SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The big league stars of tomorrow were on full display on Saturday night at Salt River Fields.
The team from the East Division shone the brightest in the 6-5 victory against the West Division in the 15th edition of the Arizona Fall League’s Fall Stars Game, and among the biggest winners of the night were the fans who showed up in person and those who followed along at home.
This version of the futures game was another big hit.
In the top of the first, West shortstop Bryson Stott, Philadelphia’s No. 2 prospect, started the scoring with a double to right field that brought home St. Louis right fielder Lars Nootbaar to put his team ahead, 1-0. Later in the frame, Pittsburgh’s Nick Gonzales, the club’s No. 4 prospect, scored on a sacrifice fly by Cardinals’ No. 26 prospect Juan Yepez to extend the lead to 2-0.
The game -- and the offensive display -- was just getting started.
In the bottom of the frame, left fielder JJ Bleday, Miami’s No. 5 prospect, smashed a two-run home run to tie the game at 2. Two batters later, Tampa Bay prospect Curtis Mead drove in two runs with a single to center field to push the East team ahead, 4-2. Mead, who served as the East’s designated hitter, is on a hot streak and has at least one hit in each of 19 Arizona Fall League games he has played in this year.
The East team’s fifth run came on a home run by Giants No. 6 prospect Hunter Bishop in the fourth inning. The ball had a 107.1 mph exit velocity and traveled 393 feet. In the fifth, Bleday drove in Mets third base prospect Brett Baty, the club’s No. 2 prospect, with a single to give his team a 6-2 advantage.
But the West team did not go down easily.
Nathan Eaton’s two-run triple cut the East team’s lead to 6-4. The Royals prospect raced home on a sacrifice fly by fellow Royals player Seuly Matias to make it a one-run game at 6-5.
The night was also filled with defensive gems. In the third, Yankees prospect Elijah Dunham made an incredible diving catch in left. Then, Dodgers prospect James Outman made an outstanding diving catch in center for the second out.