23 Jun

down on farm

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.

18 Jun

whatever happened to …

Jacob Lindgren, the former Mississippi State star, is pitching for the Kansas City Monarchs in the independent American Association. The 29-year-old left-hander has a 2.25 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 16 innings out of the bullpen. Lindgren zipped up to the big leagues in 2015, one year after being drafted by the New York Yankees, but was knocked off course by numerous injuries. His seven MLB appearances seven years ago are all he has made.
Cody Reed, the Northwest Mississippi Community College product, has been on the injured list (a common theme here) all season at Triple-A Durham in Tampa Bay’s system. The lefty, 29, made seven appearances for the Rays in 2021 and has a 5.22 career ERA in 65 MLB games.
Aaron Barrett, the veteran pro from Ole Miss, is pitching (15.00-plus ERA) for Triple-A Lehigh Valley in the Philadelphia chain. Barrett, 34, has a 4.01 career ERA in the big leagues and won a ring with the 2019 Washington Nationals.
Jonathan Holder, ex-MSU standout, has been on the injured list all year at Triple-A Iowa in the Chicago Cubs’ system. The 29-year-old right-hander pitched in just two minor league games in 2021. He has a 4.01 career ERA in MLB, last appearing in 2020 with the Yankees.
Jacob Waguespack, Ole Miss alum, is in Japan, where the 28-year-old righty is 1-3, 4.54 ERA, in seven games for Orix of the Japan Pacific League. He has 27 games (5.08 ERA) on his MLB resume, all with Toronto in 2019-20.
Cody Carroll, the former Southern Miss star, has worked in 12 games (9.00 ERA) for Triple-A Sacramento in San Francisco’s system. Carroll, 29, made 18 big league appearances with Baltimore from 2018-20.
James McArthur, an Ole Miss product who made the Phillies’ 40-man roster in the off-season, is 2-6, 5.00, for Double-A Reading in his second tour at that level.
J.T. Ginn, the former second-round pick out of State, is on the injured list at Double-A Midland, having made only five appearances (6.48 ERA) for the Oakland affiliate. Ginn was traded from the New York Mets to the A’s for Chris Bassitt during spring training.
Cole Gordon, ex-MSU standout, is on the injured list with the Mets’ Triple-A Syracuse club; he has pitched just two innings in 2022. The right-hander has a 3.51 ERA over three minor league seasons.
Jared Johnson, an Atlanta draftee out of Smithville High in 2019, has been on the injured list all season at Low-A Augusta. He posted a 2-6 record, 5.16 ERA, in 15 games in the low minors last year.

10 Jun

on the rise

Baltimore has put Jordan Westburg, the former Mississippi State standout, on a fast track in the minors, and he is keeping up the pace. The No. 30 overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft, Westburg is 5-for-9 in two games at Triple-A Norfolk. He hit his first homer at the new level on Thursday night. Westburg, who has played shortstop and third base this season, batted .247 with nine homers and 32 RBIs at Double-A Bowie before the Orioles moved him up. He hit .285 with 15 homers and 79 RBIs at three levels in 2021, his first pro season. MLB Pipeline ranks Westburg as the Orioles’ No. 6 prospect. … Ex-State star Justin Foscue, who was drafted 14th overall in 2020 by Texas, hit a tape-measure homer for Double-A Amarillo on Thursday, the ball leaving the stadium and landing in a parking lot beyond left field (per video on milb.com). Foscue, a second baseman, is batting .300 with four homers and 22 RBIs in 30 games for Amarillo; he has had two stints on the injured list. He is rated the Rangers’ No. 5 prospect. P.S. Ole Miss product Mike Mayers, designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Angels late last month, has made one appearance at Triple-A Salt Lake. It didn’t go well for the veteran big leaguer: four runs in 1 2/3 innings. … Billy Hamilton, the former Taylorsville High star, is a free agent (again), having opted out of a minor league deal with Seattle on June 1. Hamilton was hitting .186 (with four stolen bases) at Triple-A Tacoma.

