03 Jul

rise and fall

The hard fall of Tim Anderson created a loud thud on Tuesday when the former batting champion and All-Star shortstop was designated for assignment by one of the worst teams in baseball. East Central Community College alum Anderson, a .278 career hitter, was batting .214 with no homers for Miami. Fittingly, he struck out Sunday in his final at-bat with the Marlins, giving him 68 strikeouts in 234 ABs this season. He was on a one-year, $5M contract after being cut loose by the Chicago White Sox following a poor 2023 season. Speculation is Anderson, 31, will be released; he may well get another shot somewhere. … Grae Kessinger, ex-Ole Miss star, was recalled from Triple-A by Houston and was in uniform for the Astros’ game at Toronto on Tuesday, though he did not play. Kessinger, 0-for-11 in MLB ABs this year, was batting .283 with two homers and 11 RBIs at Sugar Land. … Ex-Mississippi State star Jordan Westburg, now with Baltimore, apparently will fall short of beating out Jose Ramirez for the starting nod at third base for the American League in fan balloting for the All-Star Game. Voting ends today. … MSU product Nathaniel Lowe, who had just two homers as of June 25, has hit four in his last seven games, including two in Texas’ 7-0 victory against San Diego on Tuesday. (It was his bobblehead night.) He averaged 21 homers over the previous three years for the Rangers. … Former Ole Miss standout Anthony Servideo was sent back to Double-A Bowie from Triple-A Norfolk by Baltimore. Servideo, a third-round pick in 2020, was batting .212 in 14 games for the Tides; he was hitting .196 for Bowie when he was promoted to fill a roster need. … Cleveland sent Southern Miss product Nick Sandlin (5-0, one save, 3.49 ERA) on a rehab assignment to Triple-A Columbus. He worked a scoreless inning Tuesday. The reliever has been on the injured list since June 17. … Ole Miss alum Dylan DeLucia was promoted from rookie ball to Low-Class A Lynchburg by Cleveland. He made two appearances in the Arizona Complex League, his first outings since being drafted in 2022. He did not pitch Tuesday. … Former Magnolia Heights star Cooper Pratt, Milwaukee’s No. 4 prospect (see previous post), cracked MLB Pipeline’s new Top 100 minor league prospects list at No. 96. Pratt is in A-ball. USM alum Hurston Waldrep, who already has debuted with Atlanta this season, is No. 70, up from 72 in the previous ranking.

18 Jul

full steam ahead

Tuning up for his first MLB All-Star Game start in a huge series at Minnesota, Tim Anderson went 6-for-19 with a homer, three RBIs and seven runs as the Chicago White Sox took three of four from the first-place Twins. Anderson, the former East Central Community College star, knocked in the first two runs of Sunday’s 11-0 win, which moved the third-place ChiSox to 46-46 and within 3 games of Minnesota in the American League Central. Anderson will take a .310 average, six homers, 24 RBIs, 11 steals and some good vibes into Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, where he’ll be the first White Sox shortstop to start the game since 1970. Anderson made the 2021 Midsummer Classic, his first trip, as a replacement. Anderson was drafted 17th overall in 2013, the highest a state juco player has ever been selected, and has lived up to expectations, batting .288 over seven seasons and winning a batting title in 2019. P.S. Mississippi State pitcher Landon Sims was the 34th overall pick by Arizona in Sunday night’s MLB draft, and Bulldogs catcher Logan Tanner went 55th overall to Cincinnati. Rounds 3-10 will be held today. … MSU’s Kellum Clark has been picked as a reserve for the Cape Cod League All-Star Game, set for July 23. Clark is batting .264 with six RBIs and 10 runs for Wareham in the college summer league. The former Brandon High standout hit .257 with 14 homers for the Bulldogs in 2022.

