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Varsho goes 2-for-4, Ellis plates two runs in AFL

MLB.com

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Saturday:

Gameday: Peoria 6, Salt River 5 | Scottsdale 9, Surprise 7 (11) | Mesa 11, Glendale 8

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Saturday:

Gameday: Peoria 6, Salt River 5 | Scottsdale 9, Surprise 7 (11) | Mesa 11, Glendale 8

AL East

Blue Jays (Surprise)
Santiago Espinal, Blue Jays No. 22 prospect, hit a triple and scored two runs as part of a 2-for-5 showing for the Saguaros. Jackson McClelland struck out a pair in 1 2/3 hitless frames out of the bullpen. The right-hander has now allowed a hit in 5 2/3 innings (three appearances) this fall.

Orioles (Glendale)
Baltimore's No. 12 prospect, center fielder Ryan McKenna, went 2-for-5 with two triples, two RBIs and two runs scored out of the leadoff spot. He's slashing .318/.423/.638 for a 1.059 OPS in AFL play. Right-hander Tanner Chleborad gave up a run on four hits over two relief innings, striking out one.

Rays (Peoria)
Rays No. 9 prospect Lucius Fox went 1-for-3 with two walks, two runs and an RBI out of the leadoff spot. He also stole a base, his sixth in eight games, during which he's hit .412 with 14 hits and 11 runs scored. Javelinas starter Matt Krook earned the win after allowing one earned run on one hit over three innings. He issued two walks, struck out three and recorded five ground-ball outs.

Red Sox (Mesa)
Second baseman Esteban Quiroz was 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, dropping his AFL average to .188. Left-hander Josh Taylor came out off the bullpen to throw a scoreless seventh inning.

Yankees (Glendale)
Shortstop Thairo Estrada, the Yankees' No. 16 prospect, was 1-for-4 with a single. First baseman Steven Sensley was 2-for-5 with a pair of singles to up his AFL average to .242. On the pitching side of the ledger, right-hander Jordan Foley started and surrendered five runs on four hits over two innings, walking one and getting strikeouts on five of the six outs he recorded. Righty Kyle Zurak was hit hard as well, giving up four runs (two earned) over a third of an inning out of the bullpen, giving up three hits and walking two.

AL Central

Indians (Glendale)
Third baseman Yu Chang, Cleveland's No. 6 prospect, turned in an impressive 3-for-4 performance, with a double, RBI and run scored. Right fielder Connor Marabell was 1-for-5 with a single and an RBI. And left-hander Rob Kaminsky was the final pitcher out of the bullpen for Glendale, tossing a scoreless eighth inning, allowing a hit and fanning two.

Royals (Surprise)
Meibris Viloria walked and struck out twice as he finished 0-for-3, while speedster Nick Heath tallied a single in four at-bats and was walked. On the mound, Scott Blewett allowed one earned run on three hits in his second AFL start. Tossing 3 1/3 frames, the Royals' No. 26 prospect issued three walks and struck out a pair.

Tigers (Mesa)
Daz Cameron, Detroit's No. 8 prospect, played center field and had a big night at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double, RBI and three runs scored. No. 12 prospect Jake Rogers went 1-for-3 with a double and two runs scored. Right-hander Sandy Baez, the Tigers' No. 26 prospect, surrendered three runs on three hits in the ninth inning. Right-hander Eduardo Jimenez tossed two scoreless innings of relief, yielding three hits and striking out two. And right-hander John Schreiber came on in relief to pitch a scoreless eighth with a strikeout.

Twins (Salt River)
Twins No. 18 prospect Travis Blankenhorn drove in a pair of runs, doubled and went 1-for-4 out of the leadoff spot for the Rafters.

White Sox (Glendale)
Chicago's No. 9 prospect, outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe, had two singles and an RBI as part of a 2-for-4 effort, upping his AFL average to .278. No. 28 prospect Lax Rivera started at second base and went 1-for-4 with a single and an RBI. Right-hander Danny Dopico tossed 1 2/3 scoreless frames out off the bullpen, walking one and fanning two.

AL West

A's (Mesa)
Oakland's No. 30 prospect, outfielder Skye Bolt, went 1-for-4 with a triple and a walk and is hitting .333 so far in AFL play.

Angels (Mesa)
After striking out five in three shutout frames in his first Fall League start, 23-year-old right-hander Jesus Castillo got roughed up on Saturday, giving up five runs (all earned) on seven hits and walk over three innings while striking out just one. On the offensive end, however, a trio of Angels contributed to Mesa's 11-8 win. The team's No. 4 prospect, Jahmai Jones, notched his second straight multihit game, and third in seven games, going 2-for-5 with three RBIs out of the DH spot. Infielders David MacKinnon and Roberto Baldoquin each went 1-for-4 with a run scored, with Baldoquin also driving in a run. MacKinnon's hit was his first of the AFL season, after starting 0-for-10. Baldoquin's hit was his second. He entered the game with one hit in 13 at-bats.

Astros (Scottsdale)
Ronnie Dawson was a game-changer on the basepaths as he swiped four bags in as many chances. He also went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two walks, giving the outfielder a .296 average and seven steals in the AFL. Abraham Toro-Hernandez was 2-for-5, and Erasmo Pinales contributed with a scoreless frame out of the bullpen.

Mariners (Peoria)
Mariners No. 9 prospect Wyatt Mills lowered his ERA to 1.59 with a perfect inning out of the bullpen. David McKay added a scoreless frame, pitching around a hit. Ian Miller (No. 20) came up empty in four trips to the plate from the bottom of the lineup.

Rangers (Surprise)
Yanio Perez plated a run with a sacrifice fly but went 0-for-3 as the Saguaros' designated hitter. Demarcus Evans was sharp out of the bullpen as he recorded four of his five outs via strikeout while tossing 1 2/3 hitless innings. Rangers No. 15 prospect C.D. Pelham was tagged for two earned runs on three hits in 1 1/3 frames.

NL East

Braves (Peoria)
After entering in relief in the fifth inning, Braves No. 12 prospect Kyle Muller delivered two one-hit frames with three strikeouts and two walks. At the plate, Braxton Davidson went 0-for-2 but walked three times.

Marlins (Salt River)
Marlins No. 11 prospect Brian Miller scored two runs, going 1-for-3, and reached with a walk. He also swiped a bag, his second in 10 games after racking up 40 steals across two levels during the regular season. Kyle Keller, Tommy Eveld and Chad Smith combined for four scoreless frames out of the Rafters 'pen.

Mets (Scottsdale)
Mets No. 2 prospect Peter Alonso (No. 58 overall) connected on his third AFL home run, as his tape-measure two-run shot in the ninth helped the Scorpions force extra innings. The homer was Alonso's lone hit in six at-bats. Mets No. 1 prospect Andres Gimenez (No. 55 overall) went 0-for-4 with a walk from the bottom of the lineup.

Nationals (Salt River)
Nationals No. 2 prospect Carter Kieboom (No. 37 overall) went 1-for-4 with a walk, his first Fall League RBI and stolen base. Daniel Johnson (No. 7) doubled and scored a run as part of a 1-for-3 showing, while Jake Noll struck out twice in four trips to the plate.

Phillies (Scottsdale)
Darick Hall put the Scorpions on the board against Surprise with a solo shot to lead off the fourth inning. It was the second AFL homer for Hall, who went deep 26 times across two levels during the regular season. Outfielder Austin Listi went 3-for-6 with an RBI and two runs scored. On the mound, Luke Leftwich (BB) and Jonathan Hennigan (2 K) each posted a scoreless frame, with the latter earning the save.

NL Central

Brewers (Peoria)
Brewers top prospect Keston Hiura (No. 30 overall) has multiple hits in four of eight games in the AFL after his second two-hit showing in as many days. He finished 2-for-4 with an RBI double that pushed his AFL-leading RBI total to 17. Trent Grisham (Brewers' No. 19) and Weston Wilson both had RBI singles.

Cardinals (Surprise)
Saguaros leadoff man Tommy Edman went 1-for-4 with his first AFL double and also picked up his fourth steal. Second baseman Andy Young delivered a solo shot in the sixth inning for his first Fall League homer and finished 1-for-3 with two walks. The Cardinals middle-infield tandem is hitting .333 and .381, respectively, this fall. Lane Thomas drove in a run with a sacrifice fly but was 0-for-4.

Cubs (Mesa)
Chicago's No. 6 prospect, second baseman Nico Hoerner, bounced back from an 0-for-4 line on Friday by going 2-for-3 with a triple, homer and three RBIs. Left fielder D.J. Wilson, the Cubs' No. 16 prospect, went 1-for-4 with a single and two runs scored. And right-hander Bailey Clark pitched a scoreless sixth inning, giving up one hit.

Pirates (Surprise)
Pirates No. 5 prospect Cole Tucker started the scoring for Surprise with a two-out, two-run double in the first inning, and then helped force extra innings with a single in the bottom of the ninth. He finished the game 2-for-5 with three RBIs. Will Craig (No. 16) was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Relievers Matt Eckelman (IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER) and Geoff Hartlieb (2 IP,4 H, 3 R, 1 ER) both scuffled.

Reds (Scottsdale)
Reds No. 3 prospect Taylor Trammell (No. 17 overall) drove home the game-winning run in the 11th inning to cap a 4-for-6, two-RBI performance. Shed Long (No. 8) walked twice and scored two runs out of the leadoff spot.

