14 Aug

prospect watch

It has taken some time, but Joe Gray, Jr., the highly touted Hattiesburg High product, has started to shine in the Milwaukee system. MLB Pipeline recently identified a “surging prospect” for each big league team, and Gray was pegged among the Brewers’ farmhands. “Gray’s speed, outfield arm and power potential always made him a prospect, but it was an open question whether he would hit enough. He seems to have found a good blend of power and flexibility at the plate, leading to more impactful contact,” they wrote. Gray, a second-round pick in 2018 and Milwaukee’s No. 30 prospect, is now in High-A ball. The right-handed hitting outfielder went 4-for-5 for Wisconsin on Friday night and smacked his fifth home run. On the year, at two levels, he has 17 homers and 18 stolen bases. Look for him to reach Double-A Biloxi in 2022. … Ex-Mississippi State and Jackson Prep star Jake Mangum, the New York Mets’ No. 30 prospect, is batting .479 this month at Double-A Binghamton. For the season with the Rumble Ponies, Mangum is hitting .287 with five homers, four triples, 19 doubles and nine steals. … Southern Miss alum Matt Wallner, the No. 13 prospect in Minnesota’s organization, hit his 10th homer Friday and is batting .274 at High-A Cedar Rapids. P.S. Mississippians in the majors got a little homer happy on Friday. DeSoto Central product Austin Riley hit No. 24 for Atlanta; he ought to be getting consideration for MVP. (Two other former Mississippi Braves went deep in Atlanta’s comeback win at Washington: Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson each hit his 21st bomb of the season.) MSU alum Hunter Renfroe hit his 20th for Boston and also made a homer-robbing catch; he ought to be getting consideration for comeback player of the year. Ex-State standout Brent Rooker hit his fifth homer as part of a 4-for-5 night for Minnesota; he’s got his average up to .187.

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