Chris Coghlan started in left field on Monday, and the Ole Miss product must have felt a little out of place. The 33-year-old veteran of 801 big league games was joined in the outfield by two 19-year-olds. The shortstop in front of him was 18. The pitcher Coghlan faced in the bottom of the first inning was 19. Coghlan was in Sloan Park in Mesa, Ariz., suiting up for one of the Chicago Cubs’ two Arizona League teams, the lowest rung in the minors. How’d he get there? Coghlan was released last August by Toronto and was without a job until signing a minor league deal in late March with the Cubs, with whom he won a World Series ring in 2016. He had been sidelined with a shoulder injury until last week. He is on the Triple-A Iowa roster and is playing in the AZL on a rehab assignment. He went 0-for-3 with a walk on Monday and is at .250 with a double, a triple and an RBI in five games all told. The National League’s rookie of the year with Florida back in 2009, Coghlan hit just .200 in 36 games for Toronto in 2017. He is a .258 career hitter in the majors and can play multiple positions. It’ll be interesting to see if this new road leads back to the big leagues. P.S. Also in the AZL on a rehab assignment is ex-Ole Miss star Stuart Turner, who is batting .350 in six games for Cincinnati’s rookie team. Turner, 26, played 37 games in the big leagues last year as a Rule 5 draftee by the Reds. He lost his 40-man roster spot this spring and was sent to Triple-A Louisville, where the catcher played just 12 games before landing on the disabled list in early May.
Ryan Rolison, the first player picked – 22nd overall by Colorado — from Mississippi in this month’s MLB draft, is on the roster of the Grand Junction Rockies but has yet to pitch in the rookie-level Pioneer League. Will Golsan, Rolison’s former Ole Miss teammate and a 26th-round selection by the Rockies, has played for Grand Junction and has some good numbers. The Columbus native is 6-for-13 with a homer and two RBIs. … Nick Sandlin, drafted by Cleveland in the second round out of Southern Miss, made his pro debut on June 18 and threw a scoreless inning for the Arizona League Indians. Sandlin won a national pitcher of the year award as well taking C-USA top pitcher honors and the Ferriss Trophy. … USM alum Luke Reynolds, C-USA player of the year and a 10th-round pick by the Chicago Cubs, has not yet made his debut. … Former Delta State star Zack Shannon, whose 31 homers in 2018 set an all-division state record, is 2-for-10 with no extra base hits in three games for the AZL Diamondbacks. … Ole Miss product Brady Feigl (fifth round by Oakland) pitched for the Vermont Lake Monsters (New York-Penn League) on Thursday night and yielded two runs in an inning of work. … UM alum Nick Fortes (fourth round, Miami) is 1-for-4 with two RBIs in one appearance, on June 16, for Batavia in the NYP League. … On the Marlins’ Gulf Coast League team are former Meridian Community College teammates Davis (Will) Bradshaw and Milton Smith Jr. Bradshaw is 0-for-7 in two games, Smith 1-for-9. … James McArthur, another Ole Miss alum (12th round, Philadelphia), is on the roster of the GCL Phillies West but has not pitched. … Pascagoula High product Willie Joe Garry Jr. made his debut for the GCL Twins on June 19 and went 0-for-4. … Of note: Former Ole Miss standout and erstwhile big leaguer Chris Coghlan is also playing in the AZL, with a Chicago Cubs affiliate. Coghlan, getting his game back in shape after many months off, is 1-for-7 in two games.
Silento Sayles is starting to get on base with more regularity. That’s bad news for catchers in the Arizona League. The former Port Gibson High star, who set a national high school stolen base record in 2013, swiped seven bags in seven tries in a recent four-game stretch for the AZL Indians, Cleveland’s rookie club. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Sayles is batting .295 (.413 on-base percentage) with 11 stolen bases in 12 attempts and 16 runs through 17 games. Though he still has a long way to go, the 19-year-old Sayles is certainly an intriguing prospect. He has shown improvement in his second pro season; he batted just .186 in 31 games in the AZL last season and was 5-for-8 in steals. Cleveland picked Sayles, an outfielder, in the 14th round in 2013 after his amazing senior year at Port Gibson. He batted .541 and stole 103 bases, including a hard-to-imagine 12 in one game. Even Billy Hamilton didn’t do that.
Mississippians Bobby Bradley and Silento Sayles could be a Thunder and Lightning act for the Arizona League Indians. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound Bradley, a third-round pick by Cleveland out of Harrison Central High last month, is batting .351 with a home run, four doubles, nine RBIs and a .541 slugging percentage in nine games. The 5-9, 185-pound Sayles, a 14th-round pick out of Port Gibson High in 2013, is hitting .290 with four stolen bases in five tries and six runs in 10 games. Bradley, a third-team prep All-America selection by Baseball America, is a left-handed power hitter who belted six homers for Harrison Central this season. Sayles, a second-team All-America pick by BA last year, is a burner who set a high school record with 103 stolen bases as a senior. This is his second tour in the rookie level AZL; he hit just .186 with five steals in 31 games in 2013. The AZL Indians are off to an 8-6 start.