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Dog days: Minor league talent takes the field


June 05, 2018

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Ahh, June. The dog days of summer. The return of the Statesboro summer scorcher, a time in which there is not much happening in the collegiate world of sports. But for former Eagles pursuing their dream of playing baseball in the big leagues, summer is the middle of the full swing of minor league season. So, after having the pleasure of watching two Eagles pitch in the minors this season, I figured there’s no better time than June to present my Georgia Southern baseball rendition of a “Where Are They Now?”

 

MLB

Chris Beck-Chicago White Sox: 16 IP in nine appearances in 2018; 0-0 record with 1 save and 3.94 ERA

Beck has made a career 92 appearances for the White Sox in the past four years after being the 76th overall pick by the Sox in the 2012 draft.

 

AAA

Sam Howard-Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado Rockies affiliate):  32.1 IP in 7 starts in 2018; 2-3 record with a 5.01 ERA

Howard has been with the Rockies since he was signed in 2014, and has progressed through their farm system with a 28-32 record and 3.69 ERA in 95 starts.

 

AA

Victor Roache-Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals affiliate): .267 Avg in 135 plate appearances; 11 HR, 28 RBIs

Roache has a career average of .239 and 79 HR in his five years with minor league affiliates from the Brewers, Dodgers and Cardinals.

 

A(Advanced)

Jason Richman- Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate): 26.1 IP in 15 appearances in 2018: 1-4 record with two saves and 4.44 ERA.

Richman has a career record of 7-10, 7 saves, and a 3.50 ERA in 100 appearances with different minor league affiliates of the Rangers and Dodgers.

 

Jordan Wren- Salem Red Sox (Boston Red Sox affiliate): .300 avg in 10 plate appearances in 2018.

Wren has a career average of .198 in his 81 plate appearances with the Boston Red Sox farm system.

 

A

Logan Baldwin- Augusta GreenJackets (San Francisco Giants affiliate): .275 avg in 131 plate appearances with 4 triples and 9 doubles.

Baldwin has a .362 career average in 2 years with the Giants minor league system with 99 hits including 20 doubles.

 

One of the cooler experiences I had this past month was to fly out to Los Angeles for a getaway from Disney World and see the Pacific Ocean for the first time. While I was out there, Rancho Cucamonga was in town, so I hopped in a rental car and went to catch a game and see Jason Richman play. It really is cool seeing our former Eagles living the dream and getting to see some neat places in this country while doing so.

Personally growing up 5 miles away from the Gwinnett Braves (now Stripers) stadium, I fell in love with minor league baseball. To me, it is the purest version of professional baseball, as the players are all within reach of achieving a lifelong goal of playing in the big leagues. Sure, you may not recognize the names now, but looking back you can say you watched some of the great names of today get their start.

I still remember the starting rotation of the G-Braves included both Tommy Hanson and Julio Teheran, and some guy at first base by the name of Freddie Freeman. Needless to say there are a lot of players who can and will turn into a star name in the future, so get on out to a minor league game whether it’s Charleston, Augusta, Gwinnett, Jacksonville, or any of the numerous minor league teams in the country and enjoy some of the best sporting environments you can find.

 

In other baseball news, I would be missing one of the hottest commodities in the sport if I didn’t bring up the Savannah Bananas. Sure they aren’t a minor league team, but the organization operates better than any pro league I have seen. A quick check at their website and you will find they have sold out all of their games except for a few weeks before the season starts. Last year the team had a couple of Eagles, and the opposing teams in the Coastal Plain League is usually a popular spot for Eagles looking to play some summer ball. The Bananas run things right. Every time the team takes the field, it is more than just a game. It is a show. Savannah rallies around this team each summer, as the baseball game is sandwiched in between the games, events, dance routines and much more that the organization puts on.

It’s simply amazing how less than five years ago the Savannah Sand Gnats were a fledgling minor league team that moved to Columbia and left Grayson Stadium empty and potentially being torn down. Those days are gone, and Georgia’s first city has simply “Gone Bananas.” The team kicks off its season this month, and I am looking forward to seeing the talent on the field, especially with the new addition and rivalry that comes in the form of the Macon Bacon.

 

So folks, take a breath. June is a semi slow-down time for sports, but get ready, because the two versions of football are coming, and for the Tailgate Tattler that means I get to dive back into the current happenings and state of athletics at Georgia Southern in just one short month!  In the meantime, finalize your donations to the Athletic Foundation, and get ready to acquire your season tickets if you haven’t done so already, because the fiscal year ends June 30! GATA


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