T.J. House, the former Picayune High star and MLB veteran, is pitching for the Eastern Reyes del Tigre, one of the four clubs in the newly formed Constellation Energy League in Texas. The league was created by the Sugar Land Skeeters, a member of the independent Atlantic League, which is shut down for 2020. House, 30, pitched in 29 big league games from 2014-17. The left-hander held a spot in Cleveland’s rotation for part of 2014, going 5-3 with a 3.35 ERA. He spent last season in the independent American Association. The Constellation Energy League will be based at Sugar Land’s Constellation Energy Field and starts its 28-game season on Friday. … There are several former big leaguers on the CEL rosters, including Cameron Rupp, David Huff, Tommy Joseph and former Mississippi Braves star Dustin Peterson. P.S. With Baltimore having agreed to a $950,000 signing bonus for third-round draft selection Anthony Servideo of Ole Miss, all seven players picked from in-state schools in last month’s draft have now signed or agreed to terms. (Former DeSoto Central star Blaze Jordan’s reported deal with Boston has not yet been made official.) … Henri Lartigue, an Ole Miss product from Southaven, was added to Philadelphia’s 60-man roster at catcher over the July 4 weekend. That makes seven non 40-man roster members with Mississippi ties in MLB summer camps, the others being Billy Hamilton, Tyler Keenan, Jack Kruger, Brent Rooker, Nick Sandlin and Ryan Rolison. Hamilton, the only one of this group with big league time, is expected to be added to San Francisco’s 40-man roster before the season begins. … Tanner Propst, an MRA alum who pitched at Delta State in 2020, signed as a non-drafted free agent with Colorado.
The Detroit Tigers page on mlb.com lists Richton’s JaCoby Jones third on the depth chart of center fielders, behind Mikie Mahtook and Tyler Collins. Of the three, all competing for the starting job, Jones has clearly had the better spring. He is 7-for-18 with three doubles and a homer, which he hit on Thursday. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus has said he is impressed with Jones’ defensive abilities. Yet there remains much debate about whether Jones will make the big league team to start 2017. “He’s got the potential to be a very talented major league player, but even the best major league players usually require some honing of their skills prior to the big leagues,” Ausmus told mlb.com. In the Sporting News’ preseason yearbook, a rival scout questioned Jones’ maturity. Jones, 24, batted .214 in 13 games for the Tigers in 2016. In 364 minor league games, the 2013 third-round pick has hit .269 with 47 homers and 58 steals. He was a middle infielder at Richton and LSU and played mostly shortstop in the low minors before transitioning to third base and then the outfield. Bottom line: Jones, who goes 6 feet 2, 205 pounds, might start 2017 in Triple-A, but it would be surprising if he’s stuck in Toledo for very long. P.S. Former Picayune High standout T.J. House apparently is OK after being struck in the back of the head by a line drive while pitching for Toronto on Friday. A bloodied House was taken off the field on a stretcher and spent the night in a Florida hospital. He tweeted shortly after the incident that “things are looking good.” The left-hander, who has big league time with Cleveland, is in the Blue Jays’ camp as a non-roster invitee.
The Mississippi star on the final day of the MLB regular season was T.J. House, the Picayune High product who pitches for Cleveland. House, a rookie lefty who turns 25 today, went five innings Sunday for another victory, improving his season numbers to 5-3, 3.35 ERA. He went 4-0 over his last seven starts and appears to have thrust himself into the Indians’ plans for 2015. … Pillow Academy product Louis Coleman, with postseason-bound Kansas City, notched his first save of the season by striking out the side in a 6-4 Royals win. It’s unlikely that Coleman, with a 5.56 ERA this year, will make KC’s postseason roster. … Kendall Graveman, the Mississippi State product who rocketed to the big leagues this year with Toronto, tossed a scoreless inning in his fifth appearance and ended with a 3.86 ERA. … The Mississippi-connected hitters had a very quiet final day. The only one to get a hit was MSU alum Tyler Moore, who went 1-for-2, finishing at .231 this season for National League East champ Washington. Ex-Southern Miss star Brian Dozier (Minnesota) was 0-for-4 (.242); Ole Miss alum Alex Presley (Houston) 0-for-4 (.244); UM’s Zack Cozart (Cincinnati) 0-for-3 (.221); ex-Rebels star Chris Coghlan (Chicago Cubs) 0-for-4 (.283); Jackson native and Ole Miss alum Seth Smith (San Diego) 0-for-3 (.266); and Southwest Mississippi Community College product Jarrod Dyson (Kansas City) 0-for-1 (.269). … Taylorsville’s Billy Hamilton (Cincinnati) missed a fourth straight game because of a concussion. He finished at .250 with 56 steals. Meridian CC alum Corey Dickerson (Colorado) missed the final three games of the year to be with his wife in Mississippi for the birth of their first child. Dickerson hit .312 with 24 homers. P.S. Bobby Abreu, the last Jackson General still playing, got a hit in his final MLB at-bat for the New York Mets. Abreu, who has announced his retirement, finished with 2,470 hits, a .291 average, 288 homers, 1,363 RBIs and 400 stolen bases. Hall of Fame worthy? Close.