NL West

D-backs (Salt River)
D-backs No. 5 prospect Daulton Varsho upped his Fall League average to .353 with a 2-for-4 performance. Drew Ellis (No. 9) plated two runs with a double in the fourth inning. Bo Takahashi struck out two of the three batters he faced during a perfect inning in relief.

Dodgers (Glendale)
Dodgers No. 2 prospect (No. 39 prospect overall) Keibert Ruiz went 1-for-4 with a single, walk and two runs scored. Cody Thomas was Glendale's designated hitter, going 1-for-5 with a single, RBI and run scored. And right-hander Andre Scrubb pitched a scoreless fifth inning to lower his AFL ERA to 4.15.

Giants (Scottsdale)
Matt Winn reached base twice via a walk and scored a run before finishing 0-for-3. Chase Johnson struck out a pair during a scoreless inning in relief, while Giants No. 19 prospect Melvin Adon bumped triple digits during his appearance later in the game. Sam Wolff earned the win despite permitting an unearned run in the 10th inning.

Padres (Peoria)
Padres No. 25 prospect Austin Allen produced exit velocities of 106.9 mph (double to right field) and 112.5 mph (lineout to center). Hudson Potts (No. 23) also hit a double, as both players finished 2-for-4. Buddy Reed (No. 13) reached on a walk, stole a base and scored a run. Relievers Travis Radke and Dauris Valdez each allowed two earned runs in one inning.

Rockies (Salt River)
Rockies No. 11 prospect Tyler Nevin went 1-for-4, while Sam Hilliard (No. 9) finished 0-for-5. Starter Ryan Castellani (No. 10) could not complete two innings, as he was chased after he allowed five earned runs on four hits and four walks in 1 2/3 frames. Jesus Tincoco (No. 20) allowed a run on three hits with three strikeouts over 1 1/3 innings, and Justin Lawrence (No. 17) added a scoreless frame later in the game.

Here's what D-backs did in the AFL on Friday

MLB.com

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Friday:

Gameday: Glendale 1, Salt River 0 | Peoria 3, Scottsdale 1 | Surprise 3, Mesa 1

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Friday:

Gameday: Glendale 1, Salt River 0 | Peoria 3, Scottsdale 1 | Surprise 3, Mesa 1

AL East

Blue Jays (Surprise)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., baseball's No. 1 prospect, went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk, batting .517 so far in AFL play. Meanwhile, Blue Jays No. 9 prospect Cavan Biggio went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and an RBI. Shortstop Santiago Espinal, Toronto's No. 23 prospect, went 1-for-4 with a single, his first AFL hit for the season. Left-hander Shawn Morimando started and tossed 2 2/3 innings, giving up a run on two hits, walking two and striking out three. And right-hander Zach Jackson added two scoreless innings in relief, striking out two.

Orioles (Glendale)
Ryan McKenna, Baltimore's No. 12 prospect, was 2-for-3 and is now hitting .313. Second baseman Steve Wilkerson struck out twice, as did catcher Martin Cervenka.

Rays (Peoria)
Lucius Fox (Rays No. 9 prospect) boosted his average to .419 with a couple of hits, finishing 2-for-4 with a run scored. Joe McCarthy (No. 17) drove in a pair of runs, bringing his Fall League total to four. Ryan Boldt (No. 25) went 1-for-4. Phoenix Sanders gave up just one hit in two innings, but it was enough to bring home a run.

2018 Arizona Fall League rosters

Red Sox (Mesa)
Bobby Dalbec, Boston's No. 6 prospect, played first base and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, and DH Josh Ockimey -- the Red Sox No. 10 prospect -- didn't fare better, also going 0-for-4 with a strikeout in the contest.

Yankees (Glendale)
First baseman Steven Sensely provided most of the excitement in the game that gave the Glendale Desert Dogs their first win of this Fall League season. He doubled on a sharp ground ball to center fielder Brian Miller, going 1-for-3 with one RBI and hitting .214. Estevan Florial, the No. 45 overall prospect and New York's No. 2 prospect, struck out twice and walked.

AL Central

Indians (Glendale)
Yu Chang, Cleveland's No. 6 prospect, accounted for the game's only run with a single in the bottom of the fifth inning. Chang went 2-for-3 and is hitting .261.

Royals (Surprise)
Kansas City's No. 2 prospect, center fielder Khalil Lee, went 0-for-4 but did drive in an insurance run in the ninth inning with an RBI groundout. And right fielder Nick Heath went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored out of the leadoff spot.

Tigers (Mesa)
Daz Cameron, Detroit's No. 8 prospect, played right field and had a quiet game at the plate, going 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts. Third baseman Daniel Pinero was 0-for-4.

Twins (Salt River)
Twins No. 18 prospect Travis Blankenhorn went 1-for-3. Left fielder Jaylin Davis went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Griffin Jax allowed a run and three hits.

White Sox (Glendale)
White Sox No. 28 prospect Laz Rivera helped the Desert Dogs get their first win of the season, going 1-for-3. Rivera is hitting .222. Left-hander Tanner Banks pitched four innings and allowed only three hits.

AL West


A's (Mesa)
Left fielder Luis Barrera went 1-for-3 with a walk, and a trio of right-handers combined for three innings out of the bullpen. Sam Sheehan pitched in the fourth and gave up a run on two walks. Angel Duno walked one and gave up a run in the eighth, and Calvin Coker gave up an unearned run in the ninth, allowing a hit while walking one and striking out one.

Angels (Mesa)
A pair of right-handers in the Angels system pitched out of the bullpen, with Daniel Procopio tossing a scoreless fifth and sixth innings (one hit, one strikeout), and Brett Hanewich adding a scoreless seventh (one hit).

Astros (Scottsdale)
Drew Ferguson went 1-for-3.

Mariners (Peoria)
Anthony Misiewicz (Mariners No. 27 prospect) bounced back from a rough Fall League debut with a scoreless start for the Javelinas. The lefty cruised through four innings, yielding just one hit. Evan White (No. 2) went 0-for-4. Joe DeCarlo was 2-for-4 with an RBI to bring his average up to .308. Chris Mariscal went 1-for-3.

Rangers (Surprise)
Texas' No. 2 prospect and the No. 56 prospect overall, Juan Pablo Martinez served as the designated hitter and went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts. First baseman Yanio Perez was 0-for-4, but did score a run.

NL East

Braves (Peoria)
Thomas Burrows, Braves No. 19 prospect, fired two scoreless frames in relief, lowering his Fall League ERA to 3.38. Adam McCreery picked up the save as he retired the side in order in the ninth. Izzy Wilson went 0-for-3 and drew a walk.

Marlins (Salt River)
Monte Harrison, MLB's No. 76 overall prospect and Marlins No. 1 prospect, went 1-for-3, striking out twice. Marlins No. 11 prospect Brian Miller went 0-for-4 and is hitting .182. Bryson Brigman, the Marlins' No. 26 prospect, went 0-for-3.

Mets (Scottsdale)
Mets No. 2 prospect Peter Alonso saw his Fall League average drop to .333 as he went 0-for-4, his second straight hitless game. Andres Gimenez (No. 1) also had a rough go of it and continues to struggle in Arizona. After going 0-for-4, he's hitting just .154. Desmond Lindsay (No. 11) was also 0-for-3 at the plate. Gerson Bautista pitched 1 2/3 innings and gave up one run on two hits. However, Joe Zanghi didn't have the same success on the mound as he gave up two runs on three hits. Matt Blackham finished the game and gave up a hit in a scoreless ninth.

Nationals (Salt River)
Washington No. 15 prospect Tres Barrera was 0-for-3.

Phillies (Scottsdale)
Tyler Viza put together his second strong start of the AFL. After throwing three scoreless in his first outing, Viza upped the ante with four innings of one-hit ball this time around. Seth McGarry followed Viza on the mound and was equally effective. The right-hander did give up three hits, but he also struck out three in 1 1/3 innings. Arquimedes Gamboa (No. 11) extended his hitting streak to five games with a 1-for-2 game. Taylor Listi came into the game as a defensive replacement but didn't get an at-bat.

NL Central

Brewers (Peoria)
Brewers top prospect Keston Hiura put together his third multihit game of the Fall League and is hitting .333 after the 2-for-4 performance. Trent Grisham (No. 19) went 0-for-2 but reached base via a walk.

Cardinals (Surprise)
Right-hander Connor Greene, the Cardinals' No. 27 prospect, pitched 2 1/3 scoreless frames of relief, yielding one hit while walking two and fanning three. Left fielder Lane Thomas turned in a 1-for-2 performance with a single, walk and RBI. Catcher Jeremy Martinez also singled and walked while going 1-for-3.

Cubs (Mesa)
Chicago's No. 6 prospect, second baseman Nico Hoerner, had a rough game at the plate, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Center field D.J. Wilson, the Cubs' No. 16 prospect, led off and went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk. No. 29 prospect Trent Giambrone started at shortstop and homered as part of a 2-for-3 performance. Catcher Johnny Pereda was 0-for-2 with a walk, and right-hander Erick Leal started and turned in three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and fanning two.

Pirates (Surprise)

Left-hander Blake Weiman picked up a six-out save for Surprise, entering in the eighth inning and yielding one hit while striking out two over two scoreless frames.

Reds (Scottsdale)
Reds No. 3 prospect Taylor Trammell tripled and scored, but that was it as he finished 1-for-4. Alfredo Rodriguez (No. 23) went 0-for-4 and Mark Kolozsvary went 1-for-3.

