I’m late preparing this information for 2012, but since I’m going tonight to a game for the first time this year, I thought I’d better get this information together and post it. After a good year last year that saw two Mormons in baseball’s All-Star game and at one point perhaps 13 active players who are Mormon, the prospects for this year look promising, but not at the level of 2010.
The two Mormons who made last year’s All-Star teams (both apparently inactive) are still the best of those on the field. Roy Halladay continues his fantastic pitching performances, which lowered his ERA last year (although he didn’t pitch any no-hitters, unlike in 2010, when he managed a perfect game during the season and a no-hitter in the post-season). And Halladay continues his dominance so far this year—his ERA as of this morning was just 0.60!
Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury also had a stellar season last year, hitting .321, his best full-season average so far. Unlike Halladay, however, he’s had a slow start, hitting just .130 over 6 games. Still, it is reasonable to expect a great season from Ellsbury as he works his way back to his potential.
Some shifting occurred among these players. In one of the more unusual, the Baltimore Orioles traded their pitching ace Jeremy Guthrie (a returned LDS missionary) to the Colorado Rockies for Matt Lindstrom, a relief pitcher (and also a returned missionary). While I think that trading one Mormon for another may have happened before, I doubt that it is very common. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the first time one returned missionary was traded for another, though!
If you follow baseball, (and maybe even if you don’t) you may find it interesting to know which players you see are Mormon, and who might make it to the Majors this year. The team you follow may include a Mormon player you don’t know about, or you might like to know about the Mormon players on visiting teams.
My own lists of Mormons who have played in the Majors include about 75 Mormons (including inactive LDS Church members and others with Mormon heritage) who have played in the majors. This is my fourth compilation of those Mormons who are actively playing in both the Major Leagues and in the Minor Leagues. I’ve managed to find a lot of additional information, especially on Mormons playing in the Minors, and I’m indebted to many readers and commentators here on Times and Seasons, who have provided valuable information expanding my lists.
[I don't claim my information is complete or absolutely accurate. Some of it comes from information I collected years ago, and some comes from personal information that I've not yet been able to verify in documentation. Any clarification or additional information would be very useful.]
So, here is a quick guide to the Mormons on major league rosters, or who are listed as being on minor league teams at this time, and therefore may be brought up to the majors during the year or in future years:
Current Roster Players:
- John Buck — starting catcher — Miami Marlins
- Jacoby Ellsbury — starting outfielder — Boston Red Sox
- Kyle Farnsworth — closer — Tampa Bay Rays
- Jeremy Guthrie — starting pitcher (right handed) — Colorado Rockies
- Roy Halladay— starting pitcher (right handed) — Philadelphia Phillies
- Elliot Johnson — infielder — Tampa Bay Rays
- Josh Johnson — starting pitcher (right handed) – Miami Marlins
- Matt Lindstrom — right handed bullpen pitcher – Baltimore Orioles
- Brandon Lyon — right handed bullpen pitcher — Houston Astros
- Mitch Maier— backup outfielder — Kansas City Royals
Minor League Players who may make the majors:
- Tyson Brummett — right handed closer — Philadelphia Phillies organization (currently with the Reading PA Phillies of the Eastern League – AA)
- Matt Carson — left field — Minnesota Twins organization (currently with the Rochester NY Red Wings of the International League – AAA)
- Taylor Cole — right handed starting pitcher — Toronto Blue Jays organization (currently with the Vancouver Canadians of the Northwest League – A)
- Brandon Duckworth — right handed bullpen pitcher — Boston Red Sox organization (currently with the Pawtucket RI Red Sox of the International League – AAA)
- Willie Mays Eyre — pitcher — Baltimore Orioles organization (currently with the Norfolk VA Tides of the International League – AAA)
- Bryce Harper — left field — Washington Nationals organization (currently with the Syracuse NY Chiefs of the International League – AAA)
- Blaine Howell —left handed bullpen pitcher — Cincinnati Reds organization (status unknown, was with Dayton Dragons)
- Kyle Hurst — right handed bullpen pitcher — Los Angeles Angels organization (status unknown, was with Arkansas Travelers)
- Cale Iorg — Shortstop — Detroit Tigers organization (currently with the Toledo Mud Hens of the International League – AAA)
- Marcus Littlewood — Shortstop — Seattle Mariners organization (currently with the Everett WA AquaSox of the Northwest League – A)
- Matthew Neil — pitcher — Miami Marlins organization (currently with the Jupiter Hammerheads of the Florida State League – A)
- Adam Rosales — Shortstop — Oakland A’s organization (currently with the Sacramento River Cats of the Pacific Coast League – AAA)
- Chris Shelton — first base — New York Mets organization (status unknown, was with the Buffalo NY Bisons of the International League – AAA)
- Egan Smith — left handed bullpen pitcher — Toronto Blue Jays organization (currently with the Dunedin FL Blue Jays of the Florida State League – A)
- Jordan Smith — right handed bullpen pitcher — Cinncinnati Reds (on 15-day DL, likely will be assigned to the Louisville Bats of the International League – AAA)
- Jordan Whatcott —right handed bullpen pitcher — Philadelphia Phillies organization (currently with Clearwater Threshers of the Florida State League – A)
- Mitch Talbot — starting pitcher (right handed) — was with Cleveland Indians, currently playing for the Samsung Lions in Korea.
Players who may be Mormon:
- Rick Anton – pitcher – LA Dodgers organization
- Eric Byrnes — left field — Seattle Mariners
- Derek Cone — Los Angeles Dodgers organization
- Tyler Hanks — pitcher — Washington Nationals organization
- Kam Mickolio — pitcher — Arizona Diamondbacks organization (apparently not Mormon, but I don’t have evidence either way)
- Stephen Parker — third base — Oakland Athletics organization
- Brad Thompson — pitcher — Houston Astros organization
- Other remote possibilities: Jay Brossman, Brian Budrow, Tyler Chism, Derek Christensen, Dallas Christison, Stephen Fife, Steve Hirschfeld, Zachary Jones, Ryan Khoury, Cole Miles, A. J. Murray, Jordan Taylor Pratt, Tanner Robles, Braeden Schlehuber, Justin Smith, Matt Spring
- Jacoby Ellsbury and Roy Halladay remain the strongest of the Mormon players.
- As far as I can tell, no Mormon players had their debut in the Majors last year.
- Many of these players have served LDS missions, including (at least) Jeremy Guthrie, Matt Lindstrom, Blaine Howell, Kyle Hurst and Cale Iorg.
- Garrett Nash (Oregon State), Rob Folsom (Oregon State) are both players in college or post high school that could be drafted.
- Jacob Borup, Bobby Crosby, Aaron Jensen, Mitch Jones, Jon Nelson, Mark Pawelek, Curtis Petersen, Jared Price and Kent Walton have apparently retired or otherwise left baseball.
Enjoy the season!!