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Diamond Dog Alumni Update: September Edition

"You don't pull the mask off the ol' Lone Ranger, and you don't mess around with Grimm." - Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

And just like that, we are entering the final full week of MLB action. It's been an interesting season, and I've enjoyed keeping you all up to speed on how UGA baseball alumni were performing at various levels of professional ball.

Dawgs in the Independent Leagues:

Luke Crumley, P, Joliet Slammers

Luke Crumley spent the summer putting up very impressive numbers for a team with an incarcerated bird (or "jail bird," if you will) as its logo. If the logo below didn't feature orange so prominently, I would approve of it wholeheartedly. Crumley wrapped up his first season in Joliet with an ERA of only 1.48 with 30 strikeouts and 13 walks over 30.1 innings of work.

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Bryce Massanari, C/1B, Ottawa Champions

The former Colorado Rockies farmhand played 81 games for first-year Ottawa this summer, ending the year with a .298 average with 38 RBI and two home runs.

Dawgs in Rookie Ball

I have no updates on the rookie leagues since the season officially ended on 2 September, one day after I published my last monthly update. Congratulations to the Rookie-League Chicago White Sox for bringing home the championship in a one-game final against the Rookie-League Seattle Mariners! For a breakdown on how the rookie-league Dawgs did, check out the appropriate section of my previous post. The following Dawgs ended the year in the rookie leagues: Zack Bowers, Ryan Lawlor, David Sosebee and Jared Walsh.

Dawgs in A- Ball

Jared Cheek, P, Eugene Emeralds

After only three games in rookie ball, the Chicago Cubs decided to promote Jared Cheek to A- Eugene, where he finished the season with an ERA of 7.84 with nine strikeouts and seven walks over 10.1 innings pitched.

Dawgs in A Ball

Jarrett Brown, P, Clinton LumberKings

Jarrett Brown finished the year at A Clinton in the Seattle Mariners organization, having been promoted from rookie ball earlier this summer. Through 88 innings pitched at Clinton, Brown finished the year with an ERA of 5.11 with 67 strikeouts and 54 walks, making 36 appearances in all.

Taylor Hicks, P, West Michigan Whitecaps

After tearing through the rookie leagues and A- with an ERA of 3.06 with eight strikeouts and two walks over 6.2 innings, the Detroit Tigers decided to give Taylor Hicks a shot at A ball, where things did not go as well. In only 0.1 innings, Hicks finished the year at West Michigan with an ERA of 84.00 with a walk and no strikeouts. We'll see if 2016 holds better things for Taylor at a higher level of competition.

Sean McLaughlin, P, Rome Braves

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The Atlanta Braves might be onto something with relief pitcher Sean McLaughlin, who tore through the rookie leagues and ended up posting a 1.02 ERA at A Rome. He also boasts incredible control with 20 strikeouts to only five walks over 17.2 innings of work in A ball.

Dawgs in A+ Ball

Cecil Tanner, P, Lake Elsinore Storm

This was an interesting season for Tanner, who saw himself promoted twice from rookie ball all the way up to A+ in the San Diego Padres system. The former Georgia hurler from Waycross heads into the offseason with an ERA of 8.49 with 13 strikeouts and 17 walks over 11.2 innings pitched.

Nelson Ward, 2B/SS/3B, Bakersfield Blaze

The versatile infielder from Marietta was promoted from A Clinton earlier this season and finished the year at A+ Bakersfield in the Seattle Mariners organization. Ward's productivity at the plate dropped a bit over the season's final month, but he still concludes the 2015 campaign with a solid .282 average with 39 RBI and seven home runs.

Dawgs in AA Ball

Hunter Cole, OF/2B/DH, Richmond Flying Squirrels

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The 2015 season, called a "whirlwind" by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, ended well for Hunter Cole. The San Francisco Giants farmhand saw himself promoted twice from A Augusta to A+ San Jose to AA Richmond, jumping the country twice in the process. The versatile Cole caps off a solid season with an average of .292 with 21 RBI and three home runs. He has primarily been manning the outfield, but has seen action at 2B and DH, as well.

Zach Cone, OF, Frisco RoughRiders

Zach Cone concludes the 2015 season patrolling the outfield for the AA affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Through only 40 games in Frisco, Cone hit .257 with 20 RBI and three home runs.

Kyle Farmer, C/3B/DH, Tulsa Drillers

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One of the brightest stars in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Kyle Farmer had a great year, even playing in the MLB Futures game in Cincinnati on 12 July. The catcher (and sometimes third baseman) from Atlanta ends the year at AA Tulsa, having hit .272 with 39 RBI and two home runs. His impact was particularly felt behind the plate with a .997 fielding percentage.

