Results tagged ‘ Mikie Mahtook ’
A behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life of Rays prospect Mikie Mahtook, including what he drives, what he eats, and his workout regimen.
Mikie Mahtook had a quick chat with the Bulls about his trip to Cuba, and what it’s like playing in front of the DBAP faithful.
As Friday’s split-squad games mark the end of Spring Training for the Rays, the team announced a few of the final cuts and reassignments of the spring. Infielder/outfielder Taylor Motter’s move to minor league camp is perhaps the most notable move of the past week to Bulls fans.
Motter impressed Rays coaches and front office staff with a .250 average in 14 games this spring, including a home run and three doubles. His defense was also impressive for a utility player, as he showed the ability to play almost anywhere on the field in the majors.
“We’d have all the confidence in the world (bringing him up), basically playing him anywhere,” Rays manager Kevin Cash told the Tampa Tribune. More from Cash on Motter.
Motter will likely see time all over the field, but Cash mentioned wanting him to get more time at shortstop. MLB.com’s Bill Chastain had more on how Motter’s strong showing makes him a likely call-up.
The Motter move likely signals that Tim Beckham will start the season with the Rays. With one option remaining on his contract, Beckham could very well see time in Durham if a roster spot is needed for the big league club.
Last season saw 213 (!!!) transactions for the Bulls, with a few players on the “Durham Shuttle.” The Shuttle is the affectionate term for players who are called up or sent down to accommodate holes in the Rays’ roster due to injury, fatigue or performance. This week, Roger Mooney wrote about Mikie Mahtook’s time on the Shuttle last season.
Mooney also noted that since the Rays announced they will go with a four-man pitching rotation to start the season, a starter from Durham will likely be the fifth when needed. This goes against the assumption that Erasmo Ramirez would have been the fifth starter when needed, instead suggesting that he will only be used out of the bullpen for the first part of the season.
When #Rays need a 5th starter in mid-April, it will likely come from Durham
— Roger Mooney (@RMooneyTBO) March 29, 2016
The Rays’ schedule allows for only one or two times a fifth starter would be needed (based on when their off days fall) through the first month of the season. Any Bulls players who could be the Rays’ fifth starter when needed will use this as another chance to prove themselves as a viable full-time fifth starter for the big league club.
The less-heralded catcher position battle in Tampa Bay could have affected the Bulls roster this season, as Curt Casali, Rene Rivera and Hank Conger all vied for two spots on the roster. The Rays will go with Casali and Conger splitting time to begin the season, as Rivera was released on Wednesday. Conger could still see time in Durham his season, as the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin noted that he still has an option left.
In a flurry of moves on Wednesday, March 30, the Rays released RHPs David Carpenter and Dan Johnson, informed 1B James Loney that he would not make the team, and reassigned INF Richie Shaffer and RHP Matt Andriese. Loney could be traded or released, while Andriese and Shaffer should see time in both Durham and Tampa Bay. Andriese went 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in three games this spring and Shaffer hit .125 with a home run and a double in 12 games.
Other players optioned in the past week included RHPs Jhan Marinez and Tyler Sturdevant, C Mayo Acosta and OF Jaff Decker.
One notable 2015 Bull who wasn’t reassigned to Durham was OF Mikie Mahtook. Hitting .241 with a home run and 4 RBIs in 13 games this spring, Mahtook appears to be in contention for one of the final spots on the Rays’ Opening Day Roster.
#Rays Cash said they are still deciding 5-man bench vs. 8-man bullpen, which seems to mean Mahtook is in consideration to make roster
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) March 30, 2016
Relief pitchers Andrew Belatti, Danny Farquhar and Dana Eveland are also in contention for the final two spots on the Opening Day roster. Eveland has an opt-out he can exercise on Friday if he doesn’t make the active roster.
***UPDATE: Topkin now says Eveland may not have a Friday opt-out. The final two roster moves may not be made until Saturday or Sunday.***
Notes: The Rays’ farm system jumped from No. 24 in 2015 to No. 11 entering this season in Baseball Prospectus’ latest Organizational Rankings… The Tampa Tribune’s Roger Mooney noted that the Rays’ lineup is essentially set and previewed the batting order… Some other reassigned players from late last week: RHPs Kyle McPherson and Mark Sappington, and INF Juniel Querecuto… After the Rays used iPads in the dugout to access scouting reports and other advanced analytics last season, the MLB and Apple signed a deal to make iPads available in every dugout in the league… The consensus among Rays beat writers is that the active roster will be finalized sometime Saturday, April 2. The Bulls roster won’t be far behind that.
