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July 11, 2011

Future Shock

Futures Game Stars

by Kevin Goldstein

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Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros
I told you he is small, and I told you he can hit. Altuve's first single was a little cheap, coming on a hard ground ball that a big-league third baseman would have had a better shot at making, but he also ripped a Shelby Miller fastball up the middle, made one out on a hard line drive to left, and even looked good in turning the double play. I remain proud about sneaking him on to my Astros Top 11 entering the season, and in retrospect that ranking was far too low. “Think about it,” said one scout in attendance on Sunday. “Now that Jordan Lyles is in the big leagues, you can at least make a legitimate argument that Altuve is the top prospect in the system.”

Jared Cosart, RHP, Phillies
Cosart was easily one of the nastiest pitchers on the day, hitting 96-97 mph with his fastball and registering a pair of strikeouts during his one inning of work by getting swings and misses with both his curveball and changeup. Combine that stuff with an ideal pro body and it's easy to see where all the hype has come from, but think more about the regular season than one amped-up inning in a showcase game: Where are the results? This is a talent that should be dominating the Florida State League every five days, yet Cosart has a surprisingly low 68 strikeouts in 92 innings, including just six in his last three outings (18 innings), because his command and ability to repeat his delivery continue to waver. He created as much buzz as anyone on Sunday, but Cosart is still very much a work in progress on days when he needs to throw more than 10 pitches.

Grant Green, 2B, Athletics
Green won MVP honors with a pair of doubles, but what might foreshadow his long-term future is his replacing Jason Kipnis. My first thought following his at-bat was, “Is he going to play second base now?” He did, and he made a very good play there later in the game. He hasn't played an inning on the right side of the infield for Double-A Midland this year, where a recent hot streak has his season numbers up to .288/.350/.401, but his future is a well above-average offensive second baseman.

Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
He went 0-for-4, he struck out twice, he was the recipient of a smattering of boos, and he's still the best prospect in baseball. This was one game, folks, and if you weren't there early, or have access to those that did, you didn't see or hear about the pre-game batting practice session that one scout classified as, “Simply awesome.” Jason Parks sent a text message and mentioned it was “the wrath of God.” You did get to see Harper’s other tools, including a 4.3 time down the line and a very strong throw from left. While Sunday's game may have been the first time many had actually seen him play, the 76 games he's played this year are evidence that he is a once-in-a-generation talent.

Jason Kipnis, 2B, Indians
Kipnis provided the game’s first fireworks by taking a Julio Teheran fastball deep for the game's first run. In fact, that he knocked a good 95 mph pitch on the inside part of the plate out of the park made the feat all the more impressive. It's further proof he belongs in the big leagues; I'm still baffled as to why Chisenhall is in Cleveland while Kipnis remains stuck 150 miles south in Columbus. I don’t believe the Indians will trade useful prospects in deadline deals, so why not take a free upgrade now?

Matt Moore, LHP, Rays
If you recorded this game, stop reading for a second and cue the top of the fourth inning. Watch Matt Moore throw a 98 mph fastball—and don’t watch the ball, just watch Moore. Watch how he does it with the effort it takes to return a ball to the umpire in between batters. I haven't seen a delivery this easy from a prospect since maybe Neftali Feliz. I say maybe because I might give the edge to Moore, who just might be elevating himself to the best pitching prospect in baseball.

Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers
Profar has been outstanding all year, hitting .270/.380/.488 in 69 games as the youngest (yes, even younger than Bryce Harper) player in the Sally League. On Sunday, he impressed in his very first at-bat, lining a triple off Kyle Gibson, a Triple-A pitcher who is as good as many big-league fourth and fifth starters. With well-above average defense including a very strong arm, average speed and power, a big-league-level approach, and fantastic makeup, he's the best shortstop prospect in the game, and before you ask, I'm well aware of what Baltimore's Manny Machado has done this year.

Austin Romine, C, Yankees
Along with Altuve and Green, Romine was the other player with a multi-hit effort, but his prospect stock remains flat. He’s a good hitter for average, but his aggressiveness early in the count and merely gap-to-average power leave his total line a bit empty. He’s also one of those frustrating backstops who has the tools to be a good defender, but is a so-so receiver with a slow release that wastes his strong arm. Romine gets a lot of attention as the Yankees' catcher of the future (as opposed to having the same title for say, the Marlins), but I can't remember the last time I heard a scout get really excited about his future.

