The 2021 Arizona Fall League had their Opening Day on Wednesday and two Pittsburgh Pirates were in action for the Peoria Javelinas. If you missed it from earlier, the AFL preview was posted this morning on PBN. The starting lineup today had Nick Gonzales batting second and playing second base, while Canaan Smith-Njigba was in left field and batting sixth. Here’s a summary of their day.
Gonzales walked in his first plate appearance. He had a big chance in the second inning when he came up with the bases loaded and two outs, but he struck out. He popped out to first base in the fifth inning, then reached on an infield single in the sixth. He grounded into a double play in the eighth, finishing 1-for-4 with a walk.
Smith-Njigba walked to open up the second inning, then walked again in the third. He struck out swinging to end the fifth and grounded out to first base with the bases loaded to end the sixth inning. In the ninth, he doubled with the score tied and one out, but he was left stranded. Peoria lost 6-5 on a walk-off walk in the bottom of the inning. He went 1-for-3 with a double and two walks.
Peoria is home tomorrow to take on Glendale at 3:35 PM EDT.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.