Mead blasts homer in 4-RBI performance

October 28th, 2021

MESA, Ariz. -- A 21st birthday often winds up being a weeklong party and Curtis Mead’s was no different.

While Mead kept his off-the-field celebrations low-key, he certainly partied on the field Thursday as he matched his career high with four RBIs. Mead, who turned 21 on Tuesday, finished 2-for-4 with his fourth Fall League homer and a pair of runs scored as Scottsdale snapped its seven-game losing streak with an 11-4 victory over Mesa at Sloan Park.

The Rays’ No. 14 prospect wasted no time getting started, turning on a 1-1 slider and hitting it 413 feet out to left field for a two-run blast in the top of the first inning.

“I was just trying to find the barrel, something out over the plate,” Mead said of the homer, which had an exit velocity of 105 mph. “I was lucky enough to get a slider -- a hanging slider -- that I found the barrel on. I think the key to snapping the streak is getting off to a quick start.”

Mead is quite familiar with quick starts. After an impressive stint in the Australian Baseball League over the offseason, Mead’s 2021 campaign got off to a rapid start. He hit .309 over 20 games in May, setting the tone for his breakout season.

The infielder played 104 games this season, posting a slash line of .321/.378/.533 with a career-high 15 homers. While most of Mead’s action came at the Low-A and High-A levels, he did spend four games with Triple-A Durham, where he went 6-for-14 (.429).

“It was massive [for my] confidence,” Mead said. “To be able to go up there, play well and come back to High-A, I came back to High-A ready for the playoffs.”

After finishing out the season with Bowling Green, Mead brought that confidence with him to Arizona, where he, of course, got off to a fast start.

After the homer, Mead was retired in each of his next two at-bats. In the sixth, he drew a bases-loaded walk, and in the seventh, he capped his afternoon with a two-run double down the right-field line.

Hitting .310 with nine RBIs through 10 games, Mead has been impressive throughout the fall.

“I think just getting older, more reps,” he said about his breakout season. “Getting older, knowing my strengths a little better and being able to perform [over] 500 at-bats.”

While Mead came up big, he wasn’t the only contributor in Scottsdale’s win. Will Wilson (SF 15) doubled in a run and fifth-ranked Red Sox prospect Jeter Downs singled in Wilson in the second. Matt Wallner (MIN 14) hit his fourth AFL homer in the third. Patrick Bailey (SF 8), who finished 3-for-5, finished the scoring with a two-run single in the eighth.

“It was definitely a hot topic in the clubhouse,” Mead said. “It was good to break the streak. That’s for sure.”

Top 100 prospects JJ Bleday (No. 71) and Gabriel Moreno (No. 32) contributed to Mesa’s offensive output. Red-hot Bleday, who is batting .341 in the AFL, put the Solar Sox on the board in the first with an RBI double into the right-field corner.

Moreno, who has also been raking in Arizona, came through with a two-run single in the third. He’s hitting .435.