13 Jul

three stars — plus one

Adam Frazier: The former Mississippi State standout, in one of several marquee games on the MLB docket Friday, went 2-for-5 with two runs and an RBI as Kansas City beat fellow American League wild card contender Boston 6-1 at Fenway Park. Frazier led off the game with a single and scored the first run, then rapped an RBI single in the second inning and later scored to give the Royals a 4-0 lead. Frazier is batting .213 for Kansas City (52-43).
Kemp Alderman: The Ole Miss product from Decatur went 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and five RBIs to pace Low-Class A Jupiter to a win in the Florida State League. The 2023 Ferriss Trophy winner has a six-game hit streak (10-for-24) with three homers and 10 RBIs in that span for the Miami affiliate. He is at .247 on the season.
Tim Elko: The ex-Ole Miss slugger banged out three hits and scored a run in Double-A Birmingham’s 7-4 win against Mississippi at Trustmark Park in Pearl. Elko, who is 5-for-15 in the Southern League series, is batting .298 on the season with eight homers and 36 RBIs for the Chicago White Sox’s farm club.
Kellum Clark: The MSU alum from Brandon went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run for High-A Brooklyn in the South Atlantic League. After a frigid start for the Cyclones — a New York Mets affiliate — Clark has nine hits in his last four games and is batting .417 in July. He’s at .210 for the season with six RBIs and nine runs in 22 games.
P.S. Former Ocean Springs High star Garrett Crochet, in a possible tune-up for an MLB All-Star Game start, threw two perfect innings for the White Sox against Pittsburgh. The big left-hander, throwing 22 of 28 pitches for strikes, struck out four. He has a 150 K’s and a 3.02 ERA. … Atlanta moved Southern Miss alum Landon Harper from Double-A Mississippi back to High-A Rome. Harper has a 1.17 ERA in 10 games with the M-Braves. … In the HBCU Swingman Classic at Globe Life Field, Jackson State alum Robert Tate Jr. tripled and scored a run, JSU’s Lenny Montesano went 1-for-2 and Tigers ace Christian Womble allowed a run in two innings with four K’s for the victorious AL stars. Mississippi Valley State’s Dreylin Holmes was 2-for-2 with a run and JSU alum Rodney Hibler Jr. hit a sac fly for the NL squad.

10 Jul

all that glitters

There were several glittering performances from Mississippians in pro ball on Tuesday: Jordan Westburg, the ex-Mississippi State standout, celebrated his appointment to the American League All-Star team (as a replacement) by smacking his 15th homer in Baltimore’s loss to the Chicago Cubs. … Biloxi High alum Colt Keith went 2-for-5 — that’s 12 hits in seven games — with his eighth homer as Detroit fell to Cleveland. … Gunnar Hoglund, former Ole Miss star, threw five shutout innings and notched his Texas League-leading ninth win for Double-A Midland in Oakland’s system. … Ex-South Panola High standout Emaarion Boyd, in his lone at-bat, singled in the tying and winning runs in the ninth inning for High-Class A Jersey Shore (Philadelphia). … Kemp Alderman, 2023 Ferriss Trophy winner at Ole Miss, hit his first homer of the season for Low-A Jupiter (Miami). … Mississippi College product Blaine Crim went 3-for-4 with his 17th double for Triple-A Round Rock (Texas). … But the brightest performance of the day was delivered by ex-MSU star Justin Foscue, who went 5-for-5 — a career-best — with three RBIs for Round Rock. Itching to get another shot at the big leagues — he was 1-for-2 back in April — Foscue is batting .276 with two homers and 14 RBIs for the Express.

