This year’s class of participants in the Arizona Fall League included some big names like Reds speedster Billy Hamilton and Mariners prospect catcher Mike Zunino, but a lesser-known prospect ended up taking home the league’s Joe Black MVP Award. According to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, Rangers first base prospect Chris McGuiness was presented with the award prior to this afternoon’s title game between the Salt River Rafters and Peoria Javelinas.
McGuiness batted .283/.370/.467 with four home runs, five doubles and an .838 OPS over 25 AFL games while leading the league with 27 RBI. The 24-year-old amassed six three-RBI games and seven multi-hit games. Rockies’ third base prospect Nolan Arenado took home MVP honors last year while previous winners include current major leaguers Dustin Ackley, Tommy Hanson and Sam Fuld.
McGuiness, a 13th round pick in 2009, was acquired from the Red Sox in July of 2010 as part of the Jarrod Saltalamacchia deal. He batted .268/.366/.474 with 23 home runs, 77 RBI and an .840 OPS over 123 games with Double-A Frisco this season. While he’s not considered one of the team’s top prospects, his strong performance in the AFL will likely help his case for the Rangers to add him to their 40-man roster in advance of December’s Rule 5 Draft.
The Red Sox can thank the Orioles for not having to fight to clinch the division on Thursday or later. The Orioles came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday evening, clinching the AL East for the Red Sox.
A few minutes after that game went final, the Red Sox squandered a 3-0 lead taken in the eighth inning, culminating in a walk-off grand slam by Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the ninth inning. Closer Craig Kimbrel started the ninth, but didn’t have control over any of his pitches. He allowed a leadoff single followed by three consecutive walks to force in a run. Joe Kelly relieved Kimbrel and seemed to be close to wriggling out of the jam, getting Starlin Castro to strike out looking and Didi Gregorius to pop up. But after starting Teixeira with a first-pitch curve ball for a strike, Teixera clobbered a 99 MPH fastball, sending it over the fence in right-center to end the game.
For the Yankees, the come-from-behind victory was crucial as it staved off Wild Card elimination for one more day.
This is the first time the Red Sox have clinched the AL East since 2013, also the last year they won the World Series.
Pirates first baseman John Jaso hit for the cycle on Wednesday night against the Cubs, becoming the first Pirate to do so since Daryl Ward against the Cardinals on May 26, 2004. Jaso’s cycle is the first to be hit at PNC Park. It’s also the third cycle of the 2016 season, as Jaso joins Freddie Freeman and Rajai Davis.
Jaso singled in the second inning for his first hit. He smashed a three-run homer in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie. He hit an RBI double in the fifth to push the Cubs’ lead to 5-1. Then, in the seventh, Jaso hit an RBI triple to make it an 8-4 game.
Coming into Wednesday night, Jaso was hitting an adequate .259/.342/.384 with six home runs and 35 RBI in 416 plate appearances. He’s been limited mostly to right-handed pitching as the Pirates have used David Freese and Josh Bell at the position as well.