Alfredo Silverio, OF, Dodgers
Coming into the season, Silverio ranked as the 20th-best prospect in the system, and that generated a reaction that shocked me on two levels. I was surprised that many people knew who Silverio was, and the number of people who cared about which prospect I ranked 20th. Silverio was there because despite good-not-great numbers, scouts believe in the tools, and those tools have started to turn into skills. He has a .314/.339/.566 line at Double-A Chattanooga, and he had a sixth-inning home run during the Futures Game against Cleveland's Drew Pomeranz. An over-aggressive approach is still a major point against him, but he's upped his profile from organizational value player to a potential second-division starter.

Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, Braves
Vizcaino threw a grand total of six pitches on Sunday, but after Moore and Cosart, he was the most impressive pitcher of the game, throwing 96-98 mph and freezing Will Myers on a low-80s curveball for his lone strikeout. Now a 20-year-old with 46 strikeouts in his first 43 2/3 Double-A innings, the hype train is starting to grow on Vizcaino, with one scout gushing, “Vizcaino's top two pitchers are better than Julio Teheran's top two. Don't be surprised in his timetable gets accelerated, as he could be getting big outs of the major-league bullpen come playoff time. 

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

Related Content:  The Who,  Jose Altuve

50 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

mstinebrink

My "Jesus!" moment was for Carlos Martinez. That was filthy, especially for a teenager.

Jul 11, 2011 04:33 AM
rating: 1
 
Vision

I was going to say Martinez was the most impressive pitcher to me, other than Moore. He has a ways to go with his consistency, but the stuff was obnoxious on a few of those breaking balls, and the fastball just explodes.

Miller was impressive, and the overall package is better right now due to consistency, but Martinez had better pure stuff.

Jul 11, 2011 09:45 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Miller seemed to be going at about 80% or so, so that was not a great opportunity to judge his stuff. I'd put Moore, Cosart and Arodys all ahead of Martinez based solely on yesterday.

Jul 11, 2011 10:34 AM
 
kcheaden

Good to hear about Miller because I was left thinking he was overhyped based on what I saw yesterday.

Jul 11, 2011 11:05 AM
rating: 0
 
John Douglass

FWIW, Miller said on Twitter he was 'stiff' yesterday.

Jul 11, 2011 13:41 PM
rating: 0
 
R.A.Wagman

I know you can't write-up everyone, but what was your first-hand impression of Henderson Alvarez? Thank you.

Jul 11, 2011 06:52 AM
rating: 0
 
Peter7899

Watching the game on tv, I thought the radar gun was broke when Matt Moore pitched. I was thinking "there is no freaking way that guy is throwing 98!" To see a lefty throw that kind of heat that easily, was unreal. That's like watching Kerry Wood throw heaters... but left handed. Holy Cow.

Jul 11, 2011 06:56 AM
rating: 0
 
JDLloyd10

He was touching 98 (snuck a peak at a scout's gun) last Wednesday vs. Tennessee. The ease with which he did it was amazing. I don't think I managed eating my BBQ nachos that easily.

Jul 11, 2011 07:41 AM
rating: 1
 
CRP13

Eating BBQ nachos without making a huge mess is probably harder than throwing a gyroball, so I'm not sure that's an apt comparison. :)

Jul 11, 2011 08:29 AM
rating: 0
 
Gotribe31

Based on what the scouts in attendance were saying, the ESPN2 gun was reading at least 2 MPH high.

Jul 11, 2011 07:41 AM
rating: 0
 
Peter7899

Yeah, gun on tv was obviously high, but still. ESPN2 flashed 100 mph on one of his pitches.

Jul 11, 2011 08:39 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Moore did touch 98, but remember, he knows going in that it's just one inning, so he can really let it fly. He's still crazy outstandingly great.

Jul 11, 2011 10:35 AM
 
kcheaden

I usually watch a pitcher's arm action and then look at the gun. When Moore delivered the ball I thought, "91/92." Then I saw then gun and my jaw dropped.

Jul 11, 2011 11:07 AM
rating: 0
 
Cary B

Bryce Harper 0-4 with 2 ks? What a bum, this guy couldn't hit his way out of a wet paper bag.