Rays closer Brad Boxberger hit the disabled list on Friday, March 18, and could be out 8 weeks due to core muscle surgery (torn adductor brevis muscle in groin area). Manager Kevin Cash wouldn’t name a replacement closer, instead saying he will play the matchups. Cash named Alex Colome, Xavier Cedeno, Danny Farquhar, Steve Geltz and Ryan Webb as potential options. Rays President Matthew Silverman said the team will also look at external options, if not for a closer, then for added depth. The Tampa Tribune’s Roger Mooney had this take on the closer situation.
#Rays Silverman said he will continue to look outside organization for help as always, but any relievers coming in would be for depth
— Roger Mooney (@RMooneyTBO) March 18, 2016
With Boxberger expected to miss only 1st 6 weeks or so of season, #Rays Silverman doesn’t feel need to get a closer
— Roger Mooney (@RMooneyTBO) March 18, 2016
Also, not many closers available now if #Rays Silverman wanted to go that route
— Roger Mooney (@RMooneyTBO) March 18, 2016
Expect plenty of Durham Bulls relievers to be splitting time between Triple-A and the MLB as long as Boxberger is out. Here is DRaysBay’s take on the closer situation.
Dayron Varona garnered plenty of attention as the first Cuban defector to return to his home country and play against the national team. He popped out on the first pitch of the game and went 0 for 2, but was reunited with his family for the first time in three years.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) March 21, 2016
The Rays’ players were all given white roses to hold as they lined the field for the national anthems in Cuba. 2015 Durham Bulls infielder/outfielder Taylor Motter organized a group of players to give their roses to First Lady Michelle Obama, who was seated in the front row with her family and Cuban President Raul Castro. The line of Rays players giving her flowers then shook President Barack Obama’s hand through the netting before returning to the dugout.
The Rays’ jet was delayed returning from Cuba that night, and the team didn’t arrive back in the U.S. until 5 a.m. the next day. As a result, a team of mostly minor leaguers took on the Minnesota Twins major league Spring Training squad. Mayo Acosta, who has been a catcher for the Bulls the past two seasons, hit two doubles and drove in three runs (he only had three RBI total last season) to lead the Rays to a 5-2 win.
The lineup for that game featured a handful of potential Bulls, including infielder Jake Hager, first baseman Kyle Roller, third baseman Patrick Leonard, first baseman Cameron Seitzer, shortstop Daniel Robertson, infielder Juniel Querecuto and outfielder Johnny Field.
MLB Trade Rumors provided a comprehensive recap of the Rays’ offseason. The article touches on the crowded outfield situation in Tampa Bay: “The depth chart is so loaded that young Mikie Mahtook is almost certainly headed for Triple-A despite posting a .970 OPS in his first 115 Major League PA last season.”
Notes: Dan Johnson’s attempt to convert from slugging first baseman to knuckleball pitcher hit a roadblock this week when Johnson sat out with a sore arm… The Rays optioned infielder Nick Franklin and catcher Luke Maile to minor league camp, which could signal a start in Durham for both… Five others were also reassigned: RHP Ryan Garton, RHP Parker Markel, 1B Kyle Roller, LHP Jonny Venters and RHP Neil Wagner… Per Marc Topkin, the game against Cuba was the first time the Rays have played before a sitting U.S. President.
Thursday night the Tampa Bay Rays made a trade, acquiring Corey Dickerson and minor leaguer Kevin Padlo from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Jake McGee and minor leaguer German Marquez. Additionally, the Rays signed Steve Pearce.
On the surface, this trade doesn’t seem to have much of an affect on the Durham Bulls. Dickerson and McGee are both bona fide major leaguers, and won’t/wouldn’t factor into the Bulls roster at all. Marquez, a right-handed starter, was probably tabbed for Double-A Montgomery to begin the season, despite being on the 40-man roster. Padlo is just 19, and spent the 2015 season between Short-Season Boise and Single-A Asheville, so a jump to Triple-A seems highly unlikely.