04 Jun

bunch of stuff

There is a lot to digest from a not-so-sleepy-or-dusty third of June: In the Hattiesburg Regional, the anticipated Southern Miss-LSU winners bracket game will take place tonight (6 p.m.) after the Golden Eagles blanked Army 2-0 and the Tigers rallied past Kennesaw State 14-11 on Friday. The Pete (Taylor Park) will be packed. … At Coral Cables, Fla., Ole Miss’ regional opener against Arizona was pushed back to today because of rain. … In Enid, Okla., Pearl River Community College pummeled Madison (Wisc.) College 19-1 to set up a decisive Game 3 in the NJCAA Division II World Series. No. 1-ranked PRCC rode the bats of Alex Perry (home run, three RBIs) and D.K. Donaldson (three RBIs) and the pitching of Dakota Lee (six innings, one run). … At Pearl’s Trustmark Park, the Mississippi Braves’ Jalen Miller reportedly hit a home run over the batter’s eye in center field — no mean feat — en route to an extra-inning win against Montgomery in the Double-A Southern League. … In Appleton, Wisc., ex-Hattiesburg High standout Joe Gray Jr. had a 4-for-5 game, including his seventh homer and ninth stolen base, for High-A Wisconsin. Gray, a highly rated Milwaukee prospect, is batting .202 in his second stint at that level. … At Chicago’s Wrigley Field, Corey Dickerson, the former Meridian CC star from McComb, hit his first two homers of the season for St. Louis in a blowout win against the Cubs. Dickerson, who chose to wear Mark McGwire’s No. 25 in his first year with the Cardinals, has 130 career homers and has hit as many as 27 in a season. He is batting .194 in sporadic playing time. … Ex-Mississippi State standout Brent Rooker has been called up by San Diego. The former Minnesota Twins outfielder, traded this spring, was hitting .242 with nine homers at Triple-A El Paso. … Ole Miss product Lance Lynn, on the injured list all year for the Chicago White Sox, made his second rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte and yielded three runs in four innings. … Colorado announced that left-hander Ryan Rolison, another former UM star, will undergo shoulder surgery and miss the remainder of the season. A highly rated prospect, Rolison has been on the IL all year. … And last but certainly not least, Jackson Academy outfielder Dakota Jordan received the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year award. The MSU signee, who aims to play football and baseball, hit .524 with 16 homers this season. He is ranked as the No. 176 MLB draft prospect by MLB Pipeline.

01 Jun

eye on …

Mississippi baseball aficionados might want to devote some attention to the happenings this week at Riverfront Stadium in Wichita, where the Wind Surge is hosting Frisco in a matchup of division leaders in the Texas League. Three up-and-coming players out of Magnolia State schools are on the rosters. Wichita, Minnesota’s Double-A affiliate, features Southern Miss alum Matt Wallner, who is batting .257 with nine homers and 36 RBIs. Minnesota’s No. 10 prospect, the lefty-hitting right fielder batted .315 in May. Playing for the visiting RoughRiders, a Texas farm club, is ex-Mississippi State star Justin Foscue and Mississippi College product Blaine Crim. Foscue, the Rangers’ No. 5 prospect, plays second base and is hitting .288 with three homers. Crim, Frisco’s first baseman, is at .314 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs. Somehow, Crim is not among the Rangers’ Top 30 prospects (per MLB Pipeline) despite a career .314 average in the minors and a 2021-22 Puerto Rican (Roberto Clemente) Winter League batting title. … The opener of the six-game series was suspended in the second inning by weather Tuesday night, so the clubs will play two games tonight. Jack Leiter, the No. 2 overall pick out of Vanderbilt last summer, is expected to start one of the two for the RoughRiders.

18 May

playing the game

Comes a time for everyone, as the old scout says in “Moneyball,” when you’re told you can no longer play the children’s game. The time may have come for the likes of Mitch Moreland and Jarrod Dyson, veteran free agents in their late 30s with no team to suit up for. But as long as some team somewhere wants you, as long as you still dream of making the major leagues, you soldier on, as Ti’Quan Forbes is doing in 2022. Columbia native Forbes, a pro since 2014 without a big league look, became a minor league free agent last fall. The 25-year-old third baseman had signed with an independent club before the Arizona Diamondbacks came calling in mid-April. He is making good on this, perhaps final, opportunity, batting .283 with four homers and 18 RBIs for Double-A Amarillo. Forbes, who goes 6 feet 4, 225 pounds now, was drafted in the second round out of Columbia High by Texas and traded to the Chicago White Sox (for major league pitcher Miguel Gonzalez) after a productive 2017 season in High-A ball. He reached Triple-A Charlotte last summer but hit just .237 with two homers in 50 games. That trail ran out. He has picked up another. A player can still have an MLB breakthrough at Forbes’ age. Dyson didn’t make The Show until he was 27, and he played 12 big league seasons. Ex-Delta State star Trent Giambrone was 27 when he got the call last year in his sixth minor league season. Giambrone is back in the minors now, playing the children’s game, like Forbes. They haven’t been told they can’t. P.S. William Carey’s fine season ended Tuesday with a loss to Hope International in the NAIA Opening Round at Lawrenceville, Ga. The SSAC Tournament champion Crusaders (37-17) went 2-and-out in the regional.

