28 Jul

charting the stars

Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies, the keystone combo of the Mississippi Braves, check in at No. 5 and No. 19 in MLBPipeline’s refreshed ranking of the game’s Top 100 prospects. (Baseball America had them at seven and 17 in its midseason Top 100 released earlier this month.) Swanson, the shortstop and 2015 No. 1 overall draft pick (by Arizona), is batting .260 with seven home runs and 38 RBIs in his first Double-A Tour. Albies, who has shifted from short to second base, is batting a sweet .364. Both might be in line for a September appearance in Atlanta. Left-hander Sean Newcomb, 5-7 with a 4.57 ERA for the M-Braves, is ranked 60th in the chart published on mlb.com. Former Biloxi Shuckers Orlando Arcia (13) and Josh Hader (45) are also on the list, as is current Shuckers outfielder Brett Phillips (78). Mississippi State alum Hunter Renfroe, having a huge year at Triple-A El Paso (San Diego system), is ranked No. 52. Ex-Northwest Mississippi Community College star Cody Reed, currently pitching in the big leagues – and scuffling — with Cincinnati, is No. 59, and Harrison Central High product Bobby Bradley (in A-ball with Cleveland) is 82nd. P.S. Ex-Petal High standout Anthony Alford, one of Toronto’s top prospects, isn’t in the mlb.com Top 100; he’s 86th in the BA ranking. He has had a rough year that has included two stints on the disabled list. But, the 22-year-old outfielder is heating up, batting .371 over his last 10 games. He had three hits (two triples and a double) for Class A Dunedin on Wednesday and is at .217 with four homers, 26 RBIs and 12 steals for the year. He batted .298 in 2015, his first full pro season. “This season has been a good learning season for me because I’ve never had to deal with failure,” the former Mr. Baseball told milb.com.

29 Apr

feeling a draft

Mississippi State’s Dakota Hudson, who notched his sixth win of the year on Thursday, is ranked No. 10 on MLBPipeline’s latest list of the Top 100 draft prospects. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound right-hander has “the look of a frontline starter.” He wasn’t razor sharp against Alabama but went five innings, yielding six hits and three earned runs with four strikeouts in the Bulldogs’ 12-5 win. Hudson, who emerged as a prospect last summer in the Cape Cod League, is 6-3 with a 3.00 ERA and 74 K’s in 72 innings. Ole Miss ace Brady Bramlett, who is actually having a better year than Hudson, didn’t make the MLBPipeline list. Bramlett left after 3 1/3 innings of the Rebels’ 7-6 win against LSU on Thursday, having yielded seven hits and three earned runs, but for the season is 6-2, 2.61 with 73 K’s in 58 2/3 innings. Bramlett was drafted in the 22nd round by Oakland in 2015; he should go higher this summer. The only other Mississippian on the MLBPipeline list is George County High’s Walker Robbins, who checks in at 91. The State signee, a lefty-hitting first baseman who also pitches, is batting .469 with three homers and is 5-1, 0.46 on the mound. … Hudson was rated No. 19 by Baseball America in its March 10 draft prospect list. Ole Miss shortstop Errol Robinson, who has had a down year, was No. 57 and Oxford High catcher Thomas Dillard was No. 82.

02 Feb

lists and stuff

Former Petal High star Anthony Alford leads a group of five Mississippi-connected players appearing in MLBPipeline’s Top 100 minor league prospects list for 2016. Alford, an outfielder in the Toronto system who gave up football at Ole Miss last year to focus on pro baseball, is ranked No. 42. East Central Community College product Tim Anderson (shortstop, Chicago White Sox) is No. 47; Horn Lake High and Northwest Mississippi CC alum Cody Reed (left-hander, Cincinnati) is No. 66; former Copiah Academy and Mississippi State standout Hunter Renfroe (outfielder, San Diego) is No. 92; and Harrison Central High product Bobby Bradley (first baseman, Cleveland) is No. 93. Renfroe is the only one among the five that has reached the Triple-A level. The full Top 100 list is on mlb.com. … Ex-Pillow Academy star Louis Coleman has been taken off of Kansas City’s 40-man roster and designated for assignment. … Ole Miss is ranked 16th in the Sporting News preseason poll that appears in the magazine’s 2016 Baseball Yearbook. The Rebels are the only state school appearing in that poll. … Defending MHSAA Class 5A champion Oxford High (35-1 in 2015) is ranked No. 3 in the Perfect Game preseason prep poll that appears in the Sporting News yearbook. Senior Jason Barber, the state’s 2015 Gatorade player of the year and a MaxPreps preseason All-America pick, is the star on a loaded club that also includes Grae Kessinger (grandson of ex-big leaguer Donnie) and Ben Bianco (son of Ole Miss coach Mike). Oxford plays Amory and Center Hill on Feb. 20 in a home jamboree. … Walker Robbins of George County is a third-team All-America pick by Perfect Game.

27 Jan

future stars

The Atlanta Braves are all about the future, and former DeSoto Central High star Austin Riley could be a big part of that future. After a smashing pro debut, Riley has been rated the sixth-best third base prospect by MLBPipeline, which says he might have been “the steal of the 2015 Draft.” Riley was picked 41st overall by the Braves and proceeded to hit .304 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs in 60 games at two levels. He made 16 errors, but that’s not a red flag at this point. Still just 18, Riley goes 6 feet 2, 230 pounds and has a strong arm. It’ll be a couple years before he gets to Double-A Mississippi (and perhaps a couple more before he makes The Show), but for Braves fans, that’s something to daydream about. … Ke’Bryan Hayes, son of Hattiesburg native and ex-big leaguer Charlie Hayes, is No. 5 on the third base prospect list, which is published on mlb.com. Hayes, a Texas native, is in the Pittsburgh system. … Riley is the third Mississippian to appear on an MLBPipeline top 10 prospect list: Harrison Central alum Bobby Bradley (Cleveland) made it at first base and Northwest Mississippi Community College product Cody Reed (Cincinnati) is on the left-handed pitcher chart. … Ex-East Central CC star Tim Anderson, who could be on the shortstop prospect list when it is released today, has gotten an invitation to the Chicago White Sox’s big league spring camp. Anderson hit .312 with five homers, 46 RBIs, 79 runs and 49 stolen bases for Double-A Birmingham in 2015.

03 Aug

cream of crop

Mississippi high school products dominated MLBPipeline.com’s Prospect Team of the Week for July 27-Aug. 2. The 10-member team includes DeSoto Central’s Austin Riley (who hit .393 with three homers and 13 RBIs for Atlanta’s Gulf Coast League team) at third base; Harrison Central’s Bobby Bradley (.381, four, nine in A-ball for Cleveland) at first base; and Richton’s JaCoby Jones (.409, three, eight in Double-A for Pittsburgh and Detroit) at shortstop. Also on the team is former Mississippi Braves star Jose Peraza (.435, six runs in Triple-A for Atlanta and the Los Angeles Dodgers) at second base. P.S. Ole Miss product Christian Trent and East Mississippi Community College alum LeDarious Clark will be on opposing sides in Tuesday’s Pioneer League-Northwest League All-Star Game at Spokane, Wash. This is the first All-Star matchup between the two short-season Class A leagues. Trent, a left-hander picked in the 24th round in June by Milwaukee, is 2-1 with a 4.01 ERA in seven appearances for Helena of the PL. Outfielder Clark, a 12th-rounder by Texas, is batting .307 with eight homers, 20 RBIs and 19 steals for Spokane of the NWL. Clark, currently in the throes of a 2-for-36 slump, was pulled from a game last week for not running out a pop-up but was back in the lineup the next day.