Columbia’s Josh Fleming is just one step away from the major leagues, earning a promotion last week to the Triple-A Durham Bulls of the International League.
Fleming, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound southpaw, went 11-4 with a 3.31 ERA and 92 strikeouts to just 19 walks in 127-plus innings pitched this season for the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits.
Fleming was chosen to represent the Biscuits in the Southern League All-Star Game played June 18 at MGM Park in Biloxi, Miss.
The 2014 Columbia High School graduate was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the fifth round (139th overall) of the 2017 Major League Baseball draft following a sensational career at Webster University in St. Louis.
He became the first baseball player in Webster University history to be selected in the MLB draft.
Fleming made his Triple-A debut with the Bulls Thursday night, pitching four and two-thirds innings in a loss at the Syracuse Mets. He struck out five and walked two while surrendering five hits and five earned runs.
For his minor league career, Fleming is 21-11 with a 3.37 ERA in 53 pitching appearances amassing 227-plus total innings.
Prior to stints with Durham and Montgomery, Fleming has pitched with the Princeton Rays at the Rookie level, Bowling Green Hot Rods at Single-A and the Charlotte Stone Crabs at High-A.
Josh is the son of Lori and Mark Fleming of Columbia. He has an older brother, Zach, and younger sister, Elizabeth.
Another local lefty pitching in the minors, 2014 Gibault Catholic High School graduate Zach Neff, continues to contribute in relief for the Fort Myers Miracle of the Class A Advanced Florida State League.
Neff, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound southpaw, is 3-2 with a 3.68 ERA in 17 games (29-plus innings pitched) at Fort Myers with four saves, 32 strikeouts and nine walks.
Neff, who was drafted out of Mississippi State University by the Minnesota Twins in the 31st round of the 2018 MLB draft, went 3-1 with a 2.31 ERA and two saves for the Cedar Rapids Kernals at the Single-A level before earning his promotion.