It was a quiet day for the few but proud Mississippians active in the majors. In Triple-A, however, it was a different story on Wednesday: Former Southern Miss standout Chuckie Robinson went 3-for-4 with his first Triple-A home run in Louisville’s loss to Iowa. Robinson, a good defensive catcher, started this season with Cincinnati’s International League club, was sent down to Double-A Chattanooga, then bumped back up a few days ago after hitting .276 in 31 games with the Lookouts. Delta State product Trent Giambrone, who had a cup of coffee in the big leagues in 2021, went 0-for-5 for Iowa, the Chicago Cubs affiliate. … Gulfport’s Bobby Bradley, who started this season in Cleveland, hit a pair of homers — doubling his season total — for the Indians’ Columbus club, which lost an IL game to Omaha. Bradley is batting .202. Ex-Mississippi State star Konnor Pilkington, who also has some time in The Show this year, gave up five runs in four innings as the Clippers’ starter but did not take the loss. USM product Nick Sandlin has joined the Clippers’ bullpen, sent down Monday by the Indians despite a 2.98 ERA, but didn’t work Wednesday. … Former MSU standout and erstwhile big leaguer Brent Rooker went 2-for-4, boosting his average to .281, for El Paso, San Diego’s Pacific Coast League team. … Former Ole Miss standout Mike Mayers, recently demoted by the Los Angeles Angels, made a rare start, yielding one run in four innings for Salt Lake in a PCL loss to Reno. Mayers has a 10.57 ERA in three Triple-A games. … MSU alum Jacob Robson, who made his MLB debut last year, went 0-for-2 but swiped his 12th base and scored a run for Toledo, Detroit’s IL affiliate, in a win against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Robson is batting .206. … Ex-Bulldogs star Jordan Westburg was 1-for-5 with an RBI for Norfolk and is batting .365 since his recent promotion to Triple-A by Baltimore. Ole Miss product Aaron Barrett notched a hold for Philadelphia’s Lehigh Valley club, which lost that game to the Tides in the ninth inning. … Rehabbing big leaguer Corey Dickerson, the former Meridian Community College standout, went 0-for-2 in his third game with St. Louis’ Memphis affiliate. Dickerson, 3-for-7 with the Redbirds, appears close to a return to the Cardinals’ roster.
A three-game home run streak for Hunter Renfroe has coincided with the three-game win streak Milwaukee will take into a big four-game series against National League Central rival St. Louis starting tonight at American Family Field. The teams, both of which feature Mississippi products, are tied atop the division at 38-30. Former Mississippi State star Renfroe, whose 444-foot homer at Cincinnati on Sunday was his first on a Father’s Day since the death of his dad — his “best friend” — last summer, has 13 homers on the season and is batting .250 with 27 RBIs as the prime power source in the Brewers’ lineup. This series will feature some good pitching matchups, including Thursday’s between ex-State standout Dakota Hudson of the Cardinals and Jason Alexander, a 29-year-old Brewers rookie. Hudson, who beat Boston at Fenway on Saturday, is 5-3 with a 3.31 ERA in his first full season after Tommy John surgery. He has never faced Renfroe in the big leagues, and their careers at State did not intersect. Missing from this series, unfortunately, are State product Brandon Woodruff, one of the Brewers’ top starters, and ex-Meridian Community College star Corey Dickerson, a St. Louis outfielder. Both are on the injured list and on rehab assignments. P.S. East Central CC alum Tim Anderson, out roughly three weeks with a groin injury, is expected to return to the Chicago White Sox’s lineup at shortstop today against Toronto. Anderson is batting .356. … Blaze Jordan, the 19-year-old slugger from DeSoto Central High, clubbed two homers as part of a three-hit game Sunday for Boston’s Low-Class A Salem team. Jordan, a second-year pro, is batting .291 with six homers and 37 RBIs in 57 games this season.