Jul 11, 2011 07:38 AM
rating: -1
 
Pjw138

Agreed on Moore. Looked like he was just having a catch and the ball was 95+ mph. Very impressive! I thought Martinez had good stuff, but was too wild. He showed me he still had some room to improve.

Jul 11, 2011 07:42 AM
rating: 0
 
hyprvypr

Great stuff Kevin, I was glued to this match and it had some great hits, pitching, defense and toolsheds were present all over the field.


I do want to say I was annoyed as heck by the TV broadcast, I think the former-pitcher complaining about how the players were missing cutoff mans and overswinging instead of advancing runners. Is this guy an idiot or something? This is the Future's All-Star game, a showcase of the elite young talent in the game. What does he think, they're there to show good fundamentals? Bunt and get the runner over? They are there to showcase their incredible talent, which means the crowd WANTS to see Harper throw it from the fence to homeplate. And this ninny berates the players. He should be removed from his post, ASAP.

Jul 11, 2011 08:28 AM
rating: 0
 
boards

If this was your first taste of the abysmal Rick Sutcliffe, consider yourself lucky.

Gary Thorne's suggestion that MLB ban players from throwing balls into the stands after the unfortunate incident in Arlington rated as the biggest overreaction of the day for me.

Jul 11, 2011 08:43 AM
rating: 8
 
Peter7899

Agreed. I feel as bad as anybody about the fan in Texas, but accidents happen. To take away that fan/player interaction would be a shame. Soriano throwing balls to the fans in left field is about the only thing that's saved him from being murdered by the fans in Chicago.

Jul 11, 2011 08:52 AM
rating: 1
 
RedsManRick

When I've seen Aaron Boone, he's been quite good. But saying that Devin Mesoraco's bat needs to catch up to his glove? That was Sutcliffesque.

Really, at what point with MLB & the networks realize that having somebody who knows what the heck they're talking about makes for a better product.

Why was Keith Law not in the booth? Or somebody like Kevin? What a missed opportunity.

Jul 11, 2011 09:13 AM
rating: 3
 
Mtn Jam

It's like KG said a while ago in a podcast or chat or both....we're in the minority. Most viewers don't associate themselves with the KG/Callis/KLaws of the scouting world. If Sutcliffe said, "Wow...Harper's power is an easy 80 grade," most people in the viewing audience would think, "wait....why not 90 or 100?"

We (the minority) are going to watch the Futures game no matter what.

Jul 11, 2011 09:52 AM
rating: 1
 
cooper7d7

And "you" do not want an enlightened audience as it will cease being "your" audience very quickly.

Jul 11, 2011 10:15 AM
rating: 0
 
kcheaden

For this game a prospect maven or scout needs to be in the booth to give fans an education about what they are seeing on the field and how it translates to the major leagues. Or to point out the flaws or positive attributes of a player.

For example, you see Paul Goldschmidt's stat line and think "future stud" but a lot of scouts question his success at the MLB level. It would have been nice to have heard why. Wil Meyers looked awful yesterday but a scout or KG/Callis/etc could have said, "he's got an advanced approach, will fill out as he matures, etc." If I didn't know who he was I would have thought he was a non-prospect.

I hate ESPN in general for a lot of reasons, among them being the fact that they think their viewers are collectively a bunch of morons that can't understand technical aspects of the games they are watching.

Jul 11, 2011 11:13 AM
rating: 3
 
Mtn Jam

I'm not in disagreement with you. It would've been great to have a prospect guy in the booth.

Jul 11, 2011 13:01 PM
rating: 0
 
toanstrom

The Paul Goldschmidt example highlights another problem with the way ESPN covers the Futures Game however. Because they're so desperate to convince people that this is the next wave of stars, suddenly EVERYONE in the game is a future All-Star. Obviously that's not the case but they simply aren't willing to say something like "Kyle Gibson is a nice mid-rotation piece."

