02 Aug

line of night

Competition was stiff for MLB Line of the Night, Mississippi Division. Taylorsville’s Billy Hamilton put up a 4223 (AB-R-H-RBI) on Tuesday, with a homer and a triple, his eighth, which ranks second in the big leagues. Ole Miss product Seth Smith had a 3223 with a double. Jarrod Dyson, the ex-Southwest Mississippi Community College star, produced a 5221 with a stolen base, No. 24 on the year. Former Mississippi State standouts Hunter Renfroe (3220) and Adam Frazier (4030) also put up some numbers worthy of mention. But Line of the Night must go to State product Mitch Moreland, whose 5323 included a double, a homer, his 13th, and a “productive” out that figured prominently in Boston’s crazy 12-10 win against Cleveland. With two outs and one on in the ninth at Fenway Park, the Red Sox down a run, Moreland reached first on a wild-pitch third strike. Christian Vazquez followed with a three-run bomb that beat Indians closer Cody Allen and moved Boston back into first place in the American League East. P.S. Dyson’s stolen base was the 200th of his career. He has an amazing 85 percent success rate. The McComb native ranks third among Mississippians on the all-time steals list, behind Hamilton (228) and Gee Walker (223). … Smith’s big night helped Baltimore beat Kansas City and give Buck Showalter his 1,481st managerial victory. The former State star moved into sole possession of 24th place on the all-time list, ahead of Earl Weaver. … Former Mississippi Braves Lucas Sims and Ozzie Albies debuted for Atlanta on Tuesday. Sims took the loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing three runs in six innings. Albies went 0-for-2 with a run.

19 May

debut alert

Ex-Petal High star Anthony Alford, promoted to the big leagues today by Toronto, is in the starting lineup for tonight’s game at Baltimore, according to mlb.com. He’s batting eighth and playing left field. It might be a one-day visit, but still, it’s The Show. The former Mr. Baseball (and Mr. Football) at Petal is batting .325 with three homers and nine steals at Double-A New Hampshire. He has hit .382 over his last 10 games. Alford, 6 feet 1, 215 pounds, was a third-round pick by the Blue Jays in 2012. After playing football at Southern Miss and then Ole Miss, he turned to baseball full-time in 2015. In 257 minor league games, Alford is batting .273 with 19 homers, 98 RBIs and 65 steals.

14 May

big boys

Keep seeing these references to Aaron Judge’s size, which is an impressive 6 feet 7, 282 pounds. A chart in the May 15-22 Sports Illustrated lists New York Yankees star Judge, Frank Howard (6-7, 255) and Nate Freiman (6-8, 245) as the biggest position players “by a combination of height and weight.” Not sure where this leaves the late Walter Young. The former Purvis High star, who had 10 big league hits, including a homer off R.A. Dickey, with Baltimore in 2005, checked in at 6 feet 5 and somewhere in the vicinity of 315-320 pounds. Some sites listed his weight at much more than that. Young is generally considered the heaviest position player to appear in an MLB game.

10 May

ups and downs

Lot of good stuff happened on Tuesday: Zack Shannon was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Gulf South Conference Tournament after sparking Delta State to a 6-3 win over West Alabama in Cleveland for the program’s 14th conference tourney title. Shannon, a junior college transfer, belted a three-run home run – his 18th — in the third inning to get the ball rolling for DSU, which clinched a berth in the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament. … Atlanta prospect Ronald Acuna hit the first pitch he saw in Double-A out of the park en route to a 3-for-4, three-RBI night as the Mississippi Braves whipped Mobile 9-1 at Trustmark Park. Fellow 19-year-old Kolby Allard (3-1) got the win. … Seth Smith, the former Ole Miss star, went 2-for-4 with his third homer of the year to help Baltimore beat Washington 5-4 in 12 innings for its sixth straight victory. Mississippi State product Buck Showalter’s Orioles have MLB’s best record at 22-10. … Taylorsville High alum Billy Hamilton had two hits, two RBIs and a run as Cincinnati cooled off the New York Yankees 5-3. Hamilton has 15 hits, 14 runs, 10 RBIs and nine steals over his last 10 games while boosting his average some 40 points to .252. … Ex-State standout Tyler Moore was added to Miami’s big league roster, recalled from Triple-A New Orleans. Moore, who didn’t play Tuesday, was 4-for-11 in an earlier stint with the Marlins. … There were a couple of downers: Ole Miss product Drew Pomeranz got lit up in Boston’s 11-7 loss at Milwaukee. He gave up six runs in four innings and fell to 3-2 with a 5.23 ERA on the season. … Ex-State star Hunter Renfroe took an 0-for-3 for San Diego in an 11-0 loss to Texas and saw his average drop to .200. He hasn’t homered since April 26, a span of 10 games. P.S. Nice feature on State slugger Brent Rooker posted today on Baseball America’s web site. The story suggests that Rooker, a 22-year-old senior, has played his way into consideration as a first-day pick in the MLB draft.

