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Tigers in the MLB

Allen Randall, staff

Two weeks ago, we looked at Clemson alumni playing in Major League Baseball (MLB). With two weeks of games of league play in the books, let’s take a look at how the pro Tigers have performed thus far in the Bigs.


Ben Paulsen

First Baseman/Outfielder

Colorado Rockies

Seasons at Clemson: 


Entering the year part of a platoon at first base, Paulsen has had fewer opportunities to make a splash this year than last. The simple statistics — a .308 batting average to go with six Runs Batted In (RBIs) and a homer — indicate that he has been successful in his limited time, but there’s a catch: of the 29 plate appearances Paulsen has made this year, only one has come against a left-handed pitcher. While he has put up better numbers than Mark Reynolds, his counterpart in the first-base platoon, the Rockies aren’t ready to give him a full-time starting job yet. If he can keep churning out hits and improve his discipline at the plate (his strikeout-to-walk ratio currently sits at 3:1), he could see many more opportunities to perform on the diamond.

Brad Miller


Tampa Bay Rays

Seasons at Clemson:


It would be a merciful understatement to say that Brad Miller’s season had a tough start. He didn’t earn a hit until his 16th time at bat on the year, and has struck out more times than he has reached base. As of right now, he holds a harsh .114 average to go along with an equally unimpressive .257 slugging percentage. The good news is he finally had a productive game this past Saturday, going 2-4 with a homer and a double while driving home three in a victory against the Chicago White Sox. That said, he has a lot to overcome before he can prove himself to be the highly-touted player he was when drafted in 2011, let alone the capable starter at short the Rays were looking for. Hopefully his one big game thus far will prove to be a start of a new pattern rather than an exception to a current one.


Tony Sipp

 Relief Pitcher

 Houston Astros

Season at Clemson:

2004 (JUCO transfer)

The Astros have stumbled out of the gates this year, and it would be easy to assume that Sipp has, too, based on the numbers. After all, he has registered a 5.79 ERA and an average 2.14 walks and hits per innings pitched. However, such numbers aren’t atypical for a reliever early in the season, and can mostly be attributed to two rough rounds against Kansas City and New York, neither of which really affected the outcome of the game. It was already implied that Sipp would get less innings after some changes made to the Astros’ pen, including the high-profile acquisition of Ken Giles from the Phillies. As the season goes on, he might become more of a matchup-pitcher, used primarily against lefties, rather than the setup man he had previously been. Either way, he still figures to be a valuable component of the Astros’ relief core and his numbers ought to improve as the season rolls on.


Tigers in the Minors

Even though there are only three Clemson alumni on major league rosters, there are plenty more within teams’ farm systems. Here are some of the highlights thus far from Tigers in the Minors:

Richie Shaffer, the Rays’ 2012 first round draft pick, began the season at AAA after making his major league debut late last year. After putting up a low average and high strikeout rates in the majors, he has a lot to prove, but has room to find the consistent power the Rays saw in him when they selected him at 25th overall.

After a rough 2015, relief pitcher Dominic Leone is working his way back from the minors to a spot with the Arizona Diamondbacks. But given his youth and his solid performance in 2014 (8-2 with a 2.17

ERA as a Seattle Mariner), it would be foolish to write him off just yet.

Former standout outfielder Steven Duggar is tearing it up at high A-ball in the San Francisco Giants’ farm system. He owns a .343 average and a .743 slugging percentage to go with eight RBIs through nine games. Don’t expect a major league call-up anytime soon, but there is reason to be excited for his future.

Tyler Krieger is on a tear of his own. As part of the Cleveland Indians’ low-A affiliate, he has recorded a .325 average to go with a .417 on base percentage. In addition, he turned a lot of heads in the Indians’ farm this weekend with a diving catch to take away a base hit.

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