significant injuries this season. Billy Hamilton and Bobby Wahl are also out for the year, and Kendall Graveman, Tony Sipp, Brandon Woodruff, Zack Cozart and Adam Frazier missed chunks of time. Woodruff’s big league debut was delayed by a pregame injury. Anthony Alford, called up by Toronto on May 19, went on the DL on May 24, was optioned back to the minors on July 25 and hasn’t been back up. JaCoby Jones also was knocked out of the big leagues by an injury, though he is with Detroit again now.
In Baseball America’s recent rankings of the Best Tools in the major leagues, Aaron Hicks, Kevin Kiermaier and Alex Gordon were 1-2-3 in the American League’s Best Outfield Arm category. In the NL, it was Yoenis Cespedes, Mississippi’s own Hunter Renfroe and Yasiel Puig. The MLB leader in outfield assists is … none of the above. Jarrod Dyson, the ex-Southwest Mississippi Community College star from McComb, tops that list with 11. The Seattle center fielder got one on Tuesday night, cutting down Baltimore’s Manny Machado at the plate in the Mariners’ 3-1 victory in a meeting of AL playoff contenders. Dyson has 47 assists in his eight-year career, and he hasn’t played regularly for much of that time. Dyson did show up in three of the Baseball America Best Tools rankings, which are based on a poll of managers, coaches and scouts. He was the AL’s Best Bunter – he put down a nice sacrifice on Tuesday – and ranked second in Best Baserunner and Fastest Baserunner. … It’s impressive that the names of four Mississippi natives show up in the rankings. In addition to Dyson and Crystal Springs’ Renfroe, Taylorsville’s Billy Hamilton was No. 1 in the NL’s Fastest Baserunner – duh – and Best Baserunner categories and No. 3 in Best Defensive Outfielder, and Amory’s Mitch Moreland was second in the AL’s Best Defensive First Baseman chart. P.S. East Central CC product Tim Anderson led off with a first-pitch home run against Alex Wood in Tuesday night’s Chicago White Sox-Los Angeles Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium. It was Anderson’s 14th homer and fifth in nine games. It was the only run former Mississippi Braves ace Wood would allow in seven innings, but he took a no-decision in the Dodgers’ 6-1 win. He is 14-1 for a team that is now a jaw-dropping 84-34. … Ole Miss alum Colby Bortles homered in the New York-Penn League All-Star Game in York, N.Y. Bortles has only one homer in 35 regular season games for Connecticut in the Detroit system. A 2017 draftee, he is batting .273 with 15 RBIs.
Gotta love this comment from Jarrod Dyson: “I want to take that job and run with it.” The ex-Southwest Mississippi Community College star was talking to an mlb.com writer about being Seattle’s everyday left fielder and leadoff batter. And of course, running is what Dyson does best. He has 176 stolen bases (and 211 runs) in 550 career MLB games. And he tracks down virtually everything in the outfield. The Mariners, who traded for Dyson in the off-season, want him to play every day. Manager Scott Servais has said the team is better with Dyson at the top of the lineup. The key will be how well the left-handed hitting Dyson fares against lefty pitching. He is a .231 career hitter against lefties, .260 overall with a .325 on-base percentage. The Royals used Dyson a lot as a pinch runner, pinch hitter and defensive replacement, and he played a key role in their World Series trips in 2014 and ’15. He had hopes of winning a regular job last spring but was derailed by an injury. Now the Mariners are going to give him another shot at full-time duty. The McComb native has had a great spring: .343, five steals. The former 50th-round draft pick is 32 but showing no signs of slowing down. He hit .278 with 30 bags for the Royals last summer.
Having traded away a Mississippian today, Seattle then dealt for one. Welcome to the Mariners, Jarrod Dyson. The M’s, who earlier shipped lefty-hitting outfielder Seth Smith to Baltimore for pitcher Yovani Gallardo, traded pitcher Nathan Karns to Kansas City for Dyson, another lefty-hitting outfielder. Dyson’s game is more about speed and defense than Smith’s (see previous post). The ex-Southwest Mississippi Community College standout has 176 steals over parts of seven MLB campaigns; he’s a .260 career hitter who can play any of the outfield spots. He put up good numbers in a reserve role in 2016: .278, 14 doubles, eight triples, 25 RBIs, 46 runs and 30 steals in 107 games. Kansas City is the only club Dyson has played for.
