Red Sox prospect Cottam powers Scorpions

November 3rd, 2021

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When Scottsdale needed a hit, delivered. Twice.

The Red Sox catching prospect came through with a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning, his second of the game, and added a walk-off single in the 10th as Scottsdale topped Salt River, 10-9, on Tuesday.

Cottam, who finished 4-for-5 with four RBIs, came to the plate with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th and lined a 3-2 fastball by Rockies righty Jake Bird into right field, improving the Scorpions’ record to 7-11 and dealing the Rafters (7-10) their fifth straight loss.

“That’s a great pitcher on the mound,” Cottam said. “He’s got unbelievable stuff. The kind of thing I focused on all day is just swinging at strikes. He threw me a couple sliders, I took, [and I] got my fastball there at the end. It ended up well.”

The approach Cottam brought with him into his final at-bat served him well throughout the day as the 24-year-old turned in his best performance of the AFL thus far, raising his average to .294 in the process.

Cottam singled in the third, struck out in the fifth, went deep to right-center in the seventh and eighth and won the game in the 10th.

“I took a good pitch, that first one, first-pitch strike for a curveball, got back to a fastball and was able to muscle it out,” he said of his first homer.

Not only were the long balls the first two of the AFL campaign for the 2018 fourth-round pick, they marked the first multihomer game of his professional career. The four hits were also a career high and the four RBIs matched a professional best set in 2019.

“First time in a while,” Cottam said of his last two-homer game.

The backstop split time between High-A Greenville and Double-A Portland in the regular season, posting a slash line of .278/.371/.500 with 10 homers and 33 RBIs. Having only played in 71 games, he is looking to get some more experience during his time in Arizona. Cottam's using his Fall League stint to improve in all facets of the game and he knows the advanced competition he’s facing will be good for his development.

“It’s been an unbelievable experience,” Cottam said. “It’s the best talent in the world here and being able to compete with that is unbelievable.”

Richie Palacios also contributed to the Scorpions' victory. Palacios, who has been red-hot in Arizona, is hitting .321 after his 3-for-5 performance. Cleveland's No. 14 prospect hammered a two-run homer out to right in the sixth and has gone deep three times this fall.

Joe Gray, the Brewers’ No. 9 prospect, has had a tough time getting going offensively this fall, but showed a solid approach Tuesday. After drawing walks in his first two trips to the plate, Gray cleared the bases with a three-run double in the fifth. Buddy Kennedy (D-backs) also drove in three runs for the Rafters, two of them on a homer in the seventh.