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Reds' Sparks gives lineup a jolt in Fall League rout

MLB.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A positive attitude has helped Taylor Sparks thrive since coming to the desert.

The Scottsdale Scorpions' third baseman continued his hot start in the Arizona Fall League, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a stolen base Tuesday in a 10-1 victory over the host Glendale Desert Dogs. The Cincinnati prospect has surely captured the attention of the Reds with a .450 average and seven RBIs over his last four games.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A positive attitude has helped Taylor Sparks thrive since coming to the desert.

The Scottsdale Scorpions' third baseman continued his hot start in the Arizona Fall League, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a stolen base Tuesday in a 10-1 victory over the host Glendale Desert Dogs. The Cincinnati prospect has surely captured the attention of the Reds with a .450 average and seven RBIs over his last four games.

• Gameday

"I've just been battling and trying to have fun out here," Sparks said. "After a full season, it can drag on a little bit, but I'm just trying to stay upbeat and have fun out here with this group of guys."

Sparks, a standout at California-Irvine before being selected in the second round of the 2014 Draft, has demonstrated strong skills in the field but hopes to highlight his ability at the plate after posting a .221 career average.

He's off to a strong start.

Albert Abreu, the Yankees' No. 7 prospect, had a standout performance in his start for the Scorpions, tossing five shutout innings. Abreu gave his fielders minimal work while he was on the mound, yielding only three hits and striking out eight.

Video: Abreu and Keller face off in the Arizona Fall League

The Scorpions came into the game allowing the most runs in the Fall League, but in his two starts, Abreu has thrown nine innings, allowing only one run while striking out 11.

Mitch Keller, the Pirates' No. 2 prospect and No. 18 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 list, went 3 2/3 innings for Glendale, allowing just one run.

The Giants' No. 8 prospect, Aramis Garcia, put the Scorpions on the board early with a first-inning single to left field. He ended the day 2-for-5 with two RBIs.

Glendale's offense was mostly quiet, mustering just four hits on the day. Bobby Bradley (Indians' No. 3) struck out twice against Abreu. In his next at bat following Abreu's departure, he hit a triple into left field, later scoring on a sacrifice fly and tying the game at one in the seventh.

Video: Top Prospects: Bobby Bradley, 1B, Indians

Troy Montgomery, an outfielder in the Angels' organization, opened the scoring back up by knocking a single into right field and giving the Scorpions the lead back in the top of the ninth. The runs came flooding in after that as the Scorpions managed seven more runs off Desert Dogs relievers.

Sparks was one of the players that added a couple of RBIs in the ninth. Although he has had success in his short stint in the Fall League, he admitted that the field of play is tougher in Arizona than it is in the Minor Leagues.

"This is like playing All-Star teams," he said. "You're facing great arms and everybody on the field deserves to be here. The standard is a little higher. You just got to stick to your approach and stick to your style and not try to overdo anything."

Matthew McClure is a senior journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.