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Auburn Baseball in the Pros Update (Part 1)

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In a 2-part series checking in on former Auburn baseball players playing pro ball, we look at how former Tigers are faring in MLB this season.

MLB: New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

A couple years ago, I started to keep up with former Auburn Basketball players after their time in Auburn to see how their professional careers were going. Recently, with the offseason boring me to tears, I decided to take a deep look into what is my second favorite sport on Auburn’s campus: Baseball.

With Memorial Day behind us, we are 2 months into the MLB season and 4 weeks into the Minor League Baseball season. As of this writing, Auburn has 5 former players on a MLB roster. After going through every minor league team affiliated with a MLB team, I discovered 14 more guys who are playing professional baseball in various leagues across the country. So without further ado, here’s the group of former Auburn Baseball players playing pro baseball.

Casey Mize - Pitcher, Detroit Tigers

We’ll start with the #1 Draft Pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, Casey Mize. He found his way to the show last August and made 7 starts for Detroit going 0-3 with a 6.99 ERA. Casey got his first big league win April 12th in Houston when he pitched 7 shutout innings.

After a slow start this season where he went 1-3 with a 5.06 ERA in April, Mize has found his groove going 2-0 in May with a 1.74 ERA in 5 starts. He gave up 2 runs or less in each of his May starts with 27 strikeouts and 10 walks over that stretch.

Casey got within 4 outs of a complete game in Seattle back on May 18th going 7 23 innings, giving up 1 run and striking out 7 Mariners.

Full 2021 Stats:

10 games, 3-3, 3.28 ERA, 57 23 innings, 44 hits, 21 runs, 33 walks, 73 strikeouts

Keegan Thompson - Pitcher, Chicago Cubs

Keegan Thompson has made the most of his opportunity so far this season at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. He was called up on May 2nd and has made 9 relief appearances (and 1 start). His lone start came against the Dodgers in his second appearance and kept them off the scoreboard in 3 23 innings pitched. Thompson’s numbers are quite impressive though: he’s 3-1 with a 0.52 ERA. He gave up his earned run yesterday when facing the Padres when he gave up a HR to Fernando Tatis Jr. (no shame there). The Cubs have now won 13 of their last 17 games.

Oh and he also notched his first big league hit back on May 18th as well:

Full 2021 Stats:

10 games, 3-1, 0.52 ERA, 57 23 innings, 14 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned run, 9 walks, 17 strikeouts

Grant Dayton - Pitcher, Atlanta Braves

Grant is in his third season pitching out of the bullpen for the Braves, a bullpen that well... has had its up and downs by not only performance, but decision making as well. But enough about my Braves as a whole, let’s talk about Dayton’s season.

This year, Grant has made 11 appearances with no record so far and a 5.06 ERA. He’s had scoreless outings in 8 of his 11 appearances this season.

Full 2021 Stats:

11 games, 5.06 ERA, 10 23 innings, 10 hits, 7 runs, 6 earned runs, 4 walks, 11 strikeouts

Josh Donaldson - Third Base, Minnesota Twins

As a Braves fan, I was really bummed when the Braves decided to let Josh go because he had an incredible 2019 season hitting 33 home runs and was terrific hitting behind Freddie Freeman. The Twins gave Donaldson a 4-year, 92 million dollar year and he was off to the Twin Cities. But Josh played just 28 games last season while dealing with injuries. He missed about 2 weeks at the beginning of this season as well.

The Bringer of Rain hasn’t been the power hitter so far that he was in Atlanta as he has 5 home runs and 20 RBI so far this season. He’s hitting .241 right now with an On-Base Percentage of .339.

Donaldson was 3-4 in Baltimore yesterday with a pair of doubles and 5 for his last 13, so perhaps he’s warming up a bit as the calendar flips to June.

Josh will also go down in the history books after scoring a run on Saturday, the 2 millionth run in the history of baseball.

The 1 millionth run came back in 1975 so it’s fair to say we probably won’t break 3 million for another 40-45 years.

Full 2021 Stats:

41 games, .241 batting average, 5 HR, 20 RBI, .339 OBP, 34 hits, 10 doubles, 23 walks

Garrett Cooper - First Base/Right Field - Miami Marlins

Garrett has appeared in 47 of the Marlins 52 games this season, playing mostly in Right Field with some stints at First Base as well.

He hit .329 in the month of May with 3 homers and 11 RBI and had a .386 OBP as well. Currently, Cooper is in the midst of a 15-game on base streak and had an 11 game hitting streak that was snapped in Boston on Friday.

He also hit a walk-off homer against the Mets back on May 22nd.

Full 2021 Stats:

47 games, .265 batting average, 5 HR, 21 RBI, .337 OBP, 39 hits, 7 doubles, 1 triple

Tomorrow in Part 2, we’ll head down to the Farm to see how the remaining former Tigers are faring throughout the Minor Leagues.

War Eagle!