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Locals seen throughout ranks of professional baseball

Jeff Birchfield • May 3, 2018 at 1:04 AM

The Science Hill baseball program is represented throughout the professional ranks, although the bad news on Tuesday was that Detroit Tigers pitcher Daniel Norris would be out 8-12 weeks with groin surgery.

Three more former Hilltoppers are in the minor leagues trying to make it to the majors, although another, Matt Pope, was released last season. A couple from Kingsport are also trying to get to the big leagues, and another from Bristol is already there.

In his fifth year, Norris has a 12-14 career record with 224 strikeouts in 59 games.

He’s not the only major league player from the Tri-Cities as Bristol’s Justin Grimm recently signed with the Kansas City Royals after winning a World Series ring as a relief pitcher with the Chicago Cubs.

Coincidentally, Grimm is also dealing with his own injury problems, placed on the 10-day disabled list on April 24 with lower back stiffness. In his seventh major league season, Grimm has a 19-22 career record with 356 strikeouts in 295 games pitched.

For the minor league players, we start with Will Craig, who is now in Class AA after spending the last couple of years in Class A at West Virginia and Bradenton.

Will Craig

After winning the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year award at Wake Forest, Craig was a first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2016 MLB draft. The 6-foot-6 first baseman is currently playing with the Altoona Curve in the Class AA Eastern League.

Craig had a .227 batting average through Tuesday night, leading the team with three home runs and 16 RBIs. He also had four doubles for 28 total bases. He has been walked 10 times, and has a .333 on-base percentage.

Will Carter

Carter, a right-handed pitcher, is also playing in the Class AA Eastern League with the Trenton Thunder. Picked by the New York Yankees in the 14th round of the 2015 draft out of Alabama, Carter is in his fourth season in the minor leagues and his second season with the Thunder.

He had a 0-1 record through Tuesday with four game appearances and 14 1/3 innings pitched. In his last outing last Saturday, Carter gave up six hits and three walks in a no-decision against New Hampshire. He has 114 strikeouts in 49 innings pitched over his minor league career.

Reed Hayes

Taken in the 13th round by the Orioles of the 2017 draft out of Vanderbilt, the former Science Hill star is currently a right-handed pitcher with the Delmarva Shorebirds in the Class A South Atlantic League. The team has nearby games in Asheville and Greenville, S.C.

As a reliever, Hayes had thrown for 11 innings through Tuesday night with two saves. He had seven strikeouts, while giving up seven hits, six walks and three earned runs with a 2.45 ERA.

Tristan Archer

After setting Tennessee Tech’s all-time record with 23 career wins, the right-handed pitcher was picked in the 21st round of the 2013 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. Coincidentally, the former Sullivan South standout has 23 career wins (against 18 defeats) in the minor leagues at this point.

During the offseason, Archer went to the Dominican Republic, where he made 12 relief appearances and allowed just two earned runs in 14 1/3 innings. Currently throwing for the Class AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Archer had appeared in seven games through Tuesday night, throwing 11 1/3 innings with 14 strikeouts. He had given up 13 hits and nine runs.

Aaron Quillen

The former Dobyns-Bennett star has gone from Dayton to Daytona after being drafted in the 22nd round of the 2016 draft by the Cincinnati Reds. The 6-foot-6 right-handed pitcher, who was an all-conference player at Belmont, is playing for the advanced Class A Daytona Tortugas.

Quillen has thrown for 12 1/3 innings this season, giving up six hits with just one walk and no runs. Previously, he played for Billings in the rookie league and in Dayton, Ohio, last year with a 3-0 record, primarily as a middle reliever.

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