Here is a report on Columbia County baseball players who are playing in the minor leagues:
James Shanks (Greenbrier)
Shanks is on the cusp of a shot at the big leagues. The 6-0, 185 lb. center fielder plays for the Albuquerque Isotopes, the AAA affiliate of the Florida Marlins.
In 65 games this season, Shanks is hitting .296 and is among the team leaders in several offensive categories. He has five homers, three triples, 15 doubles and 28 RBI. He also has 31 runs scored and eight stolen bases and has helped lead the Isotopes to a 38-33 record. A call from the Marlins is almost certainly in Shanks' future.
It seems like yesterday that Tydus Meadows was selected in the ninth round of the 1995 MLB Draft after a stellar career for the Evans Knights. Meadows chose not to sign a pro contract, and instead left for Nashville, Tenn., to play ball at Vanderbilt University.
After a tremendous junior season that saw him hit .328 with 12 homers and 48 RBI, Meadows was then taken in the 27th round by the Chicago Cubs.
Now, eight pro seasons later, Meadows is still laboring away in the minor leagues. Why he has not gotten his shot at "the show" is a mystery to me. He has been an all-star at virtually every level he's played.
Over the past four seasons, Meadows has averaged 16 homers and 65 RBI. Also, he has a career batting average of .294.
The 6-1, 245 lb. slugger is up to his old tricks this season. After being sent to the Jacksonville Suns, the Los Angeles Dodgers AA affiliate in the Southern League, Meadows has swung a hot bat. He was named the Southern Conference hitter of the week in his first week with the club (May 29-June 4). For the week, Meadows hit .450 with three homers and nine RBI. The week included a 5-for-5 night on May 31.
Meadows helped lead Jacksonville to the Southern League title in 2005 by hitting .274 with 15 homers and 65 RBI.
Bradley Key (Greenbrier)
Key, a 48th round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in the 2004 MLB Draft, is with the Dayton Dragons. The 6-0, 193 lb. third baseman has played in only two games since joining the club and is hitless in seven at bats.
Key is a player who seems to be overlooked at every turn. If given a full season in the starting lineup this former Greenbrier standout would do what he has always done: hit the baseball. I hope Key will get his opportunity with the Dragons in the second half of the season.
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