By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
Fresh off helping Great Britain baseball make history at the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, Tahnaj Thomas was back on the mound continuing his season in the Arizona Fall League.
The Pittsburgh Pirates prospect has made a pair of relief appearances for the Surprise Saguaros as the club opened the season 3-1.
He pitched 1.2 innings in the Saguaros 11-6 opening day win over the Salt Water River Rafters where he recorded a strikeout, but struggled through a pair of walks and giving up a three run home run.
In last night’s 8-6 win over the Rafters, Thomas pitched 1.1 inning but again allowed a solo home-run in his appearance.
The Saguaros roster includes prospects from the Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals, and Houston Astros. The Solar Sox includes Cubs, Miami Marlins, Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays, and New York Yankees prospects.
Thomas spent 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 22-year-old 6’5” right hand pitcher, is currently ranked no.29 in the Pirates organisation according to MLB Pipeline, has delivered a series of impressive performances.
Thomas was named to the MLB Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week for July 4 to July 10.
Chicago Cubs prospect BJ Murray is also an AFL participant with the Mesa Solar Sox.
The 22-year-old infielder has made a successful transition to High-A baseball and his progression within the Chicago Cubs organisation. Murray and his South Bend Cubs claimed the Midwest League Championship series in High A baseball. 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.
The 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.
Several Bahamians have advanced to the AFL in recent history, including Champ Stuart in 2016, Anfernee Seymour in 2017, Jazz Chisholm Jr and Lucius Fox in 2018 and Chavez Fernander in 2021.
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.
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