09 Jul


One imagines that Tim Anderson did a virtual bat flip when he got the official word. The demonstrative (and occasionally controversial) Anderson won the fan voting for American League All-Star shortstop. “It’s a blessing,” the East Central Community College product told mlb.com after his Chicago White Sox lost to Detroit on Friday night. “I’m very thankful to be selected to start.” Despite a recent slump, Anderson is batting .316 with five homers, 20 RBIs and 10 steals in 56 games as the White Sox’s leadoff batter. The former AL batting champ was picked for last year’s game as a replacement for an injured player. The last ChiSox shortstop to start an All-Star Game was Luis Aparicio in 1970. … At least one Mississippi college product has made the All-Star Game every year since 2015, starting with Brian Dozier and Jonathan Papelbon that year, followed by Drew Pomeranz (2016), Zack Cozart and Corey Dickerson (2017), Mitch Moreland (2018), Brandon Woodruff (2019) and Anderson, Woodruff, Lance Lynn and Adam Frazier (2021). (There was no game in 2020.) P.S. An actual bat flip was in order for the Mississippi Braves’ Drew Lugbauer, who hit a walk-off three-run homer in a 6-3 win Friday night against Pensacola at Trustmark Park. “Slugbauer” now has 17 homers on the year for the Double-A M-Braves, off to a 7-3 start in the second half of the Southern League season. Other notable bombs from Friday: Former M-Braves Ronald Acuna (an All-Star starter), William Contreras and Michael Harris II for Atlanta; Mississippi State alum Jordan Westburg, No. 7 for Triple-A Norfolk (Baltimore); Ole Miss product Thomas Dillard, No. 7 for Double-A Biloxi (Milwaukee); ex-Mississippi Gulf Coast CC star Brandon Parker, No. 5 as part of a four-hit game for Low-A Augusta (Atlanta); and Brookhaven native James Beard, No. 4 for Low-A Kannapolis (White Sox).

15 May

have a day

On Tim Anderson Bobblehead Night at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, it was only fitting that the former East Central Community College standout would play a leading role in the White Sox’s walk-off 3-2 win against the New York Yankees. With the score knotted at 2-2 Saturday, Anderson got a one-out single in the ninth inning off Aroldis Chapman. Yankees broadcasters credited Anderson with distracting Chapman into walking the next batter and then falling behind 3-0 to Luis Robert. On a 3-1 pitch, Robert poked a single into right field and Anderson scored the winning run from second base just ahead of a throw by Aaron Judge. The bobblehead commemorated Anderson’s walk-off homer vs. the Yankees in the Field of Dreams Game last summer. The dynamic Anderson went 3-for-5 Saturday, boosting his average to .339, second in the American League. He was just the brightest star on a day filled with shining moments from Mississippians in the majors. To wit: In the ChiSox-Yankees game, Mississippi State alum Kendall Graveman pitched two scoreless innings (the sixth and seventh) for Chicago, registered his eighth hold and trimmed his ERA to 1.56 in 15 games. … In Atlanta, a scuffling Austin Riley, the ex-DeSoto Central High star, went 3-for-4 and delivered the game-deciding run in the eighth inning of a crazy 6-5 victory over San Diego. … In St. Louis, MSU product Dakota Hudson blanked San Francisco over five innings, picking up the win — he is 3-2, 3.06 — as the Cardinals stopped the Giants’ six-game win streak 4-0. McComb native Corey Dickerson went 1-for-4 for the Cards. … Former Southern Miss standout Nick Sandlin picked up a win for Cleveland, working 1 1/3 scoreless innings (in the eighth and ninth) in the Guardians’ 3-2, 10-inning win against Minnesota. Sandlin is 3-1 with a 3.65 ERA in 12 games in middle relief. … Chris Stratton, the MSU product from Tupelo, struck out two batters in the eighth inning and got his fourth hold for Pittsburgh in a 3-1 win against Cincinnati. … Hunter Renfroe, the former State star from Crystal Springs, belted his ninth home run in Milwaukee’s 9-3 loss to Miami. He is tied for the National League lead in homers. … Ole Miss alum Mike Mayers, who has found his form in recent outings, worked a scoreless ninth inning for the Los Angeles Angels in their 9-1 win vs. Oakland in Game 2 of a twinbill.

