25 Jan

looking ahead

There is perhaps no Mississippian in the minors who’ll be more compelling to watch in 2022 than Blaze Jordan. The 19-year-old Southaven native, who just completed his first season of pro ball in 2021, is one of the top prospects in Boston’s Winter Warm-Up program, underway this week in Fort Myers, Fla. A power-hitting prodigy, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Jordan was drafted in 2020 out of DeSoto Central High and debuted last summer, batting .324 with six homers and 26 RBIs in 28 games between the rookie Florida Complex League and Low-A Salem. The Red Sox were pleased with Jordan’s adjustment to the pro life. “It’s a lot to handle for a young player, and I think Blaze showed the ability to do all those things,” Red Sox farm director Brian Abraham told Boston-based eagletribune.com. Jordan, the Red Sox’s No 9 prospect per mlb.com, played mostly third base in 2021 but also saw time at first. The club reportedly wants him to continue to get fitter and faster. He’ll likely stay in A-ball this season. P.S. Curious to see how much support Jonathan Papelbon gets in the Hall of Fame voting, which will be revealed today. The Mississippi State alum, eligible for the first time, has 368 saves, a 2.44 ERA, six All-Star Game nods and a World Series ring. But it’s a very crowded and complicated ballot. … How would Deion Sanders’ career have played out had he devoted all of his time and energy to baseball? It would have been fun to see. Ex-MSU star Buck Showalter managed Sanders in the minors and told mlb.com’s Mike Lupica that Sanders had “a level of speed unlike I ever saw on a ballfield.” Sanders, a Pro Football Hall of Fame member and currently Jackson State’s football coach, batted .263 with 39 homers, 186 stolen bases and 43 triples in nine years (641 games) in the majors, rarely playing regularly. He “could impact a game in so many different ways, people would’ve lost count,” said Showalter, the veteran big league skipper recently hired by the New York Mets.

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