NL West

D-backs (Salt River)
Pavin Smith, the No. 6 overall first base prospect and Diamondbacks No. 4 prospect, went 1-for-4. Arizona's No. 9 prospect Drew Ellis went 1-for-3 and is hitting .250.

Dodgers (Glendale)
Keibert Ruiz, the Dodgers' No. 2 prospect and No. 39 overall, went 0-for-3. Left fielder Cody Thomas was 0-for-3.

Giants (Scottsdale)
C.J. Hinojosa, the Giants No. 28 prospect, went 0-for-3 and is hitting .111 through four games.

Rockies (Salt River)
First baseman Josh Fuentes, the 2018 Triple-A All-Star Game MVP, made several nice defensive plays and went 1-for-4.

Duplantier strikes out five in one-hit start

MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- On the verge of ending their Arizona Fall League season-opening seven-game losing streak, the Glendale Desert Dogs instead suffered their eighth straight loss in excruciating fashion Thursday night.

Leading 1-0 with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning against the Salt River Rafters, right-hander Kyle Zurak induced a tailor-made double-play grounder from Jaylin Davis (Twins). Shortstop Thairo Estrada relayed the ball to second baseman Errol Robinson (Dodgers), who couldn't get the ball cleanly out of his glove before making a hasty throw to first baseman Jared Walker (Dodgers), who dropped it as the tying run scored. Zurak took the mound and immediately balked home Carter Kieboom (Nationals) with the winning run.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- On the verge of ending their Arizona Fall League season-opening seven-game losing streak, the Glendale Desert Dogs instead suffered their eighth straight loss in excruciating fashion Thursday night.

Leading 1-0 with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning against the Salt River Rafters, right-hander Kyle Zurak induced a tailor-made double-play grounder from Jaylin Davis (Twins). Shortstop Thairo Estrada relayed the ball to second baseman Errol Robinson (Dodgers), who couldn't get the ball cleanly out of his glove before making a hasty throw to first baseman Jared Walker (Dodgers), who dropped it as the tying run scored. Zurak took the mound and immediately balked home Carter Kieboom (Nationals) with the winning run.

2018 Arizona Fall League rosters

Gameday

After losing on extra-winning walkoffs on consecutive nights, the Desert Dogs are one loss short of the worst start in Fall League history (0-9 by the 2007 Scottsdale Scorpions) and two shy of the longest losing streak (10 by the 2008 Rafters). At 5-3, Salt River is in a three-way tie for first place in the East Division and in a four-way tie for the best record in the league.

Rafters right-hander Jon Duplantier (D-backs) turned in the most impressive prospect performance, striking out five of the 10 batters he faced in the first three innings while allowing just one hit. He pounded the zone with 29 strikes in 44 pitches while dealing at 95-96 mph with his fastball. He recorded three of his whiffs with his curveball, which ranged from 81-84 mph, one with his slider, which he threw at 86-88, and one with his heater.

"I had a little bit of everything but it was mainly fastball command," Duplantier said. "At times it was a little bit shaky, but I think the best thing for me was my sinker to my arm side. I was getting away from the lefties, which I usually have trouble with, and in to righties, set up sliders, set up changeups, kind of everything played off of that. And my velocity ticked up some, so I was getting swing-and-misses on that."

Video: Duplantier strikes out 5 in Fall League game

Ranked as Arizona's top prospect by MLB Pipeline, Duplantier worked just 16 starts and 74 innings this season while missing two months with a tired arm. The 2016 third-round pick from Rice has a 1.79 ERA with 245 strikeouts in 211 innings, but also comes with health concerns after having shoulder and elbow issues in the past.

Duplantier said his arm feels as good as it has all season. He's not only making up for some lost innings, but he's also working on some adjustments as well.

"A couple of mechanical things, staying back on my back side, not rushing, kind of small mechanical tweaks that will help me get out front, drive the ball down in the zone or wherever I want it to be," Duplantier said. "And then a couple of pitch issue things. Other than that, get extra innings to make up for time missed and stay healthy."

Keibert Ruiz (Dodgers), one of the game's best catching prospects, looked like he would be the hero who would deliver Glendale's first victory. He smoked an RBI double in the 10th off right-hander Kevin Ginkel (D-backs) to snap the scoreless tie and improve his AFL line to .333/.412/.400.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Chisholm testing mettle in AFL after big year

MLB.com @JonathanMayo

By all accounts, Jazz Chisholm had already had a very successful 2018 season. The organization had pushed the 20-year-old shortstop from the Class A Midwest League to the California League and he flat out raked there, finishing with an system-leading 25 home runs.

Then the call came to tell him he wasn't quite done yet. The D-backs wanted the Bahamian infielder to head to the Arizona Fall League to test his mettle against an even higher level of competition, albeit as part of the taxi squad that only plays twice a week, at maximum.

By all accounts, Jazz Chisholm had already had a very successful 2018 season. The organization had pushed the 20-year-old shortstop from the Class A Midwest League to the California League and he flat out raked there, finishing with an system-leading 25 home runs.

Then the call came to tell him he wasn't quite done yet. The D-backs wanted the Bahamian infielder to head to the Arizona Fall League to test his mettle against an even higher level of competition, albeit as part of the taxi squad that only plays twice a week, at maximum.

"It was amazing, I was speechless when they told me," Chisholm said about receiving the news. "I was literally asking, 'Are you serious or are you playing with me right now?' That's amazing. I couldn't wait to get out here.

Arizona Fall League overviews for all 30 teams

"They told me they expected a lot from me, and they're going to keep on expecting a lot from me, so I'm going to keep on pushing it to go."

The D-backs, who signed Chisholm for $200,000 in July 2015, have not been shy about challenging the super-confident shortstop, sending him to full-season ball in 2017, though a torn meniscus ended his season in May. So back he went to Kane County to start 2018, where he wasn't exactly lighting the world on fire. He did have 15 homers in 76 games, but his .244/.311/.472 line came as a direct result of his 28.4 percent strikeout rate.

The move to the California League suited him, as he hit 10 more homers in 36 games and posted a .329/.369/.597 line. Though he'll need to continue to hone his overall approach at the plate after his K rate was 32.5 percent at the new level, he did learn that sometimes you have to dial it down to have optimal results.

"Just slow it down, slow everything down, don't try and do too much," the D-backs' No. 3 prospect said about what worked for him in Visalia. "That was basically the difference between the Midwest League and the California League for me. The ball travelled a little more, so it's a better hitters' league, so I didn't have to swing as hard as I was swinging in the Midwest League. I went to the California League and took a little bit off it, controlled my swing a little better.

"I do it in BP now and I'm still hitting balls out to center. I just tell myself, 'No need to swing out of your shoes. Just try and hit line drives and then go.' Just trust the process like everybody's been telling me and that's all I've been doing, is trusting the process."

That process has brought him to the AFL at the same time as fellow Bahamian shortstop Lucius Fox, now with the Rays. Fox was the big-ticket item in the 2015 international period, getting $6 million from the Giants, who traded him to Tampa in 2016. A bit older, Fox is a step ahead of Chisholm, having made it to Double-A, something the D-backs shortstop is hoping to correct.

"It's brotherly, friendly, that kind of rivalry," Chisholm said. "We were always growing up together, playing on different teams. Then when it came to the national team, or a summer ball team, we played together. Now seeing him in professional baseball, I want nothing but the best for him, but I just told him, 'You know I have to get there before you this time.' Playing against him, the brotherly love is just amazing."

D-backs hitters in the Fall League

Drew Ellis, 3B: The 2017 second-round pick did some positive things in his first full year up in the California League, including a healthy walk rate (10.4 percent) and reasonable strikeout rate (19.5 percent) while finishing with 15 homers. His time with Salt River should prepare him for the jump to the upper levels of the system.

Renae Martinez, C: A 33rd-round pick in the 2017 Draft, Martinez had little-to-no expectations heading into his first full season of pro ball. Then he proceeded to hit .304/.374/.475 and threw out 36 percent of potential basestealers across two levels of A ball, leading the D-backs to send him to the AFL as a taxi squad player.

Dominic Miroglio, C: Another late-round 2017 pick (20th) on the taxi squad, Miroglio started up in Visalia and after a .327/.394/.460 line in 76 games, he got bumped up to Double-A. The San Francisco product is also taking groundballs at first base this fall to potentially expand his positional flexibility.

Pavin Smith, 1B: The D-backs' first-rounder in 2017 started slowly in his first full season, but improved in the second half (from .229/.337/.379 to .280/.349/.404) thanks to a .323/.363/.462 August. The left-handed first baseman will try to build off of that momentum and use the AFL to springboard to Double-A in 2019.

Daulton Varsho, C: Another of the D-backs' college bat draftees from 2017, the athletic catcher was having a fine first full season in the California League when he was shelved with a broken hamate in mid-June. He has already shown he can hit (.294/.367/.475 in 83 games), throw (39.5 percent caught stealing rate) and run (19 stolen bases!), needing mostly to make up for lost at-bats and reps behind the plate this fall to be ready to move up next year.

D-backs pitchers in the Fall League

Jon Duplantier, RHP: The top prospect in the organization threw well in Double-A, his first time at the level, with a 2.69 ERA and .217 BAA. But he also only threw 67 innings with Jackson, with biceps tendinitis keeping him out of action for almost two months, so he's making up for lost innings this fall.

