MLB Diamond Dawgs Growing in Numbers


Feb 15, 2014; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Ed Easley puts in his catching gear during spring training at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State has put quite a few baseball players into Major League Baseball (51 to be exact), and the numbers are starting to grow in 2015.

The most recent entry into The Show is Ed Easley. He was a star member of the 2007 College World Series team, winning the Johnny Bench Award for the nation’s best catcher. He went on to be drafted in the 1st round by the Arizona Diamondbacks that summer.

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At that time, if you would have asked me to place money on any Bulldog to make a quick route to MLB it would have been Easley. Catchers are in high demand, especially ones that can hit like Edward (career .331 at MSU with 19 HR). But it’s been a long road to the big leagues.

After the 2013 season, he was a free agent and signed a minor league deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. He hit a new level with the Cardinals organization hitting .334 in 2013, and .296 in 2014. He spent last year close to his hometown of Olive Branch playing AAA ball for the Memphis Redbirds.

When Cardinals back-up catcher Tony Cruz went on paternity leave, Easley got the call to join the big club. He spent the weekend watching as the Cardinals took two of three from the Reds and did not appear in a game yet.

Kendall Gravemen hit the fast track for the big leagues after he graduated in 2013. After being drafted in the 9th round by the Toronto Blue Jays that summer he got the call late in the 2014 season. He was traded to the Oakland Athletics in the offseason and made their opening day roster (0.36 spring training E.R.A.) as a starting pitcher. His first start of the year didn’t go so well but he’ll get it another go on Wednesday vs. the Astros.

Tyler Moore played for MSU in 2008, and has spent parts of the last three seasons with the Washington Nationals big league club. He will be an occasional starter and bench player on a team expected to win their division.

In his 11th season as a MLB closer, Johnathan Papelbon will be doing the same for the Philadelphia Phillies. He has 327 career saves which is 15th best all-time. He played at MSU from 2001-03.

Mitch Moreland was a part of that 2007 State team with Ed Easley. He is now in his sixth season with the Texas Rangers, compiling 66 home runs in that time as a DH and First Baseman.

Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter has been a MLB fixture for the last 20+ years, managing four teams since 1992. He played at Mississippi State in the late 1970s. He has won the AL Manager of the year three times including last year when the took the Orioles to the ALCS.

Guys you might see in the near future:

  • Jacob Lindgren (AAA)
  • Chris Stratton (AA)
  • Adam Frazier (AA)
  • Hunter Renfroe (AA)
  • Johnathan Holder (AA)

Note: Paul Maholm played the last 10 years in Major League Baseball, but was released by the Cincinnati Reds at the end of spring training.