On this date in 1946 — in the gap between Babe Ruth and Shohei Ohtani — Claude Passeau enjoyed a double-duty performance of note. The Waynesboro native, pitching for the Chicago Cubs, shut out Brooklyn for nine innings and, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth at Wrigley Field, hit a two-run homer to win the game. Passeau, who went to high school in Moss Point and college at Millsaps, was 37 and in his next-to-last season in ’46, and he made the All-Star Game that year for the fifth time. Over his 13 seasons in the majors, Passeau went 162-150 with a 3.32 ERA and won a World Series game in 1945. His career win total is third-most by a Mississippi-born major leaguer. He also batted .192 with 15 career homers. P.S. Transaction watch: Mississippi State product Hunter Renfroe is expected to come off the injured list and play for Milwaukee tonight against Philadelphia. … Ex-Southern Miss standout Kirk McCarty was recalled from the minors for Cleveland’s doubleheader today and is penciled in as the Game 2 starter against Texas. … Meridian Community College alum Corey Dickerson has landed on the IL for St. Louis with a calf injury. … Former Ole Miss star Tyler Keenan, a 2020 draftee, was traded from Seattle to Toronto for big leaguer Ryan Borucki and is now playing at High-Class A Vancouver. … Former MSU star Jordan Westburg, also a 2020 draftee, has been promoted from Double-A to Triple-A in the Baltimore chain. … Ex-MSU standout Brent Rooker, recalled from Triple-A last week, was optioned back to the minors without getting an at-bat for San Diego.
Maybe it was good timing, but maybe it was also a good sign for Dakota Hudson, who looked like his old self on Saturday when he pitched St. Louis past Cincinnati. Former Mississippi State star Hudson, not sharp in his first two starts of 2022, threw 6 2/3 shutout innings against the Reds, who lost, 5-0, for the 11th straight time. Hudson (1-1) allowed just two hits, walked four and fanned four at the Great American Ball Park, typically a hitter’s paradise. “It’s big,” he told mlb.com. “I feel like it’s the first of many (wins) to go down the road.” Hudson was the 34th overall pick by the Cardinals out of State in 2016, reached the big leagues in 2018 and was an emergent star before an arm injury — and Tommy John surgery — derailed him in late 2020. He was 23-10 at the time, including a 16-7, 3.35 ERA effort in 2019. He battled back from the injury to make two appearances for the Cards last summer in the heat of the playoff chase. He allowed six runs in seven innings in his first two outings this season. Saturday’s results were much more encouraging. … Meridian Community College product Corey Dickerson, off to a sluggish start (.182) with St. Louis, drove in one of the runs on Saturday. Expect his production to pick up. P.S. Miguel Cabrera joined the exclusive 3,000-hit/500-homer club on Saturday, becoming one of only seven players to reach both of those milestones. Former MSU standout Rafael Palmeiro is one of the seven.
Billy Hamilton, the all-time leader in stolen bases among Mississippi natives in MLB, may get a chance to add to his impressive total in 2022, having signed a minor league contract with Seattle on Monday. The former Taylorsville High star, now 31, has played sparingly in recent seasons while bouncing from team to team to team. He doesn’t hit much (.240 career), but he can still run. He was 9-for-9 in steals for the Chicago White Sox last season and has 314 bags since his 2013 debut. And he can still go get it in the outfield; a diving catch he made in the rain last July was one of his all-time best. Don’t be surprised if Hamilton makes the roster with the Mariners, who have designs on the postseason this year. P.S. Corey Dickerson, the Meridian Community College native from McComb, made his St. Louis debut on Monday, going 1-for-2 with a walk as the DH and leadoff batter. Dickerson was a Mark McGwire fan growing up and is wearing Big Mac’s No. 25. The lefty hitter said in recent interviews that he plans to swing more for power this year. He hit just six homers in 336 at-bats in 2021 but has belted as many as 27 in a season (with Tampa Bay in 2017). … Texas beat Cleveland 25-12 Monday in a Cactus League game that lasted 4 hours, 17 minutes and “featured” 42 hits and 14 walks. Mississippi College alum Blaine Crim, playing for Texas, had one of the hits, ex-Mississippi State star Jack Kruger, also with the Rangers, drew one of the walks and Petal High product Demarcus Evans, one of the Rangers’ eight pitchers, allowed three walks and two runs.
