06 Dec

changing course

Having stalled in the low minors in Milwaukee’s system, ex-Hattiesburg High star Joe Gray Jr. will get a fresh start in 2024 with Kansas City. The 23-year-old outfielder was the first pick in the minor league phase of today’s Rule 5 draft. A second-round pick in MLB’s amateur draft in 2018 and a top 10 prospect with the Brewers as recently as 2022, Gray has batted .218 with 51 home runs and 66 steals in five pro seasons, only briefly reaching Double-A. Promoted to Biloxi in May of this past season, Gray went 2-for-37 with 17 strikeouts and one walk in 10 games before being sent back to A-ball. Gray is listed on Kansas City’s Triple-A Omaha roster but is likely to be tested at Double-A Northwest Arkansas in the Texas League next season. … Former Southern Miss star Dustin Dickerson and Magee High product Brennon McNair played in A-ball in the Kansas City chain in 2023. P.S. Former Moss Point High and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College standout Tony Sipp is among the ex-major leaguers already committed to play in The East-West Classic: A Tribute to the Negro Leagues All-Star Game in Cooperstown, N.Y., next May 25. Scott and Jerry Hairston Jr., grandsons of Crawford native and former Negro Leagues star Sam Hairston, also are on the initial rosters. The National Baseball Hall of Fame will open “The Souls of the Game: Voices of Black Baseball” exhibit on Memorial Day weekend.

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