As you might have noticed, football season is getting close to kicking off, which means baseball season is winding down. Former Diamond Dawgs have been on the grind for several big league clubs, and we've tracked their progress throughout the year. With most of the minor leaguers seeing their seasons come to an end in the next couple weeks, we'll wait until after the Dawgs in the post season finish up before giving you the full season recap (and with Alex Wood on the Braves, we hope that isn't until well into October if not November). So without further ado, let's see how the last month and a half has gone for our former Georgia baseball players in pro ball (July's recap is here)...
Justin Grimm was involved in a big trade around the deadline, going from the Rangers to the Cubs as part of the package for Matt Garza. And he found out through Twitter, just like so many of the rest of us. Well, the Cubs thought the Bristol, TN native could use a little more minor league seasoning, and he's been with their AAA club in Iowa since the deal went down. So far he's made 5 starts in AAA, with the first one making his numbers look bad. But he's settled in since, including an 8 strikeout, 0 walk performance his last time out, and will likely be up with Chicago when rosters expand next month.
Among Dawgs in the majors, the Chicago White Sox pair of Gordon Beckham and Jeff Keppinger have had solid months so far in August. Beckham hit .303 in July with 2 HR. So far in 20 games in August, he's hitting .278 with a .373 on base percentage, 5 doubles and 2 HR. Keppinger had a horrible July, but has finally started to come around after a struggle of a season, posting a .333 batting average in 13 August games.
For an Atlanta Braves squad decimated by injury after injury, the emergence of young talent like Alex Wood has helped them to the best record in baseball so far. After getting his first taste from the bullpen, Atlanta sent Wood back down to get stretched out for starting, and he's come back up to be one of their stars. Since the All Star break in mid July, the Charlotte native has started 6 games, going 35 2/3 innings with a 2.52 ERA, 35 strikeouts and 8 walks. He's gone at least 6 innings in each of his 4 August starts, allowing 1 run or less in each of them, even though he only earned one win. Wood will likely get some Rookie of the Year votes if he keeps this up, and is in line to be starting playoff games for Atlanta.
The other Diamond Dawg rookie, Josh Fields, hasn't had the same success. Working out of the Houston Astro bullpen, the former All-American closer does have 2 saves this month, but he's also given up 7 runs in 8 games in both July and August. For the year, his ERA sits at 6.84 in 28 games, having gone 1-3 with 2 saves.
Mitchell Boggs' nightmare season has yet to end, as he's been routinely rocked since joining the Colorado Rockies and their AAA club, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
Meanwhile for the Seattle Mariners' AAA club, the Tacoma Rainiers, 1B Rich Poythress is having his worst month of the year and went back on the disabled list for the second time of the season. His August numbers are a .172 batting average, .262 on base, and .259 slugging, with just 1 HR and 2 doubles.
Starter Brooks Brown is also on the disabled list for the Pittsburgh Pirates AAA affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians. This after settling into their bullpen nicely after the All Star break, having posted a 2.12 ERA in 10 games, with 15 strikeouts in 17 innings of work since getting back to work on July 19.
Lefty Wil Startup has continued his strong return to minor league ball. After being forced to prove himself all over again in the Independent ranks last year, Startup has been with the Detroit Tigers' AA Erie SeaWolves all season. He's posted a 2.83 ERA in 29 games this season, including a 2-0 record in 10 games since the All-Star break.
Jeff Walters has been a revelation for the New York Mets' AA club in Binghamton this season. He's taken well to their closer role, and saved 36 games so far this season. Since their All Star break, he's been even better, putting up a 1.69 ERA in 16 games, going 0-1 with 13 saves, allowing only 16 hits in 16 innings with 18 strikeouts and 4 walks. After a season like this, it'll be interesting to see if the Mets have plans to give him a shot at a MLB bullpen role next spring. He's certainly earned the opportunity.
A fellow draft pick of the Atlanta Braves last year, 2B Levi Hyams hasn't had quite the success of Alex Wood. His strong play for Rome in the first few months of the season earned him a promotion to A+ Lynchburg. Since joining the Hillcats, Hyams has struggled, hitting just .176 in 45 games, with a .299 obp and .284 slugging.
Trevor Holder has also had a rough go in advanced A ball this year. He's been removed from the Lake Elsinore Storm rotation since August began, but allowed more runs than innings pitched this month and given away more walks than strikeouts.
SS Curt Powell has done well in his first experience in pro ball since being drafted by the Detroit Tigers this summer. Playing for the Connecticut Tigers of the New York-Penn League, Powell has hit .259 in August, with a HR and 4 stolen bases.
Ogden Raptors (Pioneer League (rookie) club of the LA Dodgers) catcher Kyle Farmer has done wonderfully since becoming a professional. In 32 games so far, he's hit .328 with 13 doubles, 4 HR, and 27 RBI.
Independent club, the Schaumberg Boomers, have released Mike Demperio.