Two professional Bahamian baseball players earned the opportunity to showcase their skills on the big stage this week. Both Lucius Fox and Jervis “Champ” Stuart received Major League Baseball (MLB) spring training call-ups from their respective teams.
Fox was assigned to the Tampa Bay Ray’s Florida Grapefruit League roster, while Stuart will represent the New York Mets in the same league.
Generally, teams train in either Florida or Arizona based on their geographic location in the United States, with eastern teams playing in Florida and western teams training in Arizona.
The exceptions to this rule include the Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, and the two Chicago-based teams all training in Arizona; and the Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins and St. Louis Cardinals training in Florida.
Fox entered spring training at number seven on the prospect list for the Rays among players still listed with rookie eligibility.
He had a breakout season last year with the Charlotte Stone Crabs at the Single-A Advanced level last July, and in 30 games with the team, he hit .235 with a .608 OPS, .350 OBP, one home run, three stolen bases, 12 RBI and 19 runs scored.
Fox was also voted in to compete in last year’s edition of the MLB Futures game. He drove in one RBI in a losing effort for Team World in the annual showcase of MLB’s top minor league prospects.
As for Stuart, this will mark his second Spring call-up. Last season, he played 101 games with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies and led the Eastern League with 35 stolen bases.
He also registered five home runs, hit .222 and had an OBP of .310.
Stuart has seen his share of success at several levels. In 2016, he was invited to compete in the Arizona Fall League, following a stellar regular season.
In 19 Fall League games, Stuart hit .200 with 12 runs scored, five RBI, 12 stolen bases, an OBP of .329 and OPS of .729 with one home run.