Even though he had filled his role admirably, Tyler Moore was designated for assignment by Miami on Monday. The Marlins had to clear a roster spot for former Mississippi Braves star Martin Prado to return from the disabled list. Moore, the Northwest Rankin, Meridian Community College and Mississippi State product, was the odd man out in the numbers game. He was 4-for-11 with an RBI, used primarily as a right-handed pinch hitter. Moore is a .230 career hitter with 24 home runs in 285 big league games; 10 of those homers came with Washington in 2012, his rookie season. He may wind up at Triple-A New Orleans. … Also popping up on Monday’s MLB Transactions page were ex-State standout Kendall Graveman and Ole Miss alum David Goforth. Oakland put Graveman on the 10-day disabled list with a shoulder strain. He is 2-0 with 3.00 ERA in three starts; reports indicate he’ll only miss one turn. Goforth, who was DFA’d by Milwaukee on April 14, was reassigned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. He got into one game, throwing a clean inning, for Milwaukee during his brief call-up. He has a 5.94 ERA in 36 1/3 innings in the majors.
Good day for Tyler Moore, who is trying to earn a roster spot with the Miami Marlins. Not so good for Scott Copeland, who is trying to do the same thing. Mississippi State product Moore hit two home runs in his two at-bats on Wednesday, giving him five for the spring. Southern Miss product Copeland got the start against the New York Mets at Port St. Lucie, Fla., and faced 15 batters. Nine of them reached base and six scored. Moore, 30, is an MLB-seasoned right-handed hitting first baseman/outfielder who spent last year in the minors with Atlanta. He signed a minor league deal with Miami in the off-season and is batting .282 this spring. Copeland, 29, who has limited big league experience and also spent 2016 in the minors (and Korea), would appear to face longer odds of sticking than Moore. The right-hander has made six appearances in the Grapefruit League and, despite a 2-0 record, has a 9.00 ERA.
Former DeSoto Central High standout Austin Riley got to rub elbows with the Atlanta big leaguers over the weekend and apparently did not look out of place. Riley, 19, a supplemental first-round pick by the Braves in 2015, went 2-for-2 in a Grapefruit League game on Saturday and 0-for-2 with a walk on Sunday. Braves manager Brian Snitker was impressed. “I’ve heard a lot about him, seen him in Instructional League. He’s a man. I mean, that’s real-deal right there,” Snitker, the former Mississippi Braves manager, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Riley, 6 feet 3, 220 pounds, is rated the No. 8 third base prospect in the minors by MLB Pipeline and is a consensus top 15 in the Braves’ stacked system, which is rated No. 1 overall by MLB Pipeline and Baseball America. Riley played at the low Class A level in 2016, batting .271 with 20 homers in his first full year in Atlanta’s system, and he has 32 homers in 189 pro games. He figures to start 2017 with the high-A Florida Fire Frogs in the Florida State League and arrive at Double-A Mississippi next season, though that timetable can certainly change. As highly regarded as he is, Riley isn’t one of the seven Braves players ranked among the top 100 prospects by MLB Pipeline. That list does include 2016 M-Braves Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies and Sean Newcomb. “It’s pretty neat what the future’s going to look like here,” Snitker told the AJC. P.S. Tyler Moore is making a strong bid to stick with Miami. The Mississippi State product from Brandon smacked his third homer of the spring on Sunday and is batting .462. Limited by injuries in 2016, the right-handed hitting first baseman hit three homers in 25 games for Triple-A Gwinnett in the Braves’ organization. He signed a minor league deal with the Marlins in the off-season. Moore has 24 MLB homers spread over four seasons, all with Washington.
After an unproductive year in Atlanta’s system, Tyler Moore has moved on to Miami. The former Northwest Rankin High, Meridian Community College and Mississippi State slugger signed a minor league contract with the Marlins on Tuesday. The initial reports did not indicate whether the right-handed hitting first baseman/outfielder will get an invite to big league spring training. Moore, who hit 24 homers in 277 games over four seasons with Washington, was on the disabled list much of 2016 after the Braves acquired him in a trade. He batted .229 with three homers in 25 games for Triple-A Gwinnett. The Marlins appear set at first base with Justin Bour and have Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna at the corner outfield spots. But Moore could provide power off the bench.
