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LB In MLB: Five Local Boys In The Postseason

There are five Major League Baseball players with ties to Long Beach who are getting ready for the unprecedented MLB Postseason to begin this week.

Lakewood High alum Travis d’Arnaud has been the most pleasant surprise for local boys in the show this season. The Atlanta Braves catcher bounced back from injury with the Tampa Bay Rays last year, and has won the job behind the plate in Atlanta this season after signing a two-year, $16 million deal in November.

d’Arnaud, 31, is ranked 10th in the league with a .321 batting average and 22nd with a .919 on-base plus slugging percentage. He made a splash in August with 22 hits, 17 RBIs and four home runs in his first 17 games played.

d’Arnaud, who was born in Long Beach, will be behind the plate when Atlanta hosts the Cincinnati Reds for the first game of the National League Wild Card on Wednesday. The wild card round is a best-of-three series.

Wilson High alum Aaron Hicks returned as the New York Yankees starting center fielder this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery — the same thing that derailed d’Arnaud’s career with the New York Mets. The Yankees visit the Cleveland Indians for Game 1 of the American League Wild Card today.

Hicks, 30, has safely reached base in six of his last 15 plate appearances while driving in four runs and scoring three times. His .793 OPS ranks 76th in the league.

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, who was born in Long Beach, has finished strong after starting the season on the injured list. Turner, 35, is hitting .307 with 23 RBIs and 26 runs scored in 41 games played. The Dodgers opened the playoffs against the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night.

Long Beach State Dirtbags product Nick Vincent has been coming out of the Miami Marlins bullpen for the latter half of the regular season. The right-handed receiver has 17 strikeouts in 22.1 innings pitched in his eighth season. Vincent, 34, and the Marlins faced Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.

Wilson High alum Chase DeJong got called up by the Houston Astros in late August and is part of their postseason roster. The right-handed reliever picked up a win after three innings at Oakland in early September. The Astros and Minnesota Twins were the first game of the postseason today. DeJong spent time with the Twins organization in 2018-19.

A half dozen other pros who were born in Long Beach or went to school here must watch the playoffs from home like the rest of us. Here are their statistics:

J.P. Crawford, Seattle Mariners (Lakewood HS)

53 GP, 52 H, 24 RBI, 33 R, 7 2B, 2 HR, .674 OPS, 1.4 WAR

Jeff McNeil, New York Mets (LBSU Dirtbags)

52 GP, 57 H, 23 RBI, 19 R, 14 2B, 4 HR, .836 OPS. 1.3 WAR

Evan Longoria, San Fransisco Giants (LBSU Dirtbags)

53 GP, 49 H, 28 RBI, 26 R, 10 2B, 7 HR, .722 OPS, 0.5 WAR

Garrett Hampson, Colorado Rockies (LBSU Dirtbags)

53 GP, 39 H, 25 R, 11 RBI, 5 HR, .671 OPS

Jared Hughes, New York Mets (LBSU Dirtbags)

18 GP, W, 22.1 IP, 21 K, 23 H, 4.84 ERA

Bryan Shaw, Seattle Mariners (LBSU Dirtbags)

6 GP, W, 6 IP, 4 K, 13 H

LB In MLB Playoff Participants

Travis d’Arnaud, Atlanta Braves (Lakewood HS)

44 GP, 53 H, 34 RBI, 19 R, 8 2B, 9 HR, .919 OPS, 0.6 WAR

Aaron Hicks, New York Yankees (Wilson HS)

54 GP, 38 H, 21 RBI, 28 R, 10 2B, 6 HR, .793 OPS

Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers (Born In Long Beach)

42 GP, 46 H, 23 RBI, 26 R, 9 2B, 4 HR, .860 OPS, 1.3 WAR

Nick Vincent, Miami Marlins (LBSU Dirtbags)

21 GP, 22.1 IP, 17 K, 23 H, 4.43 ERA

Chase DeJong, Houston Astros (Wilson HS)

3 GP, 7.1 IP, 9 Ks, 12H, 12 ER


JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.