July 2013 Diamond Dawgs in MLB and the minor leagues update

Can I get some of that hot hand? - Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It's that time again ladies and gents. A lot has happened since our last update a little over a month ago, including two recently drafted players making their debut, a player getting traded, some All Star honors, and at least one extremely hot hand. So let's get to it, shall we?

We'll start with Gordon Beckham, who has gone on an absolute tear since returning from the disabled list in June. He had a pretty solid June, hitting .308 in 25 games with 8 doubles. So far in July, the Chicago White Sox starting 2B, he's got 17 hits in 10 games with 2 HR and a stolen base. For the season, he's hitting .342, with a .363 obp and a .443 slugging.

Beckham's teammate, Jeff Keppinger, had a pretty good June himself. The former Diamond Dawg SS hit .317 last month with a 3B, HR and 9 RBI. He's struggling so far in July, and after landing a solid contract last winter, has underperformed this year hitting well below his career norms across the board. At 33, Kepp is hitting .248/.275/.299 for the season.

Alex Wood has been putting up solid numbers as a rookie getting his first taste of the big leagues. After dominating AA, the lefty got the call up when injuries decimated the Atlanta Brave bullpen. Since his debut on May 30, the Charlotte native has pitched in 15 games, including a start June 18th in a doubleheader against the New York Mets when the expected starter was scratched from injury. Aside from two bad nights though, Wood has been consistently impressive. He had a 3.55 ERA with 19 strikeouts in just under 13 innings in June, and for the season, has a 2.95 ERA in 18 1/3 innings with 23 strikeouts to 7 walks. He's also yet to allow a HR (and when he gives up multiple long balls in his next outing, I apologize).

Texas Rangers rookie Justin Grimm has had an up and down season. It started wonderful, winning the AL Rookie of the Month in April. But since then, it's been downhill. He made 5 starts in June, giving up 6 home runs and 25 runs total in 25 innings. He's allowed 4 HR in 8 July innings already. For the year, he's made 16 starts, and has a 5.88 ERA in just over 85 innings.

Josh Fields, also in his rookie season but for the Houston Astros, came off the disabled list early last month, and has had some good and bad games since. He made 10 appearances in June, allowing runs in 4 but also 4 excellent outings. His 3 July outings so far have all been a bit of a struggle, and he's allowed 4 HR in his last 6 appearances. For the season, the Hull, GA native has pitched in 15 games, for 13 2/3 innings with a 5.93 ERA but he does have 10 strikeouts and only 2 walks.

Now for the guys on the road up in the minors. We'll start with the two newbies to the bunch, Curt Powell and Kyle Farmer. Powell is already getting action in A ball, which is a good sign for a rookie, especially one taken in the 21st round of last month's MLB draft. He's got 5 hits, 2 stolen bases, and scored 3 runs for the Detroit Tigers' affiliate, the West Michigan Whitecaps. Farmer meanwhile, is with the Los Angeles Dodgers' Pioneer League club, the Ogden Raptors. He's also off to a tremendous start, with 14 hits in 12 games, including 5 doubles and 2 home runs.

Mitchell Boggs has seen his season go about as bad as possible. After a couple strong seasons as a set up man for the St Louis Cardinals, injury thrust him into the closer's role. He eventually lost it, and got send down to the minors. He pitched well, came back up, and struggled again. The Cardinals sent him back down to be a starter, but decided they'd rather have some of the Colorado Rockies international free agent signing money (MLB sets the total each team can spend based on how well they did the previous year). The Dalton born man made his debut in the Rockies system, with the AA Tulsa Drillers, last night where he allowed no hits or walks to go with a strikeout in a single inning of work.

Tacoma Rainiers (AAA club for the Seattle Mariners) 1B Rich Poythress had a rough June. The slugger had 7 doubles and 2 HRs last month, but he only hit .238, and had his worst on base percentage of any month this year at .307. On the season, which includes 4 games in AA as he worked his way back from injury, Poythress is hitting .255, with 9 HR and 41 RBI in 71 games, along with a solid .346 on base and .437 slugging.

Brooks Brown, with the Pittsburgh Pirates AAA club (Indianapolis Indians), has had an up and down year himself. He's been demolished as a starter, but worked well out of the bullpen this year. As a starter in 8 games this year, the Statesboro native has sung the blues, allowing 30 runs in 33 innings. But in 32 2/3 innings out of the bullpen, he has a 3.86 ERA. His strikeout and walk rates also improve when he's pitching in relief.

Binghamton Mets closer Jeff Walters has pitched well enough to be an All Star in the AA Eastern League. He had a 1.46 ERA in June, with a 2-0 record and 8 saves. For the year, he is 4-2 with a 2.43 ERA in 34 games, 23 saves, 39 strikeouts in 37 innings and just 12 walks. He pitched a perfect 9th inning with 1 strikeout in the Eastern League All Star game.

On the other side of that All Star game (which was played Wednesday) from Walters was Detroit Tigers Will Startup. Pitching for the Eria Sea Wolves in AA, Startup went 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA in 5 June outings. After spending last year in the Independent Leagues, Startup was signed by the Tigers, and has had a great season out of their bullpen in AA. The 28 yr old lefty has taken the mound in 19 games this year, with 4 save, a 4-1 record, 38 1/3 innings, 27 strikeouts and a 2.58 ERA. He pitched a perfect 5th inning for the game winning Western Division of the Eastern League in Wednesday's All Star game.

Levi Hyams is the 3rd former Diamond Dawg to earn All Star recognition this season. His excellent play for the Rome Braves also led to his recent call up to Atlanta's high A club, the Lynchburg Hillcats. He was the starting 2B for the South Division of the South Atlantic League, where he hit a home run in the first inning of a 2-1 loss. In 52 games with Rome, Hyams hit .317, scoring 40 runs in 52 games, with 9 doubles, 3 triples, a home run, and 12 stolen bases. So far in 14 games with Lynchburg, he is hitting only .106.

Picked up mid season by the San Diego Padres, and assigned to their high A club, the Lake Elsinore Storm, Trevor Holder has now started 11 games for his new team. He had a rough June, going 2-2 in 5 starts with a 5.08 ERA in 33 2/3 innings. His July has been much better, including 8 innings of shutout ball, allowing just 3 hits in his start on July 2. For the season, Holder has a 2-5 record, with a 4.91 ERA in 80 2/3 innings across the A+ and AA levels.

Mike Demperio is still putting in work, now with the Schaumburg Boomers of the Frontier League (not affiliated with an MLB club). He's only hitting .179 in 24 games with the Illinois team, but is currently out on their injured reserve.

We told you last month about Nathan Moreau, who was pitching for another independent team, the Lincoln Saltdogs. Well, he had 4 starts with the Nebraska club before they let him go on June 8th. Good luck going forward Mr. Moreau.

With none of the trio having played yet this year, we're going to assume Berry Tanner, Chase Davidson, Stephen Dodson, and Bryce Massanari are not with a pro baseball team right now. And the Texas Rangers' Zach Cone is out for the year after tearing his achilles back in April.

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