Pascagoula native Tony Sipp, a free agent coming off a strong 2015 season, “could wind up being a real shrewd pickup this winter,” a CBS Sports article notes. Sipp, a 32-year-old left-hander, posted a 1.99 ERA for playoff-participant Houston last season and has a 3.50 over seven MLB campaigns. But he isn’t being mentioned with the top relievers on the market; the CBS Sports piece makes the case that he should be. The New York Mets are among the teams projected to be a good fit. … Washington reportedly wants to deal troublesome closer Jonathan Papelbon, who had a 2.13 ERA and 24 saves between the Nationals and Philadelphia in 2015. But Mississippi State product Papelbon is 35, will make $11 million next season and has a broad no-trade clause. So, good luck with that. … There are also rumors that Texas might be open to dealing Mitch Moreland, the former State star from Amory. The Rangers are seeking a right-handed hitter. Lefty Moreland hit .278 with 23 homers and 85 RBIs in 2015 and earned AMB’s Cool Papa Bell Award (see previous post). … Right-hander Lucas Sims, a standout for the Mississippi Braves last summer, was rated the No. 19 prospect in the Arizona Fall League by mlb.com, which raved about his curveball. Sims, Atlanta’s top pick in 2012, was 0-0 with a 2.12 ERA in six games (five starts) in the AFL, fanning 17 in 17 innings for Peoria. He made nine starts for the M-Braves after a mid-season promotion and looked sharp (4-2, 3.21). He could start 2016 in Pearl, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to seem him open at Triple-A Gwinnett. … MSU product Adam Frazier was selected as the second baseman on the All-Premier 12 team. Frazier, who plays in the Pittsburgh system, batted over .300 for Team USA, which finished runner-up to South Korea in the international tournament played in Taiwan and Japan. … Bobby Bradley, a lefty-hitting first baseman, smacked 27 homers in 110 games in A-ball in 2015, but Cleveland officials believe he can get stronger. Still only 19, the ex-Harrison Central High star is listed at 6 feet 1, 225 pounds. “One thing he’s been really focused on, especially last season, was his body from a strength and conditioning standpoint,” Cleveland director of player development Carter Hawkins told mlb.com. Bradley is a consensus top 10 prospect in the Indians’ system.
Key at-bats by Adam Frazier and Tyler Pastornicky and a strong start from Zeke Spruill, familiar names all, helped Team USA beat Mexico 6-1 in the semifinals of the Premier 12 tournament in Tokyo, Baseball America reports. The American squad will play South Korea on Saturday for the championship of the international event. Ex-Mississippi State star Frazier, a Pittsburgh farmhand, was named the game’s MVP; he drove in the game-tying run with a hit in a five-run fourth inning. Pastornicky, a former Mississippi Braves standout, contributed a sac fly, and Spruill, another M-Braves alum now in the Boston system, threw five strong innings for the win. Brett Phillips, who played for the Biloxi Shuckers this season, also is on the Team USA roster.
Adam Frazier’s off-season work took him first to Arizona and then to Taiwan. Mississippi State product Frazier is on the U.S. team for the Premier 12 international tournament and has continued to swing a hot bat. Frazier had three hits in a 10-0 win over Mexico on Thursday after getting two hits and two RBIs in an 11-5 victory against the Dominican Republic on Tuesday. Frazier, a lefty-hitting middle infielder, batted .321 with four RBIs and six runs in seven Arizona Fall League games. He hit .324 with 30 RBIs and 59 runs in 103 games for Double-A Altoona in the Pittsburgh system this past season. The U.S. team, which also includes Ole Miss alum Cody Satterwhite, is 2-1 in the Premier 12, a big-time event on the world stage. P.S. Add Alex Presley to the list of Mississippi-connected players on the minor league free agent market. Outfielder Presley, 30, spent most of 2015 at Triple-A Fresno, where he hit .292; the ex-Ole Miss star got just 12 MLB at-bats with Houston. … Finally cleared to work – and play — in the U.S., Cuban outfielder Dian Toscano could be headed to the Mississippi Braves next spring. Toscano, 26, a lefty hitter with more speed than power, signed with Atlanta last January but did not play in 2015 as he awaited employment approval. He apparently has played very little the last two years, so some Double-A seasoning might be in order.
JaCoby Jones, the former Mr. Baseball from Richton, heads a group of Mississippi-connected players named to the Arizona Fall League’s Fall Stars Game. Jones, a shortstop in Detroit’s system currently batting .304 with two homers for Scottsdale, is on the East roster. The West includes 2015 Mississippi Braves starter Lucas Sims and two Biloxi Shuckers alums, outfielder Michael Reed and closer Damien Magnifico. Magnifico had a magnificent run with Milwaukee’s Double-A team last summer, moving into the bullpen and going 4-1 with 20 saves and a 1.17 ERA in 42 appearances. The Fall Stars Game is set for Saturday at 7 p.m. CST and will be televised by MLB Network. … Connor Lien, expected to contend for an outfield spot with the M-Braves next spring, is scuffling in the AFL. He is hitting .171 with a homer, 18 strikeouts and two walks in 41 at-bats for Peoria. Still, Baseball America’s Bill Ballew calls Lien “one of my top sleepers in the organization.” … Jackson native and Ole Miss alumnus Cody Satterwhite, a veteran minor league pitcher, is on the U.S. roster for the first Premier 12 international tournament set for Nov. 8-21. Pool play is in Taiwan and Japan with the semifinals and finals in Tokyo. According to Baseball America, Premier 12 is the top senior event for the International Baseball Federation, now re-branded as the World Baseball Softball Confederation. Satterwhite, currently a New York Mets farmhand, is joined on the American squad by former M-Braves star Tyler Pastornicky and Biloxi Shuckers alum Brett Phillips. … Tampa Bay released former Jackson State catcher Jovany Felipe, who batted .182 in rookie ball this summer after signing as an undrafted free agent. … The Belhaven-William Carey rivalry apparently is no more. With the Blazers moving to NCAA Division III, their 2016 schedule does not include the NAIA Crusaders, their longtime rivals in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference and Southern States Athletic Conference. BU will play Maloney Trophy rivals Millsaps and Mississippi College next season. Carey is playing NCAA D-II’s Delta State and MC in 2016, as well as NAIA Tougaloo.