Video: D-backs prospect Duplantier on Arizona Fall League

Kevin Ginkel, RHP: Back at home (he went to the University of Arizona), Ginkel is coming off one of the best seasons of any Minor League reliever (1.41 ERA, .185 BAA, 100/12 K/BB ratio in 70 IP) while reaching Double-A in his second full season of pro ball. His work in the AFL could point him to the big leagues at some point in 2019.

Tyler Mark, RHP: A closer in college, Mark initially developed as a starter after being drafted in 2015. A move back to the bullpen has been a good one (2.29 ERA in 2018), though he scuffled a bit in Double-A. The right-hander took a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. line drive off of his head in his first Fall League outing.

Bo Takahashi, RHP: The right-hander took a big step forward in 2018 after a rough 2017, reaching Double-A at age 21 and striking out 9.7 per nine for the year while waking only 2.2 per nine. After 120 2/3 combined innings during the year, Takahashi's working out of the bullpen for Salt River.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Each team's most exciting postseason win

MLB.com @williamfleitch

I don't know about you, but I'm still shaking from Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and Astros on Wednesday night -- an epic game with constant twists and turns, controversies and an unforgettable ending. That's the reason postseason baseball is so electrifying, and we'll be lucky to have another game even close to it this October.

But the crazy question is this even among the five most memorable Red Sox postseason victories? They've had a lot.

I don't know about you, but I'm still shaking from Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and Astros on Wednesday night -- an epic game with constant twists and turns, controversies and an unforgettable ending. That's the reason postseason baseball is so electrifying, and we'll be lucky to have another game even close to it this October.

But the crazy question is this even among the five most memorable Red Sox postseason victories? They've had a lot.

Thus, today at The Thirty, inspired by that game, we're taking a look at the most exciting postseason win of the divisional era (since 1969) for each MLB team. This isn't necessarily the biggest win or most important win. It's just the most viscerally exciting one. Every team's got at least one. Some have plenty.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: 1993 World Series, Game 6: Blue Jays 8, Phillies 6
There's actually a temptation here to go with Game 4 of this series, when the Blue Jays scored six runs in the eighth inning to take a 15-14 lead that would become the final score … but come on, a ninth-inning comeback that ends in a World Series title has to be the pick.

Video: '93 WS, Gm 6 PHI@TOR: Carter's walk-off WS homer

Orioles: 1969 ALCS, Game 2: Orioles 1, Twins 0 (11 innings)
How different was baseball 50 years ago? Orioles pitcher Dave McNally threw an 11-inning shutout in the first-ever ALCS. The Orioles won on a walkoff single by Curt Motton, who had 89 career RBIs over eight seasons. He got the hit off Ron Perranoski, the game's first reliever, who came in with two outs in the 11th.

Rays: 2008 ALCS, Game 2: Rays 9, Red Sox 8 (11 innings)
After losing Game 1 at home to the defending champs, the Rays fell behind 2-0 and 3-2, blew leads of 5-3 and 8-6, yet somehow hung in through 11 innings -- thanks in part to secret weapon rookie David Price -- before winning on Melvin Upton Jr.'s sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. The Rays would take a 3-1 series lead before finally eking out the series in Game 7.

Red Sox: 2004 ALCS, Game 4: Red Sox 6, Yankees 4 (12 innings)
It's not like the Game 5 14-inning marathon wasn't a stunner either, but the Dave Roberts steal is going to live longer than all of us.

Video: 2004 ALCS Gm 4: Roberts sets up, scores tying run

Yankees: 2001 World Series, Game 5: Yankees 3, D-backs 2 (12 innings)
So many games this series to pick from, but this is the one that had Yankee Stadium roaring the loudest.

Video: 2001WS Gm5: Brosius ties the game in the 9th

AL CENTRAL

Indians: 1995 World Series, Game 3: Indians 7, Braves 6 (11 innings)
It ended with Eddie Murray's walk-off single in the 11th, but it was wild long before that, with the Braves scoring three in the eighth to take their first lead of the game and the Indians tying it right back up in the next inning.

Royals: 2014 AL Wild Card Game: Royals 9, A's 8 (12 innings)
No Denkinger Game here. The Royals were toast in this game, trailing 7-3 headed into the bottom of the eighth. They scored three that inning, followed by the vroom-vroom Jarrod Dyson steal in the ninth that helped score the tying run. The A's then took the lead again in the top of the 12th, but the Royals won it in bottom half on Salvador Perez's single. They would win their next seven postseason games en route to the World Series.

Video: AL WC: Royals advance to ALDS on Perez's walk-off hit

Tigers: 1972 ALCS, Game 4: Tigers 4, A's 3 (10 innings)
No one remembers this game, mainly because the Tigers ended up losing the series, but the A's scored two in the top of the 10th to take a 3-1 lead. Detroit came back, largely because of an error by second baseman Gene Tenace, and won it on a walkoff single from Jim Northrup. This wild 10-inning postseason game still finished in three hours, four minutes, by the way.

Twins: 1991 World Series, Game 7: Twins 1, Braves 0 (10 innings)
Obviously.

White Sox: 2005 World Series, Game 3: White Sox 7, Astros 5 (14 innings)
Every game in this series was great -- it's the closest four-game sweep you'll ever see -- but this was the epic 14-inning game with Geoff Blum's homer in the top of the 14th that barely hung on. Forty-three players were used in this game.

AL WEST

Angels: 2002 World Series, Game 6: Angels 6, Giants 5
The Russ Ortiz keep-the-ball game, the Angels were down 5-0 and facing elimination heading into the bottom of the seventh. Two three-run innings later, they forced a Game 7 and won their first (and only) title.

Astros: 2017 World Series, Game 5: Astros 13, Dodgers 12 (10 innings)
We still can't believe this game happened.

Video: WS2017 Gm5: Astros come together to steal Game 5

Athletics: 1973 World Series, Game 3: A's 3, Mets 2 (11 innings)
It can be tough to pick one game when a team has lost 11 of its last 12 postseason series, so we'll go back to the 1970s, when the A's came back from a 2-0 deficit to win in the 11th inning in a game that featured Reggie Jackson, Tom Seaver, Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, Sal Bando, Rusty Staub, Bud Harrelson and Willie Mays.

Mariners: 1995 ALDS, Game 5: Mariners 6, Yankees 5 (11 innings)
We all just remember the walk-off now, but this game had five lead changes leading up to the final wild play.

Rangers: 2011 ALCS, Game 2: Rangers 7, Tigers 3 (11 innings)
This series, strangely, had two different extra-inning games that the Rangers won by four runs. This was the most thrilling one, ending on Nelson Cruz's grand slam off poor Ryan Perry.

Video: ALCS Gm2: Cruz wins it with a walk-off slam in 11th

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: 1992 National League Championship Series, Game 7: Braves 3, Pirates 2
Honestly, Pirates fans, I'm sorry to even bring this up.

Marlins: 2003 NLCS, Game 6: Marlins 8, Cubs 3
Sure, to Cubs fans this is a nightmare, but from the Marlins' perspective, this is one of the most amazing postseason comebacks of all time. (Sure, the answer here is probably Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, but that'd be too easy.

Mets: 1986 World Series, Game 6: Mets 6, Red Sox 5 (10 innings)
Authors have written novels specifically about this game.

Nationals: 2012 NLDS, Game 4: Nationals 2, Cardinals 1
A taut, well-pitched game that ended in Jayson Werth's big blast, which everyone thought would send the Nationals to the NLCS the next night (it didn't).

Phillies: 2008 NLCS, Game 4: Phillies 7, Dodgers 5
If you needed to explain the appeal of baseball to an alien, showing them the Matt Stairs homer in the eighth inning of this game would be a great place to start.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Stairs wallops a two-run homer to right

NL CENTRAL

Brewers: 1982 ALCS, Game 5: Brewers 4, Angels 3
The first World Series trip was clinched by Cecil Cooper's staggering single in the seventh inning of a decisive game.

Cardinals: 2011 World Series, Game 6: Cardinals 10, Rangers 9 (11 innings)
The second-easiest call on this entire list.

Cubs: 2016 World Series, Game 7: Cubs 8, Indians 7 (10 innings)
The easiest call on this entire list.

Video: Must C Championship: Cubs win the 2016 World Series

Pirates: 1979 NLCS, Game 2: Pirates 3, Reds 2 (10 innings)
The day after an extra-inning game, the Pirates played another one -- a back-and-forth battle in which the Pirates took the lead on Dave Parker's RBI single in the 10th and held on with Don Robinson in the bottom half.

Reds: 1975 World Series, Game 7: Reds 4, Red Sox 3
The dirty secret is that this game was just as exciting as Game 6, but nobody talks about it nearly as much, because more people are from the Boston area than the Cincinnati area.

NL WEST

D-backs: 2001 World Series, Game 7: D-backs 3, Yankees 2
There are a shocking number of blown saves by Mariano Rivera on this list.

Video: Must C Classic: Gonzalez walks off, wins World Series

Dodgers: 1977 NLCS, Game 3: Dodgers 6, Phillies 5
The Kirk Gibson moment is the great moment, but this one, which featured a wild three-run comeback in the top of the ninth with two outs, may have been even more of a nail-biter.

Giants: 2014 NLDS, Game 2: Giants 2, Nationals 1 (18 innings)
It seems impossible that a postseason game could go 18 innings. The hero of this game remains Yusmiero Petit, who sneaked in a one-hitter over six innings before the Giants won it in the 18th.

Padres: 1984 NLCS, Game 5: Padres 6, Cubs 3
The Cubs had a 3-0 lead headed into the bottom of the sixth, but Leon Durham's error opened the floodgates, and the Padres were off to their first World Series.