21 Jun

it happens

There are pot holes on the road to the big leagues, and a trio of Mississippians in the minors — each one a former high draft pick with MLB aspirations — ran smack into a few on Thursday. Former Mississippi State star J.T. Ginn, ex-Ole Miss standout Doug Nikhazy and former Southern Miss ace Tanner Hall endured rough starts for their respective clubs, with Ginn and Nikhazy getting tagged with losses. Ginn, a second-round pick in 2020 now in Triple-A with Oakland, allowed four earned runs in 4 1/3 innings for Las Vegas. Making his fifth Triple-A start, the right-hander fell to 0-2 with a 6.66 ERA. He went 4-1, 4.15, at Double-A Midland to rate the promotion. Left-hander Nikhazy, a second-round pick in 2021, coughed up five runs in five innings for Double-A Akron and got his first decision in 11 outings. He is 0-1 despite a 3.17 ERA over 48 1/3 innings for the Cleveland affiliate. Hall, a fourth-round pick last summer, worked four innings and yielded four runs for Low-Class A Fort Myers, escaping with a no-decision. Hall is 0-0, 4.08, in eight appearances. Minnesota has limited Hall’s innings after he started the season on the injured list (glute strain); he has pitched just 17 2/3. To be sure, there will be better days for this trio. … One Mississippi product did get a win in the minors on Thursday: Ole Miss alum Mike Mayers, 32, former big leaguer in his 12th pro season, worked a clean 1 1/3 in the middle innings and plucked a victory for Triple-A Buffalo in Toronto’s system. He is 2-3, 5.04, in 21 games for the Bisons. P.S. Jackson Prep’s Konnor Griffin has been named the national player of the year by Baseball America. The outfielder/shortstop/pitcher, an LSU signee, is projected as a first-round pick in next month’s MLB draft. “I’ve tried to do my best to prepare him for that part of it,” Jay Powell, the former big league pitcher who is Prep’s pitching coach, told BA, “for the things he’s going to be faced with when he gets into professional baseball.” … MSU alum Hunter Hines put on a power show during Wednesday’s workouts at the MLB Draft Combine in Arizona. The lefty-hitting first baseman reportedly hit five 400-foot homers, with a best of 441.7, during his batting practice session. The ex-Madison Central star, No. 174 in MLB Pipeline’s draft prospect rankings, hit 54 homers in three seasons in Starkville and 13 in the Cape Cod League last summer.

14 Jun

just stuff

There were some notable home runs on Thursday: Nacho Alvarez, promoted from the Mississippi Braves to Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday, hit his first home run of 2024, helping the Stripers beat Nashville 8-7. … Geraldo Quintero of the M-Braves hit his second homer of the season and his second at Rocket City, in Madison, Ala., where the M-Braves won a “home” game 7-5 on the playable field conditions of Toyota Field. … Former Southern Miss star Matt Wallner blasted two homers for Triple-A St. Paul (Minnesota affiliate) and now has six this month and 13 overall for the Saints. … DeSoto Central High alum Blaze Jordan hit his third homer and first since coming off the injured list Wednesday (see previous post) for Double-A Portland (Boston). … In the big leagues, former M-Braves standout Justyn-Henry Malloy, in his ninth MLB game, hit his second homer for Detroit and first at Comerica Park in a Tigers win. … There were also some notable pitching performances, most notably Ocean Springs native Garrett Crochet’s outing for the Chicago White Sox in a 3-2, 10-inning win at Seattle. The big left-hander struck out a career-best 13 while allowing two hits and one run in seven innings. He is now tied for the MLB lead with 116 punchouts. … Lucedale native Justin Steele also got a no-decision, throwing six shutout innings for the Cubs in their loss to Tampa Bay. Steele has a 3.22 ERA in nine starts but has yet to register a win. … Brandon native Will Warren, pitching at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (New York Yankees), took a shutout into the sixth inning against Rochester before yielding a three-run homer and departing the game. He got a no-decision in the RailRiders’ loss. After a brutal May, Jackson Prep product Warren (4-4, 7.01, on the year) has a 2.81 ERA in three June starts. P.S. Former Hattiesburg High star Joe Gray Jr. has been released by Kansas City. A second-round pick in 2018 by Milwaukee, Gray was batting .136 at Double-A Northwest Arkansas. He hit .213 for his career with 51 homers and 70 steals, never having any success above A-ball. Only 24, he might draw some interest from independent teams.

