Joe Davidson

Davis, Tellez, Hoskins are a hit with minor-league teams

Rhys Hoskins, watches a batter from behind the batting cage in practice at Sacramento State, Thursday, February 13, 2014. The junior first baseman is a preseason All-America and was named the No. 68 college prospect on Baseball America's Top 100 list.
Rhys Hoskins, watches a batter from behind the batting cage in practice at Sacramento State, Thursday, February 13, 2014. The junior first baseman is a preseason All-America and was named the No. 68 college prospect on Baseball America's Top 100 list. lsterling@sacbee.com

There’s a considerable power surge brewing in Double-A baseball, thanks partly to three sluggers with local roots, each pining for a shot to take big swings in the big leagues.

All three are stout, in the 225-pound range, play infield and draw a crowd during batting practice. All three are major-league prospects, awaiting a break to move up. And all three wrapped up their regular seasons Monday.

Hitting is contagious. You hear that all the time. It’s kept our mindset really light, not putting extra pressure on ourselves. We know if one of us doesn’t get the job done, the other one probably will.

Philadelphia Phillies prospect Rhys Hoskins

J.D. Davis from Elk Grove High School hit 23 home runs and drove in 81 runs for the Corpus Christi Hooks, a Houston Astros affiliate in the Texas League. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound third baseman had 26 home runs and 101 RBIs last season for Class-A Lancaster of the California League. He was a third-round pick out of Cal State Fullerton in 2014.

Rhys Hoskins from Jesuit and Sacramento State hit 38 home runs and drove in 116 runs for the Reading (Pa.) Fightin Phils, a Philadelphia Phillies farm team in the Eastern League. Despite Hoskins’ home run prowess, the first baseman finished second on his team behind Dylan Cozens, who hit 40 to lead all minor leaguers.

“Hitting is contagious,” Hoskins, a fifth-round pick in 2014, told reporters. “You hear that all the time. It’s kept our mindset really light, not putting extra pressure on ourselves. We know if one of us doesn’t get the job done, the other one probably will.”

And Rowdy Tellez of Elk Grove had 23 home runs, including six in a nine-game stretch, and 81 RBIs for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, a Toronto Blue Jays affiliate in the Eastern League. The first baseman, a 30th-round pick in 2013, has 45 home runs in 326 minor-league games.

Folsom trio goes on offensive – Quarterbacks influenced by Troy Taylor sparkled in college openers.

287 Jake Browning’s passing yardage in Washington’s win over Rutgers

Taylor, The Sacramento Bee’s Player of the Year in 1985 at Cordova who set passing records at Cal and was on the Folsom High coaching staff for two CIF State championship teams, is in his first year as quarterbacks coach for Eastern Washington of the Big Sky Conference. On Saturday, the Eagles stunned Washington State 45-42 in Pullman behind Gage Gubrud, who completed 34 of 40 passes for 474 yards and five touchdowns.

About the same time in Seattle, Jake Browning, who had 91 touchdown passes for Folsom’s 16-0 team in 2014, dazzled in the first quarter against Rutgers, completing six passes for 154 yards and three touchdowns for an almost-unheard-of passer rating of 360.5. Washington rolled to a 48-13 win with Browning, a sophomore, completing 18 of 27 passes for 287 yards and three scores.

On Friday in Reno, Dano Graves relied on his legs more than his arm to lead Cal Poly to a near upset of Nevada. Graves, a senior who keyed Folsom’s 2010 state title team, rushed for a game-high 140 yards out of the Mustangs’ triple-option attack and scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns, but Nevada won 30-27 in overtime.

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