Joe Gray, the highly touted junior at Hattiesburg High, is featured in a story currently posted on Baseball America’s website. Gray is playing on an elite travel team, the EvoShield Canes, with a group of seniors. Gray, a 6-foot-2, 194-pound outfielder, hit .474 with seven homers, 45 RBIs, 11 steals and 12 assists as a sophomore last year for Hattiesburg, helping the Tigers reach the Class 5A finals. He hit .380 as a freshman. Gray, who has not committed to a college, figures to be a high MLB draft pick in 2018. … Fall ball is in the air in Oxford, where the Rebels scrimmaged last Friday. Ole Miss, 43-19 and an NCAA Regional participant in 2016, returns infielders Tate Blackman, Colby Bortles and Will Golsan and reliever Will Stokes. Among the newcomers are freshmen Grae Kessinger, Jason Barber, Thomas Dillard and Houston Roth from powerhouse Oxford High. … Wyatt Short and Trent Giambrone – 2016 draftees out of Mississippi colleges by the Chicago Cubs – helped short-season Class A Eugene win the Northwest League pennant. Left-hander Short, a 13th-round pick from Ole Miss, where he was a standout closer, had a 0.00 ERA and seven saves in 15 games; he got the save in the final game of the title series. Second baseman Giambrone, a 25th-rounder out of Delta State, batted .292 with four homers and 22 RBIs for the Emeralds. … Blake Anderson, a supplemental first-round pick in 2014 out of West Lauderdale High, is on Miami’s Instructional League roster as a rehabbing player. The catcher played only one game this season, going on the disabled list with a shoulder injury on July 7. He has played only 58 games over three seasons. … Bryant Nelson, at age 42, is having a nice season in the independent Atlantic League. The switch-hitting second baseman/outfielder is batting .279 with 49 RBIs and 13 stolen bases for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. For fans of the old Jackson Generals — the ones who played at Smith-Wills Stadium from 1991-99 — the name might ring a bell. Nelson is the last link to a bygone era — the only former General still playing. (Freddy Garcia pitched briefly for Monterrey in the Mexican League this season but is not currently on the roster.) Nelson’s pro baseball odyssey began when Houston drafted him in the 44th round in 1993. He made the Generals’ roster in the 1996 postseason as an injury replacement and helped the Gens win the Texas League championship. Nelson has played in 2,463 pro games, according to baseball-reference.com, and gotten 2,632 hits. He has played in Mexico, Japan and Italy and even made it to the big leagues for 25 games with Boston in 2002.
Former Vancleave High star Colin Bray, a birthday boy on Saturday, celebrated with a pair of home runs for Class A Visalia in the Arizona organization. Bray, a 23-year-old center fielder, has scuffled a bit this year at the high-A level. He told milb.com it has been a good test and he’ll be better for it. Considered a rising prospect, Bray now has a four-game hit streak that has lifted his average to .241, with three homers, 26 RBIs and 34 runs in 64 games. He is a .283 hitter over his four-year pro career. Arizona picked Bray in the sixth round out of an Alabama junior college in 2013. P.S. St. Louis has signed all three of its picks from Mississippi in this year’s draft. Mississippi State’s Dakota Hudson, drafted 34th overall as the first Magnolia State player to be called, signed for a cool $2 million, it was announced on Saturday. The Cardinals also signed Hudson’s teammate Austin Sexton (18th round) on Saturday and earlier in the week inked Walker Robbins (fifth round) from George County High. All three figure to debut in the rookie Gulf Coast League. … Last year’s top pick from the state, DeSoto Central product Austin Riley, is batting .256 with three homers at 26 RBIs for Rome, Atlanta’s low Class A club. The top pick from 2014, Blake Anderson out of West Lauderdale, made his 2016 debut on Saturday, going 0-for-4 for Batavia, a short-season Class A team in Miami’s system. Anderson batted .220 with two homers at Batavia in 2015.
For a major league hitter, there’s no place like Coors Field. Corey Dickerson certainly seemed to enjoy playing there, batting .355 with 24 home runs in 122 games at Coors for the Colorado Rockies. Traded by the Rockies to the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, the former Brookhaven Academy and Meridian Community College star is now entering a brave new world. His new home, Tropicana Field, is a much more pitcher-friendly park. The left-handed hitting left fielder is a .249 hitter with 15 homers (in 143 games) away from Coors Field. But the Rays, who gave up reliever Jake McGee to get Dickerson, don’t seem overly concerned. As Matt Silverman, Rays president of baseball operations, told mlb.com: “We believe in the skill set that Corey has and that it will translate to our ballpark and will really play to any ballpark in the league.” The trade also gives Tampa Bay a glut of outfielders, including three others that have played primarily in left: ex-Itawamba CC star Desmond Jennings, Brandon Guyer and Steve Pearce. There has been chatter for weeks that Jennings, coming off two injury-plagued seasons, might be moved. He is a career .249 hitter with 48 homers and 93 steals. P.S. Taylorsville High product Billy Hamilton, who had surgery on a torn labrum last fall, recently told mlb.com: “I’m not 100 percent yet, but close to it. We had a schedule to be ready right around spring training. As of right now, we’re on track to make that happen.” Hamilton, perhaps the fastest player in the game, stole 57 bases for Cincinnati but hit just .226 and lost his leadoff role last year. Injuries limited him to 114 games. … There have been reports that Miami is interested in 37-year-old left-hander Cliff Lee, the former Meridian CC standout who missed all of last season with an arm problem.