Cubs prospect third baseman Kris Bryant was announced this afternoon as the winner of the “Joe Black Award” for the Most Valuable Player of the Arizona Fall League, per Bernie Pleskoff of MLB.com.
Bryant, who was selected No. 2 overall in this June’s draft, batted .364/.457/.727 with six home runs, eight doubles and 18 RBI over 20 games with the Mesa Solar Sox. The 21-year-old led the Arizona Fall League in home runs and OPS (1.184) while tying the Angels’ C.J. Cron for the lead in total bases with 56. Bryant and Cron were actually teammates this fall, so it’s no surprise that the Solar Sox are playing in the league’s title game on MLB Network right now.
Bryant mashed in his first taste of pro ball this season, batting .336/.390/.688 with nine home runs and 32 RBI over 36 games between rookie ball, Low-A Boise, and High-A Daytona. While he may end up in a corner outfielder spot in the long run, it looks like he’s on the fast track to contributing at the big league level.
Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz was childhood friends with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, so it was expected when Diaz took time away from the team on Monday to visit Fernandez’s family in Miami. They grew up on the same street in Cuba and played for the same youth baseball team and both would ultimately wind up playing Major League Baseball in the United States.
In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, Diaz hit a 2-1 Robert Stephenson fastball out to left-center field for a no-doubt grand slam. Teammate Yadier Molina gave Diaz a tight hug as he crossed home plate.
Before Tuesday’s game, Diaz said that the best way to honor Fernandez was to play with his passion, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Diaz said, “I only play for [Fernandez’s] family right now.”
Here’s the video.
The Red Sox would have clinched the AL East if one of two things happened on Tuesday night: the Red Sox themselves beat the Yankees, or the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays. Neither happened.
The Jays soundly took down the Orioles 5-1 behind six strong innings from Aaron Sanchez. Josh Donaldson went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and a pair of walks and leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, an RBI single, a walk, and three runs scored.
Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees outlasted the Red Sox for a 6-4 win, responding to both two-run innings the Sox had in the sixth and seventh with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. Gary Sanchez hit his 20th homer of the season. Didi Gregorius and Tyler Austin also contributed dingers. Starter Luis Cessa pitched well, limiting the Sox to two runs over six innings on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Red Sox starter David Price struggled, yielding six runs in 6 1/3 innings. Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard got into trouble in the ninth inning but was able to wiggle out of trouble to finish out the game.
Once again, the Red Sox will be able to clinch the AL East on Wednesday with a win over the Yankees or a Blue Jays loss to the Orioles.