04 Oct

these are the moments

The regular season is a wrap. Before the second season starts, here’s a tip of the cap to the best moments of 2021 by a Mississippian in the majors:
Best hit: Tim Anderson’s walk-off home run in the inaugural Field of Dreams Game on Aug. 12. The former East Central Community College star’s blast into the Iowa cornfield will endure as one of the great moments in this or any season.
Best pitch: Spencer Turnbull’s final fastball to Mitch Hanigar, which produced a swing and a miss and completed the Madison Central High product’s no-hitter on May 18. The no-no was the first ever in MLB by a Mississippian (native or school alum).
Best throw: Hunter Renfroe’s laser from deep center field to nail a runner at third base for the final out in a 2-1 Boston win on Sept. 8. It was the second assist of the game for the former Mississippi State star, who also homered to put the Red Sox ahead.
Best debut: Nick Fortes, who singled in his first career at-bat on Sept. 18, hit a home run in his second AB later in that game. The ex-Ole Miss standout was one of six Mississippians who debuted in 2021. Worth noting: George County High alum Justin Steele struck out the first batter he faced, and Delta State alum Trent Giambrone got a pinch-hit single in his first at-bat.

23 Sep

follow the leader

Here’s a very interesting and very telling statistic about the 2021 Chicago White Sox: Heading into the first game of a twinbill at Cleveland today, the White Sox were 32-4 when Tim Anderson drove in at least one run. So, yeah, it was a pretty good omen when the former East Central Community College star led off with a home run. The White Sox (86-66) rolled on to a 7-2 victory that clinched the American League Central championship, their first in 13 years. Anderson finished 3-for-4 with two homers and four RBIs. For the year, the dynamic All-Star shortstop is batting .306 with 16 bombs, 58 RBIs, 90 runs and 17 stolen bases. He might not be the league MVP, but he is certainly the straw that stirs the ChiSox’s drink. Former Ocean Spring High standout Garrett Crochet got a couple of outs in the game. Ole Miss alum Lance Lynn and Taylorsville’s Billy Hamilton, both contributors in their first year with the club, didn’t play but were on the field for the largely subdued postgame celebration. They had another game to play.

21 Aug

roll the tape

When the American League MVP voters begin to ponder their choice for 2021, they need to punch up the video from Friday night’s Chicago White Sox-Tampa Bay game. To appreciate the many talents of ex-East Central Community College star Tim Anderson, “show ’em this game today,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said in an mlb.com story. In a clash of first-place clubs, Anderson went 3-for-6 with a home run, scored four times and drove in two runs in a 7-5, extra-inning win. One of the runs he scored came on an acrobatic slide to avoid a tag at the plate. The homer — his 14th — tied the game in the ninth after the White Sox had squandered a lead. In the 11th, he knocked in the go-ahead run and scored the final one. He has 51 RBIs and 78 runs, batting mainly in the leadoff spot. He is hitting .303 and has a 10-game hit streak in which he has batted .388 with four bombs, including that game-winner in the Field of Dreams Game. “(T)he confidence is at an all-time high,” he said postgame. The All-Star shortstop, eight years after leading ECCC to the state juco title, is leading the White Sox to their first division title since 2008. Said La Russa in the mlb.com piece: “There’s nobody in the league, either league, that’s better than he is when you look at the whole game.” Sounds like an MVP. P.S. Jonathan Holder, the Mississippi State product from Gulfport, made his first appearance of 2021 Friday on a rehab assignment (one inning, no runs) in the Arizona Complex League. Signed by the Cubs in the off-season, Holder has been down with a shoulder injury. The Cubs could use some help.