Jul 11, 2011 13:33 PM
rating: 0
 
Wade

"I hate ESPN in general for a lot of reasons, among them being the fact that they think their viewers are collectively a bunch of morons that can't understand technical aspects of the games they are watching."

that actually is a good description of the average viewer...which is why they dumb things down to the lowest common denominator

Jul 11, 2011 16:20 PM
rating: 1
 
toanstrom

I was thinking exactly the same thing about Law. I appreciate that you want to go for a broad audience, but let's be honest, there are no casual baseball fans watching the Future's Game. What was the point of having Aaron Boone and Sutcliffe read scouting reports off an index card when they could have had Law in the booth?

Jul 11, 2011 11:39 AM
rating: 0
 
marctacoma

Law was there, they just didn't use him enough. They tried the Ken Rosenthal thing with Klaw, and it didn't work as well as it could've. I'm with you - sub Keith (or Kevin!) for Sutcliffe and call it good.

Jul 11, 2011 13:50 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Tim McCarver has his job for a reason folks, he's VERY good at it, he's just not for us.

Jul 11, 2011 10:36 AM
 
thegeneral13

He talks in a pleasant tone and makes me feel smart without thinking. I like that. Also, he has beautiful eyes, and his hair smells like cinnamon.

Jul 11, 2011 11:12 AM
rating: 7
 
pobothecat

Kevin makes a great point here. One that very much applies to Sutcliffe.

This is the third year in a row I've sprung for the Extra Innings TV package. (80 games a week, etc.) I've heard all the color guys from all the teams, fifty times over.

Few color guys are as prepared, articulate and easy-to-listen-to as Sutcliffe. Most are likeable enough dudes who rely on a researcher's stat package and their 20 years in the game to do a passable three-hour stroll-through every day.

If it's real insight you're looking for, start critiquing producers, not announcers. They're the ones who have the ability to insert salient stats and features into the discussion and thus contour the overall broadcast. 53-year old ex-relievers aren't going to change baseball broadcasting. Lonely young behind-the-scenes guys --- who give a damn every single day --- will.

But more to Kevin's point, there's a difference between being a good announcer and one who a BP-er might appreciate. Burt Blyleven, for example, brings his A-game every time out. A brainy guy. Especially good at pitch sequencing and situational subtleties. A top-tier in-game analyst. But not real listenable. Stentorian and off-putting. Mark Grace, meanwhile, isn't half the smarty-pants that B.B. is --- but he's fun and, ultimately, better. (Yeah, I know, McCarver is more Blyleven than Gracie. Just sayin'...)

Other quicky throw-ins ... Non-Minnesota fans missed a treat this week: Tom Kelly in the color chair. He was droll, dry, self-effacing, subtle and a better broadcaster with each passing day. "We know a guy (pitcher) is ready when he can go high and inside and low and outside on demand." ... Hawk Harrelson, just a few days ago: "Let me tell you. That Moneyball stuff is the biggest fraud in the history of this game." (That aside, I think he's the best A-chair out there.) ... My vote for best baseball broadcast team: Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow, Giants. Perfect together. Savvy, great voices, their inseparable inflection always a glove-fit for the moment, theirs is, far and away, the most pleasing two-man cadence in the biz. And there's nobody better at captioning crowd shots. Laugh-out-loud funny at times. ... Most Under-rated: Joe Simpson, Braves.

It's been awhile since I had a date.

Jul 11, 2011 12:46 PM
rating: 13
 
Jason Wojciechowski

This comment was basically an article to itself, right down to the triple-dot notes at the end. Thanks for taking the time.

Jul 11, 2011 14:25 PM
rating: 0
 
UtahDave

I promised my 16-year old son that if our Pirates were less than 5 games under .500 at the break, we would get extra innings for the second half of the season. So I will keep my word. This will give me a chance to hear other announcers. We get Rockies and D-backs where I live. When we had the free extra innings trials I liked the Giants announcers and the A's, too.

I am not a fan of Rick Sutcliffe because he is overly effusive - everyone's the best or under rated or going to have their best season ever this year. Take some of the syrup off that waffle, Rick. It's too darn sweet.

I also do not care for Mr. McCarver to the point that I actually bought a t-shirt from the now defunct web site - www.shutuptimmccarver.com. The t-shirt simply says, "Shut Up Tim McCarver". He seems to be the master of the obvious. But maybe like someone mentioned, I am not his target audience. I did like him harassing Deion Sanders (sp?)back in the day after the NLCS victory. Him and Joe Buck together are too much for me. I like Buck, but not with Tim.

