Red Sox catching prospect Kole Cottam enjoyed a monster day at the plate while leading the Scottsdale Scorpions to a 10-9 walk-off victory over the Salt River Rafters in Arizona Fall League action Tuesday afternoon.
Batting out of the eight-hole while serving as the team’s designated hitter, Cottam went 4-for-5 with a pair of singles, a pair of home runs, four RBI, two runs scored, and one strikeout for the Scorpions in front of 291 spectators at Scottsdale Stadium.
After singling and being stranded at second base in the bottom of the third inning and striking out in the bottom of the fifth, Cottam truly got his productive afternoon started when leading off the bottom half of the seventh inning.
With newly-inserted reliever J.T. Hintezen pitching for Salt River, Cottam greeted the right-hander by crushing a solo shot to deep right-center field off him, thus marking his first home run of the Arizona Fall League campaign.
An inning later, Cottam immediately doubled his home run total when he clubbed a towering, go-ahead two-run homer off Rafters righty Taylor Floyd that gave the Scorpions their first lead of the day at 9-8.
Salt River managed to knot things up at nine runs a piece in their half of the ninth, however, meaning this one headed into extra innings with Scottsdale in search of their seventh win of the season.
Following a scoreless top of the 10th, Cottam came to the plate in the bottom half with the game in his hands, as the Scorpions had loaded the bases for him while only recording one out.
Matched up against Rockies pitching prospect Jake Bird this time around, Cottam worked a full count before taking the sixth pitch he saw from the opposing right-hander and promptly ripping a line-drive single to the opposite field that plated Curtis Mead from third to secure the come-from-behind, walk-off win for the Scorpions.
In going 4-for-5 on Tuesday, Cottam raised his slash line on the Arizona Fall League season to a solid .294/.405/.529 to go along with two doubles, those two homers, eight RBI, six runs scored, five walks, and eight strikeouts over 11 games (42 plate appearances) with Scottsdale so far.
Cottam, 24, was originally selected by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2018 amateur draft out of the University of Kentucky. The former Wildcat may not be regarded by Baseball America as one of the top 30 prospects in Boston’s farm system, but he has been recognized as the best defensive catcher in the organization.
This past season, after spending a good chunk of the spring at major-league camp, the right-handed hitting backstop out of Tennessee opened the year with High-A Greenville. He batted a stout .276/.386/.487 (135 wRC+) to go along with 13 doubles, one triple, six home runs, 24 RBI, 22 runs scored, 25 walks, and 64 strikeouts across 46 games (190 plate appearances) for the Drive before earning a promotion to Double-A Portland on July 29.
While his playing time took a dip upon arriving in Portland, Cottam still slashed .282/.337/.526 (131 wRC+) with five doubles, one triple, four homers, nine runs driven in, 11 runs scored, three walks, and 33 strikeouts over 25 games spanning 86 plate appearances for the Sea Dogs.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, Cottam — who does not turn 24 until next May — can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his professional career this winter. The Red Sox would need to add Cottam to their 40-man roster by the November 19 deadline if they intend on protecting him from it.
In the meantime, the 2021 Arizona Fall League season rolls on for Cottam and the 7-11 Scorpions. The Fall Stars Game will take place on Nov. 13, while the season itself will conclude with the championship game on Nov. 20.
(Picture of Kole Cottam: Michael Gonzales/MLB Photos via Getty Images)