St. Louis appears to be the new home for Corey Dickerson, the McComb native and Meridian Community College alumnus, a .283 career hitter who has played for four different teams the past three seasons and six all told since 2013. The 32-year-old outfielder reportedly has agreed to a 1-year, $5 million deal with the Cardinals. Dickerson, a left-handed hitter, joins an outfield mix that includes Harrison Bader, Dylan Carlson, Tyler O’Neill and Lars Nootbaar. O’Neill and Nootbaar are also lefty hitters. Dickerson was an All-Star in 2017 and won a Gold Glove in left field in 2018. He has 128 career home runs — 27 in one season — but isn’t considered a bomber. He hit .282 for Toronto down the stretch last season, helping the Blue Jays make a playoff push that ultimately fell short. P.S. Ex-Ole Miss and Mississippi Braves star Chris Ellis has signed a minor league deal with Baltimore; he posted a 2.49 ERA in six starts for the Orioles in 2021.
Based on the linescore, some wacky stuff happened in Fulton on Tuesday. Itawamba Community College put up a 10-run inning for an 11-3 lead after three, then surrendered 11 runs in the seventh and lost to Snead State (Ala.) 23-16 in Game 1 of a doubleheader. Perhaps in a state of shock, the Indians lost Game 2 6-1. The Indians (3-3) are ranked No. 17 in the NJCAA Division II preseason poll; they figure to tumble when the first regular season poll is released. … Jones College, under new coach Wes Thigpen, moved to 3-1 with a sweep of Coastal Alabama-East on Tuesday, winning both games 10-0. Kade Keeton, from Brandon, got the win with six shutout innings and went 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI in the opener at Ellisville. … Preston Ratliff had a day, hitting two home runs and notching the victory on the mound in Mississippi Gulf Coast CC’s split with Baton Rouge. The Bulldogs, under new coach Bob Keller, are off to a 2-4 start. … Led by Brock Butler (.667, a homer, seven RBIs), seventh-ranked Meridian CC is 5-1 heading into a Saturday twinbill against visiting Hinds, which is 4-2 in Dan Rives’ first season as Eagles head coach. … No. 4 Pearl River, the defending state champion, and No. 14 East Central are off to 4-0 starts. The Wildcats have been paced by John Griffin Bell (.500) and Tate Parker (.467, two homers, seven RBIs). Coleton Smith has two homers and four RBIs for the Warriors.
Assuming there is a major league season in 2022, Mississippians in the majors will be chasing some noteworthy milestones. Start with Corey Dickerson, the Meridian Community College alum from McComb. He’s a free agent at the moment, but, at age 32, the left-handed hitting outfielder shouldn’t have trouble finding a team and adding to his career total of 917 hits. The thousand mark is within reach. He had 91 in an injury-shortened ’21 season. Making it to a 1,000 career hits in MLB is no minor feat. Mitch Moreland, another free agent, is sitting on 186 home runs. He could reach 200 with a healthy year. He hit 10 last season at age 36 despite missing a chunk of time with injuries. The ex-Mississippi State star from Amory currently sits sixth on the list of career homer leaders among Mississippi natives. Former Ole Miss star Lance Lynn needs nine strikeouts to reach 1,600 career, a mark reached by only 185 pitchers; the big right-hander could do it in his first start. He had 176 K’s last season in a banner year for the Chicago White Sox. Teammate Tim Anderson, the White Sox’s shortstop and an East Central Community College product, has 91 homers and 91 steals over six MLB campaigns. He should get to 100 in each category with ease. He put up 17 homers and 18 steals in 2021. Veteran outfielder Jarrod Dyson, 37, a free agent, has played in 992 games (.244 average, 266 steals in 12 seasons). The McComb native surely wants a chance to get to 1,000. Ex-MSU star Hunter Renfroe, coming off a career year but joining a new team (Milwaukee), could crack 150 career homers in 2022. He has 128 after belting 31 for Boston a year ago. He also has 465 career hits; No. 500 is clearly in his sights. Former State ace Chris Stratton has worked 399 innings over six big league seasons. The right-hander, 31, is coming off his best year, having won seven games, saved eight and posted a 3.63 ERA for lowly Pittsburgh.
