A lot has been happening recently for former Crowder pitcher Jalen Beeks.
On July 25, he was traded from the Boston Red Sox to the Tampa Bay Rays for RHP Nathan Eovaldi.
On the next day, the Rays activated the southpaw from Fayetteville.
His first outing for the Rays turned out worse than his first two MLB outings for the Red Sox, as he allowed eight earned runs on 10 hits over 3 1/3 innings July 28 against Baltimore. Beeks continued to be hammered on social media, of course.
On Thursday, against the Los Angeles Angels, Beeks broke on through for his first MLB win with five strong innings of long relief. Beeks went hitless for his first four innings.
Beeks allowed two earned runs on two hits and he struck out four and walked one, by far his best MLB outing mainly because of the throwing strikes factor.
This was something Beeks addressed in his postgame interview.
"I don't know exactly what it was, but [pitching coach Kyle Snyder] said 13 or 18, or something like that," Beeks said, "but just attacking guys a lot better. I'm going to try to keep this rolling and continue to adjust and try to get better.
"Got my first win out of the way. The beer shower is gone. Excited to get back out there and throw."
A couple of interesting stats for the Rays: Beeks' win made them 20-4 at home field Tropicana Field since June 11 and he became the 21st Rays pitcher to enter the win column this season.
Beeks reached the highest level of baseball because of solid 2017 and 2018 seasons in the minors.
At Triple-A Pawtucket (Boston) this season, Beeks earned a 5-5 record and a 2.89 ERA over 16 starts and he struck out 117 and walked 25 over 87 1/3 innings. For most of the season, Beeks led the International League in strikeouts.
Beeks made his MLB debut in a start June 7 against Detroit at historic Fenway Park. Beeks struggled in the first inning and pitched better toward the end of his four innings, allowing six earned runs on seven hits and he struck out four and walked three.
Beeks' last three MLB outings have all been out of the bullpen.
In the 2017 season, Beeks finished 11-8 overall with a 3.29 ERA and 155 strikeouts and 55 walks over 145 innings at Pawtucket and Double-A Portland.
The Red Sox picked Beeks in the 12th round of the 2014 draft.
— Former Crowder pitcher Aaron Ashby wasted seemingly little time before earning his first promotion in the professional ranks.
On July 29, just over a month after making his pro debut, Ashby was moved from rookie Helena Brewers (Milwaukee) to Single-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
On that night, Ashby, coming off seven shutout innings in his final start for Helena, continued his solid efforts with six scoreless innings against the Kane County Cougars (Arizona). Ashby struck out six and walked none.
After his two straight scoreless outings, Ashby owned a 2-2 record and a 4.78 ERA with 25 strikeouts and eight walks over his first 26 1/3 innings. Ashby's ERA took a major hit in his pro debut, leaving him at 54.00 after 2/3 inning, but he's been knocking down that number plenty over his last several outings.
Ashby returned to action Friday and took a no-decision against the Burlington Bees (Kansas City).
Ashby surrendered two earned runs on six hits over 4 2/3 innings and he struck out two and walked one.
Ashby's ERA dropped to 4.65, however, and he stands at 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in his first two starts with the Timber Rattlers, highlighted by only a single walk over 10 2/3 innings of work.
The Brewers made Ashby the 125th overall pick (fourth round) in June's draft.
— Single-A Greensboro Grasshoppers (Miami) pitcher Ethan Clark pitched three scoreless innings of relief in his first effort for the Grasshoppers this season.
Clark's first 10 appearances this season came for the Single-A Advanced Jupiter Hammerheads of the Florida State League.
On Saturday, Clark allowed two hits and struck out four and walked three against the Kannapolis Intimidators (Chicago White Sox).
Clark missed two months of the 2018 season due to injury and his numbers have not been too horrible this season despite a 1-5 record.
He owns a 3.74 ERA with 44 strikeouts and 25 walks over 45 2/3 innings.
Tampa Bay selected Clark in the 15th round in the 2015 draft and traded him, along with fellow prospect Braxton Lee, to the Marlins for MLB shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.
Clark owns a 15-16 career pro record and a 3.36 ERA with 219 strikeouts and 91 walks over 238 1/3 innings.
— Connor Eller's solid season for the Single-A Advanced Dunedin Blue Jays (Toronto) continued on Wednesday against the Lakeland Flying Tigers (Detroit), as he pitched scoreless innings to drop his ERA even more.
Eller allowed four hits and struck out two and walked none.
After his first 28 appearances, including seven starts, with Dunedin this season, Eller owned a 6-3 record with a 2.50 ERA and 34 strikeouts and 21 walks over 57 2/3 innings.
Overall, Eller stands at 6-3 with a 3.20 ERA because of a rough appearance with Triple-A Buffalo, when he was credited with five earned runs over 1 1/3 inning.
The Blue Jays made Eller a 22nd round pick in the 2016 draft, from Ouachita Baptist, his collegiate destination after he plied his trade at Crowder.
Meanwhile, Eller's former Crowder teammate Andrew Schwaab continued to struggle with Single-A Advanced Tampa (New York Yankees).
Schwaab took a loss Friday night, allowing three earned runs on four hits over two innings of relief. He struck out one and walked two in the 8-4 loss to Lakeland.
Overall, this season, in between Tampa and Double-A Trenton, Schwaab has a 3-7 record and a 5.57 ERA with a pair of saves in four opportunities and 44 strikeouts and 27 walks over 42 innings.
Schwaab put together a 2-3 mark with a 4.42 ERA in his first 13 games of the season with Trenton.
Schwaab, an undrafted free agent in 2015, earned back-to-back midseason all-star honors in the previous two seasons, including in 2017 for Tampa in the Florida State League. Schwaab's efforts there earned him a promotion to Trenton.
Over his first 99 pro appearances, Schwaab walked 47 in 134 2/3 innings of work. This season, he's walked 27 in 42 innings.
— Overall, it's been a solid season for former Crowder pitcher Zach Matson between Single-A Short Season Aberdeen and Single-A Advanced Frederick.
In his first 12 appearances, Matson posted a 0-1 record with a 2.76 ERA and 21 strikeouts and 12 walks over 16 1/3 innings. He split his appearances between eight with Aberdeen and four with Frederick.
In four games with Frederick, Matson posted a 1.42 ERA and five strikeouts and five walks over 6 1/3 innings.
Matson posted back-to-back three-strikeout outings recently, finishing July and starting August on a strong note.
Matson posted a season-high five strikeouts in his opener June 22 against the Staten Island Yankees, an outing which saw Matson earn his first professional save.
The Orioles made Matson a 24th round selection in the 2016 draft and he's logged a 0-6 record with a 3.31 ERA in his first 45 appearances.
— On July 26, former Neosho High and Crowder standout Trey Turner earned his first professional save in his first attempt.
Pitching for the GCL Nationals against the GCL Cardinals, Turner came on with two outs in the seventh and pitched a scoreless final four outs. Turner both struck out and walked one.
On the season, after Sunday's one-inning performance against the Cardinals, Turner owns a 0-1 record and a 6.28 ERA with 20 strikeouts and 17 walks over the first 14 1/3 innings and 12 appearances of his pro career.
The Nationals picked Turner in the 10th round in the 2017 draft.