12 Jun

going places

Former Mississippi Braves star Drew Waters got back in The Show and former Biloxi Shuckers star Carlos F. Rodriguez got his first MLB shot among a flurry of Tuesday transactions involving players with Mississippi ties. Southern Miss product Matthew Etzel was promoted to Double-A in the Baltimore system; ex-Ole Miss standout Brandon Johnson moved up to Double-A in the Kansas City chain; former Mississippi State bullpen ace Landon Sims jumped to High-Class A in the Arizona system; and USM product Hunter Stanley came off the injured list at Triple-A Columbus in the Cleveland organization. … Waters — Southern League player of the year in 2019 — was recalled by Kansas City to replace Hunter Renfroe, the ex-State star who went on the injured list with a broken toe. Waters, hitting .277 with seven homers and 33 RBIs in Triple-A, went 0-for-4 in his first MLB game of 2024. The Royals also placed Bulldogs alum Adam Frazier on the bereavement list. … Rodriguez, Milwaukee’s No. 6 prospect who went 9-6, 2.77 ERA, for the Shuckers in 2023, allowed two runs in 3 2/3 innings and took a loss against Toronto. … Etzel, a 2023 draftee by the Orioles, was batting .306 with four homers and 31 steals at High-A Aberdeen; he got a knock in his first at-bat for Class AA Bowie. … Johnson was 3-3, two saves, 4.13, in High-A for the Royals. … Sims, a star on MSU’s national title team, had a 4.38 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings at Low-A Visalia. … Stanley, on the IL for about a month, has a 5.85 ERA over six games for Columbus. P.S. Kirk McCarty, former USM standout from Hattiesburg, threw seven shutout innings in his Chinese Professional Baseball League debut last week and allowed two runs in five innings on Tuesday for CTBC Brothers. He is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA. The well-traveled McCarty has won 18 games the past three seasons: four in Triple-A, four in MLB with Cleveland, nine in the Korean Baseball Organization in 2023 plus the one in the CPBL. He won 22 games for USM from 2015-17.

29 Apr

minor matters

Around the minor leagues: Jake Mangum came off the injured list Sunday for Triple-A Durham, tripled and drove in two runs as the Bulls beat Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 6-2. The former Mississippi State standout, in his fifth minor league season, is batting .367 with two homers and 10 RBIs in eight games for Durham in his first year in the Tampa Bay system. … Chuckie Robinson, the Southern Miss product, went 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs for Triple-A Charlotte in the Chicago White Sox system. The 29-year-old catcher, now with his third organization, is hitting .297 with three homers and 12 RBIs. He reached the big leagues in 2022 with Cincinnati. … Ex-USM star Matt Wallner, sent down by Minnesota after a 2-for-25 start, is hitting just .194 with a homer and seven RBIs in nine games for Triple-A St. Paul. … Mississippi College product Blaine Crim has just 18 hits for Triple-A Round Rock (Texas system) but five have left the yard. … Kevin Graham, who played on Ole Miss’ 2022 championship team, is batting .385 (third in the Texas League) for Double-A Amarillo (Arizona system). … R.J. Yeager, who hit 18 homers at MSU in 2022, is batting .299 with five bombs for Springfield, St. Louis’ Double-A club. Yeager signed as a non-drafted free agent with the Cardinals two years ago. … Matthew Etzel, drafted out of USM in 2023, is batting .333 with two homers, 12 RBIs and nine steals for High-Class A Aberdeen in the Baltimore chain. Reed Trimble, a 2021 draftee by the Orioles, is batting .273 with five steals for Aberdeen but recently went on the IL, where he has spent a lot of time. … Former MSU standout Colton Ledbetter is batting .288 with three homers and nine RBIs for High-A Bowling Green. He was a second-round pick by Tampa Bay last summer. … Jackson Prep product Will Warren, a highly rated New York Yankees prospect, is 3-0 with a 4.22 ERA for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. … Ole Miss alum Gunnar Hoglund, the 19th overall pick in 2021 by Oakland, is 2-1, 4.39, for Double-A Midland. … Ex-UM standout Brandon Johnson is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA in seven relief appearances at High-A Quad Cities (Kansas City). … Former Smithville High star Jared Johnson, now in the Atlanta system, has two saves and a 0.00 ERA in six relief appearances for High-A Rome. … Landon Sims, one of the heroes of MSU’s 2021 national title team, is 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA, a hold and a save in five games for Low-A Visalia (Arizona). He was the 34th overall pick in 2022 while down with Tommy John surgery.

