In honor of the first round of the NFL Draft last night, we wanted to look back at all the MLB first rounders who have played in Biloxi. This list is made up of players who spent time in Biloxi as Minor League players and doesn't include any Major League rehab appearances.
C - Nick Franklin
1B - Clint Coulter
2B - Keston Hiura
SS - Jake Hager
3B - Jake Gatewood
LF - Victor Roache
CF - Corey Ray
RF - Trent Grisham
SP - Kodi Medeiros, Luis Ortiz, Taylor Jungmann, Drew Rasmussen
RP - Jed Bradley
Bench - Richie Schaffer, Michael Choice.
RF - Trent Grisham
Grisham spent one and a half seasons in Biloxi before ultimately making his debut with the Brewers in 2019. Selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Richland HS, Trent Clark (as he was known at the time) climbed steadily through the Brewers' system, spending all of 2016 at Single-A Wisconsin and all of 2017 at High-A Carolina.
In his first foray with the Shuckers during the 2018 season, Grisham was the everyday right fielder for the Biloxi. The Fort Worth, TX native did miss nearly a month with a high-ankle sprain but still finished the season with 31 RBI and 63 walks over 107 games.
Grisham's breakout season came in 2019 where over the last 20 games with Biloxi he hit .342 with seven doubles, two triples, eight home runs and 25 RBI. He became the second player every to homer in four consecutive games when he connected for four home runs from May 31 to June 3 and was named a Southern League Midseason All-Star before his promotion to Triple-A San Antonio.
Following an incredible 34-game run with San Antonio, Grisham made his Major League debut on August 1. During the 2019 offseason, Grisham was traded to San Diego along with Zach Davies in exchange for LHP Eric Lauer and Luis Urias. He is one of two players in the starting lineup of our All First Round Team to make their Major League debut after playing with the Shuckers.
Center Field - Corey Ray
Taken with the fifth overall pick in the 2016 draft out of Louisville, Ray is the highest drafted player to ever put on a Shuckers uniform.
Despite an up-and-down season with the Carolina Mudcats in his first full year of professional baseball, Ray was promoted to Double-A Biloxi in 2018 and was the most dangerous double threat in league history. Ray stormed his way to the Southern League All-Star Game as a Midseason All-Star and followed it up with an incredible month of July, where he slashed .282/.333/.628 with 11 home runs, 27 RBI, 25 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. His 20 extra-base hits during the month were the most in the Minor Leagues during July and he became the first player in Minor League Baseball to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases.
When the dust settled on the 2018 season, Ray led the Southern League in home runs, doubles, extra-base hits, total bases and stolen bases and was named the Southern League's Most Valuable Player, the first Shuckers player to win the League MVP. The Chicago, IL native also became the first player to ever lead the Southern League in both home runs and stolen bases in a season while setting a new Shuckers franchise record for home runs in a season (27) and RBI (74).
Injuries hampered Ray in 2019 and he did return to Biloxi for a short spell in late July as part of his recovery. The 25-year-old was added to the Brewers 40-man roster in late 2019 and is expected to make his Major League debut at some point in the near future.
Left Field - Victor Roache
After being selected in the 25th round of the 2009 draft by the Detroit Tigers, Roache opted to go to Georgia Southern where he led the NCAA with 30 home runs in 2011. The Brewers selected the outfielder with the 28th overall pick in 2012, but Roache didn't make his professional debut until 2013 while recovering from a wrist injury.
After starting the 2015 season in Brevard County, Roache joined the Shuckers on June 16 and hit .247 with 11 doubles, three triples, eight home runs and 35 RBI in 67 games. The Ypsilanti, MI native was limited to just 51 games with the Shuckers in 2016 with an injury and returned to Biloxi in 2017 before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 4. All told, Roache finished his Shuckers career with 26 doubles, four triples, 12 home runs and 58 RBI.
Roache elected free agency following the 2017 season and signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, spending a majority of the year at Double-A Springfield. He played with the Independent Chicago Dogs of the American Association in 2019 and finished second in the league in home runs (24) and total bases (211) while tallying the third most RBI (79). Roache has re-signed with the Dogs and is set to return to Chicago in 2020.
Third Base - Jake Gatewood
Gatewood was selected in the Competitive Balance Round of the draft but is still classified as a First Round Pick after the Brewers selected him with the 41st overall pick in the 2014 Draft out of Clovis High School.
Gatewood arrived in Biloxi in August of 2017 and appeared at third in 21 games, accumulating 10 extra-base hits in 92 at bats. With Lucas Erceg joining Biloxi in 2018, Gatewood primarily played at first base before going down in late July with an ACL tear. At the time of his injury, Gatewood had 19 doubles and 19 home runs, on pace with Ray for the league lead.
