Rays' Mead hits in 18th straight in AFL

In longest run since 2011, Australia native keeps collecting knocks

November 12th, 2021

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If it feels like Curtis Mead gets at least one hit in every Arizona Fall League game that he plays in, it’s because -- at least so far -- he does.

Tampa Bay's No. 14 prospect lined a single to left field in the first inning against Glendale Desert Dogs starter Johan Dominguez (White Sox) to extend his streak of consecutive games with a hit to 18, helping propel his Scottsdale Scorpions to a 4-2 victory at Camelback Ranch.

Mead has 24 hits in 75 at-bats over 18 AFL games. The 21-year-old infielder has three home runs and 11 RBIs during that span.

“I really didn’t have any expectations to come in [to the Arizona Fall League],” Mead said. “I just wanted to show what I can do and improve myself a little bit. I hadn’t really played at a standard as high as here, so it’s been pretty pleasing to come out here and do well.”

Mead’s hitting streak is the Arizona Fall League’s longest since 2011. He trails Eric Young Jr., who hit in 21 consecutive games for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in 2008, and Kevin Russo, who hit in 20 straight games for the Javelinas, also in '08.

Mike McDade (Peoria, 2010), Casper Wells (Mesa, '08) and Rhyne Hughes (Peoria, '08) also hit in 18 consecutive games during Fall League play.

“I’m just trying to find the barrel,” Mead said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to scrape a couple of cheap hits here and there to keep the streak going. I’m feeling good.”

Starting at age 16, Mead played for his hometown Adelaide Bite four seasons in the Australian Baseball League and spent 2018-19 in the Phillies organization before the Rays acquired him for left-hander Cristopher Sánchez in a November 2019 trade.

All he did in his first season in the Tampa Bay system was slash .356/.408/.586 in 47 games with Low-A Charleston and .282/.348/.466 in 53 games at High-A Bowling Green. He also went 6-for-14 at Triple-A Durham in September.

“It brings a lot of confidence, and I’m super excited for next season after showing I can play out here,” Mead said. “I just [want] to keep proving myself. I’m from a small town in Australia, and coming over here and seeing what I can do -- it’s been [great] so far. I’m enjoying it.”

Mead isn’t the only Scorpions player on a roll. Triston Casas, Boston’s No. 2 prospect, finished 1-for-3 to extend his own hitting streak to 15 games.

Tampa Bay outfielder Matthew Dyer gave Scottsdale an early lead with a two-run single in the first. No. 1 Giants prospect Marco Luciano also drove in a run, and the shortstop finished with a two-hit showing.

Glendale rallied for two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, but it was not enough.

“It was a good team effort,” Mead said. “The guys limited their bats, and we took advantage. We had a slow night [Thursday], so it was good to get back on the board.”