22 Apr

and that happened …

On a night when Houlka native Tyreque Reed decked an opposing pitcher and sparked an ugly, benches-clearing brawl in a Double-A game, there were more than a few uplifting developments Thursday involving Mississippi-connected players. To wit: At Trustmark Park in Pearl, Atlanta prospect Darius Vines went 6 1/3 innings to post his first win of the young season as the Mississippi Braves beat Chattanooga 4-3. Vines, the Braves’ No. 14 prospect (per MLB Pipeline), has a 2.51 ERA in three starts in his first Double-A campaign. In that game, ex-Southern Miss star Chuckie Robinson, the Lookouts’ catcher, went 1-for-4 with a run and Gulfport native Jacques Pucheu worked two scoreless innings for the visitors. … Former M-Braves standout Cristian Pache, shipped to Oakland in the Matt Olson trade, hit his second homer of the season for the A’s. … Shea Langeliers, another M-Braves product also moved to Oakland in the Olson deal, belted his fourth homer for Triple-A Las Vegas. The highly regarded catcher is batting .341. … Petal High alumnus Anthony Alford, on a rehab assignment for Pittsburgh, homered for the second straight game at Triple-A Indianapolis. … Ex-Mississippi State standout Justin Foscue hit his first homer of the year — a grand slam — for Double-A Frisco in the Texas system. … Meridian native LeDarious Clark hit an opening day bomb for Lancaster in the independent Atlantic League. … MSU product Nathaniel Lowe went 3-for-4, boosting his average to .396, and helped Texas rally to beat Seattle in MLB. … And last but certainly not least, Ole Miss’ Dylan DeLucia tossed a five-hit, eight-strikeout complete game to beat Mississippi State 4-2 in the series opener in Oxford. For State, Kellum Clark homered on his 21st birthday. P.S. Reed, playing for Portland in the Boston system, will surely get a suspension for his actions in the brawl. The fifth-year pro, originally drafted by Texas out of Itawamba Community College, is 3-for-11 this season and carries a .278 average with 58 homers for his minor league career.

20 Apr

random numbers of note

9 — Wins for Buck Showalter’s New York Mets, most in the majors. The former Mississippi State player and new Mets manager saw his club sweep a twinbill from San Francisco on Tuesday to improve to 9-3.
5 — Innings played in right field by former Mississippi Braves star Ronald Acuna on a rehab assignment in the Atlanta system. Acuna doubled in three at-bats for Triple-A Gwinnett and appears on track for an early May return to the Braves’ lineup.
129 — Career MLB home runs for Hunter Renfroe, the ex-State standout who hit his first as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.
4 — Homers, in 36 at-bats, for MSU product Jordan Westburg at Double-A Bowie in the Baltimore organization. The 30th overall pick in the 2020 draft is batting .306.
10 — Active hitting streak for the M-Braves’ Michael Harris II, Atlanta’s top prospect who is batting .366 with nine RBIs and three steals in 10 games in his first Double-A campaign.
10 — Consecutive wins by Southern Miss, which beat Tulane 11-5 Tuesday to move to 28-8 on the season. The Golden Eagles are ranked in the top 10 in most of the polls.
6 and 7 — Where Mississippi State and Ole Miss sit in the SEC West standings heading into their series this week in Oxford. Both the Bulldogs (6-9, 22-16) and Rebels (5-10, 21-15) began the season as consensus Top 25 teams.
.308 — Batting average for Alcorn State’s Diego Lopez-Molina, a sophomore from Puerto Rico who leads the lowly Braves (2-23) in hits and RBIs and ranks second in runs, homers, OBP and slugging.
12 — Homers for Jake Barlow, who has helped nationally ranked Delta State climb to 25-11, 16-5 (and first) in the Gulf South Conference. He hit 19 bombs last year and 11 in 2019.
4 — Consecutive wins for William Carey University, which beat West Alabama 12-7 Tuesday behind Chris Williams’ three-hit, three-RBI, three-run effort and ran its record to 27-15. The Crusaders, 13-8 in the SSAC, host Tougaloo this weekend in a non-conference series.
42 — Runs scored by Chris Hart, who also has six homers, 23 RBIs and a .311 batting average for Millsaps, 18-18, 8-10 Southern Athletic Association with one conference series remaining — at home vs. Sewanee this weekend.
5 — Wins in six decisions for Brett Sanchez, who has helped Belhaven to a 20-12 mark, 16-9 in the American Southwest Conference. Sanchez, who has a 2.31 ERA in his eight starts, went 9-2 in 2021 for a 20-win team.
16-4 — Pearl River Community College’s MACCC record, which leads the league standings by 2 games over Hinds and East Mississippi. The Wildcats (28-8) are currently ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA Division II poll.
4 — Undefeated Sumrall High School’s spot in the latest MaxPreps Top 25. Northwest Rankin is No. 25. Sumrall is 25-0, NWR 25-2 after both posted wins on Tuesday.