Rockies: 2007 NL West Tiebreaker Game: Rockies 9, Padres 8 (13 innings)
Not technically a postseason game, but it doesn't matter, because Matt Holliday didn't touch the plate, and it didn't matter.

Video: Holliday scores the game-winning run

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Hazen in wait-and-see mode on direction ahead

D-backs GM met with front office to discuss free agency, trade market for offseason
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PHOENIX -- D-backs general Mike Hazen met with managing general partner Ken Kendrick and team president/CEO Derrick Hall last week to discuss the direction of the organization going forward. No firm determination has been made yet.

That's because, as Hazen said one day after the season ended, he and his staff need to gauge what both the free agent and trade markets look like first.

PHOENIX -- D-backs general Mike Hazen met with managing general partner Ken Kendrick and team president/CEO Derrick Hall last week to discuss the direction of the organization going forward. No firm determination has been made yet.

That's because, as Hazen said one day after the season ended, he and his staff need to gauge what both the free agent and trade markets look like first.

"We'll have to see how that progresses," Hazen said. "There could be value in the free agent market, there could be value in the trade market, but we don't know either right now."

Hazen said it will likely be another month before that starts to take shape. The payroll for 2019 has not yet been set, either, which will be another determining factor in what moves the D-backs pursue.

"We've sort of agreed to gather information and reassess from there," Hazen said of his discussions with Kendrick and Hall.

Hazen has referred to being "creative" in how he assembles next year's team particularly in how they fill potential holes left by their two big free agents -- outfielder A.J. Pollock and left-hander Patrick Corbin.

"We know we have to replace A.J. and Patrick, if they don't come back," Hazen said. "So we know starting, that way we're probably on paper a little worse for the wear than we were to start the 2018 season. We need to figure out a solution there. The creativity will come in that I don't think it's just as simple as trading prospects for Major League players. That's been the formula that we have used in the past."

It's possible the D-backs could look to trade an established player for another established -- or near-established -- player that fills a hole on the roster.

Or maybe it's trading a player and saving money on his salary to then use to fill one of the holes.

"Maybe there are areas in organization that are a little stronger than others that we would have to pull from to fix some of the holes on the roster," Hazen said. "But none of that's been determined yet, because we don't know what the market is going to be for anything."

Hazen declined to comment on whether the D-backs would listen to trade offers on specific players, and while trading someone such as franchise cornerstone Paul Goldschmidt -- who has a club option for 2019 before becoming a free agent -- could be a tough sell with the fan base, it seems the D-backs will do their due diligence to find out what return they could get in a deal for anyone on the roster.

"I think we're going to have to engage the market and see what exactly we can do to help make the team better," Hazen said. "When you start talking about certain players, I'm not 100 percent sure that taking them off the team makes you better. There are ramifications for considering those types of things. Not to say one way or the other what we're going to do, but if you consider certain players, they're pretty hard to replace."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Key 2018-19 free agents for all 30 MLB teams

MLB.com

An impressive collection of talent will hit the open market when free agency gets underway this offseason, and players are eligible to sign with a new team five days after the conclusion of the World Series. Here is a division-by-division breakdown of the key free agents for all 30 Major League clubs.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

An impressive collection of talent will hit the open market when free agency gets underway this offseason, and players are eligible to sign with a new team five days after the conclusion of the World Series. Here is a division-by-division breakdown of the key free agents for all 30 Major League clubs.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Atlanta Braves
Key free agents: RHP Brad Brach, 1B Lucas Duda, 3B Ryan Flaherty, OF Nick Markakis, C Rene Rivera, RHP Anibal Sanchez, C Kurt Suzuki, LHP Jonny Venters

Markakis was a valuable member of a youthful Braves club in 2018, providing veteran leadership and making the All-Star team for the first time in his career. Atlanta has a stellar farm system that is loaded with pitching prospects, which is one of the reasons why Sanchez is unlikely to be back after his impressive rebound campaign. But without an obvious replacement for Markakis in right field, the door remains open for the soon-to-be 35-year-old to return. Suzuki has formed a productive catching tandem with Tyler Flowers over the past two seasons, but the 35-year-old may be too expensive to bring back for a part-time role.

Miami Marlins
Key free agents: None

The Marlins' roster is replete with players who are at the early stages of their big league careers, putting them years away from free agency. After trading multiple big-name players last offseason, Miami will likely now look to deal veterans Starlin Castro and Martin Prado, as they are owed nearly $27 million combined in 2019.

New York Mets
Key free agents: LHP Jerry Blevins, OF Austin Jackson, C Devin Mesoraco, RHP AJ Ramos, INF Jose Reyes

There's a chance the Mets won't bring back any of these players after they combined for -1.7 Wins Above Replacement in 2018, per FanGraphs. With Travis d'Arnaud, T.J. Rivera and Juan Lagares returning from injuries, the Mets have obvious replacements for Mesoraco, Reyes and Jackson next year. Blevins is more likely to be back than Ramos, whose recovery from right shoulder surgery is expected to extend into next June and possibly longer.

Philadelphia Phillies
Key free agents: 3B/OF Jose Bautista, INF Asdrubal Cabrera, LHP Aaron Loup, C Wilson Ramos

All four players on Philadelphia's list were acquired late in the 2018 campaign as the Phillies made a playoff push that ultimately fell short. Instead of bringing back Ramos, who is sure to fetch a sizable multi-year deal, the Phils may give 25-year-old Jorge Alfaro another chance to show he can handle starting duties behind the plate. Cabrera could be a fallback option if the Phillies are unable to land Manny Machado in free agency.

Washington Nationals
Key free agents: OF Bryce Harper, RHP Jeremy Hellickson, RHP Kelvin Herrera, RHP Greg Holland, 1B Mark Reynolds, C Matt Wieters

Harper will be one of the top free agents available this offseason, and the Nats will likely make a major push to keep him in Washington. The club might also be interested in bringing back Holland and Hellickson, but the two righties are sure to draw interest from other clubs after boosting their value with the Nats. Washington is expected to try to upgrade at the catcher spot, which could leave Wieters looking for a new home.

NL CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs
Key free agents: RHP Jesse Chavez, LHP Jorge De La Rosa, LHP Jaime Garcia (club option), LHP Cole Hamels (club option), OF Jason Heyward (can opt out of his contract), RHP Brandon Kintzler (club and player options), 2B Daniel Murphy, RHP Pedro Strop (club option), LHP Justin Wilson

The Cubs have many decisions to make this offseason, most notably regarding the $20 million club option for Hamels, who was acquired from the Rangers at the non-waiver Trade Deadline and recorded a terrific 2.36 ERA over 12 starts. They also have a bevy of bullpen arms that are set to depart or have club options. The Cubs could try to retain Chavez and Strop, and Murphy could also be back (particularly given Addison Russell's suspension), as president of baseball operations Theo Epstein spoke highly of the second baseman's contributions after his acquisition from the Nationals.

Cincinnati Reds
Key free agents: RHP Matt Harvey

Cincinnati elected to keep Harvey at the non-waiver Trade Deadline instead of flipping him to a contender, and now face a decision about the right-hander, given that he has expressed openness to returning and the Reds will be seeking starting pitching depth this offseason. Outside of Harvey, the Reds don't have any key departures or options to worry about this winter, though Scooter Gennett and Billy Hamilton are due for free agency following the 2019 season.

Milwaukee Brewers
Key free agents: LHP Gio Gonzalez, OF Curtis Granderson, RHP Jeremy Jeffress (club option), LHP Dan Jennings, C Erik Kratz, RHPJordan Lyles (club option), LHP Wade Miley, 3B Mike Moustakas (mutual option), IF Eric Sogard, RHP Joakim Soria (club option)

The Brewers have most of their pitching depth locked up beyond this season, with Gonzalez, an in-season acquisition, and Miley, who was initially signed to a Minor League contract before the season, the only two starters set for free agency this offseason. Soria, a key piece of the Brewers' bullpen in their playoff run, has a $10 million team option for 2019, while closing option Jeffress has a much cheaper $3.175 million team option. The 38-year-old Kratz and 37-year-old Granderson are also bound for free agency. Given their security all over the roster, the Brewers are set to contend again in 2019 even if they don't make a big offseason splash.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Key free agents: IF/OF Josh Harrison (club option), IF Jung Ho Kang (club option), SS Jordy Mercer

After making a splash by trading for Chris Archer in 2018, the Pirates appear to be mostly set with their pitching staff but will be looking for a bat in the offseason, likely at shortstop, especially if they don't end up bringing Kang back after his late-season cameo. Even if they don't make a Manny Machado-sized splash at shortstop, the market is deep this offseason, with Jose Iglesias, Freddy Galvis and Adeiny Hechavarria among the names that will be in play. It seems unlikely that the Pirates will pick up Harrison's $10.5 million option.

St. Louis Cardinals
Key free agents: 1B Matt Adams, RHP Bud Norris, C Francisco Pena, RHP Tyson Ross

Adam Wainwright already avoided free agency by agreeing to a one-year deal to return for his 15th season with the Cardinals. Improving the bullpen to build around Jordan Hicks will be a priority for the Cardinals, especially with the departure of Norris, who provided stability at closer for much of the season. Though Adams likely won't be on the Cardinals' radar again, St. Louis is thought to be looking for an impact left-handed hitter, with needs at outfield and third base.

