Indians' Lindor leads the way in Fall League win
No. 4 prospect in baseball finished game 2-for-4 with an RBI in victory for Peoria
Peoria has been one of the hottest teams in the Arizona Fall League over the last two weeks. The Javelinas entered Thursday having won seven of their last 10 games to rally from a 3-10-2 start to close within a half-game of first place in the East Division.
Even right-hander Tyler Glasnow, ranked No. 16 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, couldn't slow the Javelinas down Thursday. Peoria defeated Scottsdale, 5-3, and scored two runs off Glasnow to hand him his first loss of the fall.
After being held scoreless for three innings by Glasnow, the Javelinas took the lead in the fourth. Jacob Wilson drew a walk to lead off the inning and Francisco Lindor followed with a double to right, driving him in from first. Lindor eventually came around to score as well, scoring on a sacrifice fly by Tony Wolters.
Lindor, No. 4 on the Top 100, said he wanted to make sure he got a good pitch to hit because Glasnow was doing a good job Thursday of throwing his offspeed pitches and throwing his fastball for strikes.
"He's a very good pitcher," Lindor said. "Looking for the right pitch and I got a good pitch in a good location and drove it to the gap."
Glasnow, the Pirates' top prospect, got out of the inning without allowing any more runs, but the damage had been done. He was relieved to start the fifth and finished his outing having allowed two runs on three hits and a walk. He struck out three batters and threw 55 pitches.
The Javelinas scored three more runs in the sixth to expand their lead. Wilson and Lindor again got the rally started, this time with a walk and a single. Both came around to score on bases loaded walks.
Lindor, the Indians' top prospect, is hitting .267/.330/.384 and has scored 13 runs in 21 games this fall. The 21-year old said he thinks playing in the AFL has helped him improve in all facets of his game.
"I feel like I'm getting better," Lindor said. "I hope I can continue to get better. I'm healthy, that's the main thing. I'm healthy and I'm having fun."
While the Javelinas' offense eventually got the better of Glasnow, they also got a strong start from right-hander Jaime Schultz. The reigning AFL Pitcher of the Week held the Scorpions to one unearned run on one hit and four walks in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out five batters and earned his second straight victory.
Schultz, a member of the Rays' organization, leads the AFL with 28 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings. Lindor said he pitched well Thursday.
"He was very consistent with his fastball and very consistent with first pitch strikes," Lindor said. "That helped him a lot."
Scottsdale scored its lone run off Schultz in the second inning without the benefit of a hit. Josh Bell drew a leadoff walk, stole second and advanced to third on an errant pickoff throw by Schultz. He scored when Dan Gamache hit a sacrifice fly.
The Scorpions added two more runs in the seventh when Elias Diaz hit a two-run, two-out triple off reliever Grant Sides. But they could get no more runs off left-hander Same Selman and right-hander Sam Tuivailala, who earned his fourth save of the fall.
Bell, the Pirates' No. 3 prospect and No. 29 on the Top 100, finished the game 1-for-3 with a walk and a run. Tyler Austin, the Yankees' No. 15 prospect, also went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run.
After Thursday's victory, Peoria remains in second place, a half-game behind Surprise in the East Division. In the final six games left in the season, the Javelinas will play the Saguaros twice, including a matchup next Thursday -- the final day of the AFL.
Though the AFL is primarily a developmental league, Lindor made it clear the Javelinas want to pass Surprise for the division title and earn a spot in next Saturday's AFL Championship Game.
"We're trying to win," Lindor said. "We're trying to get better, however we're trying to win."