All-Star pitcher Alex Wood highlights a trio of Major Leaguers and former Bulldogs now playing professional baseball.
Recently, pitcher Alex Wood was named an All-Star for the National League, becoming just the third Bulldog in school history to receive this honor. Wood joins pitcher Spurgeon “Spud” Chandler and infielder Glenn Davis. Chandler was a four-time All-Star (1942-43-46-47) with the New York Yankees while Davis (1986 & 89) was a two-time All-Star with the Houston Astros. Wood starred at Georgia from 2010-12 and was a second round pick of the Atlanta Braves. He made his MLB debut for Atlanta in May of 2013. He was traded to Los Angeles in July of 2015.
Wood began this season in the bullpen for Los Angeles and then earned a spot in the rotation. He is 10-0 with a 1.67 ERA in 80.2 innings with 97 strikeouts. The Dodgers own the best record in baseball at 61-29. When Wood and teammate Clayton Kershaw were named All-Stars, it marked just the fourth time in 36 years that the Dodgers had a pair of starters on the squad. The other three were Ramon Martinez and Mike Morgan (1991) and Kershaw and Zack Greinke (2014 &15).
Wood pitched one inning in relief in this past Tuesday’s All-Star contest in Miami that saw the American League win 2-1 in 10 innings. He is slated to start Saturday in the second of a three-game road-series against the Marlins.
Elsewhere in the Majors, Wood’s teammate, Josh Fields, has been a key contributor in the bullpen this season. Fields is 4-0 with one save and a 2.93 ERA in 30 appearances. He has tallied 36 strikeouts and only 10 walks in 30.2 innings. Justin Grimm is a member of the Chicago Cubs bullpen. He is 1-0 with a 4.64 ERA in 30 appearances. Grimm has 35 strikeouts and 15 walks in 33 innings.
There are several former Bulldogs climbing the professional ranks including Kyle Farmer who is one call away from joining Wood and Fields in Los Angeles. Farmer, a Bulldog teammate of Wood, is playing in Triple-A for the Oklahoma City Dodgers. Now a catcher, Farmer is batting .320 with nine home runs and 45 RBI. He went to Spring Training with the Major League club, began the year in Double-A and was promoted to Triple-A after 33 games. Also, infielder Gordon Beckham is in the Seattle organization and in Triple-A with Tacoma, batting .233-4-15.
Infielder Nelson Ward is batting .282-1-19 for the Arkansas Travelers, the Double-A affiliate of Seattle. Outfielder Hunter Cole is hitting .210-3-17 for the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the Double-A affiliate of San Francisco.
Pitcher Ryan Lawlor is 3-1 with a 4.37 ERA in 11 appearances for Rome Braves, the Class A affiliate of Atlanta. Pitcher Sean McLaughlin is 2-3 with a 3.32 ERA and three saves in 23 relief outings for the Florida Fire Frogs, the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Braves. Pitcher Jared Cheek is 1-2 with a 3.94 ERA and one save for the South Bend Cubs, the Class A affiliate of Chicago. Pitcher David Sosebee is 2-2 with a 2.47 ERA and four saves for the Charleston River Dogs, the Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees.
First baseman Jared Walsh has seen action in Advanced A and Double-A this season in the Angels organization. Currently, he’s playing for the Inland Empire 66s in the California League and overall this year is batting .252-7-23. Like Walsh, centerfielder Stephen Wrenn has played at two levels this year for the Houston Astros. For the year, he is batting .258-6-24 and is suiting up for Buies Creek in the Carolina League. Pitcher Heath Holder has seen action in both Class A and Advanced A for Colorado. For the year, he is 0-0 with a 5.08 ERA and one save in 26 appearances. Currently, he is in Asheville, sporting a 0.68 ERA in seven relief outings, tallying 16 strikeouts in 13.1 innings.
Infielder Nick King is batting .235-0-4 for the West Virginia Black Bears, the Class A Short Season affiliate of Pittsburgh. Catcher Skyler Weber is batting .200-0-3 for the AZL Athletics in Rookie level.
Georgia’s newest professional is pitcher Andrew Gist, who made his debut last month after being selected in the ninth round by Tampa Bay. Gist notched his first win Thursday for Hudson Valley with two innings of relief. He has made five appearances and owns a 3.00 ERA in nine innings for the Class A Short Season affiliate of the Rays.
Pitcher Robert Tyler (Colorado) and catcher Zack Bowers (San Francisco) are in extended Spring Training with their respective organizations. Minor league pitchers Connor Jones (N.Y. Yankees) and Bo Tucker (L.A. Angeles Angels) are sidelined due to injury.