NL WEST

Arizona Diamondbacks
Key free agents: RHP Clay Buchholz, LHP Patrick Corbin, RHP Randall Delgado, 2B Daniel Descalso, LHP Jake Diekman, 3B Eduardo Escobar, 1B Paul Goldschmidt (club option), OF Jon Jay, C Jeff Mathis, OF A.J. Pollock, C Chris Stewart, OF Yasmany Tomas (player option)

The D-backs could lose two key contributors this winter, with Corbin and Pollock likely to exceed Arizona's price range, but Buchholz, Descalso and Mathis are strong candidates to return. Neither Goldschmidt nor Tomas is expected to hit the open market. The D-backs are sure to pick up Goldschmidt's $14.5 million club option for 2019, and Tomas will undoubtedly exercise his player options for '19-20, valued at $15.5 million next year and $17 million in '20, after spending all of '18 in the Minors.

Colorado Rockies
Key free agents: C Drew Butera, OF Carlos Gonzalez, OF Matt Holliday, 2B DJ LeMahieu, RHP Seunghwan Oh (club option), RHP Adam Ottavino, OF Gerardo Parra

The Rockies will have to decide whether they want to compete for LeMahieu this winter or if they're ready to turn the reins at second base over to one of their middle-infield prospects, Garrett Hampson and Brendan Rodgers. They also face decisions in the outfield, where Gonzalez, Parra and Holliday are impending free agents, and in the bullpen with Ottavino and Oh, who has a $2.5 million option for 2019 with a $250,000 buyout.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Key free agents: RHP John Axford, 2B Brian Dozier, C Yasmani Grandal, RHP Daniel Hudson, LHP Clayton Kershaw (opt out), SS Manny Machado, RHP Ryan Madson, LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu

Machado is among the headliners in this year's star-studded free agent class, and longtime Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw could add his name to the mix if he opts out of his contract. The Dodgers will try to retain Machado, whom they acquired from the Orioles at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, but they'll have stiff competition as he's likely to cash in for a big payday. The oft-injured Ryu posted a 1.97 ERA through 15 regular season starts in 2018 and pitched well in the playoffs to improve his stock heading into free agency.

San Diego Padres
Key free agents: C A.J. Ellis, SS Freddy Galvis

The Padres' 2018 roster will remain mostly intact with only Galvis and Ellis entering free agency, and both are candidates to return. Ellis is less likely to be re-signed, however, with young catchers Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia in the mix. San Diego may also let Galvis walk if he wants a multi-year deal, with Fernando Tatis Jr. (San Diego's No. 1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline) nearing big league readiness and Luis Urias (San Diego's No. 4 prospect) likely to take over as the club's starting second baseman in 2019.

San Francisco Giants
Key free agents: OF Gregor Blanco, RHP Madison Bumgarner (club option), LHP Derek Holland, C Nick Hundley, RHP Mark Melancon (can opt out of his contract), OF Hunter Pence, 3B Pablo Sandoval

The Giants are expected to pick up Bumgarner's $12 million option, and Melancon is almost certainly staying put for the final two years of his four-year, $62 million deal, but the club will likely part ways with veterans Pence and Blanco. The Giants may try bring back Holland, who enjoyed a bounceback campaign and anchored an injury-riddled Giants rotation in 2018, and Hundley, who capably backed up Buster Posey.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Baltimore Orioles
Key free agents: OF Adam Jones

The O's list has just one man on it, as they traded nearly every player on an expiring contract, including Manny Machado, Zach Britton and Brad Brach, during their 2018 roster purge. Baltimore would have dealt Jones as well, but he was unwilling to waive his 10-and-5 rights. Jones may be interested in returning, but he would likely need to accept a significantly reduced role as the Orioles look to the future.

Boston Red Sox
Key free agents: RHP Nathan Eovaldi, RHP Joe Kelly, RHP Craig Kimbrel, 2B Ian Kinsler, IF Eduardo Nunez (player option), 1B/OF Steve Pearce, 2B Brandon Phillips, LHP Drew Pomeranz, LHP David Price (can opt out of his contract), LHP Chris Sale (club option)

Even if the Red Sox pick up Chris Sale's $15 million club option for 2019, which they likely will, and David Price doesn't opt out of the four years and $127 million remaining on his contract, they still have a number of important players hitting free agency. Kimbrel is the biggest name among them, though it's unclear if Boston will be willing to hand out a big contract for a player who regressed some from '17 to '18 and was shaky in the playoffs. The Red Sox will probably look to re-sign Eovaldi, who excelled after joining the club in a July trade (3.33 ERA, 2.88 FIP).

New York Yankees
Key free agents: LHP Zach Britton, OF Brett Gardner (club option), LHP J.A. Happ, SS Adeiny Hechavarria, RHP Lance Lynn, OF Andrew McCutchen, RHP David Robertson, LHP CC Sabathia, 2B/OF Neil Walker

The Yankees have a busy offseason ahead of them, especially on the pitching side of the ledger. Even if prospect Justus Sheffield is ready to claim a rotation spot behind Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka, that still leaves two open starting jobs. Meanwhile, the Yankees' vaunted bullpen could lose two key pieces in Robertson and Britton. Gardner was New York's longest-tenured player in 2018, but the club may pass on his $12.5 million club option ($2 million buyout) after the veteran outfielder posted a .690 OPS this past season.

Tampa Bay Rays
Key free agents: OF Carlos Gomez, RHP Sergio Romo

Romo was an integral member of the Rays' pitching staff for much of the 2018 season, racking up 25 saves and making five appearances as an "opener." However, he recorded a 10.00 ERA in September and will be 36 years old on Opening Day in '19. The cost-conscious Rays may opt to move on and give an opportunity to a younger alternative. As for Gomez, the veteran outfielder is unlikely to be back after posting a .634 OPS over 118 games in 2018.

Toronto Blue Jays
Key free agents: RHP Tyler Clippard, RHP Marco Estrada, 1B Justin Smoak (club option), INF Yangervis Solarte (club option)

Much like Baltimore, Toronto dealt many impending free agents during the 2018 season, including Josh Donaldson, J.A. Happ, Steve Pearce, Curtis Granderson and John Axford. With Rowdy Tellez looking ready for an expanded role at first base, the Jays could pick up Smoak's reasonable $8 million club option and then trade the veteran this offseason. Estrada is likely gone after recording a 5.27 ERA with a 4.97 FIP in 61 starts over the past two years, as the Blue Jays can likely get similar production from a younger and cheaper pitcher.

AL CENTRAL

Chicago White Sox
Key free agents: RHP Jeanmar Gomez, RHP Miguel Gonzalez, RHP Nate Jones (club option), LHP Hector Santiago, RHP James Shields (club option)

The White Sox are close to emerging from their rebuild, and the club could look for more pitching help this offseason, since Michael Kopech is now sidelined for 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. They have a $4.65 million option for Jones that they could exercise, but it seems unlikely that they'd exercise Shields' $16 million club option.

Cleveland Indians
Key free agents: RHP Cody Allen, OF Michael Brantley, OF Melky Cabrera, RHP Carlos Carrasco (club option), OF Lonnie Chisenhall, OF Rajai Davis, 3B Josh Donaldson, OF Brandon Guyer (club option), LHP Andrew Miller, LHP Oliver Perez, IF Adam Rosales, RHP Josh Tomlin

Miller headlines a productive crop of prospective free agents departing Cleveland this season, with outfield and the bullpen being the two areas that stand to be hit hardest by the departures. Allen, Brantley and Miller are eligible for the $17.9 million qualifying offer. The Indians do have some security in the bullpen with midseason acquisitions Brad Hand and Adam Cimber both controllable for several more seasons, but bolstering the relief corps will be an offseason priority for the Tribe, who got subpar seasons from both Allen and Miller in 2018. Outfield is also an area of need, especially if Brantley departs, with no clear-cut starter at any of the three spots entering the offseason.

Detroit Tigers
Key free agents: SS Jose Iglesias, LHP Francisco Liriano, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Iglesias, Liriano and the retiring Victor Martinez are the key departures for the rebuilding Tigers, who also dealt impending free agent Mike Fiers to the A's in August. The Tigers will likely be in the market for a shortstop, as they don't have an immediate heir lined up in the event of Iglesias' departure, and will likely look to add to the rotation.

Kansas City Royals
Key free agents: SS Alcides Escobar, RHP Jason Hammel (mutual option), RHP Wily Peralta (club option)

After trading Jon Jay, Lucas Duda, Kelvin Herrera and Mike Moustakas this season, the Royals figure to let Escobar walk, as Adalberto Mondesi is now their starting shortstop. The Royals will almost certainly pay a $2 million buyout to get Hammel off the books instead of exercising his $12 million mutual option for 2019, but they could bring back Peralta, their closer, on a cheaper $3 million team option, especially since they'll likely be looking for bullpen help this offseason.

Minnesota Twins
Key free agents: RHP Matt Belisle, 2B Logan Forsythe, C Chris Gimenez, 1B/DH Joe Mauer, 1B/DH Logan Morrison (club option), RHP Ervin Santana (club option)

The most pressing offseason question for the Twins will be at first base with the possible departure of Mauer to either free agency or retirement and Morrison's disappointing performance in 2018, after which the Twins are not expected to pick up his $8 million option for 2019. The departures of Forsythe, Brian Dozier (traded to Dodgers) and Eduardo Escobar (traded to D-backs) also leave openings in the middle infield for the Twins. The Twins need lots of help in the bullpen and could always use more starting depth, with Santana's option unlikely to be picked up.