You want good pitching … you need good pitching … especially in the heat of the playoff race. But good isn’t always rewarded; such is the fickle nature of baseball. Both Ole Miss alum Lance Lynn and ex-Picayune High standout T.J. House were good on Thursday. Only one could smile at day’s end. Firing furious fastballs at Cincinnati’s hitters, veteran right-hander Lynn went eight innings for St. Louis. He allowed just three hits (one by Billy Hamilton) and one run, struck out six and walked one. But the Cardinals, clinging to first place in the National League Central, were shut out by Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman. Lynn took the loss in the 1-0 game and is now 15-9 with a 2.73 ERA. Plying pinpoint placement against Minnesota, rookie left-hander House went seven innings for Cleveland. He allowed just four hits (one by Brian Dozier) and no runs with eight strikeouts and no walks. The Indians, trying to chase down an American League playoff berth, scored two runs and House got the victory, in Game 2 of a twinbill sweep, to improve to 3-3, 3.42. (For what it’s worth, House became the first Cleveland pitcher ever to go at least seven innings and allow one run or less with no walks in three consecutive starts.) “It’s really exciting to watch his development,” Indians manager Terry Francona told mlb.com. P.S. Former Harrison Central star Bobby Bradley was named the rookie level player of the year for 2014 by Baseball America. Bradley, an Indians farmhand, batted .361 with eight homers and 50 RBIs in the Arizona League. Also making BA’s classification all-star teams were Ole Miss product Auston Bousfield (Padres) in short-season Class A; former Mississippi State star Kendall Graveman (Blue Jays) in high Class A; and ex-Mississippi Braves closer Chasen Shreve in Double-A.
There are those who contend that the win is an overrated or even irrelevant statistic for pitchers. One suspects T.J. House would disagree. The former Picayune High star, who launched his pro career in 2008, got his first major league win on Saturday and earned a big-time beer shower from his Cleveland teammates. Left-hander House threw 6 2/3 innings against American League Central rival Kansas City, yielding nine hits and three runs in a 7-3 victory. It was his eighth MLB appearance (all this season) and seventh start, and he easily could have won before Saturday. He has a 4.24 ERA to go with his 1-2 record. He wasn’t dominant against the Royals, but he was clutch. “Every time we got something going, he found a way to end it,” KC manager and former Jackson Mets catcher Ned Yost told The Associated Press. P.S. Wondering what Oakland’s acquisition of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, which gives the A’s a backlog of starting pitchers, means for Drew Pomeranz. The lefty out of Ole Miss was 5-4 with a 2.91 ERA when he went on the disabled list June 17 with a broken right hand.
The first MLB start for former Picayune High star T.J. House didn’t go all that well. House, 24, a left-hander who made his debut (a scoreless inning) for Cleveland last Saturday, worked six innings at Baltimore tonight, had a lead at one stage but left the game trailing 5-4. House yielded 11 hits, including home runs by Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis, walked two and fanned one. Baltimore won the game 8-4 on the 58th birthday of manager Buck Showalter, the ex-Mississippi State standout. P.S. Orioles radio broadcasters (as heard on XM) noted that House: signed with Cleveland for $700,000 as a 16th-round pick in 2008 rather than attend Tulane; had family members who had driven some 15 hours from Mississippi in attendance at Camden Yards; and got the name “T.J.” from his childhood nickname, Tiger Jr. (his dad apparently was called Tiger).
When former Picayune High star T.J. House made his big league debut last Saturday for Cleveland, he became the 23rd Mississippi-connected player to appear in the majors in 2014. House, a left-hander, pitched a scoreless inning in his only appearance to date. He was called up last season but didn’t get in a game. The only other Mississippian to debut this year is Aaron Barrett, the Ole Miss product who has been outstanding working out of Washington’s bullpen. Barrett, a righty, has a 0.53 ERA and a 2-0 record in 18 games for the Nationals, who are battling Atlanta for first place in the National League East.