13 Aug

center stage

“Baseball, among many other things, is theater, a definition that mandates that a very small number of players will be strikingly distinctive because of productivity and ‘presence.’” – Donald Honig, Baseball America.
There has never been a stage quite like the one MLB created for Thursday night’s Field of Dreams Game. A cornfield in Iowa. So, of course, leave it to Tim Anderson, the former East Central Community College star who relishes the spotlight as much as any player in the game, to bring down the curtain with a game-ending home run into the corn stalks beyond right field. You might call it a Roy Hobbs moment, though that’s from a different movie than the one that inspired this game. Anderson’s second career walk-off bomb gave the Chicago White Sox a 9-8 win against the New York Yankees. “These are the moments you want to be in,” Anderson, the effervescent leader of these Sox, said in a postgame interview. “These big games like this, this is the time to show up.” The game actually lived up to the hype, which was not easy to do. There were five lead changes. Though 17 runs crossed the plate, pitchers also enjoyed some moments with 23 strikeouts. Anderson’s game-winner was the last of eight balls that left the park and crash-landed in the cornfield. Dramatic doesn’t quite get it. As Ray Kinsella might have said, “It’s more than that. It’s perfect.”

20 Jul

that’s consistency

Tim Anderson was playing like an All-Star before he was named as a late addition to the American League squad. Nothing has changed since. The East Central Community College product went into the break on a 12-game hit streak that started before he was named to the team for the first time. As if he needed to validate his selection, he has hit safely in all four games he has played since the break and has homered in three straight for the first-place Chicago White Sox. “(He) is one of the big reasons why we are where we are,” manager Tony LaRussa told The Associated Press. Anderson has 12 hits in his last seven games, 28 during his 16-game streak and is batting .394 over that stretch. For the year, Anderson, in his sixth season as the White Sox’s regular shortstop, is batting .314 with nine homers, 36 RBIs, 61 runs and 14 stolen bases. Anderson will look to extend his streak when Chicago hosts Minnesota today. The club record for a hitting streak is 28, held by Carlos Lee (2004). P.S. Petal’s Demarcus Evans was recalled by Texas on Sunday, threw two scoreless innings, then was optioned back to Triple-A Monday. Thanks for playing.

08 Jul

access denied

Tim Anderson has won a batting title and a Silver Slugger award. The former East Central Community College star, now in his seventh big league season, led his team, the Chicago White Sox, to a playoff berth in 2020 and to the top of the American League Central standings as of today. And yet: He hasn’t earned an All-Star Game invite. Granted, for a shortstop in the AL, that’s no easy feat. Xander Bogaerts was voted in by the fans. Carlos Correa and Bo Bichette, also deserving of consideration, were picked as reserve shortstops. Anderson — currently batting .307 with six homers, 29 RBIs, 50 runs and 14 steals — was snubbed, and Frank Thomas, the former White Sox star and Hall of Famer, was outraged (really). “Tim Anderson has proven to be a superstar in this league,” he said during a rant on a ChiSox pregame TV show. The normally outspoken Anderson has let his bat talk. He is 8-for-12 since the reserves were announced on July 4. He put up a 4-for-4 game on Wednesday as Chicago – and Ole Miss product Lance Lynn, an All-Star pick – beat Minnesota 6-1. P.S. Former Mississippi Braves Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley and Dansby Swanson combined for 11 hits, four RBIs and seven runs in Atlanta’s 14-3 win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Some other ex-M-Braves also showed out: Jason Heyward put a 4-1-1-1 in the box score and made a great catch in right field as the Cubs snapped their 11-game skid; Craig Kimbrel got the last three outs. Jose Peraza hit a late game-tying homer that propelled the New York Mets to a win over Milwaukee. Phil Gosselin went 1-for-4 with an RBI for the Los Angeles Angels in a 5-4 win against Boston. And Alex Wood worked seven innings for his eighth win as San Francisco topped St. Louis 5-2.