Bartow Sports Zone’s update on minor league baseball players with ties to Cartersville and Bartow County. Connor Justus started his professional career in June with the Rookie Pioneer League Orem Owlz in Orem, Utah. His early success has already earned his first promotion and the Los Angeles Angels front office moved the Cartersville native infielder to their Class A affiliate in Iowa, the Burlington Bees.
Capsules for MiLB players with local ties to Cartersville and Bartow County:
Grant DeBruin — Hagerstown Suns — Class A, South Atlantic League — MLB Parent Club, Washington Nationals -- (Adairsville HS)
The former Adairsville High School and University of Alabama-Huntsville standout has a .333 batting average (14-for-42) over his last ten games with two homers and 12 RBIs.
He has hit safely in nine of his last ten games, raising his season batting average to .252 with four homeruns and 24 RBIs. DeBruin, 26, spent the first part of the year in extended spring training and was briefly at the Advanced Class A level with the Potomac Nationals. His season stats reflect his time with both clubs. Hagerstown is 18-12 in the SAL second half, currently one-half game behind the Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins affiliate) in the Northern Division. Hagerstown already clinched a post-season spot by winning the division’s first half.
Dalton Geekie — Rome Braves — Class A, South Atlantic League — MLB Parent Club, Atlanta Braves -- (Georgia Highlands College)
Geekie has a 2-4 record with a 5.14 ERA in 28 appearances in 2016. He has one save in 42 innings of work and opponents have a .239 batting average against him. The most recent appearances for the former GHC Charger were July 15 and July 20. Geekie earned a one-inning hold by working a scoreless eighth inning as the Braves shutout the Columbua Fireflies, 3-0. He struck out one and it was his second hold of the year. He also took the mound for a shutout eighth inning as Rome routed the Lexington Legends, 11-2. He collected a strikeout in that performance also.
Rome is currently 14-15 in the South Atlantic League’s second half standings, in fourth place, three and one-half games behind the Southern Division leading Augusta GreenJackets (SF Giants affiliate).
Sam Howard — Hartford Yard Goats — Double-A, Eastern League — MLB Parent Club, Colorado Rockies -- (Cartersville HS)
Howard picked up a pitching win July 16 and a no decision July 22 in his two most recent starts. He went six innings and allowed only one earned run on five hits and two walks as the Yard Goats beat the Binghamton (NY) Mets 4-2 at home July 16. Howard recorded three strikeouts. He followed that performance with a five inning, no-decision at the Reading (PA) Fightin’ Phils where he yielded four earned runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out five. Reading won that game with two late runs, 6-5.
The 23-year-old former Canes and Georgia Southern University southpaw is now 5-8 on year after starting the season 4-3 with the Advanced Class A, Modesto Nuts of the California League. He has a 3.77 ERA in 19 starts and 107 and 1/3 innings. Opponents have a .249 batting average against him.
The Yard Goats are 55-44 on the year and in third place in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division. They trail the Reading (PA) Fightin’ Phils by 12 games.
Connor Justus — Burlington Bees — Class A, Midwest League — MLB Parent Club, Los Angeles Angels -- (Cartersville HS)
After an outstanding start to his professional career with the Rookie level Orem Owlz, Justus has
recently been promoted to the Class A (full season) Burlington Bees of the Midwest League. Justus was selected in the fifth round of this year’s MLB draft by the Los Angeles Angels after completing his junior season with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The former Cartersville Purple Hurricanes shortstop has now played in three games with his new club, hitting in the six-spot in the Bees’ lineup.
Justus is 2-for-12 since moving up to Burlington, but hit .344 for the Orem Owlz and has a .324 batting average in 29 professional games. He also has seven extra-base hits and 24 RBIs in that span.
Defensively, Justus has a .955 fielding percentage in 110 total chances. He has been part of 13 double plays in just over 243 innings.
The Burlington Bees are 16-14 in the second half standings of the Midwest League’s Western Division and are 48-52 overall in 2016. The Bees are currently 5.5 games back of division-leading Clinton LumberKings (Seattle affiliate).
The Midwest League is comprised of 16 teams in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa. Teams in the league are affiliated with the Cubs, Rays, Blue Jays, Tigers, Dodgers, Indians, Reds, Padres, Mariners, Twins, Astros, Angels, Brewers, Cardinals, A’s, and Diamondbacks.
Donavan Tate — Rancho Cucamonga Quakes — Advanced Class A — California League — MLB Parent Club, Los Angeles Dodgers
Tate played in ten games after coming off the disable list to start the season. He has a .143 batting average in 35 at bats with a home run and four RBIs. He has played defensively at both corner outfield positions and has been utilized as a designated hitter, but has not seen action since July 6. The Quakes are 16-14 in the second half standings of the California League’s South Division. They are currently 3.5 games behind the Lancaster JetHawks (Houston Astros affiliate).
To check on these local players any time, use the 'Athletes Beyond Bartow' page of this web site to locate active links to each players statistics, schedules, results, and other team information.