Several key members of Mississippi State's 2011 baseball team have been toiling away this summer in the minor leagues, trying to get their professional careers off the ground. Here's an update.
• Jarrod Parks is having the best summer of the ex-Bulldogs, which isn't surprising. He led MSU in hitting this past season, and he's currently batting .302 (27 of 86) in 27 games. Parks, who was drafted by the Angels, is with Cedar Rapids of the Class A Midwest League. It's the third team he's been with, and this last stop has been a struggle: he's 2 of 25 at the plate.
Parks was 0 of 3 with a run scored last night.
• Pitcher Devin Jones, who was drafted by the Orioles, has been doing relief work for the Aberdeen IronBirds (Class A Short-Season, New York-Penn League). In six appearances, he's 1-0 with a 5.73 ERA. In 11 innings, Jones has allowed seven earned runs on 11 hits, struck out 11 and walked seven.
In his last outing (Saturday), Jones tossed two innings of two-hit, one-run ball with three strikeouts.
• Outfielder Jaron Shepherd, drafted by the Rockies, has been with the Tri-City Dust Devils of the Class A Short-Season Northwest League. In 13 games he's hitting .238 (10 of 42) with seven runs, two RBIs, a double, eight walks and 15 strikeouts. He's also 0 of 2 on stolen bases.
Last night, Shepherd was 0 of 2 with two walks and a strikeout.
• Catcher Wes Thigpen, who signed as a free agent with Detroit, is with the Rookie Gulf Coast League. In 17 games, he's hitting .235 (12 of 51) with seven runs, five RBIs, a double, two home runs, two walks and two strikeouts. He's slugging .373.
In his last game (Monday), Thigpen was 1 of 3 with a strikeout.
• Nick Vickerson, who was drafted by the Rangers, is playing second base at Spokane (Class A Short-Season Northwest League). He's struggling, batting .192 (19 of 99) in 26 games. He has 13 runs, eight RBIs, seven doubles, two triples, 19 walks and 35 strikeouts. Vickerson does have a .344 on-base percentage.
In his last game (Tuesday), he went 0 of 5 with a strikeout.
• Shortstop Jonathan Ogden, who joined Thigpen as a Detroit free-agent signee, was with the Connecticut Tigers of the Class A Short-Season New York-Penn League. But Ogden hasn't played since June 26 because of a pelvis injury – the same injury that bothered him during the college season.
His status is "on voluntary retired list." Ogden told me he doesn't know when or if he might return to action.