07 Nov

precocious talent

Blaze Jordan, the phenom from Southaven, is the centerpiece in a Baseball America story (posted today on the magazine’s web site) about the issue of early – or, more precisely, very early — commitments in the college game. It’s a good read. Jordan is a freshman at DeSoto Central High. He committed to Mississippi State as an 8th-grader. Jordan reportedly has prodigious power, having won a national home run contest in January – at age 14 — with a 504-foot blast at Marlins Park in Miami. He hit two homers in 13 games for the DeSoto varsity last season. He also impressed coaches and scouts during last month’s Perfect Game World Wood Bat Association World Championships in Florida. Jordan’s coach at the event compared him to Mookie Betts, Boston’s star right fielder. Keep in mind, the 6-foot, 215-pound first baseman is in the recruiting – and pro draft – class of 2021. … Also quoted in the BA piece are Hattiesburg High senior Joe Gray, another highly recruited player who committed to Ole Miss last January, and Rebels coach Mike Bianco.

22 Jan

looking up

MLB Network’s list of the top 10 center fielders in the game does not include Billy Hamilton. Rest assured, there are any number of teams that would love to have the Collins native and ex-Taylorsville High star – but he has work to do to crack the list of elite center fielders. Hamilton, in his first full MLB season with Cincinnati, stole 56 bases, scored 72 runs, drove in 49, hit six homers and legged out eight triples in 152 games. In the field, he made just two errors while registering 342 putouts and 10 assists. But Hamilton batted just .250, put up a sub-par .292 on-base percentage and drew just 34 walks while fanning 117 times. The apparent leader in the National League rookie of the year race much of the season, he scuffled late and wound up second to New York pitcher Jacob deGrom. For sure, Hamilton’s speed is off the charts. If he can get on base more in 2015, he just might climb into that top 10 chart heading into 2016. P.S. Connor Barron’s stock may be rising, which is good news for Southern Miss fans. The former Sumrall High star, a third-round MLB draft pick in 2011 who went undrafted last summer, has been rated the No. 8 senior in the country by Perfect Game. Barron was the Texas Collegiate League player of the year last summer after batting .344. The former shortstop, now playing center field for the Golden Eagles, hit .246 (.316 in C-USA play) with four homers and 20 RBIs as a junior. … Also on the rise is Greer Holston, a right-hander at St. Stanislaus High. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound junior reportedly made a big impression on scouts at last weekend’s Under Armour Preseason All-America Tournament in Arizona.