SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Braxton Davidson delivered one of the most dramatic home runs in Arizona Fall League history, propelling the Peoria Javelinas to their second consecutive championship Saturday afternoon.The Braves first baseman hammered a 2-1 pitch up in the strike zone from Salt River Rafters left-hander Taylor Guilbeau (Nationals) to
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Braxton Davidson delivered one of the most dramatic home runs in Arizona Fall League history, propelling the Peoria Javelinas to their second consecutive championship Saturday afternoon.
The Braves first baseman hammered a 2-1 pitch up in the strike zone from Salt River Rafters left-hander Taylor Guilbeau (Nationals) to give Peoria a 3-2 victory in the bottom of the 10th inning. Davidson's blast cleared the picnic area above the right-field bullpen at Scottsdale Stadium, making the Javelinas the only team to successfully defend their AFL title besides the 2004-08 Phoenix Desert Dogs. He apparently injured himself as he celebrated while rounding the bases and was taken to a nearby hospital to check on a possible fracture in his left foot.
:: Complete coveraege of the 2018 AFL championship game ::
A first-round pick in 2014, Davidson struggled mightily during the regular season in High Class A. He homered 20 times but also batted just .171 and struck out 213 times (second in the Minors) with a whiff rate of 44 percent. His feast-or-famine results continued in Arizona, where he tied for the regular-season home run lead with six but also ranked second with 31 strikeouts while batting .227.
The only other walkoff in AFL championship game history also came from a Braves first-base prospect. Mike Hessman hit a grand slam to cap a seven-run rally in the ninth in 2001, providing the Desert Dogs with their first title. Hessman retired in 2015 with a Minor League-record 433 homers, and also went deep 14 times in 109 big league games over five seasons.
While Davidson was the biggest hero for the Javelinas, he wasn't the only standout in the Fall League finale. Here are seven more:
Miguel Diaz, RHP, Peoria (Padres): Diaz didn't produce the cleanest line as the Javelina's starter, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks over 3 2/3 innings. But he did strike out five, pitched at 94-98 mph with his fastball and also recorded strikeouts with his slider and changeup. While he doesn't look like he has the command to stick in a rotation, he could make for an interesting bullpen weapon.
Lucius Fox, SS, Peoria (Rays): Fox is still a work in progress but shows the potential to become a top-of-the-order catalyst. He drew two walks and used his well above-average speed to steal a base, then laced a pitch from nasty sidearming right-hander Justin Lawrence (Rockies) into the left-center gap for an opposite-field double during the game-tying two-run rally in the bottom of the ninth.
Monte Harrison, OF, Salt River (Marlins): After topping the Minors with 215 strikeouts during the regular season, Harrison toned down his approach throughout the fall. He fell behind 1-2 in the count during his first at-bat against Diaz but didn't panic or try to do too much, grounding a single up the middle to drive in the game's first run. He went hitless in his next three plate appearances but saw 17 pitches while doing so.
Keston Hiura, 2B, Peoria (Brewers): The league MVP and one of the best pure hitting prospects in the game, Hiura managed only a walk in his first four trips to the plate. Then he displayed his measured approach in the ninth, grounding a single up the middle against Lawrence to score Fox and tie the game 2-2.
Carter Kieboom, 2B, Salt River (Nationals): Another of baseball's best hitting prospects, Kieboom had a hand in both of Salt River's runs, scoring after getting hit by a pitch in the second and singling to set up a run in the fourth. Normally a shortstop, he displayed a strong arm while turning two double plays at second.
Jesus Tinoco, RHP, Salt River (Rockies): Tinoco had the most effective fastball among the game's 11 relievers. He relied almost solely on his heat, working from 94-98 mph with good life and retiring six of the seven batters he faced. He needed just 19 pitches to breeze through two innings and fanned Hudson Potts (Padres) on a 97-mph fastball.
Jordan Yamamoto, RHP, Salt River (Marlins): Yamamoto blanked Peoria for five innings on Monday and again for four innings in the championship game. As usual, his best pitch was his curveball, and he also spotted his fastball (which sat around 90 mph) and mixed in some effective sliders and changeups. He walked five, including three in a row in the third, but allowed just two hits and struck out six (four on curves).
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.