Two days after Billy Hamilton’s jaw-dropping catch, fellow Mississippi native Jarrod Dyson took his turn. Dyson, whose speed rivals Hamilton’s, robbed Miami’s Christian Yelich of a home run with a wall-climbing catch Thursday at Marlins Park, helping resurgent Kansas City snag a 5-2 win. Dyson’s catch, hailed as the first home run-stealing catch at revamped Marlins Park, came in the first inning. Playing center field, the former Southwest Mississippi Community College star from McComb traveled 97.9 feet and reached 19.8 mph, according to Statcast data, and then had to plant a foot in the wall to propel his 5-foot-10 body upward for the catch. Taylorsville native Hamilton, with Cincinnati, traveled farther and ran faster for his diving catch (see previous post), but Dyson’s was impressive in its own right. “I was totally amazed,” Royals manager Ned Yost, the former Jackson Mets catcher, told mlb.com. Dyson, used a lot as a defensive replacement as well as a pinch runner and pinch hitter, has 130 putouts with just one error and eight assists in 70 games in the outfield. “That’s just part of the game right there,” Dyson said. “I’m a guy that doesn’t play every day, so my defense has got to be there every day.” He is batting .244 with 27 runs and 18 steals in 82 games overall. The Royals, who looked lost a few weeks ago, have won 10 of 11 and are just 4 games back in the American League wild card chase and 6.5 games back in the AL Central.
Things have not gone according to plan for Jarrod Dyson. He was supposed to play every day in 2016 as Kansas City’s right fielder. The former Southwest Mississippi Community College star, entering his seventh MLB season, deserved that shot. Everybody said so. Then Dyson got hurt (strained oblique), on his first at-bat of spring training. The Royals’ season was well underway when he returned. He got his start the latter part of April and hit .303 for the month. But then he began to slump. By mid-May he was at .215, and Paulo Orlando was hitting. Even when left fielder Alex Gordon went down with injuries, Dyson’s playing time wasn’t regular as rookie Brett Eibner stepped in. Now center fielder Lorenzo Cain is hurt. Dyson started in center on Wednesday – his 38th start — and went 2-for-4 with two walks in the 3-2, 12-inning win over St. Louis. He still sees a fair amount of playing time in his old role: pinch runner/defensive replacement/pinch hitter. And maybe that suits both him and the defending world champion Royals (41-36), who have rebounded from their sluggish start. Dyson, in 127 at-bats, is hitting .260 with 16 runs, 12 steals and seven assists in 51 games. P.S. Billy Hamilton’s season has run a little off-kilter, as well. On Wednesday, the former Taylorsville High standout was struck in the face by a deflected ball in the outfield and had to leave Cincinnati’s game. Reports seemed to indicate he is fine, though it would not be a surprise if he missed today’s game. Hamilton, batting .255, was on the concussion disabled list from June 10-16 and also missed three days while on the bereavement list. He had a shoulder injury at the end of 2015 that impacted his spring training work.
Jarrod Dyson, the former Southwest Mississippi Community College star from McComb, experienced some disappointment on Wednesday, suffering an injury in his first at-bat of the spring with Kansas City. Dyson, 31, is expected to be a regular — in right field — for the first time in his seven big league seasons. Speculation is the strained right oblique will keep him out about two weeks, maybe more. Dyson is a career .255 hitter with 146 steals and is a plus-defender. … There were some notable bright spots on Wednesday for Mississippians in spring camps. Former Richton High standout JaCoby Jones homered for Detroit. In that same game, Mississippi State product Adam Frazier picked up a hit and an RBI for Pittsburgh, and fellow State alum Ed Easley had a walk and a run. In another Detroit split-squad game, ex-Ole Miss standout Will Allen, summoned from the minor league camp, got a base hit. Itawamba CC product Desmond Jennings went 1-for-2 with a couple of RBIs for Tampa Bay. Northwest CC’s Cody Reed worked two innings for Cincinnati, yielding one earned run and fanning two. Ole Miss alum Seth Smith was 2-for-2 with a run for Seattle, and in that same game former State star Hunter Renfroe got two hits for San Diego. Ex-UM standout Chris Ellis, in his first appearance for Atlanta, threw two scoreless innings. Also worth noting from that Braves game: Mississippi Braves alum Mallex Smith swatted two triples and a home run.