Upon his return to the Shuckers on May 12, 2019, Gatewood exclusively played at third base, making 81 starts and 84 appearances. The 24-year-old became the all-time home run leader in Shuckers franchise history when he hit a walk-off homer against Jackson on July 27. Gatewood also became the all-time postseason home run leader in Shuckers history when he hit four home runs in the 2019 postseason run for Biloxi.
Shortstop - Jake Hager
Hager is a free agent signing that came to Biloxi after being selected in the first round by another organization. Originally selected by the Tampa Bay Rays with the 32nd overall pick in the 2011 Draft out of Sierra Vista HS in Nevada, Hager climbed through the Rays minor league system with ease until an injury derailed his entire 2015 season and another injury limited him to just 73 games in 2017. Hager elected free agency, signed with the Brewers and was assigned to Biloxi to start the 2018 campaign.
Despite being only 25, Hager was a veteran presence in the Shuckers lineup that claimed the first half South Division Title. He became the first Shuckers player to homer in four consecutive games, hitting five bombs and driving in 10. Hager was named a Southern League Midseason All-Star after slashing .292/.371/.521 with 18 doubles, a triple, 10 home runs and 40 RBI and was promoted to Triple-A Colorado Springs at the halfway point of the season.
Hager spent the entire season in Triple-A San Antonio in 2019 before electing free agency and signing with the New York Mets.
Second Base - Keston Hiura
There was plenty of hype around Keston Hiura when he was selected ninth overall in the 2017 Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers, and the California-native lived up to the acclaim during his quick ascension through the farm system.
Following a 5-for-5 performance in Carolina at the end of May, Hiura played his first game with the Shuckers on June 1st and hit safely in 19 of his first 22 games. The early highlight of his time in Biloxi was his first Double-A homer on June 13, a walk-off blast that topped Mississippi and brought the Shuckers magic number down to 2 to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2015.
Hiura finished the regular season slashing .272/.339/.416 with 18 doubles, two triples, six home runs and 20 RBI. He came through in a big way for the Shuckers in the postseason, hitting .314 with three doubles, a home run and 10 RBI. This included six RBI, tied for the most RBI in a game in Shuckers history, in the clinching Game Four against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos to send the Shuckers to the Southern League Championship Series.
First Base - Clint Coulter
While Coulter logged most of his time in the outfield in Biloxi, his eight games that he played at first base were incredibly impactful during the 2018 season. Coulter was selected by the Brewers with the 27th overall pick in the 2012 draft and started his minor league career as a catcher.
In 2015, Coulter converted to the outfield with the Brevard County Manatees and moved up to Double-A for the first time in 2016. He spent the entire 2017 season in Biloxi, bashing 21 doubles and 14 home runs. He started 2018 in Carolina but was impactful for the Shuckers as their fourth outfielder after coming back up to the team in late April.
After Gatewood went down in late July, Coulter began working defensively at first base with Mike Guerrero and made his debut at first on July 27. After alternating with Richie Shaffer at first, Coulter locked in consistently at first base on August 9 and performed so well that he was promoted to Triple-A on August 22. Following the 2018 season, Coulter elected free agency and spent 2019 with the Sioux Falls Canaries in the independent American Association, hitting .294 with 25 doubles, 18 home runs and 72 RBI over 98 games.
Catcher - Nick Franklin
Franklin is the 'starter' with the least amount of service time in Biloxi. Franklin was taken 27th overall by the Seattle Mariners in 2009 and joined the Brewers in 2017 when he was claimed off waivers in early April. Franklin was designated for assignment and claimed by the Los Angeles Angels where he played for the remainder of 2017. He came back to Milwaukee on a free agent minor league contract to start 2018 and was assigned to Biloxi to try his hand at catching.
An infielder by trade, Franklin was set to start behind the plate for the Shuckers 2018 Opening Game against Montgomery but was scratched late with an injury. He did end up starting three games at catcher for the Shuckers but was also called into action to play right field, first base, shortstop and third base. He played 20 games in Biloxi before he was called up to Milwaukee on May 8th.
Starting Pitchers - Kodi Medeiros, Drew Rasmussen, Luis Ortiz and Taylor Jungmann
Of the starting pitchers, Kodi Medeiros and Taylor Jungmann are the two hurlers originally selected by Milwaukee in the first round. Jungmann was taken 12th overall in the 2011 draft and made his debut with the Brewers in 2015. The righty was optioned to Colorado Springs to start the 2016 season and was assigned to Biloxi on June 30. During the remainder of the 2016 season, Jungmann made 13 starts and went 3-4 with a 2.51 ERA in that stretch. He returned to Biloxi to start the 2017 season before earning a promotion to Colorado Springs in late May. The Temple, TX native pitched very well with the Sky Sox, going 9-2 with a 2.59 ERA over 17 appearances. Jungmann was released by the Brewers following the 2017 season and spent 2018 & 2019 pitching in the Japanese baseball league. He recently signed with the Texas Rangers and is slated to be in Triple-A Nashville to begin 2020.