The biggest piece of last night that could affect Durham is the signing of Pearce. The 32-year-old has hit 36 home runs over the past two seasons, and is expected to add pop to the middle of the Rays’ lineup. Pearce can play corner infield and corner outfield, but the addition of Dickerson creates a logjam in the outfield along with Kevin Kiermaier, Steven Souza Jr., Desmond Jennings and Brandon Guyer. With Pearce’s ability to play first, the Rays now have Pearce, James Loney and Logan Morrison who can all play that position.
So what does this mean for Durham? It appears that, should the Rays carry this roster into Opening Day, Richie Shaffer and Mikie Mahtook would open the year with the Bulls. Mahtook, strictly an outfielder, could have a hard time cracking the top five in the outfield. Shaffer, primarily a third baseman who the Rays played at first base and rightfield a year ago, still sits behind Longoria at third and the aforementioned three at first.
It only comes once a year. Today, as we sit just a little more than a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Port Charlotte, Fla. for Spring Training, we examine the state of Durham Bulls baseball. Over the next 10 weeks the Rays’ (and therefor the Bulls’) rosters will take a more defined shape, whether by trades, free agency or other. For now though, we take a look at who could be bound for Durham come early April.
As is typical for Tampa Bay, the starting rotation is strong and young. Headlined by Chris Archer and complimented by Jake Odorizzi, Matt Moore, Drew Smyly and Erasmo Ramirez, the Rays’ staff seems fairly stable. So what does this mean for Durham? First things first, Blake Snell could make a run at the big league staff. He’ll be just 23 this year, but coming off a historic 2015 campaign will earn him a good look in camp. If he doesn’t make the squad, expect him to take the ball on Opening Night for the Bulls. Behind him in that rotation could be Jake Faria and Taylor Guerrieri, two right-handers who were added to the Rays’ 40-man roster back in November. Behind those three the rotation isn’t so clear, with a number of options. Burch Smith and Grayson Garvin are expected to return from injury at some point in 2016, and both have been starters in the past. Additionally Jaime Schultz went 9-5 in 27 starts for Double-A Montgomery last season at age 24, while Ryne Stanek – a 2013 first round pick – made 16 appearances for the Biscuits in 2015. Righty Austin Pruitt posted a 3.09 ERA for Montgomery last year, and Jared Mortensen joined Durham over the final week of the 2015 season, winning both his starts. One unknown is where Dylan Floro fits in, after he spent much of last season in Durham’s rotation but finished the year in the bullpen. Additionally, if Tampa Bay decides to keep Matt Andriese as a starter, expect him to open the year in Durham to stay on a regular routine. The righty was dominant for the Bulls last season, but split the entire year shuttling between North Carolina and Florida as both a starter and long reliever.
A veteran relief corps could begin the year in the Bull City. Signed before the 2015 season, Jonny Venters and Neil Wagner each sat out all last year with injuries, but each have significant MLB time. Dana Eveland and Tyler Sturdevant were each picked up as a minor league free agents, and Danny Farquhar was acquired in a trade with Seattle. Most likely to return is Jhan Marinez, a 2015 IL Midseason All-Star who went 4-1 with a 1.92 ERA for the Bulls in his first year in the Rays system. On the younger side, Andrew Bellatti, who opened 2015 in Durham, had a lot of success at the big league level with Tampa Bay but struggled at the Triple-A level. Parker Markel, who’s fastball reaches the high 90s, could open the year in Durham after a call-up late last season, and he could be joined by Brad Schreiber, who saved 30 games between Advanced-A and Double-A last year.
After his promotion last summer, Curt Casali took the reins as Tampa Bay’s number one catcher. Rene Rivera appears to be the backup, but Hank Conger was acquired for cash and Luke Maile played well in his first taste of the bigs in September. Expect the Rays to open the season with Casali and Rivera, leaving Maile and Conger for the Bulls. Don’t forget about Justin O’Conner though, one of the best defensive catchers in the minors and a member of the Rays’ 40-man roster.