AL WEST
Los Angeles Angels
Key free agents: RHP Jim Johnson, RHP Garrett Richards, RHP Junichi Tazawa, OF Chris Young, OF Eric Young Jr., RHP Blake Wood

The Angels will retain much of their core. Johnson will likely draw interest on the open market for clubs in need of dependable bullpen arms. Richards pitched well in 16 starts this season, but will be out of action until 2020 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Young also suffered a season-ending injury (labral tears in both hips) but is expected to be ready for Spring Training.

Houston Astros
Key free agents: DH Evan Gattis, UTIL Marwin Gonzalez, LHP Dallas Keuchel, C Martin Maldonado, RHP Charlie Morton, LHP Tony Sipp

Keuchel figures to be one of the most sought-after starting pitchers on the market this winter. The 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner has spent his entire career with the Astros, but could anchor another team's staff in 2019. Morton also figures to draw considerable interest coming off his first All-Star season at age 34. Maldonado will be part of a deep class of veteran backstops.

Oakland A's
Key free agents: LHP Brett Anderson, RHP Trevor Cahill, RHP Jeurys Familia, RHP Edwin Jackson, OF Matt Joyce, 2B Jed Lowrie, C Jonathan Lucroy

The A's looming free agents are headlined by a pair of veterans in Lucroy and Lowrie. Lucroy is more likely to return with Franklin Barreto ready to take over as Oakland's everyday second baseman. Joyce is likely the odd man out in a crowded A's outfield. It's unclear if the A's will try to retain any of their veteran starting pitchers.

Seattle Mariners
Key free agents: 2B Gordon Beckham, DH Nelson Cruz, LHP Zach Duke, RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, OF Cameron Maybin, RHP David Phelps, UTIL Andrew Romine, OF Denard Span (mutual option), RHP Adam Warren

Cruz represents the biggest free agent choice for the Mariners this winter. Both sides have expressed interest in a reunion, but Seattle must decide whether it wants to commit to a multi-year deal with the 38-year-old slugger or utilize that money elsewhere, with needs on the pitching staff and in center field. Span has a $12 million mutual option with a $4 million buyout. Iwakuma left the Mariners in September to pursue pitching opportunities in Japan.

Texas Rangers
Key free agents: SS Elvis Andrus (can opt out of his contract), 3B Adrian Beltre, C Robinson Chirinos (club option), RHP Bartolo Colon, RHP Doug Fister (club option), RHP Yovani Gallardo, LHP Matt Moore (club option), LHP Martin Perez (club option)

The Rangers are awaiting Beltre's decision on his baseball future, and if the third baseman opts to continue playing, they could re-sign him. Andrus could opt out of his contract, leaving four years and $58 million on the table, but is more likely to stay put. The Rangers will likely pick up Chirinos' option, and decline their options on Moore and Fister. Perez's option is for $7.5 million and it remains to be seen what Texas will do with the left-hander coming off a down year. Colon and Gallardo aren't expected to return.

Thomas Harrigan is an editor for MLB.com.

Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

D-backs to install synthetic grass at Chase Field

MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PHOENIX -- The roof and air conditioning make Chase Field a comfortable experience for D-backs fans during the brutally hot summer months in Arizona, but they also make growing grass a huge challenge.

The D-backs believe they've found a way to have the best of both worlds starting in 2019, as they will install state-of-the-art synthetic grass at Chase Field as part of a partnership with Shaw Sports Turf.

PHOENIX -- The roof and air conditioning make Chase Field a comfortable experience for D-backs fans during the brutally hot summer months in Arizona, but they also make growing grass a huge challenge.

The D-backs believe they've found a way to have the best of both worlds starting in 2019, as they will install state-of-the-art synthetic grass at Chase Field as part of a partnership with Shaw Sports Turf.

The high-performance B1K surface was designed specifically for baseball.

"Our baseball operations staff has completed extensive research, including site visits and player testing and we are all in agreement that this is the best decision for our franchise," D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall said. "The challenges with growing natural grass in our climate and stadium have been well documented and we have considered alternate solutions for many years. We decided to make this change because the technology developed by Shaw is the best in existence and will provide a consistent playing surface and benefits to our players on the field while enhancing our fan experience throughout the ballpark."

The B1K Natural Turf is a dual fiber system comprised of Shaw's high-performance Strenexe XD slit firm and Shaw's Bolt mono filament. That combination makes it highly durable and prevents the infill from "splashing" so that it stays at the same level throughout the field.

The surface will remain nearly identical to what has been in place since the stadium saw its first game in 1998 including the dirt path between the mound and home plate.

The B1K Natural Turf is nothing like the original artificial turfs that first came out in the 1970s or even the newer versions used in St. Petersburg and Toronto.

According to testing, the B1K Natural Turf provides for a more natural playing posture and motion from players, creating less fatigue because their bodies will not have to overcompensate for bounciness in the surface.

"Research has shown the performance and health benefits associated with playing on this surface that did not previously exist, which factored heavily into our decision," Hall said.

Balls hit on the surface should have the same bounce as they would on natural grass.

"Throughout our discussion, they have prioritized player safety as their top goal, and we are confident that the product we deliver will be an exceptionally consistent, top-of-the-line playing surface that will mimic the best natural playing surfaces in Major League Baseball today," vice president of Shaw Turf Chuck McClurg said.

The new surface will also be beneficial for the environment.

Currently, the team leaves the roof to Chase Field open for much of the afternoon in order for the grass to get enough sun to grow. After it is closed, the stadium then uses an enormous amount of air conditioning to try and cool the facility down enough for fans to be comfortable that night.

The new turf is made from completely natural materials that are environmentally friendly and the roof will now be able to be closed during the day conserving the amount of electricity needed to cool the building.

In addition, the team will reduce its water use by 90 percent, which equals nearly two million gallons.

The team plans to install the Shaw Sports Turf synthetic grass on some fields at Salt River Fields, their Spring Training home, to allow players to get some experience on it this spring.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Every club's best individual playoff performance

From MadBum to Mr. October, these runs went down in franchise lore
MLB.com @williamfleitch

One of the many joys of baseball's postseason is how one player can make such an outsized difference. There's no better time for a player to go on a hot streak than in the playoffs, when he's able to carry his team for a whole series -- maybe even to a championship. Baseball is a game of ebbs and flows, of zeniths and nadirs, and everyone wants to break out and have a heater in October.

With that in mind, we look at the greatest postseason runs by a player on each of baseball's 30 teams. These are the sort of streaks that make legends in their hometowns ... the sort of runs we'll talk about forever.

One of the many joys of baseball's postseason is how one player can make such an outsized difference. There's no better time for a player to go on a hot streak than in the playoffs, when he's able to carry his team for a whole series -- maybe even to a championship. Baseball is a game of ebbs and flows, of zeniths and nadirs, and everyone wants to break out and have a heater in October.

With that in mind, we look at the greatest postseason runs by a player on each of baseball's 30 teams. These are the sort of streaks that make legends in their hometowns ... the sort of runs we'll talk about forever.

Note: We're sticking to the divisional era here, which goes back to 1969, and is the dawn of the modern postseason.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: Paul Molitor, 1993
.447/.527/.851, World Series MVP
Everyone remembers the Joe Carter homer, but Molitor was a monster that whole postseason for the Blue Jays at the age of 37. He was terrific back in 1982 for the Brewers, too.

Orioles: Brooks Robinson, 1970
.485/.471/.788, World Series MVP
This was, of course, the same World Series in which he made the ridiculous play at third base … though with Robinson, it's always a question of which ridiculous play.

Video: #WeKnowPostseason: Robinson's Play

Rays: James Shields, 2008
2-2, 25 IP, 2.88 ERA
This is where the "Big Game James" nickname came from, even if it maybe lasted a year or two longer than it should have.

Red Sox: David Ortiz, 2004
.400/.515/.764, ALCS MVP
It's rather difficult, all told, to figure out which Ortiz postseason to pick: He had an OPS over 1.204 in October for all three of the Red Sox championship teams he played for.

Video: 2004 ALCS Gm7: Ortiz's homer gives Red Sox early lead

Yankees: Reggie Jackson, 1978
.417/.511/.806
The highest qualified OPS by Yankees are, in fact, 2018 Aaron Judge and 2006 Derek Jeter ... but how do you not pick Mr. October?

AL CENTRAL

Indians: Orel Hershiser, 1995
4-1, 35 1/3 IP, 1.53 ERA, ALCS MVP
The season with the other Indians' World Series loss -- no, the other one -- featured vintage Hershiser ... and he split a couple of duels with Greg Maddux in the World Series, too.

Royals: Danny Jackson, 1985
2-1, 26 IP, 1.04 ERA
Bret Saberhagen is remembered as the hero of this Royals team -- along with Don Denkinger, of course -- but Jackson was actually the best pitcher for the Royals that postseason.

Tigers: Alan Trammell, 1984
.419/.500/.806, World Series MVP
Trammell put the perfect capper on the Tigers' dream season. This was a quiet argument for Trammell's Hall of Fame candidacy.

Twins: Jack Morris, 1991
4-0, 36 1/3 IP, 2.23 ERA, World Series MVP
Speaking of the Hall of Fame ... this postseason is almost certainly why Morris currently has a plaque in Cooperstown.

Video: 1991 WS Gm7: Morris' 10-inning shutout

White Sox: Jermaine Dye, 2005
.311/.415/.444, World Series MVP
Several White Sox players had a higher OPS than Dye that postseason -- including Joe Crede, Scott Podsednik and Paul Konerko -- but you've got to go with the World Series MVP.

