Former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow may be grabbing all the headlines for the New York Mets in Fall League play, but Champ Stuart continues his rise in the organisation as well.
Stuart was named to the roster of the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Offseason Arizona Fall League.
The Scorpions have MLB affiliations with the Mets, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels.
“Obviously it’s a privilege an honor to be here with the Mets. I’m just happy to be here, to put on a uniform again and be playing ball again. To play among the best in the minor leagues, it’s really fun right now,” Stuart told Adam Rubin of ESPN.
The Arizona Fall League attracts many of the top prospects in the minor leagues.
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 the Binghamton Mets.
Through 114 games in both leagues, Stuart hit .240 with 34 RBI and eight home runs.
He has also totalled an on-base percentage of .319, slugging percentage of .349 an OPS of .663 and 40 stolen bases.
This summer, Stuart was one of 10 Bahamian players to compete for team Great Britain at the World Baseball Classic Qualifier in Brooklyn, New York.
During the tournament, he hit .467 with an PS of 1.233, OBP of .500, with three RBI and 11 total bases.
“There’s’ a lot of room for improvement to get better. I went up to Double-A this year but there’s definitely more in the tank and more room for improvement so I’m definitely looking forward it,” he said, “A lot of Mets fans supported me during the Classic, it was a lot of fun to get different guys from different nationalities playing the game of baseball. It’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.”
Late in the minor league seasons, MLB clubs hold a position draft to determine the players who will participate in the AFL. Most are Double-A and Triple-A players.
The league is designed for these prospects to refine their skills and perform in game settings in front of major and minor league baseball scouts and team executives, who are in attendance at almost every game.
Play begins shortly after the end of MLB’s regular season in early October and ends in mid-November.
Stuart hopes to make an impression this fall and finish his year with something he has not done in a few years – a trip home.
“[Travelling] It comes with the territory,” he said, “I haven’t been home in two years but I’m trying to go home this year and spend Christmas with my family.”