Sometimes it pays to tie in sports. Rarely does it ever in baseball, but that's exactly the case for the Mesa Solar Sox, which includes seven A's prospects in the Arizona Fall League.
Despite ending the regular season of the AFL on Thursday with a 6-6 tie against the Scottsdale Scorpions, the Solar Sox (16-15-1) won the East Division title when the Salt River Rafters (15-15-1) lost to the Surprise Saguaros before the Solar Sox's game ended.
Mesa will play Surprise in the AFL championship game on Saturday at Scottsdale Stadium.
In the final game of the AFL regular season, A's top prospect Franklin Barreto stayed hot at the plate, going 2-for-5 with two singles and a run scored in the tie. Over the final week, the shortstop finally found his way at the plate.
Barreto hit .368 (7-for-19) and scored four runs in four games. His shaky defense did continue Thursday though with a throwing error, his seventh error of the fall.
Barreto's bat coming around isn't surprising. But Frankie Montas allowing an earned run in the AFL certainly is. After 16 straight scoreless innings, an earned run finally crossed home plate on the big right-hander on Nov. 14 against the Glendale Desert Dogs.
The issue in Montas' first real trouble on the mound this fall, was his command. Montas issued four walks in 2.2 innings pitched, upping his total to eight free bases in six appearances out of the bullpen.
Montas now owns a 0.53 ERA over 17 innings in the AFL.
-- A's starting pitching prospect Dylan Covey leads the Solar Sox in wins with a perfect 4-0 record. Covey is also second on the team in innings pitched with 24.2 and third in strikeouts (17).
-- The Solar Sox have two pitchers who have not allowed an earned run. After those two, three straight A's prospects are at the top for ERA with Montas, Trey Cochran-Gill (1.84) and Sam Bragg (1.98).
-- Bragg has only walked one batter in 13.2 innings pitched. Two others on the team have only walked one batter, but the two combined have thrown 8.2 innings.
-- Thanks to his last few games, Barreto leads the team in hits (23). He is also tied for third in runs scored (15), but defensively Barreto leads the team in errors by three more than the next guy, A's prospect Yairo Munoz.