AL WEST

Angels: Francisco Rodriguez, 2002
5-1, 18 2/3 IP, 1.93 ERA
Back when there were more rigid bullpen roles, K-Rod was deployed liberally and devastatingly in 2002, back when he was 20 years old.

Astros: Carlos Beltran, 2004
.435/.536/1.022
Cardinals fans will be having nightmares about 2004 Carlos Beltran for decades to come ... and they won that series.

Video: 2004 NLCS Gm4: Beltran hits eighth homer of playoffs

Athletics: Dave Stewart, 1989
4-0, 32 IP, 2.25 ERA, World Series MVP
Stewart had a career 2.77 postseason ERA in 133 innings ... he would actually win the ALCS MVP the very next season, too.

Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr., 1995
.364/.442/.818
Jay Buhner was just as good as The Kid in 1995 ... but Griffey is Griffey.

Rangers: Juan Gonzalez, 1996
.438/.526/1.375
The Rangers actually lost this Division Series in four games, but good heavens, was Juan Gone ever a monster, hitting five homers in four games.

Video: 1996 ALDS Gm4: Juan Gonzalez's fifth home run of ALDS

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: John Smoltz, 1996
4-1, 38 IP, 0.95 ERA
You could also go with Greg Maddux's 1995 run -- since the Braves won the World Series that year, after all -- and you wouldn't be wrong.

Marlins: Josh Beckett, 2003
2-2, 42 2/3 IP, 2.11 ERA, World Series MVP
After the Yankees and Red Sox had their first of two epic postseason battles, Beckett was happy to pick up the pieces in the World Series.

Video: WS Gm6: Beckett shuts out Yanks as Marlins win series

Mets: Bobby Ojeda, 1986
2-0, 27 IP, 2.33 ERA
Of all the great Mets starters on that team, it was Ojeda who had the best postseason.

Nationals: Stephen Strasburg, 2017
1-1, 14 IP, 0.00 ERA
Since we're excluding the Expos -- if we weren't, Steve Rogers in 1981 would be the obvious answer here -- we must dig into the gruesome land of the Nationals' postseason failures. Strasburg has the ultimate Nationals playoff line: 0 earned runs, 1 loss.

Video: WSH@CHC Gm4: Strasburg K's 12 over seven scoreless

Phillies: Cliff Lee, 2009
4-0, 40 1/3 IP, 1.56 ERA
Cole Hamels had the World Series MVP in '08, but Lee was actually better, in five more innings.

NL CENTRAL

Brewers: Ryan Braun, 2011
.405/.468/.714
This postseason performance feels like a lifetime ago, but it's one the Brewers sure would appreciate a repeat of.

Cardinals: David Freese, 2011
.397/.465/.794, NLCS MVP, World Series MVP
Freese actually struggled in the NLDS this season ... though he ended up making up for it.

Video: Must C Comeback: Freese's triple ties it up in ninth

Cubs: Jon Lester, 2016
3-1, 35 2/3 IP, 2.02 ERA, NLCS co-MVP
Lester still feels like the postseason starter Cubs fans trust most, and probably always will.

Pirates: Willie Stargell, 1979
.415/.435/.927, NLCS MVP, World Series MVP
He also shared the regular-season MVP Award this year, pulling off the rare trifecta.

Reds: Johnny Bench, 1976
.444/.464/.926, World Series MVP
Bench was as dominant as the Reds were in this matter-of-fact World Series sweep.

NL WEST

D-backs: Curt Schilling, 2001
4-0, 48 1/3 IP, 1.12 ERA, World Series co-MVP
Randy Johnson's line this exact 2001 postseason: 5-1, 41 1/3 IP, 1.52 ERA. That is ... difficult to beat.

Video: WS2001 Gm4: Schilling comes up clutch on short rest

Dodgers: Hershiser, 1988
3-0, 1 SV, 42 2/3 IP, 1.05 ERA, NLCS MVP, World Series MVP
Hershiser is the only pitcher to be on this list twice ... and how could he not be?

Giants: Madison Bumgarner, 2014
4-1, 1 SV, 52 2/3 IP, 1.03 ERA, NLCS MVP, World Series MVP
This is an obvious pick, but at this point I'd like to remind you that Barry Bonds put up a .356/.581/.978 in 2002.

Video: WS2014 Gm7: Bumgarner sets postseason innings record

Padres: Sterling Hitchcock, 1998
3-0, 22 IP, 1.23 ERA, NLCS MVP
He gave up only one earned run in six innings in his lone World Series start ... not that it did the Padres much good.

Rockies: Kaz Matsui, 2007
.304/.347/.500
It was a strange postseason for the Rockies in 2007, but if you forget the World Series happened altogether, it was a glorious one.

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Q&A with WWE superstar Daniel Bryan

Chase Field will host 2019 Royal Rumble on Jan. 27
MLB.com

On Sunday, January 27, the WWE makes its Chase Field debut hosting the Royal Rumble -- the official kickoff on the road to WrestleMania. As part of promoting the event, WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan took batting practice and threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Arizona Diamondbacks' final home game of the regular season last month.

In addition, the Aberdeen, Wash., native also took time out to open up about his memories of the national pastime, his thoughts on throwing out his second-career big league first pitch, meeting D-backs reliever and fellow beard aficionado Archie Bradley and the differences between performing in an arena vs. an outdoor stadium.

On Sunday, January 27, the WWE makes its Chase Field debut hosting the Royal Rumble -- the official kickoff on the road to WrestleMania. As part of promoting the event, WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan took batting practice and threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Arizona Diamondbacks' final home game of the regular season last month.

In addition, the Aberdeen, Wash., native also took time out to open up about his memories of the national pastime, his thoughts on throwing out his second-career big league first pitch, meeting D-backs reliever and fellow beard aficionado Archie Bradley and the differences between performing in an arena vs. an outdoor stadium.

D-backs: Daniel, in just a few months, you'll be back in this building for one of WWE's biggest events, the Royal Rumble. This being the home of the D-backs throughout the baseball season, what memories of the game do you have growing up in the Pacific Northwest?

Daniel Bryan: Baseball before 1995 is my forte. I just met (former D-backs first baseman) Mark Grace and I yelled, "Mark Grace! This is awesome!" I'll tell all my friends, and they'll all know who Mark Grace is. We all collected baseball cards and that kind of memorabilia when we were kids, and now even former Seattle Mariner (and Hall of Fame pitcher) Randy Johnson is working in your guys' front office. I was always a huge Mariners fan, but once you get past 1995 … I vaguely followed the Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa home run race in 1998, but we in the WWE do so many shows every year it's harder for me to keep up with it all. For example, everybody thinks I'm a diehard Seattle Seahawks fan, which I am. I love the Seahawks, but I never get to watch a game. People ask me about those players, and all I know is Russell Wilson is the quarterback.

I loved Randy Johnson back in the day. I liked Ken Griffey Jr., and I loved when they brought his dad onto the team and they played at the same time in 1990. I thought that was the coolest. I loved Edgar Martinez, just like everybody did. As a DH, he was always hitting over .300. He seemed to get better as he got older.

D-backs: You threw out a first pitch for the Phillies a few years back, but this was your first invite to do batting practice with a MLB team. Did you play a lot growing up?

Bryan: I haven't played baseball since I was 13 years old, and I was not good. So doing BP or throwing out a first pitch are those things where it's like, "Oh, I don't want to go out there and make a fool of myself." I'm trying to hype up the Royal Rumble and imagine me coming out here in front of all these people and they're like, "Oh, this is the WWE guy. Let's see how you can throw a pitch," and it's like bounce, bounce, bounce ...

It's interesting because in the entertainment world and for many in the rest of the world, all news is good news when it comes to event promotion. "Oh wow, WWE WRESTLER THROWS THE WORST FIRST PITCH IN THE HISTORY OF BASEBALL" might make for a better headline than me just throwing an average first pitch. The one I did with the Phillies a few years back went well. Here, I want to throw the pitch from the mound because the Phillies wouldn't let me do that, but I don't think teams like that. The Phillies gave me plenty of time to warm up. It was purely luck that it went so well there. I was throwing warm-up pitches in the batting cages, and I hadn't thrown a baseball in I don't know how long. I will say this. One of the things that saved me then was I played a lot of fetch with my yellow lab, Asparagus the Wonder Dog. So, the notion of throwing a ball is not completely foreign to me.

D-backs: With you having your signature beard, meeting D-backs reliever Archie Bradley who has his own unique facial hair was probably inevitable today. We heard his beard guy even gave you a free touch-up.

Bryan: When I first showed up at Chase Field today, I looked infinitely wilder than I do now. He got me set up with his guy and got me groomed up. As they say in the beard community, I'm now "high and tight."

D-backs: Usually WWE superstars perform in enclosed arenas, but Chase Field being a baseball stadium and, weather permitting, an outdoor stadium with the retractable roof open on January 27 for the Royal Rumble, what are the challenges to working in such a unique venue in front of an anticipated packed house?

Bryan: It's interesting because as a performer, I think it's not so much a difference between an outdoor show vs. an indoor one. A much bigger difference is a stadium show as compared to an arena show. Typically when we come to Phoenix, we do our shows inside an arena, an enclosed atmosphere. And when you do a move, you hear the "Yeaaaah" from fans right away. In a big stadium show, sometimes we'll do a move, hear no response and you'll think, "Wow, nobody cared." And then you're in the middle of doing s