15 Aug

under the radar

It’s tough to get much attention in the American Association, an independent league of mostly Midwest teams with odd nicknames. Gavin Collins deserves a little love. The Mississippi State alum has banged out 16 hits over his last 10 games for the Kansas City Monarchs, a .381 clip that has boosted his average to .314. Playing catcher and some third base, Collins, 28, has 10 homers and 41 RBIs for a team that leads the AA’s West Division with a 46-33 record. Collins may also have found it difficult to get much attention while at MSU, where, in his junior year of 2016, his teammates included Brent Rooker, Nathaniel Lowe, Dakota Hudson, Ethan Small, Konnor Pilkington and Jake Mangum. Collins hit .302 for a 44-win team that reached a Super Regional, and he was a 13th-round pick by Cleveland in the 2016 draft. He spent six years in the Indians/Guardians’ minor league system, batting .246 overall and reaching the Triple-A level. He became a free agent at the end of the 2022 season, signed with Tampa Bay and went to the Rays’ spring training camp before being released at the end of March. He then signed with the Monarchs, who also suit up ex-Bulldogs standout Jacob Robson, Delta State product Dalton Moats and Chris Herrmann — another catcher, one who spent eight years in the big leagues and currently leads the team in average, homers and RBIs. P.S. With Ozzie Albies on the injured list, Atlanta reportedly has called up former Mississippi Braves star Vaughn Grissom from Triple-A Gwinnett, probably as the backup to Nicky Lopez at second base. Grissom, a righty hitter, is hitting .327 with six homers and 50 RBIs. The Braves’ other infield option at Gwinnett was ex-M-Braves star Braden Shewmake, a lefty hitter and better fielder than Grissom who is batting .229 with 13 homers, 57 RBIs and 20 steals. That’s some kinda system depth. … Also back in The Show is former M-Braves infielder Johan Camargo, recently signed and called up Monday by San Francisco. Camargo spent 10 years in the Atlanta system and was in Pearl in 2016.

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