27 Apr

right place, right time

Adam Frazier doesn’t always play right field, but when he does … well, on Friday, the former Mississippi State star made one of the best plays of the year in MLB. Starting in right for the first time this season for Kansas City, Frazier took a home run away from Detroit’s Parker Meadows with a leaping snag at the wall, stuck the landing and fired a throw to first base to double off a runner. It was a big momentum play in the third inning of the Royals’ 8-0 win at Comerica Park — and even drew raves (on X) from Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. “He wows me sometimes,” Frazier told mlb.com, “so to wow him, that’s pretty cool.” Frazier, batting just .207 this year, went 1-for-3 Friday with an RBI and two runs for the 17-10 Royals. Typically a second baseman, the 5-foot-10 Frazier was making just the 33rd start of his nine-year career in right field. P.S. The struggling Houston Astros (7-19) sent struggling MSU product J.P. France (0-3, 7.46) to the minors. France won 11 games for Houston in 2023. … Ex-Ole Miss standout Chris Ellis, who last pitched in the majors two years ago, has signed a minor league deal with Arizona. He had previously inked with the independent Long Island Ducks. … Ex-Mississippi College star Blaine Crim, playing at Triple-A Round Rock in the Texas system, smacked a double and two home runs, driving in seven runs for the Express on Friday night. Crim is batting .231 with five homers. … Blaze Jordan, the DeSoto Central High product, hit his second homer and extended his hitting streak to seven games for Double-A Portland (Boston). Jordan is batting .237. … Southern Miss alum Hurston Waldrep allowed just one run in six innings in his second straight quality start for the Double-A Mississippi Braves. After a rocky start this season, Waldrep has allowed just two runs in 12 innings with 10 strikeouts in his last two outings. The 2023 first-round pick by Atlanta is 0-3 with a 5.68 ERA. … In the college ranks: Rust will play an elimination game today (3:30 p.m.) in the GCAC Tournament at Smith-Wills Stadium. The Bearcats will meet the winner of an earlier elimination game between Wiley and Dillard. Unbeaten Talladega awaits in the championship round. Tougaloo was eliminated on Friday. … Millsaps College fell to top-seeded Centre (Ky.) 4-3 in the opener of their SAA best-of-3 playoff series. Majors ace Wil Wood let a 3-0 lead get away in the sixth and seventh innings; Will Norris took the loss.

05 Apr

batter up

The Mississippi Braves’ opening day lineup at Pensacola on Friday featured a blend of old and new and speed and power, with three Top 30 prospects — Nacho Alvarez, Drake Baldwin and Geraldo Quintaro — in the top six in the order.
The M-Braves, beginning their farewell season, faced Blue Wahoos right-hander Evan Fitterer, a Miami Marlins prospect in his fifth pro season.
Ian Mejia, second-year pro out of New Mexico State, got the starting nod from M-Braves manager Angel Flores. He went 4-11 with a 4.69 ERA at High-Class A Rome last year.
Ex-Southern Miss star Hurston Waldrep, Atlanta’s No. 2 prospect (MLB Pipeline), is expected to start Sunday’s series finale.
The leadoff batter Friday was M-Braves returnee Cody Milligan, who was injured for a chunk of time but hit .280 and stole 23 bases in 69 games.
In the 2-hole was Alvarez, the No. 6 prospect, a 20-year-old shortstop whom Baseball America rates as the best overall hitter in the Atlanta system. At Rome last season, he hit .284 with seven homers, 66 RBIs and 16 steals.
Hitting third was Baldwin, rated No. 11 in the system, a power-hitting prospect who mashed 16 homers at three levels in 2023. A lefty-batting catcher, he played 14 games (.321, one homer) for the M-Braves late last season before finishing in Triple-A.
Keshawn Ogans, up from Rome, was in the cleanup spot and playing third base. The Cal-Berkley product, 5 feet 8, 180 pounds, hit .266 with nine homers at Rome and .299 in the Arizona Fall League, where he made the Fall Stars Game.
Hitting fifth was first baseman Bryson Horne, who has 28 homers over his three pro seasons and finished his ’23 campaign with the M-Braves, batting .299 in 23 games.
Quintaro, batting sixth and playing left field, is cut from the Ozzie Albies mold (5 feet 5, 155 pounds). The Braves’ No. 28 prospect, he stole 29 bases while batting .251 for Rome last year and has 96 career steals in three minor league years.
Returnee Tyler Tolve, a catcher, was the DH in the 7-spot. He hit .238 with seven homers for Mississippi in 2023. Rounding out the nine were second baseman Cal Conley (.219, 32 steals for the ’23 M-Braves) and right fielder Justin Dean, who has spent parts of the last three seasons with the M-Braves and has 151 career steals.
P.S. Batting ninth for the Blue Wahoos was former Mississippi State star Tanner Allen, the 2021 Ferriss Trophy winner and SEC player of the year who was drafted by the Marlins in the fourth round that summer. He hit .274 in 17 games for Pensacola, the third level he played at in 2023.

