At the halfway point of the 2017 Major League Baseball season, several of Northeast Tarrant County’s finest representatives are trying to establish themselves in the big leagues.
Given that we just cleared MLB’s All-Star Break, this is the time to catch you up on those we highlighted when the season began. We can also add one more in Colleyville Heritage right-hander Alex Scherff. However, he has not made an appearance for Boston’s Gulf Coast League team in Fort Myers, Florida, since he was drafted in mid-June.
Tyler Collins, OF, Detroit Tigers (Justin Northwest): The Tigers are having a pretty tough season as they are on the verge of trading several of their major players. Collins had the opportunity to make a name for himself when he made the Opening Day roster. But it didn’t work out.
If position players are going to stick around in the big leagues, they have to hit. Collins got off to a hot start and was in the four-outfielder rotation. However, he just didn’t hit enough to stay. Collins was at .200 with four home runs when the Tigers designated him for assignment on May 28. That meant they took him off the 40-man roster. That’s never a good sign. However, he did accept an assignment with Triple A Toledo on June 4 and is with the Mud Hens. It’s early, but so far the results are mixed. He’s at .235 with four home runs and 16 RBIs. The concerning part is that he has struck out 32 times in his first 102 at bats (31 percent).
Ross Stripling, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Carroll): Stripling knows the shuttle between the parent club and Triple A Oklahoma City all too well. Currently with the best team in baseball (the Dodgers are 64-29), Stripling has been used exclusively out of the bullpen for long relief. He’s 1-3 with a 3.79 ERA. The good news is that his strikeout rate is good, at 43 punchouts in his first 40 innings. The bad news is that he’s allowed 45 hits and opponents are hitting. 288. Part of that can be attributed to Stripling always being around the plate. When that happens, contact will be made.
Max Muncy, INF, Los Angeles Dodgers (Keller): Because of a crowded infield, the A’s wound up releasing Muncy back on April 3. They had taken him off the 40-man roster in January. Muncy, though, found another chance on April 28 when he signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers. Muncy is at Triple A Oklahoma City and doing more than holding his own at .300 with eight home runs and 33 RBIs. He’s not on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster. If he ever gets the call to join the Dodgers, the parent team would have to make a move with someone else in order to create room for him. But Muncy has playing time, something he lost with the A’s,
Mason Melotakis, LHP, Minnesota Twins (Grapevine): It’s bit of a strange story for the hard-throwing Melotakis. On June 23, the Twins designated him for assignment and took him off the 40-man roster. He was pitching for Double A Chattanooga. But by doing that, the Twins were also able to maneuver and send him to Triple A Rochester. It’s a small window, but Melotakis has performed very well with a 1.50 ERA through his first seven games (seven innings). The Twins have been shuffling pitchers between the big league club and Rochester. Although he’s not on the 40-man roster, it doesn’t mean his chances with the Twins are over.
Kyle Kubitza, 3B, Atlanta Braves (Colleyville Heritage): The Braves are Kubitza’s third organization (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Rangers) and have been his home since the latter half of 2016. He’s with Triple A Gwinnett, hitting .232 with four home runs and 16 RBI. This is a big second half of 2017 coming up for him.
Save the dates
We are inside one month before the start of fall camp begins for the 2017 high school football season. Teams that didn’t go through spring football — Richland was the only area team that did not — begin workouts on Aug. 7. Contact in pads begins Aug. 11. The rest of the teams begin workouts on Aug. 14. Contact in pads begins on Aug. 18. Because Richland chose to not do spring, the Rebels will get two scrimmages. The other teams do not.