24 Feb

firmly in the mix

There are more heralded players in the New York Mets’ minor league camp in Port St. Lucie, Fla., but Jake Mangum is commanding his share of attention. “(N)obody is going to outwork him,” Mets director of player development Kevin Howard recently told the New York Post. “He’s got a lot of natural ability.” Mangum, 25, the former Mississippi State and Jackson Prep star, had a breakout 2021 season, using a rebuilt swing to bat .285 with nine homers and 47 RBIs (plus 14 steals) at the High-A and Double-A levels. He is also an excellent defensive outfielder. Howard suggested Mangum may have been underestimated by the folks who do the prospect rankings. The switch-hitter, coming off a tremendous career at State, had a sluggish start to his pro career, batting .247 with no homers in 2019 after being drafted in the fourth round. Last season appears to have been a sea change. Mangum told the Post he is excited about having another ex-MSU star now in charge of the Mets’ big league team. “Buck Showalter is a legend,” Mangum said. “His name just speaks for itself.” P.S. Disappointing to see that John Rhys Plumlee, the ex-Oak Grove and Ole Miss two-sport star, won’t be allowed to play baseball at Central Florida this season. The NCAA denied a waiver asking that the recent transfer be immediately eligible for the spring sport. Plumlee, a highly regarded prep player, batted .224 in 60 games over a couple of seasons with the Ole Miss team.

22 Feb

making camp

While major league players remain locked out of spring training camps, minor leaguers are or soon will be working out and playing games in Florida and Arizona. This group includes a bundle of Mississippians at various stages of their pro careers, all trying to make an impression on the big league managers and coaches who are in camp. Here’s a sampling: In Detroit’s camp, former Mississippi State pitcher Zac Houston, 27, drafted back in 2016, is bouncing back from a shoulder injury that limited him to seven games in the low minors in 2021. The 6-foot-5, 280-pound right-hander reached Triple-A in 2018 and seemed on the cusp of a big league call. He has a career 2.35 ERA and strikeout stuff when he’s healthy. … Richton’s JaCoby Jones, cut loose by Detroit last year, is in Kansas City’s camp on a minor league deal, trying to resurrect his career. The outfielder, 29, batted .212 over six injury-marred seasons with the Tigers. … Former DeSoto Central High star Blaze Jordan might be the top power prospect in Boston’s system, but former Itawamba Community College standout Tyreque Reed has some pop that also has caught the eye of Red Sox brass. A right-handed hitting first baseman, the 24-year-old Reed has averaged 18 homers over the past three seasons and reached the Double-A level in 2021, his fourth pro year. … Will Bednar is in his first spring camp with San Francisco. The 14th overall pick last summer out of MSU, where the right-hander was a College World Series hero, he was impressive in four appearances in the low minors last season. … In the Texas Rangers’ camp, there’s Blaine Crim, a Mississippi College product who isn’t rated among the team’s top prospects but has done nothing but rake over his two pro seasons. A righty-hitting first baseman, he has a .314 career average with 37 homers and reached Double-A in 2021. He batted .402 in Puerto Rico this winter. … Colby White figures to get a lot of attention in Tampa Bay’s camp. The right-hander, 23, a 2019 draftee out of MSU, rose through four levels last summer, topping out at Triple-A, and finished with a 1.44 ERA. … Ex-Bulldogs ace Ethan Small, a Milwaukee farmhand, is also very close to making The Show, whenever that show might open. A first-round pick in 2018, he made it to Triple-A in 2021 and put up a 2.06 ERA in nine games there. … In Minnesota’s camp, ex-Southern Miss standout Matt Wallner, coming off an injury-interrupted 2021 season, hopes to build on a strong finish that carried into the Arizona Fall League. The lefty slugger, the 39th overall pick in 2019, hit 15 homers in High-A ball last summer and six more in the AFL. … In Baltimore’s camp, there are three Mississippi college products, each a rated prospect: MSU alum Jordan Westburg, USM’s Reed Trimble and Ole Miss’ Anthony Servideo.