The Rays infield has had a little bit of a shakeup so far this offseason, acquiring shortstop Brad Miller to replace Asdrubal Cabrera, who signed with the New York Mets. Other than that Evan Longoria will play third, Logan Forsythe second and James Loney first. Assuming the team carries no more than two infield backups, it would appear Tim Beckham and Logan Morrison would have the inside track. On the Durham front, that would mean Richie Shaffer, Ryan Brett and Taylor Motter (all 40-man players) would return to the Bulls to open the year. Still, Durham could also see 22-year-old Daniel Robertson open the year at shortstop after a solid first year at the Double-A level. Tampa Bay also has 2015 Southern League All-Star Cameron Seitzer who can play first base, along with Kyle Roller, an East Carolina University product that hit 14 home runs for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year.
Brandon Guyer, Desmond Jennings, Kevin Kiermaier and Steven Souza Jr. all have secured spots on Tampa Bay’s roster. The big question is whether or not Mikie Mahtook will make the big league Opening Day roster after hitting .356 with four homers in 23 games last September. If not, expect him and Motter (who can play infield and outfield) to hit in the top third of Durham’s lineup. After Tyler Goeddel and Joey Rickard were taken in the Rule 5 draft, Tampa Bay’s minor league outfield depth has shortened some. Still, 20-year-old Jake Bauers has a chance to make Durham’s squad after hitting .276 across 69 Double-A games last season, after opening the year with Advanced-A Charlotte. Additionally Johnny Field, another prospect, could make his way to the Bull City as well after tallying 14 homers and swiping 18 bags for the Biscuits last year.
Aside from the bullpen, the 2016 Bulls squad is shaping up to be very young. Still, with plenty of time left between now and the beginning of April, expect Tampa Bay to round out the roster with some veteran additions.
On Friday our friends at Baseball America published their annual list of the Tampa Bay Rays’ Top 10 prospects. Here we take a look at who made that list, and if/when they’ll make an impact on the Durham Bulls.
1. Blake Snell
Named Baseball America’s and USA Today’s Minor League Player of the Year, Snell had an unreal season. You can read about it here or here, so we’ll skip that part. The real question is whether or not the 23-year-old will open the 2016 season in the Bull City or with Tampa Bay. Coming off the year he had, it’s not crazy to expect him to start the year at the big league level. Don’t forget though, the Rays still have a stacked pitching staff, and they might want to limit Snell’s innings by keeping him in the minors to start the year.
2. Willy Adames
A key piece in the David Price trade in July of 2014, Adames is still just 20 years old. The shortstop hit .258 with Advanced-A Charlotte this season, and projects to spend the majority of 2016 with Double-A Montgomery. Still, with a strong campaign there, a late-season promotion to Durham might not be out of the question.
3. Brent Honeywell
A 2nd-round pick in 2014, Honeywell will turn 21 just before Opening Day 2016. This past season he combined to go 9-6 with a 3.18 ERA between Single-A and Advanced-A, striking out almost a batter an inning. He’s received notoriety for his effective screwball, but is most likely still a season away from reaching the Triple-A level.
4. Jake Bauers
Picked up by the Rays in the same deal that saw Tampa Bay ship Wil Myers to San Diego, Bauers had a strong first season in the Rays’ system, hitting .272 with 11 homers and 74 RBI between Advanced-A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery. After the season, the former 7th-round pick was selected to the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars team. Though he’ll spend the entire 2016 season at age 20, it’s not crazy to think he could join the Bulls at some point after hitting .276 over 69 games in Double-A this past season.
5. Garrett Whitley
Whitley was the 13th overall pick the 2015 draft, and struggled in his first foray into professional baseball as he hit just .174 between the Gulf Coast League and Short-Season Hudson Valley. He’s just 18 years old, so don’t expect him in Durham for the next couple of seasons.
6. Mikie Mahtook
After he was Durham’s MVP in 2014, Mahtook shuttled back-and-forth between the Bulls and Rays throughout the 2015 campaign. Upon being called up for the rest of the year in September, the 26-year-old rattled off a strong month, and finished the season with a .295 average and nine homers at the big league level. Mahtook will compete for a spot on Tampa Bay’s Opening Day roster in Spring Training.
7. Taylor Guerrieri
After missing almost all of 2014 recovering from Tommy John surgery, Guerrieri came back with a strong campaign in 2015. As the Rays limited his innings, the 2011 1st-round pick was 5-3 with a 1.85 ERA between Charlotte and Montgomery. The Rays added him to their 40-man roster in November, and he projects to start 2016 with the Bulls.
