It's hard to believe we are now two full months into hardball season. I continue my series on former Georgia baseball players and how they've been performing at different levels of professional baseball. Here is a breakdown of how these DGDs have been representing UGA at the next level through May.
Dawgs in the bigs:
Atlanta lefty pitcher Alex Wood was moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen in May. This was not so much a demotion as it was the Braves filling a need with an extremely promising young arm. Wood has done well in the 'pen and is currently honing his changeup, an increasingly important pitch in today's injury-riddled game. He closes the month of May having pitched 55 2/3 innings with a 3.40 ERA, 14 walks and 58 strikeouts.
Gordon Beckham has had a rough go manning second base for the Chicago White Sox as of late. After barely playing in April, he started the month of May on the DL, and struggled to put up respectable numbers upon returning to the South Side dugout. Things are finally headed in the right direction for the talented, but snakebit Atlanta native. Since playing a role in sinking the crosstown rival Cubs on May 6, Beckham has an OPS of .957 with four home runs and five doubles The Sox are also playing well as of lat, putting less pressure on Beckham as he faced an uphill battle at the plate. This recent hot streak puts Beckham's average at .288 with 11 RBIs and four home runs over 33 games.
Meanwhile, on the North Side of Chicago, Cubs reliever Justin Grimm continues to dazzle. While his ERA jumped in May from a sizzling 0.79 to a still-respectable 2.74, Grimm now has an impressive 27 strikeouts with only 13 walks on the season.
The Houston Astros are hot right now, and their righty reliever Josh Fields is having a much better month than he did in April. Fields came into May with an ERA of 9.58 with 12 strikeouts and six walks in 12 appearances. He's gotten the ERA down to 7.20 in only eight appearances in May. Fields now has nine walks and 28 strikeouts on the season.
Dawgs on the way up:
Reliever Brooks Brown of the Colorado Rockies organization had a solid month pitching at Colorado Springs. He was able to bring his ERA down to 5.40 (it was 6.30 a month ago) and now has 18 strikeouts and nine walks in 17 appearances (20 IP).
Jeff Walters continues to pitch at Las Vegas. The month of May was not very kind to Walters, considered one of the most promising pitching prospects in the New York Mets organization. He closes May with an ERA of 9.82, having yielded eight walks with 12 strikeouts.
1B Rich Poythress remains with the Miami Marlins, spending May at Jacksonville. In 28 games for the Suns, Poythress is hitting .240 with 14 RBIs and four homeruns.
Detroit Tigers farmhand Will Startup spent the month of May at Erie, where he has racked up an ERA of 2.95 with 14 strikeouts and seven walks in 13 appearances (18.1 IP) on the season.
Outfielder Zach Cone had a slightly better May than April with Myrtle Beach in the Texas Rangers organization. He has hit .194 on the season with 14 RBIs and one homerun.
Atlanta Braves farmhand Levi Hyams continues to impress as an infielder for Lynchburg. In 42 games for the Hillcats, Hyams has hit for an average of .281 with 24 RBIs and two homeruns.
Curt Powell spent the month of May manning several infield positions for Lakeland in the Detroit Tigers organization. Powell closes May with an ERA of .280 with 15 RBIs and one homerun.
Catcher Kyle Farmer, a Los Angeles Dodger farmhand, spent May at Great Lakes. He is now hitting .308 for the Loons with 30 RBIs and one homerun.
The month of May saw outfielder Joey Side land at Trois-Rivieres, an independent league team based out of Quebec. In only three games, Side has hit .500 with five RBIs and a homer. Bonne chance, Joey!
Free Agents, etc.
There's still no news on Mitchell Boggs, who signed a minor-league deal with the White Sox on April 1.
Gordon Beckham's former Chicago White Sox teammate, Jeff Keppinger, was officially released by the club on May 21. Please join me in wishing Kepp well in finding a new landing spot.