As of Saturday, the Milwaukee Brewers had signed or at least announced 10 signings of their selections from the MLB Draft earlier in June, including former Crowder pitcher Aaron Ashby.
Reportedly, Ashby signed for $520,000, a figure above the $438,300 nominally assigned to the 125th overall pick (fourth round).
Other signees include supplemental second round pick Micah Bello, fifth round pitcher Justin Jarvis, seventh round catcher David Fry, eighth round pitcher Luis Gonzalez, 10th round pitcher J.T. Hintzen, 18th round pitcher Scott Sunitsch, 27th round pitcher Brady Schanuel, 34th round pitcher Michael Mediavilla, and 37th round pitcher Franklin Hernandez.
Ashby joins a slew of former Crowder players in the professional ranks.
Also, reportedly, the Brewers are working on signing 16-year-old Chinese right-hand pitcher Jolon Lun, who’s finding success against older, more experienced players in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League with his team the Alexandria Aces. Lun’s reputed to reach 95 mph on the radar gun.
— It had been nearly two weeks since former Crowder and current Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston) pitcher Jalen Beeks had made a Triple-A start, since he made his MLB debut in the interim.
On Wednesday, Beeks made his return to Triple-A a dynamic one and victorious one, allowing one earned run on six hits over seven innings against the Syracuse Chiefs (Washington Nationals). Beeks struck out seven and walked none in a commanding performance.
In his MLB debut, Beeks was roughed up for six runs (all earned) on seven hits over four innings against the Detroit Tigers, and he struck out four and walked three. Detroit scored five runs against Beeks in the first inning, which started inauspiciously enough with a strikeout.
On the season at Triple-A, Beeks owns a 4-3 record with a 2.42 ERA and 87 strikeouts and 14 walks over 63 1/3 innings.
Beeks, after Saturday’s play, leads the International League in strikeouts (five ahead of Charlotte’s Michael Kopech, who’s made two more starts than Beeks) and ranks fourth in ERA, plus second in WHIP at 0.96.
In short, he’s been dominant at the second-highest level of professional baseball.
Voting ends June 22 for the Triple-A All-Star Game played July 11 in Columbus (Ohio) and you may cast your vote for Beeks to represent the International League against the Pacific Coast League. Rosters will be determined by fans, local media, and Triple-A managers. Voting may be accomplished at milb.com/vote or milb.com/ballot.
Voting rules: Fans can vote for each of the nine position players, a designated hitter, two starting pitchers, and two relievers in each league, plus a write-in option. Voters may vote as many as 25 times for their favorite players.
Beeks has never played in a midseason all-star game since his pro career began in 2014, although he earned organizational all-star honors after last season.
The Red Sox made Beeks a 12th round pick out of Arkansas in the 2014 MLB Draft and through 90 career pro starts, Beeks generated a 33-26 overall record with a 3.61 ERA and 461 strikeouts and 149 walks over his first 491 2/3 innings.
Beeks’ numbers have been on the rise over the past two seasons, and he will be in the big league Red Sox conversation again before the season.
— Former Crowder and current Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes (Miami Marlins) pitcher Mike Kickham has been a busy arm from the bullpen in recent games.
Kickham did not surrender an earned run over three outings over a week period against Salt Lake, Fresno, and Sacramento.
Kickham totaled six innings with three against Salt Lake, two against Fresno, and one against Sacramento, lowering his ERA from 4.15 to 2.45 or 170 points.
On the season, Kickham owns a 0-0 mark with a 2.00 ERA over eight relief appearances and he’s recorded 14 strikeouts and six walks over 18 innings.
Kickham has split time between New Orleans and Double-A Jacksonville this season.
Over a pro career that started back in 2010, Kickham has predominantly been a starter with his 125 of his 152 career minor league appearances being starts.
The San Francisco Giants selected Kickham in the sixth round in 2010.
— Former Crowder and current Double-A Hartford Yard Goats (Colorado Rockies) right fielder Sam Hilliard fell to second place on the team in batting average after Sunday’s 1 for 4 effort at the plate against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (New York Mets).
Despite his average dipping below .300 in the last week or so, Hilliard entered Sunday’s contest leading the Yard Dogs at .290.
Fellow 2015 MLB draftee Brendan Rodgers leads the team at .291 and he leads the way in runs scored (34), home runs (14), and RBI (50) entering Monday.
After 56 games this season, Hilliard owned a .289 average with 31 runs scored, 11 doubles, one triple, five homers, 19 RBI, 22 walks and 60 strikeouts, and 16 stolen bases in 23 attempts.
The Rockies picked Hilliard out of Wichita State in the 15th round of the 2015 MLB Draft and he earned midseason all-star honors in both of his first two full pro seasons.
— After two months on the disabled list, it was not a pleasant return to the rubber for former Crowder and current Single-A Advanced Jupiter Hammerheads (Miami) pitcher Ethan Clark recently.
Clark allowed four earned runs on six hits over 4 1/3 innings against the Florida Fire Frogs (Atlanta Braves) and he struck out three and walked two.
This marked Clark’s first appearance since April 11.
On the season, Clark owns a 0-1 record and a 3.86 ERA with 10 strikeouts and four walks over 4 1/3 innings.
Clark, after struggling in his first pro season, made strides in his last two seasons with seven wins for the Princeton Rays in 2016 and a combined six wins for Bowling Green and Greensboro last season.
The 6-foot-5, 235-pound right hander began his career in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, but he was traded to the Marlins, along with fellow prospect Braxton Lee, for shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.
The Rays selected Clark in the 15th round of the MLB Draft straight from Crowder. Clark had just completed his sophomore season with the Roughriders.