Thomas and Saguaros clinch spot in finals


Tribune Sports Reporter


AS the Arizona Fall League heads into the final week of its regular season, Tahnaj Thomas and his Surprise Saguaros have clinched a spot in the league’s championship.

The Saguaros have a league leading record of 17-10, ahead of second place Peoria Javelinas and Scottsdale Scorpions, both tied at 13-13. BJ Murray and his Mesa Solar Sox are tied with the Glendale Desert Dogs at 12-13 and the Salt River Rafters close out the standings at 11-16.

The Sagueros’ opponent for the championship, hosted November 12 at Scottsdale Stadium, will be decided over the course of the coming week.

In his last relief appearance on the mound, Thomas allowed a run on a hit, two walks, and two strikeouts in an inning of work.

In 8.1 AFL innings pitched, Thomas continues to rally from a slow start to the league with a 10.80 ERA to go with 10 strikeouts

He is one of several Pirates prospects who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft unless they are protected and named to the 40-man roster.

Unprotected players are eligible to be taken by the other 29 teams when the draft takes place at the Winter Meetings on December 7.

The Rule 5 draft aims to prevent teams from stockpiling too many young players on their minor league affiliate teams when other teams would be willing to have them play in the majors.

The deadline to add players to a team’s 40-man roster to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft is November 15.

In his time with the Solar Sox, Murray has hit .250 with a home run, an .821 OPS and scored two runs in six games.

In his third appearance, he hit a two-run home-run to help lead his team to a 9-7 win over the Desert Dogs.

He told Marquee Sports Network that his goal was to learn as much as possible from his peers around the minor leagues in his time in Arizona.

“Just trying to pick up anything from these guys,” Murray said.

“There’s a lot of good players here. Just having conversations, talking with everyone, seeing what everyone likes, what they don’t like, stuff like that. I’m trying to add anything to my game that I can.”

The 22-year-old infielder has made a successful transition to High-A baseball this season and with his progression within the Cubs organisation.

Murray and his South Bend Cubs claimed the Midwest League Championship series and he hit .545 for the series.

In 56 games with South Bend, Murray hit .273, slugging .406, with a .794 OPS, with 51 hits, 22 runs scored, eight doubles, five home runs, 28 RBI and eight stolen bases.

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