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MiLB update: Justus keeps it going

The fast start to Connor Justus’ professional career continued this past week as he put together another set of solid performances.

Justus started his pro career in June with the Rookie Pioneer League Orem Owlz in Orem, Utah, but his early success earned his first promotion in July 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, plus a glimpse at local collegiate players who participated in the summer MiLB-sanctioned Sun Belt League:


Grant DeBruin, Athletes Beyond Bartow

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 .318 batting average (14-for-44) over his last ten games with two homers and 12 RBIs.

Although he has hit safely in 12 of his last 14 games, raising his season batting average to .250 with four homeruns and 24 RBIs, he saw action Saturday for the first time in a week. He was 1-for-5 and scored a run. He played first base and hit fifth in the batting order during a 6-2 win over the Hickory Crawdads. 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 21-14 in the SAL second half, currently leading the Northern Division by one game over the Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins affiliate). Hagerstown already clinched a post-season spot by winning the division’s first half.


Dalton Geekie, Athletes Beyond Bartow

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 5.04 ERA in 30 appearances in 2016. He has one save in 44 and 2/3 innings of work and opponents have a .243 batting average against him. The most recent appearances for the former GHC Charger were July 25 and July 29. Geekie entered in the fourth inning of a 7-6 win July 25 and pitched 2 and 1/3 innings. He allowed a hit and a walk, but no runs allowing time for a Braves’ comeback win. He was called on July 30 with a baserunner on in the eighth inning and the Braves leading Greenville 5-1. He yielded an earned run on a pair of hits and a walk and recorded one strikeout.

Rome is currently 18-16 in the South Atlantic League’s second half standings, in second 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)

Sam Howard, Athletes Beyond Bartow

Howard earned his second Double-A win of the year July 27 as the Yard Goats handled the Bowie Baysox, 8-3. Howard allowed only one earned run in six innings on nine hits and one walk. He notched one strikeout.

The 23-year-old former Canes and Georgia Southern University southpaw is now 6-8 on year after starting the season 4-3 with the Advanced Class A, Modesto Nuts of the California League. He has a 3.65 ERA in 20 starts and 113 and 1/3 innings. Opponents have a .255 batting average against him.

The Yard Goats are 61-45 on the year and in third place in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division. They trail the Reading (PA) Fightin’ Phils by 9.5 games.


Connor Justus, Athletes Beyond Bartow

Connor Justus — Burlington Bees — Class A, Midwest League — MLB Parent Club, Los Angeles Angels -- (Cartersville HS)

After a fast start with the Rookie level Orem Owlz, Justus has continued his rapid progress with 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 eight games with his new club, hitting in the six-spot in the Bees’ lineup.

Justus has hit safely in six of his eight games in Class Double-A with a pair of multi-hit games. He is 9-for-29 since moving up to Burlington, and hit .344 for the Orem Owlz. He now has a .336 batting average in 34 professional games. He also has eight extra-base hits and 25 RBIs in that span.

Defensively, Justus has a .942 fielding percentage in 138 total chances. He has been part of 17 double plays in 287 innings.

The Burlington Bees are 19-16 in the second half standings of the Midwest League’s Western Division and are 51-54 overall in 2016. The Bees are currently 5.5 games back of division-leading Clinton LumberKings (Seattle affiliate).


Donavan Tate — Rancho Cucamonga Quakes — Advanced Class A — California League — MLB Parent Club, Los Angeles Dodgers

(Cartersville HS)

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 19-17 in the second half standings of the California League’s South Division. They are currently 5.5 games behind the Lancaster JetHawks (Houston Astros affiliate).


Three local collegiate players with ties to Bartow County played this summer in the Sun Belt League, an MiLB affiliated college level league. All three locals played for the Marietta Patriots who finished second in the Sun Belt League’s Western Division with a 16-13 mark.

Sean McDermott — Cleveland State CC — Adairsville HS — He was 2-for-4 with one RBI July 26 as the Patriots lost a wild card playoff game to Phenix City. The rising sophomore hit .264 during the summer season in 91 at bats with four homeruns and 15 RBIs.

Hunter Osborn — Reinhardt University — Cartersville HS — Pitched only 14 innings during the summer schedule in four starts. The rising junior and RU starter, struck out 11 and finished with a 3.85 ERA. Chaz Wilson — Columbus State University — Cass HS — Made seven starts and one relief appearance during the summer schedule tossing 36 and 2/3 innings. The middle relief appearance was a no-decision, five inning, shutout performance that finished as a last inning wild card playoff loss to Phenix City on July 26 to close the season. The rising senior at CSU finished the summer with 24 strikeouts and a 4.66 ERA.


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.

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