12 May

in other news …

It wasn’t the debut everyone was talking about on Saturday, but it was significant just the same. J.T. Ginn, the former Mississippi State standout from Brandon, struck out 10 batters and allowed one run in six innings in his first start for Triple-A Las Vegas in the Oakland system. The 24-year-old right-hander, in his fourth pro season, threw 99 pitches, allowed just four hits and two walks and finished his outing with a punchout. The lone run scored with two outs in the sixth, when former Mississippi College star Blaine Crim delivered an RBI knock for Round Rock, which went on to win the game 4-3. Ginn was 4-1 with a 4.15 ERA in six Double-A starts this season. Drafted by the New York Mets in the second round in 2020 (and later traded to Oakland), Ginn has been limited by injuries to 45 pro games. It appears he has regained the form that made him such a prized amateur prospect. (BTW: Ginn’s alma mater, Brandon High, knocked out Northwest Rankin on Saturday and advanced to the MHSAA Class 7A championship series.) P.S. Kudos to the state’s Big 4 Division I schools: Southern Miss walloped Arkansas State 19-3 as Slade Wilks hit two big homers; Mississippi State whipped third-ranked Arkansas (and ex-Lewisburg High star Brady Tygart) 8-5 with Dakota Jordan homering again; Ole Miss crushed No. 2 Texas A&M 10-2 behind the arms of Liam Doyle and Josh Mallitz; and Jackson State knocked off Bethune-Cookman 5-0 as Erick Gonzalez and two relievers combined on a five-hitter. … Belhaven University bowed out of the CCS Tournament in Tennessee with a pair of losses on Saturday. The Blazers, who finished second in the league in the regular season, are 25-17. The NCAA Division III Tournament selections will be made on Monday.

07 Apr

on the road again

J.T. Ginn’s road to the big leagues has been filled with emergency stops. The former Mississippi State standout from Brandon, who has spent much time parked on the injured list in Oakland’s minor league system, got off to a clean start on Saturday night for Double-A Midland. In his 2024 debut, Ginn allowed one run on four hits and two walks in five innings to register the win for the RockHounds against Corpus Christi. Having made some tweaks in his mechanics, the right-hander, 24, reportedly had a good spring. Though he has dropped off the prospect charts, the A’s brass seems encouraged as Ginn enters his fourth pro season. “It’s just a matter of health and maturity,” Ed Sprague, Oakland’s farm director, told Baseball America in March. Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round out of Brandon High in 2018, two-way star Ginn opted for MSU, where he was the SEC’s freshman of the year as a pitcher in 2019. He suffered an elbow injury and had Tommy John surgery early in 2020, but the New York Mets picked him in the second round that summer as a draft-eligible sophomore. He had a nice debut season in the Mets’ system, then was traded to the A’s in March of 2022 for big leaguer Chris Bassitt. Various ailments limited Ginn to 20 appearances the past two seasons. He was 1-3 with a 7.43 ERA in 2023. P.S. Former Southern Miss star Tanner Hall is slated to make his pro debut today for Minnesota’s Low-A Fort Myers club. A fourth-round pick last year, Hall was a two-time All-America, a two-time conference pitcher of the year and the 2022 Ferriss Trophy winner while at USM. He posted a 22-8 record and 2.92 ERA in three seasons. … MSU alum Tanner Allen, another former Ferriss winner, is 6-for-8 with five RBIs and two runs in two games, both wins, for Double-A Pensacola (Miami system) against the Mississippi Braves. … USM product Nick Sandlin, yet another former Ferriss winner now in MLB, worked a clean inning for Cleveland in a Saturday win over Minnesota and has yet to allow a hit or run in five appearances for the 7-2 Guardians.

13 Mar

changing lanes

J.T. Ginn appeared to have a bright future with the New York Mets. That future, still bright, is now with Oakland. The Mets, all in on 2022, have traded former Mississippi State star Ginn and another top pitching prospect to the A’s for All-Star right-hander Chris Bassitt. The Mets gave Ginn a $2.9 million signing bonus as a second-round draft pick in 2020, not long after his sophomore year at MSU was halted by Tommy John surgery. The Brandon native made his pro debut last summer and pitched well at two levels of A-ball, flashing the form that earned him national freshman of the year honors with the Bulldogs in 2019. Ginn, 22, went 5-5 with a 3.03 ERA last year, working 92 innings with 81 strikeouts and 22 walks. He already has been slotted in as Oakland’s No. 4 prospect by MLB Pipeline, and he might make the big leagues quicker with the A’s than he would have with the Mets.

09 Sep

all in good time

Tommy John surgery — or elbow ligament replacement – has become almost commonplace in baseball. Pitchers routinely come back from it; it just takes about a year. And a lot of diligent work. Ole Miss product Lance Lynn missed the entire 2016 MLB season; five years later, at age 34, he’s as good as ever. Former Mississippi State standout Kendall Graveman missed the 2019 MLB season but has bounced back strong. J.T. Ginn, ex-MSU star from Brandon, had the procedure in the spring of 2020 while still in Starkville. The New York Mets drafted him in the second round that summer, and he is making steady progress in the minors this season. Same with former Bulldogs ace Dakota Hudson, who went under the knife last September. He appears close to a return to the big leagues with St. Louis after three minor league rehab appearances. Ginn, pitching at High-A Brooklyn, threw five shutout innings on Wednesday to get a win, improving to 2-3 with 4.02 ERA in eight starts at that level. He was 2-1, 2.56 in eight Low-A starts. Hudson, who debuted in the majors in 2018 and won 16 games for the Cardinals in 2019, went down a year ago after eight starts (3-2, 2.77). He’s efforting to get back for the playoff race and has yet to allow an earned run in 8 2/3 innings in his rehab work. He threw four frames for Double-A Springfield on Tuesday. Further behind Ginn and Hudson on the comeback trail are Gunnar Hoglund, a first-round pick out of Ole Miss this summer, and big league veteran Spencer Turnbull. Hoglund had Tommy John in May, curtailing his college season, before he was drafted by Toronto. Ex-Madison Central High star Turnbull, a rising star with Detroit, had his surgery in July. If all goes well, as it usually does, those two will be back on the bump next summer.

