By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
BAHAMIAN players Lucius Fox and Jazz Chisholm faced off in the Arizona Fall League Championship game as the winter showcase for Major League Baseball’s top prospects in its farm system concluded.
Fox and the Peoria Javelinas rallied in the ninth for a dramatic 3-2 win over Chisholm’s Salt River Rafters at Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Fox, the Tampa Bay Rays No.7 prospect, finished 1-3 (double), drew two walks, with one run scored and one stolen base while Chisholm, the Arizona Diamondbacks No.2 prospect, had his only hitless game (0-5) in 11 AFL appearances.
Atlanta Braves prospect Braxton Davidson led the Javelinas to the win with a walk-off home-run over the right field wall in the 10th inning.
Salt River scored the first run of the game in the second inning and took a 2-0 lead in the fourth.
Fox popped out to Chisholm at shortstop in his first at bat. After a strikeout in the second, he walked in the fourth and stole second, but the Javelinas left Fox’s run in scoring position.
The team would rally in the ninth and following an Ian Miller walk, Fox doubled on a sharp line drive to centre field. The Javelinas scored their first run of the game on a wild pitch and league MVP Keston Hiura eventually plated Fox on a single for the game’s tying run.
MLB.com’s Jim Callis listed Fox as one of the eight players that stood out in the AFL title game. “Fox is still a work in progress but shows the potential to become a top-of-the-order catalyst. He drew two walks and used his well above-average speed to steal a base, then laced a pitch from nasty sidearming right-hander Justin Lawrence (Rockies) into the left-centre gap for an opposite-field double during the game-tying two-run rally in the bottom of the ninth.”
The Javelinas have MLB affiliations with the Rays, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves.
Fox, 21, hit .326 for Peoria with a .437 OBP, an .821 OPS in 22 games. Fox had 29 hits including three doubles, one home run, collected 11 RBIs, eight stolen bases and 12 runs scored. He was named an AFL All-Star. The Salt River Rafters have MLB affiliations with the Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins and Washington Nationals.
In 11 games, Chisholm, 20, hit .442 for Salt River with a .489 OBP, an 1.257 OPS in 11 games. Chisholm had 19 hits including one triple, three doubles, three home runs, collected nine RBIs, seven stolen bases and 12 runs scored.
The Arizona Fall League attracts many of the top prospects in the minor leagues. Late in the minor league seasons, MLB clubs hold a position draft to determine the players who will participate in the AFL. Most are Double-A and Triple-A players. The league is designed for these prospects to refine their skills and perform in game settings in front of major and minor league baseball scouts and team executives, who are in attendance at almost every game.
The league featured 17 players on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list, 10 in the Top 50. Overall, there were more than 80 members of the respective teams top 30 lists participated in the six-week league.
Approximately 60 percent of all AFL participants have reached the major leagues. The league has produced 278 All-Stars, 17 Most Valuable Players, six Cy Young Award winners and 29 Rookies of the Year.