Minor League Baseball players in the spotlight

By RENALDO DORSETT

Tribune Sports Reporter

rdorsett@tribunemedia.net

The Minor League Baseball regular season recently concluded in various leagues across the United States and brought an end to the year for several Bahamian players in their respective franchises.

Many players completed their first full seasons at the Single A level while others progressed through their respective organisations.

Champ Stuart is currently in the midst of a playoff battle with his Binghamton Rumble Ponies after they finished second in the Double-A Eastern League's Eastern Division.

The Rumble Ponies finished the regular season 85-54 and opened their best-of-five series with the Trenton Thunder last night. Results were unavailable up to press time. The Rumble Ponies will host the first two games of the Double-A Subway Series. The Rumble Ponies are the affiliates of the New York Mets, while the Thunder are affiliates of the New York Yankees.

"It's just amazing really," assistant general manager John Bayne said to WBNG.com. "I think we owe it really to the fans who have shown up and who show the support for the team. The last half of the season has just been incredible with the people who have shown up. The way the team has played, I think everyone is really excited to see them in this mini-subway series with the Trenton Thunder."

The Rumble Ponies are the league's hottest team and will take an eight-game winning streak into the semi-finals 6:35pm Wednesday and Thursday at NYSEG Stadium.

The Double-A Subway Series will then shift to Trenton for a 7pm game Friday. If necessary, the Thunder will host playoff games against the Ponies at 7pm Saturday and next Sunday as well.

The Eastern Division champion will meet the Western Division winner in the Eastern League's overall championship series later this month.

In 101 games this season, Stuart led the Eastern League with 35 stolen bases, hit .222, slugging .331, an on-base percentage of .310, an OPS of .641 and five home runs.

In 2016 he had a season of several milestones, including an appearance as a pinch runner in the final Grapefruit League game for the Mets in spring training and a stellar season with the Port St Lucie Mets in Single-A Advanced, which led to a Double-A call-up with Binghamton.

Through 114 games in both leagues, Stuart hit .240 with 34 RBI and eight home runs.

Chavez Young and the Bluefield Blue Jays were eliminated in the final game of the best-of-three semi-final series in the Appalachian League.

Young hit .444 for the series, but the Blue Jays lost 2-1 to the Pulaski Yankees who claimed the Appalachian's Eastern Division title.

In game one, Young, the team's leadoff hitter, went 2-for-3, including his solo home run off Pulaski starting pitcher Deivi Garcia. In game two he went 2-2 and scored another run before he finished 0-4 as the entire team struggled through two hits and a shutout loss in game three.

Young led the Appalachian League with eight triples, was second in runs scored with 55, and seventh in total bases with 118.

In 67 games this season, Young hit .283 with, four stolen bases, slugging .445, an on-base percentage of .336, an OPS of .781 and four home runs.

Out of Faith Baptist Academy in Ludowici, Georgia, the Grand Bahama native was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays organisation in July 2016 and was assigned to the GCL Blue Jays as a rookie just days later.

This past June, Young began the summer with the Vancouver Canadians of the Northwest League in Single-A Short-Season before he was reassigned to Bluefield.

The Appalachian League is a rookie league comprised of teams located in the Appalachian regions of Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia and Tennessee.

Lucius Fox and the Charlotte Stone Crabs were eliminated from playoff contention on September 2 with a pair of shutout losses to the Bradenton Marauders in the Singla A-Advanced Florida State League.This marks the second consecutive season that the Stone Crabs (69-65, 38-28) missed the playoffs after they won the Florida State League Championship in 2015.

After a last place finish in first half, the Stone Crabs turned things around and tied the franchise record for most wins in the second half of the season with 38.

"In the first half, I said that this team gets along with each other better than any team I've ever seen," manager Michael Johns said. "We hoped that at some point the team chemistry would carry over on to the field and it certainly did. We were able to keep our heads above water and then we just caught fire. It got to the point where we felt like we were going to win every game."

Fox was assigned to the Stone Crabs at the Single A-Advanced level in July.

In 30 games with the club, he hit .235 with a .608 OPS, .350 OBP, one home run, three stolen bases, 12 RBI and 19 runs scored.

The 20-year-old shortstop spent the previous 77 games with the Bowling Green Hot Rods of the Midwest League at the Single A-Full level.

For the Hot Rods, Fox hit a career-best .278 and ranked third in the Midwest League with 27 stolen bases. He also ranks second on the team with 45 runs scored, collected 27 RBI and totaled a .362 OBP and a .722 OPS with two runs.

Fox was also featured in the annual showcase of Major League Baseball's top minor league prospects during the midseason All-Star classic.

Fox drove in one RBI, but his Futures World team fell one run short in their rally and a 7-6 loss to team USA at the 2017 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game,

Todd Isaacs set personal milestones, but his Lake County Captains also missed the playoffs in the Class A Midwest League.

Isaacs returned from nearly a month sidelined by an injury to finish strong in the Cougars' final series of the season against Great Lakes.

In the opening game, he finished 2-15 and scored two runs and in the season finale, went 1-5 with three RBI and scored one run with one stolen base.

In 82 games this season, Isaacs hit .224 with, 18 stolen bases, slugging .376, an on-base percentage of .260, an OPS of .636, 33 RBI and nine home runs.

Isaacs took to Twitter to expresses his gratitude for the support throughout the course of the season.

"Shouts out to God for allowing me to experience my first full season of professional baseball! Thank you to my parents for always being a positive influence by making sure I started my day off with the right mindset! Thank you to the Indians and Captains for providing me the platform to let my light shine while representing the organization," he said, "Thank you to my teammates, my brothers and family forever! We created memories that will last a life time and I love you all! Thank you to my coaching staff for putting our development first, the patience and the unconditional love you guys had for all of us! Thank you to my support system, for never leaving me when things got tough because your words of encouragement went a long way "I appreciate everything and everyone that helped me through this season! It was a year of growth and I certainly appreciate all the love!"

Anfernee Seymour also experienced several milestones with a call up to Single A-Advanced and was also named to the roster of the Peoria Javelinas for the Offseason Arizona Fall League.

The Javelinas have MLB affiliations with the San Diego Padres and Mariners along with the Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles and Cincinnati Reds.

Seymour joined the Fire Frogs in May.

Since the call up to the Fire Frogs, Seymour appeared in 78 games in the Florida State League. He hit .287 with 17 RBI, an OBP of .346, OPS of .711 scored 42 runs and stole 17 bases.

Despite playing in just 78 of the team's 118 games, he ranked fourth on the team in hits (84), fourth in triples and second in stolen bases.

Injuries cut short Jazz Chisholm's debut season in Single A baseball with the Kane County Cougars in the Midwestern League's Western Division.

He played in just 29 games - hit .248 with, three stolen bases, slugging .358, an on-base percentage of .325, an OPS of .683, 12 RBI and one home run.

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