Rockies prospect third baseman Nolan Arenado named Arizona Fall League MVP

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This year’s Arizona Fall League featured some of the game’s most high-profile hitting prospects, most notably Bryce Harper of the Nationals, Mike Trout of the Angels and Wil Myers of the Royals, but Rockies’ prospect third baseman Nolan Arenado was the one who stole the show.

Before this afternoon’s title game between the Surprise Saguaros and Salt River Rafters, Arenado was presented with the league’s Joe Black MVP Award.

Previous Arizona Fall League MVPs include Dustin Ackley and Tommy Hanson.

Arenado batted .388/.423/.636 with six home runs, 33 RBI and a 1.059 OPS over 29 AFL games. The 20-year-old hit safely in 26 games and led the league with 47 hits and 12 doubles. He even hit a solo homer in the third inning this afternoon.

Selected in the second round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Arenado has a .302/.346/.483 batting line over parts of three seasons in the minor leagues. The right-handed hitter enjoyed a breakout year in 2011, batting .298/.349/.487 with 20 home runs, 122 RBI, a 47/53 K/BB ratio and an .836 OPS over 583 plate appearances with High-A Modesto. According to Bill Mitchell of Baseball America, “Arizona Fall League observers” now consider him a potential above-average defender at third base.

While Arenado is unlikely to earn a starting job with the Rockies out of spring training, he could make an impact at the major league level at some point in 2012.

Mets acquire Jacob Rhame from Dodgers

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The Mets acquired right-handed reliever Jacob Rhame from the Dodgers, the team announced on Sunday. Rhame is the player to be named later in the trade that sent outfielder Curtis Granderson to Los Angeles on Friday night. He’s expected to report to the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.

Rhame, 24, pitched through his second Triple-A campaign with the Oklahoma City Dodgers in 2017, collecting two saves in 41 appearances and logging a 4.31 ERA, 1.9 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 48 innings. While his ERA saw a sharp spike from its modest 3.29 mark in 2016 (perhaps thanks in part to a midseason DL stint due to an undisclosed injury), he’s controlling the ball better than he has in several years and has drawn some attention with a fastball that occasionally touches 98 MPH on the radar gun.

The Mets’ bullpen hasn’t been at its finest over the last few weeks, ranking 16th among its major league competitors with a collective 4.50 ERA and 2.4 fWAR, but likely isn’t looking to add an extreme fly ball pitcher to its staff just yet. Until he gets his big league break, Rhame will beef up Triple-A Vegas’ relief corps alongside fellow right-handers Yaisel Sierra, Joe Broussard and Josh Ravin.

Cardinals and Pirates prepare to play unusual finale in first-ever MLB Little League Classic

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The Pirates and Cardinals will switch things up for Sunday’s series finale, moving from the spacious PNC Park to the renovated Minor League confines of BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field. Normally the home stadium for the Phillies’ Short-Season Single-A Williamsport Crosscutters, Historic Bowman Field will set the stage for an unusual — and unprecedented — matchup between the NL Central rivals as they take the field for the first-ever MLB Little League Baseball Classic.

The game will cap a packed day for Major League and Little League participants alike, as four Little League double-elimination games will be played in the morning and afternoon before the Pirates’ Ivan Nova and Cardinals’ Mike Leake face off at 7:00 PM ET. Despite drawing national attention, the Classic will be invitation-only, and its projected 2,366 attendees will comprise the lowest capacity attendance figure in Major League history.

The event is designed to spark more interest in the sport, especially among young players, and Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny called it “grassroots marketing at its finest.” “We all fell in love with the game and started dreaming about playing on a field like this at the age of these kids we’re going to go see in Williamsport,” he told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. “I hope there are some kids that we can encourage and maybe give a different look of the game and create some lifelong baseball fans that might not have been there otherwise.”

Judging by the excitement that infused the pregame festivities among the players, it looks like they’re already on the right track.