As for Medeiros, the Hawaiian was taken with the 12th overall pick in the 2014 draft by Milwaukee. The southpaw spent two seasons at High-A in 2016 and 2017 and was a staple of the Shuckers rotation when he reached Biloxi in 2018. Across 20 appearances, 15 starts, Medeiros went 7-5 with a 3.14 ERA. Following his start on July 25, 2018 against Jackson, Medeiros was traded to the Chicago White Sox and assigned to Birmingham. He spent the remainder of the 2018 season and all of 2019 with the Barons and was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training with the White Sox.
Rasmussen was originally selected by the Tampa Bay Rays with the 31st overall pick in the 2017 draft but didn't sign. This turned into a steal for the Brewers who selected him in the sixth round of the 2018 draft out of Oregon State. Rasmussen did have to finish his rehab for a second UCL surgery but rocketed up to Double-A in less than a month during the 2019 campaign. Though he was limited for most of his outings to either 50 pitches or three innings, the righty went 1-3 with a 3.54 ERA across 22 appearances, 18 starts, for the Shuckers while lighting up radar guns with his high-90's fastball. Rasmussen was non-roster invitee to Spring Training and is slated to be back in Biloxi to begin 2020.
Finally, Luis Ortiz joined the Brewers in the trade that sent Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Lewis Brinson and a player to be named later on August 1, 2016. Originally selected by Texas with the 30th overall pick in the 2014 draft, the righty pitched to a 2-2 record in six starts with an impressive 1.93 ERA to close out 2016 before spending all of 2017 with Biloxi, going 4-7 with a 4.01 ERA across 22 appearances, 20 starts. Ortiz returned to Biloxi in 2018 and made 16 appearances for the Shuckers before he was traded to Baltimore as part of the Jonathan Schoop trade. Ortiz would make his Major League debut with Baltimore on September 7, 2018 and spent most of 2019 with Triple-A Norfolk.
Reliever - Jed Bradley
When he was taken with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 draft, Jed Bradley was a starter out of Georgia Tech who had the opportunity to pitch in his hometown for the Huntsville Stars in 2014, the last year for the Stars before moving to Biloxi to become the Shuckers. Up until the 2015 season, Bradley had made 63 appearances in his professional career, and every one of them was as a starting pitcher.
But the beginning of the Shuckers franchise was also the beginning of Bradley's career as a reliever, a role that he excelled at in 2015 with the inaugural Shuckers squad. Across 23 relief appearances with Biloxi, Bradley went 1-1 with a 3.31 ERA and earned a June 15 promotion to Colorado Springs. He was assigned back to the Shuckers to start 2016 and was ultimately traded to the Atlanta Braves on June 3, 2016. Pitching for the Mississippi Braves, Bradley returned to the starting rotation and earned a promotion to Triple-A Gwinnett on August 20. After three stellar outings in Gwinnett, Bradley had his contract selected by the Braves and made his Major League debut on September 3, 2016. During the 2016 offseason, the southpaw was claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles. He made eight appearances across two levels before retiring from the game in May of 2017
The Bench - Michael Choice and Richie Shaffer
Both Choice and Shaffer had made their Major League debuts before joining the Shuckers. Choice was originally taken 10th overall in the 2010 draft by the Oakland Athletics. The outfielder played in the Majors for both the Athletics and the Rangers while also making stops in the Indians and Orioles organizations before arriving with the Brewers in 2017 as a free agent. Choice was assigned to Biloxi on May 5 and played in 48 games for the Shuckers, hitting .272 with 13 doubles, nine home runs and 29 RBI.
On July 10 in Jacksonville, Choice hit three home runs, becoming one of three players in Shuckers history to hit three home runs in a game. Just a few weeks later, Choice was released by the Brewers and signed with Tigres de Quintana Roo in the Mexican League. He signed a minor league contract with the Colorado Rockies following the 2019 season and is set to begin 2020 in Albuquerque.
Finally, Shaffer spent 15 games with the Shuckers in 2018, coming down from Colorado Springs from July 27 to August 14 to help fill the gap at first base. Originally taken with the 25th overall pick in the 2012 Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, the Clemson product played parts of two seasons with the Rays in 2015 and 2016 before being traded to the Seattle Mariners in September of 2016. During that offseason, the Flemington, NJ native was waived and claimed by the Phillies and Reds before landing with the Indians.
Shaffer spent all of 2017 with Triple-A Columbus where he was named an International League Midseason All-Star and an MiLB.com Organizational All-Star. Despite this, Shaffer was released by the Indians during the 2018 season and signed with Milwaukee on July 24. In 15 games with Biloxi, Shaffer had eight extra-base hits, three doubles, a triple and four home runs, while playing primarily first base.