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June 2013 Diamond Dawg in the Pros Update

Alex Wood delivering his first pitch for the Atlanta Braves
Alex Wood delivering his first pitch for the Atlanta Braves
Kevin C. Cox

Thanks to the lovely resource that is, I learned of several former Georgia players plying their trade in the independent part of minor league baseball, and we get to celebrate a pitcher who made good with his big league club less than a year after they drafted him. So there will be a few new names that I didn't include last month. We've got a lot to get to, so without further ado, here's how our Diamond Dawgs did around the various levels of professional baseball last month (and if I'm missing anyone, please let me know in the comments)....

We start with Alex Wood. The 22 yr old lefty from Charlotte made his MLB debut last Thursday, May 30th, less than a year after the Braves drafted him from Georgia. He made his second appearance June 3, and overall has 3 innings, 1 run allowed, 3 hits, a walk, and 3 strikeouts out of Atlanta's bullpen. Wood was excelling as a starter in AA when he got the call, having gone 3-1 in 5 May starts with a 1.80 ERA in 30 innings. Wood may or may not stick with Atlanta, because while he has shown good promise (check out what SBN site Minor League Ball and John Sickels said about him), the Braves front office would probably prefer to see him building innings and continue to develop his breaking ball at the AA or AAA level the rest of this year. For now though, he'll keep working out of their injury depleted bullpen.

Texas' starter Justin Grimm followed up his Rookie of the Month winning April with a much worse May. In 6 starts and 35 2/3 innings last month, Grimm had a 5.05 ERA, allowing 46 hits, 10 walks, and 4 home runs. He's now 5-3 on the year, with a 3.93 ERA for the Rangers.

The Chicago White Sox have a pair of Dawgs in their infield, with Gordon Beckham at 2B and Jeff Keppinger manning 3rd. Beckham just recently returned from the DL after having surgery to repair his left hand, so we'll give you a full update on his production next month. Parkview product Keppinger rebounded from a rough April with a not good but at least better May. His batting average improved over 40 points from what it was in April, and his ops went up more than 130 points. Of course, that's because his April was really that bad, since his May slash line was .245/.260/.296 (average, on base, slugging). For the year, the career .284 hitter is sitting at .232, with 4 doubles and 1 home run. Here's to hoping they both warm up with the weather.

Like Beckham, Houston Astros rookie reliever Josh Fields only recently returned from the disabled list and a right forearm strain, making his 3rd appearance on June 3rd (interestingly enough, he's gotten only one out all 3 times, allowing just 1 hit and no walks). Next month, he should have more games under his belt for a better update.

Mitchell Boggs, of the St. Louis Cardinals, struggled early this year after being given the closers role out of their bullpen. He went to AAA, seemed to get right, pitching well in 5 of 6 outings with the Memphis Redbirds, and got called back up to the Cardinals. He made 4 appearances last month for St. Louis, allowing runs in 3 of them and not even recording an out in the last one. So he's now back in AAA, but they are trying to work him in as a starter. It'll be interesting to see where things stand with the Dalton man next month.

Statesboro's Brooks Brown had a rough May with the Pittsburgh Pirates' AAA club , the Indianapolis Indians. Pitching in 5 games, he allowed 17 runs in 23 2/3 innings, giving up 5 HRs and 30 hits. His record stands at 3-1 on the year, but that's the only good looking number in his stat line .

Jeff Walters made 10 appearances for the Binghamton Mets (AA) out of their bullpen, and pitching well in all but 2 of them. He ended the month with a 2-2 record, 5 saves, and 5.06 ERA (although all the runs came in those 2 bad games). For the year, Walters is 2-2 with a 2.63 ERA and 13 saves. In 24 innings (21 games), he's got 25 strikeouts and only 9 walks.

Rich Poythress, with the Tacoma Rainiers (AAA for Seattle), had a rough May too, hitting just .214. But he was getting on base (.371 obp for the month, thanks to drawing 14 walks in 18 games), and showing some power with 4 HR. For the year, the Grovetown, GA native is hitting .248 with 7 HR and 22 RBI in 42 games at AA and AAA.

The San Diego Padres may be finding out why Washington let Trevor Holder go. After picking him up and assigning him to the A+ Lake Elsinore Storm last month, Holder made 5 appearances and 4 starts. He's given up a lot of hits every time out so far, with almost as many walks as strikeouts. Posting an ERA over 10 isn't a good first impression, as Holder now has an ERA of 6.00 for the season in 39 innings.

Levi Hyams, the other Dawg drafted by the Braves last year, isn't doing as well as Wood, but he's still performing great for Rome. Atlanta's A ball 2B is hitting .311 on the year, with a .373 obp and .412 slg, scoring 33 runs in 38 games so far. For May, Hyams hit .330 and scored 25 runs in 24 games, with 3 2B, 2 3B, a HR, and 5 steals. He just might win a spot in the South Atlantic League All Star game if he can keep up this pace.

Zach Cone saw his season end to a torn achilles in April, while Chase Davidson is still in extended spring training purgatory waiting for short season ball to begin later this month. And I'm still in the dark on what's going on with Berry Tanner, Bryce Massanari, and Stephen Dodson.

Now for the new additions.

After spending last year with the Sugar Land (Tx)Skeeters (and here goes my mandatory I LOVE MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM NAMES, although this isn't an homage to a Muppet Baby or [explicit], but the scourge of the summer that are mosquitos), Will Startup is back. He's been with the Detroit Tigers AA club, the Erie SeaWolves, all year (oops), making 12 appearances, going 1-1 with 4 saves and 24 strikeouts in 28 innings. Unfortunately, he hasn't pitched since May 15th and is currently on the DL.

Lefty Nathan Moreau didn't give up when the Baltimore Orioles cut him early last year. He's now with the Lincoln (Nebraska) Saltdogs of the American Association. In 3 starts, Moreau is 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA.

The Schaumberg (Illinois) Boomers of the Frontier League traded a player to be named later to the American Association's Gary SouthShore Railcats in March to get 2B/SS Mike Demperio. In 10 games so far, he has 5 hits (one 2B and one 3B), along with one walk and 12 strikeouts.