04 Jun

on the bump

Throwing 44 pitches over three scoreless innings on Thursday, J.T. Ginn has taken the first official step of his pro career. The ex-Mississippi State standout from Brandon made his long-awaited debut for the Low-A St. Lucie Mets. He yielded two hits, two walks and an HBP while registering one strikeout against Fort Myers. It was Ginn’s first appearance in an actual game since February of 2020 with MSU. He had Tommy John surgery shortly thereafter. The New York Mets picked him in the second round of last summer’s draft; they figure to be very cautious this year with their No. 6-ranked prospect. At MSU, right-hander Ginn posted a 3.22 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 89 1/3 innings, most of those in 2019 when he was the SEC and national freshman of the year. He features power stuff: an upper 90s fastball, a nasty sinker and a hard slider. Elsewhere on minor league mounds: Former Southern Miss standout Kirk McCarty improved to 4-0 with a strong seven-inning outing for Triple-A Columbus in the Cleveland system. The 5-foot-8 lefty, who has a 4.04 ERA in six starts, allowed five hits and two runs with seven K’s to beat Indianapolis. He is in his fourth pro season. … Ole Miss product Chris Ellis saw his ERA jump to 9.26 in four starts for Triple-A Durham in Tampa Bay’s chain. The well-traveled Ellis, 28, was touched for two hits, two walks and two runs in just one inning; he escaped with a no-decision. Durham’s game against Norfolk was called in the eighth inning after Bulls pitcher Tyler Zombro was hit in the head by a line drive. He was hospitalized and in stable condition at last report.

30 Jun

the gamble

J.T. Ginn rolled the dice in 2018, turning down a reported $2.4 million signing bonus to pitch at Mississippi State and gamble that that kind of money would be available again after his college career. The gamble paid off for the former Brandon High star on Monday, when he signed for a reported $2.9M with the New York Mets. It’s the Mets who are rolling the dice now. Ginn, 21, had Tommy John surgery in February, so he won’t see the mound again until next spring. Many pitchers come back stronger from that surgery. Some don’t. That’s the gamble the Mets have taken by paying Ginn roughly twice the slot value of the 52nd pick. He was a first-rounder in 2018, going 30th overall to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ginn, who posted a 3.22 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 89 1/3 innings at State, is a pure power pitcher. The 6-foot-2 right-hander throws an upper 90s fastball, a nasty sinker and a hard slider. The Mets are understandably excited about his potential. Old cranks might recall the excitement the Mets had about another right-hander from Mississippi whom they picked eighth overall back in 1993. That would be Kirk Presley, the prep phenom from Tupelo who chose pro ball – and a $900,000 bonus – over Mississippi State, where he planned to play baseball and football. The Mets heralded Presley as one of their young guns, along with fellow prospects Jason Isringhausen, Bill Pulsipher and Paul Wilson. Alas, Presley developed shoulder problems, had a couple of surgeries and ultimately retired in his fifth pro season, never pitching above A-ball. When it comes to pitchers and their arms, you just never know how it’s gonna play out.

06 Jul


Whirlwind is a great word. Sounds like what it means: energetic, dizzying, a little bit chaotic. There may be no better word to describe the last few weeks for Mississippi State. Walk-off wins. Trip to Omaha. Disheartening finish. Top 10 rankings. Jake Mangum’s coming back. Gary Henderson’s not. Chris Lemonis is coming in. Konnor Pilkington and Jacob Billingsley are going pro. J.T. Ginn isn’t. When the Ginn news dropped late Thursday, it was truly a wow moment. Ginn, the state’s player of the year from Brandon and the 30th overall pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers, turned down big bucks – slot value of $2 million-plus – to follow a dream of playing for the Bulldogs. The centerpiece of a recruiting class that includes a slew of the state’s top players, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Ginn can both pitch and hit. He could have a major impact in 2019. And there’s also the possibility that signee Carter Stewart, the big right-hander from Florida drafted in the first round by Atlanta, will be coming to Starkville. Stewart was the eighth overall pick but hasn’t signed, reportedly because of concerns about a wrist problem. Signing deadline is today. Stay tuned. There’s already much anticipation for fall ball in Starkville. Most of the position players responsible for State’s amazing postseason run – including Mangum, the team leader and best hitter – are back. Lemonis and Ginn are in. The whirlwind goes on. P.S. Former State standouts Dakota Hudson (now in St. Louis’ system) and Nathaniel Lowe (Tampa Bay) have been named to the U.S. roster for the July 15 All-Star Futures Game. Also on the U.S. team are current Mississippi Braves pitcher Kyle Wright, Biloxi Shuckers infielder Keston Hiura (Milwaukee) and Ke’Bryan Hayes (Pittsburgh), son of Hattiesburg native and ex-big leaguer Charlie Hayes.

11 Sep

golden moment

Brandon High’s J.T. Ginn struck out the last batter in the ninth inning on Sunday as Team USA claimed gold in the Under 18 World Cup in Canada. Ginn pitched a perfect ninth in the 8-0 victory over Korea, calling it the “best moment of my life” on Twitter. A prep All-American in 2017 and a Mississippi State commit, Ginn worked 3 1/3 innings in four appearances in the tournament and allowed no hits and no runs with six strikeouts and two walks. Team USA went 9-0 in the World Cup, which it won for the fourth straight time.