Thomas, Surprise Saguaros win AFL title


Tahnaj Thomas

TAHNAJ Thomas’ Arizona Fall League season concluded with a championship title after his Surprise Saguaros rallied to win the longest postseason game in AFL history.

A walkoff single from Houston Astros prospect Scott Schreiber gave the club a 7-6 win over the Glandale Desert Dogs. It was the first AFL win for Surprise since the 2013 season.

The Saguaros’ roster includes prospects from the Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals and Houston Astros.

Thomas did not appear in the league finale, but in 8.1 AFL innings pitched, he finished with 10 strikeouts.

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.

He is one of several Pittsburgh 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 deadline to add players to a team’s 40-man roster to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft is November 15.

Thomas began his regular season with the Altoona Curve at the AA level.

In 37 games this year, he finished with a 5-4 record and three saves.

He pitched 50.2 innings, with a 3.02 ERA and 52 strikeouts.

The 23-year-old, 6’5” right hand pitcher, is currently ranked no.29 in the Pirates organisation according to MLB Pipeline and was named to the MLB Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week for July 4-10.

Following his minor league campaign, he helped Great Britain baseball make history at the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers.

In an 8-1 win in the semifinal of Germany, Thomas closed out the game in the ninth inning and also recorded a strikeout.

In the finale, Great Britain overcame a five-run deficit to defeat Spain 10-9 in extra innings. Thomas held Spain scoreless in the top half of the 10th inning on the mound.

Locally, Thomas now shifts his attention to hosting the Elite 9 Baseball and Softball Classic in honour of his late mother, Michelle Thomas.

The fourth edition event is scheduled to be hosted November 24-28 at the Emera Baseball Park in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

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