8. Jacob Faria
Faria, 22, split the 2015 season between Charlotte and Montgomery, going 17-4 with a 1.92 ERA and leading all of Minor League Baseball in wins. A 10th-round pick in 2011, the right-hander should start the year in the Bull City coming off a year in which he struck out more batters than innings pitched.
9. Casey Gillaspie
The 20th overall pick in the 2014 draft, Gillaspie spent the majority of 2015 with Bowling Green, while appearing in 13 games for Charlotte. The 22-year-old showed good power this season by cracking 17 home runs, but is still most likely a year away from joining the Bulls.
10. Daniel Robertson
Acquired from Oakland in the trade that sent Ben Zobrist to the A’s, Robertson missed almost half of the 2015 campaign after suffering a broken hamate bone. Still, the 21-year-old hit .274 and drove in 41 in 78 games for Montgomery. The shortstop, taken 34th overall in 2012, projects to spend significant time with the Bulls in 2016, if not begin the year in Durham.
While you were sleeping, or celebrating or sulking after the UNC/Duke football game (depending on which end of Tobacco Road you claim), the Tampa Bay Rays set their 40-man roster for 2015. The deadline to do so was midnight on Thursday and the Rays used every second of the clock to make some moves that will have a definite impact on the Bulls going forward. So let’s break down a very busy, and late, night as it relates to the team we’ll see at the DBAP next spring.
First, some quick background on the deadline. The 40-man roster consists of all players signed to a Major League contract – the 25-man active roster (those currently in the Big Leagues) and the 15 others who reside in the Minors. Those guys in the Minors can be recalled to the Major League club at any point during the season and sent back just as easily. If a player is not on the 40-man roster, they still can get called-up, but it’s more rare and requires the parent club to “select” their contract and clear space on the existing expanded roster.
So why the deadline to set the 40-man roster? Partly because an even more confusing concept known as the Rule 5 Draft. As succinctly as possible: this draft takes place annually at the Winter Meetings and ensures that clubs aren’t holding on to prospects for too long without placing them on the Major League roster. Teams put Minor Leaguers on the 40-man at this time to “protect” them in the Rule 5, as any player not on a 40-man (meeting certain age requirements) can be drafted by another organization. There is strategy involved here because any player selected in the Rule 5 must be placed on a team’s active roster and remain in the Majors for the entire season. So, teams take calculated risks as to which of their prospects may be coveted by another club enough that they’d make space for them in the Bigs. Those deemed too likely to be taken are moved to the 40-man.
Got all that? Phew. Let’s talk about what happened late last night then.
The Rays entered Thursday with 38 players on the 40-man. In looking to protect several prospects, they had to clear some more room off the roster, which is what they were doing earlier in the week by trading Jeremy Hellickson (and Cesar Ramos before him). To clear more space on Thursday, Tampa designated C Jose Molina, RHP Michael Kohn and INF Cole Figueroa for assignment (more on being “DFA’d” below). They then worked a trade with the Dodgers and former GM Andrew Friedman, sending RHP Joel Peralta and LHP Adam Liberatore out west for RHP Jose Dominguez and Class-A righty Greg Harris. With those four subtractions off the Major League roster (Liberatore was on a Minor League contract), the 40-man stood at 34 players.
Now to the other side of the ledger: 35) Dominguez, who throws absolute gas and spent time in the Bigs with LA in 2014, was added to 40-man as part of trade. 36, 37, 38, 39 and 40) Bulls OF Mikie Mahtook and RHP Matt Andriese, as well as Double-A prospects C Justin O’Conner, INF Ryan Brett and LHP Grayson Garvin, were added to the 40-man roster and thus sheltered from selection in the Rule 5 Draft.
So how does this effect the guys you know?
Adam Liberatore is obviously gone. The big lefty spent the last two seasons in the Bull City and certainly made his mark. In 2013, he recorded the final out in the Governors’ Cup Championship, giving the Bulls their 4th International League title. A year later against the same Pawtucket Red Sox though, he gave up a game-tying hit to Rusney Castillo with the Bulls a strike away from back-to-back titles. He was a dominant 6-1 last year, with a ridiculous 1.66 ERA in 54 relief appearances. Good luck Lib.