The most intriguing name on the list of Mississippians headed for free agency this off-season belongs to one who is still playing. Kendall Graveman, the ex-Mississippi State star now pitching for Houston in the World Series, will hit the market after the series concludes. Having found great success since switching from starter to reliever in 2020, the 30-year-old right-hander ought to attract many suitors. He put up a 1.77 ERA in 53 games split between Seattle and the Astros this season and has a 1.64 in 11 postseason innings, including the final two of the Game 5 victory in Atlanta. He was on a 1-year, $1.25 million deal this season; he’ll command a lot more this off-season. Meridian Community College product Corey Dickerson also should be an attractive free agent. The left-handed hitting outfielder batted .271 with six homers and 29 RBIs in an injury-shortened season split between Miami and Toronto. He played well down the stretch for the Blue Jays as they chased a playoff berth. The 2022 season will be McComb native Dickerson’s 10th in MLB; he made $17.5M over 2020-21. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of interest Mitch Moreland, Jarrod Dyson, Billy Hamilton and JaCoby Jones draw on the market. Amory native and MSU alum Moreland, 36, a 12-year vet with a good track record, hit just .227 with 10 homers in 81 games for Oakland and finished the season on the injured list with a wrist issue. Dyson, from McComb and Southwest Mississippi CC, is 37 and also a 12-year vet. He batted .207 with 10 stolen bases in 2021 between Kansas City and Toronto. He was used mainly as a defensive replacement and pinch runner. Hamilton, the former Taylorsville High standout, filled a similar role for the Chicago White Sox, batting .220 with nine steals, 23 runs and 11 RBIs. He also spent time on the IL. Jones, a former Mr. Baseball at Richton High, finished 2021 in the minors, having lost his roster spot with Detroit. The oft-injured 29-year-old outfielder hit .170 in 36 big league games in his sixth MLB campaign. A minor league deal with a spring invite might be the best he can hope for.
In a lineup packed with attention-grabbing stars like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Marcus Semien and George Springer, Corey Dickerson has been a quiet but steady contributor for Toronto. The former Brookhaven Academy and Meridian Community College standout went 2-for-4 with a home run Friday night as the Blue Jays beat Baltimore 6-4 to remain in the thick of the battle royale for the two American League wild card berths. Dickerson, who provides a left-handed bat in a largely right-handed order, is batting .333 over his last 15 games, .364 with two homers in his last seven. Toronto traded with Miami for the nine-year veteran, along with reliever Adam Cimber, back in late June. A foot injury kept Dickerson on the injured list until early August. He settled in quickly, driving in two runs in his second game. In 45 games overall for the Jays, he is at .289 with four homers, 15 RBIs and 16 runs. Toronto is tied with Seattle, 1 game back of Boston and 2 behind New York in the wild card standings with two games left on the schedule. Meanwhile, former Mississippi State standout Hunter Renfroe’s 31st homer broke a scoreless deadlock in the sixth inning and propelled Boston to a 4-2 win over Washington. Renfroe has three homers in the past four games. P.S. Ole Miss product Lance Lynn notched his 11th win and East Central CC alum Tim Anderson went 4-for-4 as the playoff-bound Chicago White Sox beat Detroit. … Ex-MSU star Dakota Hudson, in his second game since returning from Tommy John surgery, threw five shutout innings for playoff-bound St. Louis in a win against the Cubs. … Mississippi Braves alum Spencer Strider made his MLB debut for Atlanta on Friday, completing an impressive step-by-step rise from Low-A ball to the big leagues this season. The hard-throwing right-hander, a 2020 draftee, was 3-7, 4.71 ERA for the Double-A M-Braves but demonstrated impressive stuff with 94 strikeouts in 63 innings.