08 Apr

that’s the ticket

Jackson native Seth Smith’s first home run for Baltimore was one to remember. His two-run shot in the seventh inning at Camden Yards on Friday capped the Orioles’ rally from a four-run deficit and led to a 6-5 win over the New York Yankees. Smith, an Ole Miss alum, is 3-for-8 for his new team, the fifth he has played for in the majors. Baltimore traded for Smith to boost its on-base efficiency; his power could be a bonus. After being limited by a hamstring issue in spring training, the left-handed hitting Smith appears healthy now. “It’s just fun to be a part of a lineup like this,” he told the Baltimore Sun.

07 Mar

new faces, new places

It has been a quiet spring for Seth Smith. Too quiet. The Jackson native and ex-Ole Miss star is 0-for-9 in four games with his new club, the Baltimore Orioles. But with the team’s World Baseball Classic participants heading out, Smith is expected to play more regularly in the coming days. The O’s host the Dominican Republic team today in Sarasota, Fla. Believe it or not, Smith is 34 and entering his ninth full season in the big leagues. The lefty-hitting outfielder, a .261 career hitter with 113 homers, has gone from Colorado to Oakland to San Diego to Seattle to Baltimore, which traded for him in January. Smith is coming off a productive year: He hit 16 homers and drove in a career-high 63 runs for the Mariners. He batted just .249 but put up a .342 on-base percentage. Smith likely will platoon in right field for Buck Showalter’s O’s, who made the postseason in 2016. … Mississippi State product Mitch Moreland, who also changed teams this year, is also having a quiet spring. Now with American League East heavyweight Boston after seven years in Texas, Moreland is 2-for-11 in Grapefruit League play, with three RBIs. … Jarrod Dyson, the Southwest Mississippi Community College alum, has been more impactful with his new club, Seattle. Dyson, who won a ring with Kansas City in 2015, is 6-for-17 (.353) with two RBIs, two runs and a stolen base for the M’s, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2001.

10 Jan

what’s happening

Louis Coleman is off the market, having signed a minor league contract with Cincinnati. The Greenwood native and ex-Pillow Academy star will contend for a bullpen job with the Reds in spring training. Coleman posted a 4.69 ERA in 61 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016 but was non-tendered last fall. The 30-year-old right-hander has a 3.51 career ERA in 213 MLB games, having begun his career with Kansas City. … Incidentally, the Reds are slated to have five Mississippians in spring camp: Zack Cozart (Ole Miss), Billy Hamilton (Taylorsville), Cody Reed (Northwest Mississippi Community College), Stuart Turner (Ole Miss) and Coleman. Turner was a Rule 5 pick from Minnesota. … Former Hillcrest Christian and Ole Miss standout Cody Satterwhite, who finished his 2016 campaign in Japan, signed as a minor leaguer with Baltimore. Satterwhite, 29, had a 1.80 ERA in 18 games in Triple-A for the Los Angeles Angels before going to Japan. A second-round pick by Detroit in 2008, he has also pitched in the New York Mets’ system but hasn’t made The Show in an injury-dampened career. … From the rumor mill: Southern Miss alum Brian Dozier might be staying in Minnesota; reports are the trade talks with the Los Angeles Dodgers have cooled. UM product Chris Coghlan, fresh off winning the World Series, may be on Philadelphia’s radar; the Phillies are seeking a left-handed bat. … Toronto prospect Anthony Alford, Mr. Baseball and Mr. Football his senior year at Petal High, lost many of his trophies and other memorabilia in a Dec. 28 fire that destroyed his childhood home in Columbia. No one was injured in the blaze, though Alford’s father, mother and sister, who lived in the home, reportedly lost most of their belongings. Alford now lives in Sumrall with his wife, Bailey. … Mississippi State’s Jake Mangum, the 2016 SEC freshman of the year, is ranked 29th in Baseball America’s list of the Top 100 college draft prospects for 2017. The Jackson Prep product, a switch-hitting outfielder who turns 21 in March, batted .408 last year.