MiLB update: Players with local connections continue through "dog days" of August


The "dog days" of summer are upon us and three MiLB players with local connections continue to toil with their respective clubs. Two locals appear to be shut down for the season, but Grant DeBruin, Sam Howard, and Connor Justus will continue through the month.


DeBruin's Hagerstown Suns have also clinched a post-season berth due to their performance in the South Atlantic League's first half.

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 continued a steady rise in his batting average and offensive production in July and early August. He has hit safely in seven of his last ten games and is 5-for-9 with two doubles in his last three games against the Asheville Tourists.


Through 57 games this season, DeBruin is now hitting .276 with four home runs and 27 RBIs at Hagerstown. 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. Hagerstown is 28-22 in the SAL second half, currently tied for the lead in the Northern Division with the Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox affiliate) and one-half game ahead of the Lakewood BlueClaws (Phillies affiliate). 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 is on the disabled list for the remainder of the season by the Braves and was forced to have Tommy John surgery after developing an issue in his elbow August 1. Geekie finished his first pro season with a 2-4 record and had a 5.16 ERA in 31 appearances in 2016. He had one save in his only save opportunity and worked 45 and 1/3 innings. Opponents had a .247 batting average against him.


Rome is currently 28-22 in the South Atlantic League’s second half standings, in second place, four 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 has now won four of his last six starts for the Yard Goats with victories July 17, July 27, August 3, and August 14. He had a no-decision performance July 22 and August 9 during that span.


In his two most recent starts — August 9 and 14 — Howard was 1-1 and worked 10 and 2/3 innings. He allowed five earned runs on 13 hits in the two starts combined. He walked three and struck out 15.


The 23-year-old former Canes and Georgia Southern University pitcher is now 8-9 on year after starting the season 4-3 with the Advanced Class A, Modesto Nuts of the California League. He has a 3.63 ERA in 23 starts and 129 innings. Opponents have a .255 batting average against him.


The Yard Goats are 66-52 on the year and in third place in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division. They trail the Reading (PA) Fightin’ Phils by 11.5 games.


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 continued his rapid progress with a fast start with the Class A (full season) Burlington Bees of the Midwest League.


The month of August, however, has been difficult at the Class A level for the former Cartersville Purple Hurricanes’ and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets’ shortstop. He has seen his batting average slip from over .300 in late July to .192 with Burlington as of August 14. Justus was selected in the fifth round of this year’s June MLB draft by the Los Angeles Angels.


Justus’ batting average remains .275 through his 48 games as a professional combining his Orem and Burlington numbers. He has 11 extra base hits, including one home run and 27 RBIs.


Defensively, Justus has a .924 fielding percentage in 192 total chances. He has been part of 23 double plays in 408 innings.


The Burlington Bees are 25-24 in the second half standings of the Midwest League’s Western Division and are 57-62 overall in 2016. The Bees are currently nine 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).

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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