Your August update of professional Diamond Dawgs

Aug 5, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham (15) hits a single during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Angels at US Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

It's August, and that means football starts cranking up, while baseball starts winding down. So, before we turn our complete attention to the pigskin, we point out how 17 former Diamond Dawgs are doing in the Major and Minor leagues. The minor league seasons end around the first week of September (except for those whose teams make the playoffs), so this will be the second to last update of the year. Since we have a lot to get to, let's get going.

To the right on your screen is one Gordon Beckham. While he does look sharp in that red White Sox uni, his season has started to nosedive after a short respite in May and June from what has been a very rough last two seasons for our former superstar SS. Gordo is still starting at 2B for the most part, for a White Sox team that currently sits at the top of the AL Central. But how much longer he's a regular starter remains to be seen. In July, the former Parkview HS QB Westminster School product (ht-hailtogeorgia) has a mere 16 hits in 24 games, posting a batting average/on base/slugging slash line of .188/.242/.259. After a promising start to his career, Beckham has gone from bad to worse, and we only hope he can somehow turn things around soon. Updates on several others after the jump....

Jeff Keppinger, has continued his solid season at the plate as utility man for the Rays. While Tampa doesn't appear to be making the playoffs, that's not because of Kepp's play. The one things he's also been able to do, is hit, and that's showing this year, as the Professional Hitter (tm) has a .314 average on the year, and followed a blazing hot June (.478 average, although in few at bats) with a strong July hitting .293, with 4 doubles, a triple, and a home run, to go with 10 walks vs. a mere 6 strikeouts. A free agent after the season, Keppinger likely bounces around from team to team as one of the league's best pinch hitters/bench pieces for the next several years.

Mitchell Boggs has had perhaps the best season of any former Diamond Dawg this year. Working as a key reliever for the defending World Series champion St Louis Cardinals, Boggs has appeared in 50 games, with a slight 1.51 ERA on the year. The Dalton native hasn't allowed a run since June 12, and appearing in 13 games in July, had an ERA of (obviously) 0.00, with 7 strikeouts to 3 walks and just 10 hits.

Justin Grimm returned to the minors after a short call up to the Texas Rangers when injuries hit. Now with the AAA Round Rock Express, Grimm has made 4 starts in 5 games, logging 28 innings, 23 strikeouts, 10 walks, and a 2.57 ERA in his first taste of AAA. Expect him to be among the call ups in September when rosters expand for the AL West leading, Nolan Ryan owned club.

Josh Fields finally got the call to AAA after spending the vast majority of career now in it's 5th season in AA (where he debuted back in 2009), as noted by BravesAreZilla last week. He's only made one appearance for the Pawtucket Red Sox, pitching one inning, allowing 2 hits and logging 2 strikeouts yesterday. He finishes with a 2.62 ERA in 32 games in AA this year, with 8 saves and 59 strikeouts vs. 16 walks. If he has his control under control, he just might see some action for Boston in September when major league rosters can expand from their current 25 to a full 40.

Brooks Brown has had a rough season with the Detroit Tigers' AAA Toledo Mudhens, and July was no different. He had one solid outing out of 5, and posted a 6.26 ERA for July, while allowing an opponents batting average of .322.

Clint Sammons, is still on the disabled list for the Miami Marlins' AAA club, the New Orleans Zephyrs. He hasn't played since the 4th of July.

Stephen Dodson returned from the disabled list on July 20th, only to suffer a set back and go right back on there. He's pitched just 2 games since June 22nd, allowing 1 run on 5 hits in 3 innings for the AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox, the AAA affiliate for the Colorado Rockies.

Trevor Holder was promoted from A+ to AA this past month by the Washington Nationals. He joined the Harrisburg Senators, making his AA debut on July 12th, where he got rocked for 7 runs, and 2 home runs, on less than 2 innings. He's settled in since, and had solid efforts in his last 3 starts. In the 4 games since that initial debacle, the Birmingham born Holder has allowed the same 7 runs, but over 25 innings, with 0 homers, 14 strikeouts and a mere 2 walks.

Rich Poythress has been on fire since returning from the disabled list in July. The Jackson Generals 1B (Seattle Mariners AA) hit .333 last month. While he failed to homer, he had 7 doubles, and more walks than strikeouts (13 to 10). He's yet to show anywhere near the power that saw 31 HRs in A ball two years ago, but while his slugging has been down, his batting average and on base skills have been strong. Expect him to be promoted and get his first taste of AAA next spring.

Jeffrey Walters was also among those former Diamond Dawgs to get a promotion recently, going up to the A+ St Lucie Mets of the Florida St League. The reliever made his debut there on the 4th of July, and so far has pitched in 10 games out of the St Lucie bullpen, logging 13 1/3 innings, allowing 7 runs (5 earned) on 13 hits, with 8 strikeouts.

Bryce Massinari has yet to return from the disabled list for the A+ Modesto Nuts, of the Colorado Rockies organization. He last played on May 20th.

Zach Cone showed some good power, but otherwise had a rough July. The Hickory Crawdads CF (Texas Rangers, A ball) hit just .203, and had 21 strikeouts in 20 games, but also had 3 doubles and 4 HRs in his 15 hits on the month. He seems to be turning a corner of late, getting a hit in 9 of his last 10, including 3 doubles, a home run, and also 2 steals. This is Cone's first full season at the professional level, so struggles, especially late in the year as bodies wear down from the grind, are to be expected.

Alex Wood has been nothing short of outstanding since debuting in the professional ranks with the class A Rome Braves (of the Atlanta Braves). He's made 8 starts so far since being drafted in the 2nd round of this year's draft, going deeper and deeper in games. Aside from one rough outing against the West Virginia Power, he's been solid to dominant. Coming off an 8 strikeout performance last week, Wood has a .180 ERA and a 2-2 record, allowing only 16 hits in 30 innings, just 1 HR, and has 27 strikeouts vs. 8 walks. Hitters have a .155 batting average against him so far. It wouldn't be a shock to see him skip A+ altogether next year, and go straight to the Braves AA team in Pearl, Mississippi (as they've done with fellow highly drafted college lefties in Vandy's Mike Minor, and Florida St's Sean Gilmartin).

Levi Hyams joined Woods as a Braves farmhand, although with their advanced rookie ball club in Danville, VA. Hyams has had nowhere near the success of his college teammate Woods, hitting a slight .208, with a .252 on base percentage. But he does have 6 doubles and 5 home runs (after just 2 HRs all year with Perno's pups), so he's shown good power with the wood bat.

Chase Davidson, with the A- Tri-City Valley Cats of the New York-Penn League (similar to where Hyams is in Danville) hasn't played since the end of June. He's still on their active roster though, so I'm not sure what is going on with the Houston Astros farmhand.

Berry Tanner is in a similar situation, on the active roster for the Oakland A's club in the rookie ball Arizona League, but not seeing any game action. He's yet to play this year, so any help on what's going on with the Waycross native would be appreciated.

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