There are currently two former Auburn players that are in the major leagues, Josh Donaldson and Grant Dayton, but there are nine former Tigers that are working their way up through the minor leagues. Unlike professional football and basketball, a contract does not guarantee big money with the big boys. After being drafted and/or signed, a player is assigned to a minor league affiliate for the major league club that holds their contract- single A is the lowest level, followed by single-A advanced, double-A and triple A. Here’s a look at the former Tigers in the minor leagues that are working towards getting a call-up to the majors:
Following his senior year at Auburn, right handed pitcher Justin Camp was drafted in the 37th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals. Camp pitched all four years at Auburn from 2013-2016 and was most impressive as a junior, when he posted a 2.33 ERA in 28 appearances out of the bullpen. In his senior year, Camp transitioned into a starting role and recorded a 3-5 record and a 4.43 ERA in 14 starts. The Royals initially assigned Camp to their single-A affiliate in Lexington, Kentucky to begin the 2017 season, then promoted him to their single-A advanced team in Wilmington, Delaware. So far this season, the Decatur native holds a 0-0 record and a 1.54 ERA.
In 2014, Trey Cochran-Gill, who is a native of Tallassee, was drafted out of Auburn in the 17th round by the Seattle Mariners. Cochran-Gill left Auburn after his junior year to sign with the Mariners in 2014, a year in which the right hander posted a 3.41 ERA in 28 relief appearances. In 2015, the Mariners promoted Cochran-Gill from their single-A team in Bakersfield, California to their double-A in Jackson, Mississippi, then to their triple-A affiliate in Tacoma, Washington for one game. However, the Mariners traded Trey to the Oakland Athletics organization on December 8th, 2015 where he was placed on the roster for their double-A team in Midland, Texas and held a 4-5 record and a 3.07 ERA. After starting this season on the disabled list, the Mariners sent Cochran-Gill down to single-A ball in Stockton, Indiana.
Another Tiger working his way through the minor leagues is Garrett Cooper. Cooper transferred to Auburn from El Camino Community College to play his junior and senior years at Auburn. In his senior year, the Auburn first baseman hit .354 with seven homers and 37 RBI. His outstanding play earned him a 6th round selection by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2013 MLB Draft. The Brewers initially placed him at their single-A team in Oshkosh, Wisconsin after signing with the team, but Cooper has worked his way through the Brewers farm system to the Brewers triple-A team in Colorado Springs, Colorado where he is currently knocking the cover off the ball hitting .362 with 11 homers and 56 RBI.
Another corner infielder working his way to the show is third baseman Damek Tomscha. Tomscha transferred to Auburn from Iowa Western Community College to play his junior and senior seasons. In his senior season in 2014, Tomscha hit .313 with five home runs and 29 RBI. He was then drafted that summer by the 17th round by the Philadelphia Phillies and assigned to the Phillies single-A team in Lakewood, New Jersey. At the beginning of the 2016 season, Tomscha was promoted to the single-A advanced team in Clearwater, Florida. Tomscha is still in Clearwater and is currently hitting .296 with seven homers and 32 RBI this season.
Former Auburn center fielder Joshua Palacios was drafted in the 4th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. Palavios only played one year at Auburn after transferring from San Jacinto College, then left Auburn after he was drafted to sign with the Blue Jays organization. He was first assigned to the Blue Jays single-A affiliate in Lansing, Michigan and after some brief stints in Blue Jays rookie leagues, returned to Lansing to begin his 2017 campaign. This year for the Lugnuts, Palacios is hitting a tough .195 with 14 RBI.
The road to the show is not always an easy one, but be sure to keep an eye out for these Auburn baseball alumni in the majors in the coming years. On Friday, five more Auburn players that are currently in the minor leagues will be in the spotlight in “The Auburn Baseball Farm Report: Part Two” right here on espnau.com