Jul 11, 2011 15:14 PM
rating: 1
 
ScottyB

The Mets broadcast team is pretty awesome- Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling & Gary Cohen are smart, funny, and, while they don't make specific reference to sabrestats, they clearly appreciate them.

Jul 11, 2011 15:44 PM
rating: 1
 
evo34

No one harps on an obvious point more than Sutcliffe. I'm including the ghost of Joe Morgan. I have yet to finish watching one of his games.

Jul 11, 2011 22:34 PM
rating: 0
 
jhardman

Kevin - I'm willing to bet Tim McCarver gets paid more than you do. Sucks to be in the minority, huh? Apparently the majority likes that pablum....

Jul 11, 2011 11:15 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Just a LITTLE bit more.

Jul 11, 2011 11:34 AM
 
jhardman

But I'll fly from North Carolina to Arlington to see Kevin speak at Newberg night, where I wouldn't cross the street to hear McCarver. :-) That and a dollar....

Jul 11, 2011 11:17 AM
rating: 0
 
deltarich

Hopefully Cosart can improve on his command to where he can throw more pitches like what he was showing yesterday. With what I saw, there's no reason why he shouldn't be racking up the K's. That FB/CB mix was filthy

Jul 11, 2011 11:19 AM
rating: 0
 
faithdies

Effing VerlanderEsque as sh#t...

http://xkcd.com/798/

Jul 11, 2011 11:46 AM
rating: 0
 
faithdies

If Cosart actually reaches his potential where does he rate on the draft steal list?

Jul 11, 2011 11:47 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I think that's a HUGE assumption that could apply to many players.

Jul 11, 2011 12:33 PM
 
toanstrom

Kevin, I'd just like to thank you for making the game more interesting for me yesterday. It was great to have an opportunity to finally see all of these guys I'd been reading about for over a year in the daily update and the Monday Morning Ten Pack.

Jul 11, 2011 11:42 AM
rating: 1
 
Scott44

KG - Side note, would love to see your top 10 risers at the break maybe for your next Monday 10 pack, or another post for the week? Keep up the great work!

Jul 11, 2011 12:54 PM
rating: 0
 
CalledStrike3

I also enjoyed watching he broadcast - benefitting from reading Kevin's stuff.

Grant Green's 420 foot double was impressive - he looked the part of a ballplayer to me ... Goldschmidt looked like he was pressing a bit.

The pitching talent and stuff I saw was incredible. Having umpired up to the AA level however - the difference makers will be the ones that can command their plus pitches with higher incidence.

Jul 11, 2011 12:57 PM
rating: 0
 
lopkhan00

I thought the biggest disappointment of the game was the Bryce Harper interview. Not sure if it was a deer in the headlights problem (understandable for an 18 year old but maybe less so for someone who's been in the limelight for awhile), an attitude issue (i.e. he couldn't be bothered to pay attention to the guy asking him questions), he's just not too bright, or some combination of these. I was hoping he'd be likable or at least interesting. Hopefully it was just an off night.

Jul 11, 2011 13:25 PM
rating: 0
 
toanstrom

Of course he's boring, he's been a Scott Boras client since he was like 16. I wouldn't have been surprised if he just rattled off Crash Davis' full list of cliches.

http://youtu.be/KeVca9MwDX8

Jul 11, 2011 20:08 PM
rating: 1
 
drawbb

How do you pronounce Altuve?

Jul 11, 2011 15:59 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Spanish: Awl-too-vey

Jul 11, 2011 16:18 PM
 
amazin_mess

Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and Cohen are also excellent because they are the anti-Hawk Harrelson. They are anything but homers, that will dish out criticism to the Mets players when they deserve it. Harrelson can't root harder for the Sox on a broadcast if he tried. I like him, but he's a homer.

Jul 11, 2011 20:04 PM
rating: 0
 
Hickjim

Kevin, I live in Hickory so what are the odds that Profar stays here the rest of the year? While watching the Futures Game this came up in conversation with my wife after Profar hit the gap triple. Not wanting to explain but we have three kids under seven and just got back from a beach trip so conversation and baseball viewing was... well you get the picture.

Jul 11, 2011 21:56 PM
rating: 0
 
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