Cole Figueroa was among three players designated for assignment, or “DFA’d” in insider-speak. In short, this means he was removed from the 40-man and now enters a baseball purgatory of sorts. We could very well see Figgy back at the DBAP in 2015. We would very much like that, as he’s one of our favorite Bulls in recent memory. Great guy, big time contributor and owner of Bark in the Park Mayor, Cutter. In order to be “outrighted” back to the Minors though, Cole will have to clear waivers. We should find out his fate within the next week or so. (UPDATE, 11/24) Per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Figueroa was placed on “release waivers” as opposed to “outright waivers” as we originally believed. This means he will become a free agent should no team claim him on waivers. Unfortunately, this probably means we’ve seen the last of Figgy in a Bulls uniform and that’s a bummer.
It’s no surprise that Mikie Mahtook got the Rays’ attention in 2014. In his first Triple-A season, the LSU product was the Bulls’ MVP and a midseason All-Star. While we’d guess he’ll return to Durham in 2015, he’ll be a phone call away from his Major League debut. Since he’s on the 40-man now, he’ll go to Major League camp in Spring Training.
An anchor in the Bulls rotation last year, Matt Andriese went 11-8 with a 3.77 ERA in 25 starts. He’ll join Mahtook in Big League camp in February and compete for the fifth spot in the Rays’ rotation. If he doesn’t get the nod, we’ll see him back at the DBAP. Score for us.
There it is. Lots doin’ and we haven’t even gotten to the Winter Meetings yet.
At the end of every season the good folks over at MiLB.com roll out their nominations for the “MiLBYs,” honoring the best plays, top moments, and promotions in Minor League Baseball. We’re particularly stoked to have our Merge Records Night nominated for 2014’s Promo of the Year.
First things first- you can vote an unlimited amount of times (UNLIMITED!) for Merge Records Night to take home the MiLBY. Get to voting HERE. Remember, a vote for Merge Records Night is a vote for good baseball, good music and the magical union of two of the most beautiful things in the universe.
Now, a little recap on said Merge Records Night, held this season on June 5. It was our second event working with the venerable indie giant, who also calls Downtown Durham home. Label co-founder and Superchunk frontman Mac McCaughan threw out the first pitch (bounced it, but whatevs, the dude wrote “Driveway to Driveway” so he gets a pass). Heather McEntire of Mount Moriah sang the National Anthem. The event got some great write-ups in Spin Magazine and the venerable Ben’s Biz Blog (a hat tip to our man Ben Hill for being the driving force in nominating Merge Records Night).
Best of all, the Bulls starting lineup that night received new walk-up music courtesy of Merge bands. The team at Merge provided a list of songs they thought would work well…tracks that were either up tempo, had a great beat, or just made too much sense not to use. Our marketing team then paired those songs with players, some because they seemed to go well together (“Me & You & Jackie Mittoo” for Mikie Mahtook) and others because they loosely resembled songs that guys normally used (very loosely).
Here’s what we ended up with:
We’re already looking forward to a bigger and better Merge Records Night in 2015. If you’re a Merge/Bulls fan and have suggestions for us, shoot us a tweet or leave a comment below. We leave you with a Spotify playlist of the tracks used for walk-up music this season. Now crank that Neutral Milk Hotel and vote for Merge Records Night as MiLB Promo of the Year!
When the Bulls hit the road last week for their first road trip of the season, a five-gamer that saw them go 5-0 against the Gwinnett Braves and Charlotte Knights, OF Mikie Mahtook was hitting .214. However, what he did over the next five games was nothing short of dominant, going 14-for-22 with three RBIs and three runs scored to lift his average all the way up to an even .400.
Now here’s where it really gets good. Beginning with his third AB Sunday against the G-Braves, and ending with his final AB Tuesday night against Charlotte, the 24-year-old rattled off 11 straight hits (with a walk thrown in), as he reached base in 12 straight plate appearances. The product of LSU came just four hits shy of tying an 85-year-old league record, set by George Quellich, who recorded 15 straight hits for Reading back in the 1929 season.
Mahtook, a Rays first round pick in 2011, spent all of 2013 with Double-A Montgomery and earned Southern League Midseason All-Star honors in just his second season of pro ball. At LSU, he was a First Team All-American in 2011 (.383-14-56), and posted a career average of .344 for the Tigers.