Black brings home Triple-A win with glove AND bat

April 22nd, 2024

loves playing in Triple-A Nashville. So when he had the chance of ending Sunday's game and sending the Sounds faithful home with a victory, MLB's No. 42 prospect risked it all to record the final out.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Omaha’s Cam Devanney swung at the first offering from Sounds lefty Rob Zastryzny. The ball trailed toward the right-field foul line but Black never lost sight of it. He initially raced to the right, but adjusted his position while warding off the blazing Nashville sun. Finally, he went for a dive, just narrowly missing a collision with right fielder Brewer Hickland.

As the Brewers' No. 4 prospect got back to his feet with the ball in his glove to cap the Sounds' 7-3 win over Omaha, second baseman Yonny Hernández raised his arms in celebration and the fans at First Horizon Park gave Black a standing ovation.

“Nashville is one of the better affiliates,” he said. “We get big crowds all the time. They really care about the team and everything, so playing for them has been cool. They love us.”

But Black didn't only stand out on defense Sunday. The 23-year-old notched second four-RBI game of the week. In the third inning, Black followed Chavez Young’s massive homer with a 387-foot drive off righty Jonah Dipoto's sinker. The ball rocketed off the bat at a 106 mph exit velocity -- his second dinger of the season.

“I haven't really hit too many back-to-back home runs in my life,” Black said. “I was just going up to the plate trying to stay within my approach and plan. I got a good pitch to hit and put the barrel on it. It just happened to be that it happened off the cusp of a home run, so that was really special to be part of.”

Black also demonstrated patience later in the game. Facing a 0-2 count against lefty Jake Brentz in the seventh with bases loaded, he worked a walk on four consecutive balls to bring in a run. In the bottom of the eighth, he added two more RBIs to the tally with a single to center field.

Sporting a robust .282/.414/.493 slash line with a .902 OPS, the Wright State product credits his progress at the plate to the Sounds' hitting coaches and insights gained during his stint at Major League Spring Training, where he gained insight from players like Christian Yelich.

“Any time you are thrown into the fire like that is great,” Black said. “I was around a lot of ... great players that I have learned a lot from. It gave me some confidence.”

As the Brewers enter a new era under manager Pat Murphy, there has been an influx of heralded prospects. Sal Frelick made his Major League debut last year and Jackson Chourio, MLB’s No. 2 prospect, signed an eight-year, $82 million contract in the offseason and has become a fixture in the Brewers lineup.

Black looks forward to reuniting in the Majors with those teammates he's already developed a strong bond with and it's motivating him to continue to improve.

“A lot of us are really close,” he said. “You're definitely rooting for the guy next to you. They definitely had a taste of it last year and just picking their brains on how it was in their rookie year. It’s been really cool to see people you know succeed and it’s exciting to potentially be part of that.”