04 Apr

just stuff

Brock Wilken, Wake Forest’s all-time home run leader and now Milwaukee’s No. 7 prospect, smacked a two-run homer to power the Double-A Biloxi Shuckers to a 7-0 win Wednesday night in an exhibition game against Pearl River Community College at MGM Park. The Shuckers open the Southern League season Friday at home against Montgomery. … Former Shuckers star Jackson Chourio hit his first big league homer for the Brewers in a loss, the team’s first, against Minnesota. The highly touted Chourio is off to a .350 start in his rookie campaign. … The Norfolk Tides, Baltimore’s Triple-A affiliate, banged out 29 hits in a 26-11 win against Charlotte in game highlighted by Heston Kjerstad’s 10-RBI effort and Kyle Stowers’ three homers. Ole Miss alum Errol Robinson, a minor league vet in his first year in the Orioles’ system, contributed a little: one hit and two runs. He is batting .316. … Hunter Renfroe, ex-Mississippi State star, got his first hit of 2024 — he is now 1-for-19 — and picked up an assist on a sensational throw from right field, but his Kansas City club lost to Baltimore. … East Central CC alum Tim Anderson went 0-for-2 and ex-Ole Miss standout Nick Fortes 0-for-3 as Miami fell to 0-7 with a 10-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. Anderson, a free agent signee, is batting .231 with one RBI, no homers and no steals. Fortes is batting .083. … MSU product Brent Rooker went 0-for-4 in Oakland’s loss to Baltimore and is at .100 on the season for the 1-6 A’s. … Former State standout Justin Foscue, recalled from the minors on Tuesday by Texas, has yet to make his MLB debut. The Rangers are off today, host Houston this weekend.

30 Mar

worth noting

The Gwinnett Stripers, Atlanta’s Triple-A club, opened their season Friday and Southern Miss alum Hurston Waldrep was not on the roster. That has fueled speculation that the Braves’ No. 2 prospect will start the season with the Double-A Mississippi Braves, who open next week. Waldrep posted a 1.53 ERA (and 41 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings) over four levels of the minors in 2023, after being drafted in the first round out of Florida. He allowed no runs in 4 1/3 innings in the Grapefruit League for Atlanta this spring. … Ex-Mississippi State standout Jake Mangum homered in his first Triple-A game on Friday for Durham (Tampa Bay system) and threw out a base runner from center field. … USM product Chuckie Robinson, starting at catcher, got a hit and threw out a runner attempting to steal in his debut with the Chicago White Sox’s Triple-A Charlotte club. … Perhaps disappointed not to make the New York Yankees’ 26-man roster, ex-Jackson Prep star Will Warren allowed three hits, three walks and five runs while getting just one out in his start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. … Former Ole Miss star Drew Pomeranz has signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers after being released by the Angels. … Tim Anderson, ex-East Central Community College standout, is 3-for-8 in his first two games for Miami, where he signed as a free agent after the White Sox cut him loose after last season. … In college ball, the state’s six NCAA Division I schools went 0-6 Friday, the most glaring loss suffered by Alcorn State, a 29-3 loser at Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Also of note: Mississippi State squandered a 6-2 lead in the eighth inning and fell at Florida 7-6.