Good week for local pro players

By JOE CANNON Assistant Sports Editor
Posted 7/20/17

It's been a good week for the two professional baseball players from Bradley County, as one has come back strong from a trip to the disabled list, while the other had his strongest mound outing of …

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Good week for local pro players

Posted

It's been a good week for the two professional baseball players from Bradley County, as one has come back strong from a trip to the disabled list, while the other had his strongest mound outing of the season.

After spending a month (May 18 to June 18) on the DL with an injured thumb, Arkansas Travelers’ first baseman Ryan Casteel is back in the groove, including five hits, with three doubles and a homer to drive in five runs in his last three games against his former team, the Tulsa Drillers.

“I hurt my thumb in a freak accident while swinging, but it’s fine now,” he related. “I didn’t have to have surgery or anything. Just rest it for a few weeks.”

Meanwhile, Logan Longwith made his sixth start of the summer for Grand Junction (Colo.) Monday, picking up his second victory, to help the Colorado Rockies’ Rookie League team sweep Great Falls, Montana.

Casteel has raised his batting average to .280 in 56 games for the Seattle Mariners’ Double-A team this season, with 18 extra-base hits (14 doubles, four home runs) in his 60 safeties.

The former Bradley Central and Cleveland State standout has driven in 26 runs and scored 19 times himself. Having drawn 17 walks, he has a .380 on base percentage and a .402 slugging percentage.

The 6-foot, 205-pound Casteel is hitting .302 on the road this season and .255 in the Travelers’ home park in Little Rock.

With 2,376 minor league plate appearances since being taken by the Colorado Rockies in the 17th round of the 2010 MLB Draft, he has a .275 career BA with 213 of his 600 hits going for extra bases — 143 doubles, 14 triples and 56 homers. He has 308 RBIs in 582 games.

Getting a second chance with a Major League Baseball organization, Longwith started the season with the Independent League Florence (Ky.) Freedom, before being signed by the Rockies on June 17.

Two days later he started the second game of the Pioneer League season, earning his first victory with 5 1-3 innings of work against the Idaho Falls Chukars.

After struggling some while picking up a pair of losses and two “no decisions” in his next four starts, the former Walker Valley and Tennessee Wesleyan star went six innings earlier this week, striking out a half dozen and walking just one.

On the season, the former AAC Reliever of the Year is 2-2 with a 10.13 ERA. He has 15 K’s with just 10 free passes in 26 2-3 innings pitched.

Originally taken in the 20th round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers, Longwith has appeared in 47 games, all of which were in relief before this season.

He has a 5-6 overall record with a 5.66 ERA in 105 professional minor league innings toeing the rubber.

After being release by the Tigers at the end of spring training earlier this year, the lanky right hander went 3-0 in a trio of starts and four appearances for the Frontier League Freedom.

The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Longwith posted a 2.45 ERA with 13 strikeouts and just five walks in 22 innings pitched, plus had an impressive .864 WHIP in his short time with the Kentucky team.

While both the Travelers and Rockies are currently in third place in their respective divisions, there is still plenty of time to make a push for the playoffs with six weeks left of the summer minor league season.

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