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Former Stingers making mark in minors

WILLMAR -- Jordan Smith is not the only member of the first Willmar Stingers team in 2010 to go pro this year. A half-dozen others are also starting their climb up the minor-league ladder this summer.

First, here's the latest on Smith, a local boy, drafted by the Cleveland Indians. He had just finished his second record-breaking season at St. Cloud State when he was picked in the ninth round of the first-year player draft in June. Through Friday, the third baseman for the Mahoning Scrappers (Niles, Ohio) is hitting .337 with 30 hits and 20 RBI, all team bests. The 2009 Willmar graduate has been charged with five errors.

Carlos Leyva is now playing with the Kingsport Mets of the Appalachian League after hitting .333 in four games playing for the Rookie Gulf Coast League Mets.

Jason West out of Stephen F. Austin College has signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers as an undrafted free agent. His twin brother and college teammate, Jarid, has also signed with the Dodgers.

Brian Stamps, a shortstop/outfielder was drafted in the 24th round by the Pittsburg Pirates and assigned to the Rookie Gulf Coast League. He's hitting .175 in 18 games with a home run.

Carter Bell, who played for the Oregon State Beavers in the NCAA Super Regional at Nashville, is playing third base for the Yakima Bears in the Northwest League. Drafted in the 29th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks, he's 3-for-8 with a triple, according to

Jacob Barnes, picked in the 14th round by the Milwaukee Brewers, is playing for the Helena Brewers of the Arizona Rookie League. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound reliever is 2-0 in seven games with a 2.19 ERA.

Lefthander Scott Zuloaga came to Willmar this spring out of Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College. He left after thanking fans here and the Stingers' front office after being drafted in the 16th round by the Houston Astros. He's now pitching for the Greenville Astros of the Appalachian Rookie League where he has appeared in six games. He's been hit hard showing a 21.60 ERA.

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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