Levi Hyams, 2B/1B, Mississippi Braves

Having earned a promotion after 34 games at A+ Carolina, Levi Hyams made good on his opportunity at AA Mississippi in the Atlanta Braves organization. The second (and occasionally first) baseman closes the book on the 2015 season with a .274 average with 19 RBI, three home runs and a .279 fielding percentage at the 4 position.

Curt Powell, 2B/SS/3B, Erie Sea Wolves

Powell spent the majority of his time at the AA level at shortstop and second base with the occasional stint at third. After obliterating A+ pitching, the Detroit Tigers farmhand from Knoxville, Tennessee, wraps up the 2015 season with a .241 average with two RBI in only 26 games.

Jeff Walters, P, Binghampton Mets

Walters refuses to let Tommy John have a negative impact on his future as he continues to rise back to the top ranks of the New York Mets system. Walters heads into the offseason with a 1.96 ERA with an insane 21 strikeouts to only three walks over 18.1 innings pitched. If that's not control, I don't know what is.

Dawgs in the Bigs

Gordon Beckham, INF, Chicago White Sox

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September has been kind to Gordon Beckham, who has seen his role increase with the Chicago White Sox over the past month. Having seem some regular playing time, the utility infielder is now hitting .213 with 20 RBI and six home runs, including a shot in Friday night's 5-2 win over the playoff-hunting New York Yankees. Beckham seems to have settled in nicely to his life as a role player in Chicago, and was applauded for his efforts over the summer. He enters the offseason as a potential free agent, so it will be interesting to see what the South Side front office decides to do about their 2008 first-round draft pick.

Brooks Brown, RP, Colorado Rockies

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Good news! Brooks Brown returned to action for the Rockies on 2 September after spending the past three months on the DL with shoulder inflammation. The hurler from Statesboro has picked up right where he left off, heading into the final stretch of the season with a 4.94 ERA with 18 strikeouts and 13 walks over 31 innings pitched. A healthy Brooks Brown should be a key component of the 2016 Colorado bullpen.

Josh Fields, RP, Houston Astros

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Houston has had a rough month. Unfortunately, Josh Fields's September hasn't been too stellar either. All in all, Fields, like his team, has had a great year, but looks to be limping toward the finish line. The relief pitcher who once had a 13-game scoreless steak going (having allowed only four hits and two walks over that span) is currently in possession of a 3.65 ERA with a still-impressive 64 strikeouts to only 19 walks over 49.1 innings of work. The Astros close out the season with four more crucial intra-division games and a trip to Arizona. They currently sit 3.5 games behind the AL West-leading Texas Rangers and in possession of the second AL Wild Card, which would earn them a trip to the Bronx to face the New York Yankees.Join me in wishing Josh Fields and his Houston teammates well as they hunker down for a postseason run! Whatever happens this year, Fields looks to have carved out a niche for himself in the Houston bullpen for years to come.

Justin Grimm, RP, Chicago Cubs

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The Chicago Cubs are headed to the postseason for the first time since 2008, and Justin Grimm is a major reason why. The mainstay of the North Side bullpen is currently boasting a stingy 2.08 ERA with 66 strikeouts and 25 walks over 47.2 innings of work. There's a lot of be excited about for the Cubs right now. For as much praise as their young sluggers get, Grimm and his bullpen mates have been just as impressive throughout the season. As things stand today, the Cubs will travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates in the NL Wild Card game. Wish Justin Grimm and his Cubbie teammates well as they gear up for an October run!

Alex Wood, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

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Alex Wood and the LA Dodgers are on the verge of clinching the final available NL postseason berth. Wood heads into the postseason for the first time since, well, 2013 boasting a 3.60 ERA on the season with 134 strikeouts and 56 walks in 30 games (177.1 IP). He has pitched well for the Dodgers since being traded by the Atlanta Braves,with four of his last five starts being quality starts. You can rest assured that Alex Wood will play an important role on this October-bound Dodger team, so wish him and his LA teammates luck!

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Oh, and the college baseball season is in the air! The Diamond Dogs took to the practice field last Sunday evening.With a stable of veterans including probable first-round draft pick Robert Tyler, Stephen Wrenn and Skyler Weber, the Georgia baseball team promises to give us something to cheer about in 2016. The Dawgs' first game is on 19 February against Georgia Southern in Athens; they open conference play at Foley Field on 18 March against Kentucky.

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Stay tuned for a special postseason edition after the World Series trophy is hoisted, preferably by a team featuring a former Diamond Dog great!

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