Checking In On Our MLB Alumni

Justin K. Aller

It's been a rough first half of the MLB season for many former Yellow Jackets. Luckily the All-Star break gives them a chance to rest and make any adjustments they can. Some pros have started to play well in the last few weeks and there have been some recent transactions worth checking out.

In recent years, Matt Wieters and Mark Teixeira have represented Georgia Tech in the MLB All-Star Game. Due to their struggles so far this year, however, Georgia Tech will not be represented in this year's All-Star game. That's okay though, because Tech's pros could use the much needed rest from the All-Star break. In the Week That Was series, I have kept up with each players' performance with their respective teams, and for the most part, it's been ugly. Now that we've hit the mid summer All-Star break, it's time to look back at the first half of the season and see where everyone stands.

Mark Teixeira, easily Tech's most recognizable name in the majors, is now out for the rest of the season. He attempted a comeback from a right wrist injury in June, but the injury became worse with some serious pain and inflammation. At the recommendation of his doctors, Teixeira underwent season-ending surgery and he'll hopefully come back strong next year.

Matt Wieters has also had a disappointing season to date, but that's mostly because he has struggled at the plate for the majority of the season. He opened the season on a tear, but quickly cooled off. So far through the month of July, Wieters has a .225 batting average and a .720 OPS with 9 hits, 2 home runs, 5 RBIs, and 4 walks. Those numbers are fairly weak considering his production in previous years, but they still aren't terrible for the catcher position. He really needed this break to help make some minor adjustments to his swing. On the bright side though, Wieters continues to play solid defense behind the plate for the Orioles.

The month of June was rough for Derek Dietrich and Charlie Blackmon, but both have rebounded quite well for their teams. Dietrich's July hasn't been spectacular, but his OPS this month is 74 points higher than June. Like Wieters, Dietrich will use the All-Star break to make some minor tweaks to his swing and plate approach and I wouldn't be surprised if he continues to play well.

Charlie Blackmon has played well for the Rockies since being called back up. In the six games he's played in July, Blackmon went 5-16 at the plate with a double, triple, 2 RBIs, and 2 SBs. He's been a great fourth OF for the Rockies and continues to produce when given the chance. It looks like he will stay on the major league roster for the foreseeable future, so he has to be pretty happy about that.

Since it's been a down season for Tech in the majors, Brandon Cumpton takes the first half trophy for most intriguing player. While the Pirates dealt with a few minor injuries in their starting rotation, Cumpton made three spot starts, pitching 15.2 innings with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. Those numbers won't blow anyone away, but he was able to come in on short notice and give the Pirates a chance to win. He hasn't recorded a win yet this season, but if there are anymore injuries to the Pirates rotation during the second half, he should get the call up. Until then though, he'll continue to wait in the minors until the Pirates need him.

In early June, Tyler Greene was assigned to the White Sox's minor league team in Charlotte. As if the news wasn't hard enough, he was demoted because Gordon Beckham (uga alum) came off the DL. Greene will continue to play in the minors for the White Sox until an opportunity arises due to injury.

Saving the best news for last, Blake Wood has finally been activated from the 60-day DL. He has missed all of the season so far due to an elbow injury he sustained earlier in the year. The Indians optioned him to their Triple-A team after they activated him, and he'll remain there until there's an opening in the bullpen.

The first half of the MLB season lacked the usual big names and stories that Tech fans are used to, but there is hope for the second half of the season. The All-Star break couldn't have come at a better time for many of our pros, and I expect them to make the necessary adjustments. Who do you expect to have the most impressive second half of the season?

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