Locals In MLB: Spring Training Dog Days Settle In As Locals Fight For Roster Spots

Mar 12, 2024, 1:55 PM

tanner banks 2023...

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 27: Tanner Banks #57 of the Chicago White Sox throws a pitch in the ninth inning at Guaranteed Rate Field on August 27, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.

SALT LAKE CITY – Former two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year C.J. Cron is in the Sunshine State with the Boston Red Sox while two other former Utah locals were sent to minor league camp as spring training continues across  Arizona and Florida for all 30 MLB teams.

Locals In MLB: Following Nine Former Beehive State Stars In Big League Camps

BYU Cougars

Michael Rucker | Pitcher

MLB – Philadelphia Phillies

Rucker spent the past three seasons pitching out of the Chicago Cubs bullpen but was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies after being designated for assignment by the Cubs during the offseason.

RELATED: Former BYU Hurler Traded To Phillies

The 6’1, 29-year-old righty has allowed one hit and hit one batter in two spring innings with the Phillies. He made his 2024 Spring Training debut against Boston on February 26.

2023 Stats: 2-1 | 4.91 ERA | 40.1 IP | 40 Ks | 19 BB | 1.438 WHIP

Career Stats: 3 Yrs | 96 appearances | 5-2 | 4.91 ERA | 123.1 IP | 120 Ks | 50 BB | 1.39 WHIP

Utah Utes (4)

C.J. Cron | First Base

The 6’4 slugger signed a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox on March 3 after injuries limited him to 71 games in 2023.

Cron made his MLB debut in 2014 with the Angels. He has played for the Angels (twice), Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, and Colorado Rockies. Cron is a free agent after finishing 2023 with the Angels following a mid-season trade from Colorado.

Career Stats: 10 Yrs | 1,049 Games | .260 BA | 187 HR | 194 (2B)

Porter Hodge | Pitcher | Cottonwood HS

Double-A Tennessee – (Chicago Cubs)

He made his first spring appearance, closing out the Cubs’ 8-1 win over the Chicago White Sox. Hodge allowed one hit and one walk and struck out one in one inning of work.

The 6’4 righthander has given up three hits and struck out five against three walks in four innings for Chicago this spring. Hodge enters the season as the 26th-ranked prospect in the Cubs system according to MLB.com.

Hodge was optioned to Double-A on March 8.

2023 Stats: 6-7 | 5.13 ERA | 80.2 IP | 103 K | 49 BB | 1.401 WHIP

Oliver Dunn | 2B

Double-A – (Milwaukee Brewers)

Listed at 5’10 and 198 pounds, Dunn hits lefthanded and throws righthanded.

He is hitting .227 with five RBI and two stolen bases in 22 at-bats this spring.

2023 Stats: .271 BA | 113 Hits | 21 HR | 78 RBI | 16 SB | 139 K | 82 BB

Tanner Banks | Pitcher | Salt Lake Bruins/Riverton HS

MLB – (Chicago White Sox)

The Chicago White Sox selected the 6’1 lefthander in the 18th round of the 2014 draft. Banks made his MLB debut with the White Sox in 2022.

Former Utah High Schoolers Show Personality In Chicago White Sox Video

The 6’1 lefty made his spring debut against the Royals on February 29, allowing one hit in two innings of work. Banks has allowed three hits and one earned run while striking out nine in 5.2 innings.

Career Stats: 2 Yrs | 67 Games | 3-4 | 3.79 ERA | 114 IP | 51 K | 34 BB | 1.23 WHIP

Other Utah Colleges (2)

Logan Porter | Catcher | Utah Tech Trailblazers

MLB – Kansas City Royals

Porter is a non-roster invitee in Major League camp with the Royals this spring. The righthanded backstop has one hit (.071 BA) in nine games this spring.

2023 Stats: 11 games | .194 BA | 6 hits | HR | 3 RBI

Joe Barlow | Pitcher | Salt Lake Bruins/Riverton HS

MLB – Chicago White Sox

Barlow signed a minor league deal with the Chicago White Sox as a free agent following the 2023 season. He made his first appearance of the spring in the White Sox 8-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs. He walked one batter in one inning of work.

Barlow has been out with shoulder since since February 23.

2023 Stats: 1-1 | 4.66 ERA | 9.2 IP | 6Ks | 1.55 WHIP

Career Stats: 3 Yrs | 79 Games | 4-4 | 3.05 ERA | 73.2 IP | 61 K | 27 BB | 1.0 WHIP

Utah Prep Athletes (3)

Ky Bush | Pitcher | Fremont HS

Double-A Birmingham – (Chicago White Sox)

Bush was traded to the Chicago White Sox organization at the 2023 MLB trade deadline, finishing the season at Double-A Birmingham.

The left-hander 6’6 lefty allowed three hits and struck out two in two innings against the Texas Rangers in his only spring appearance so far. He was optioned to minor league camp on March 8.

RELATED: Former Fremont Pitcher Takes Center Stage At MLB Futures Game

2023 Stats: 6.91 ERA | 4-8 | 17 games | 71.2 IP | 78 K | 37 BB | 1.647 WHIP

Payton Henry | Catcher | Pleasant Grove HS

Triple-A Buffalo – (Toronto Blue Jays)

The right-handed hitting Henry is in major league camp with the Blue Jays as a non-roster invitee.

The righthanded hitting backstop is hitting .417 with a home run and three RBI in 12 spring training at-bats.

2023 Stats: .294 BA | 9 HR | 35 RBI

Drew Thorpe | Pitcher | Desert Hills HS

TBD – (San Diego Padres)

A 2023 second-round pick of the New York Yankees, Thorpe was one of five players sent to the San Diego Padres in a trade return for star outfielder Juan Soto.

Thorpe is in major league camp with the Padres as a non-roster invitee. In two spring appearances, the 6’4 righthander has five strikeouts in three innings.

2023 Stats: 2.52 ERA | 14-2 | 139.1 IP | 182 K | 38 BB | 0.983 WHIP

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Brian Preece is a KSLsports.com insider covering the Utah State Aggies, Locals in MLB, and Salt Lake Bees. Follow Brian’s Bees, Beehive baseball, and Aggie athletics coverage here.

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Locals In MLB: Spring Training Dog Days Settle In As Locals Fight For Roster Spots