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June 27, 2013

Prospects Will Break Your Heart

Gettin' Down With the Futures Game Rosters

by Jason Parks

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It needs to be remembered that the Futures Game is not your standard all-star game, where the most worthy for inclusion are recognized for their first-half production or promise. While it’s certainly true that the rosters are thick with frontline talent, the roster limitations (two players per team; some could have three depending on the lucky winners of the fan vote), positional necessity and nationality help shape the selections. Ex: Carlos Correa is candidate for inclusion via the MLB fan vote, but was not included on the initial roster. Jordan Lennerton is on the initial roster. He’s a 27-year-old first baseman in Triple-A. He’s also Canadian. Life isn’t always fair.

Let’s take a quick journey through the rosters, looking at the impact talent that I’m most looking forward to watching.

U.S Squad

Outfielders
Byron Buxton, Twins, Fort Myers Miracle, High-A
Billy Hamilton, Reds, Louisville Bats, Triple-A
Joc Pederson, Dodgers, Chattanooga Lookouts, Double-A
George Springer, Astros, Corpus Christi Hooks, Double-A
Christian Yelich, Marlins, Jacksonville Suns, Double-A

Thoughts: The bench is okay, with Billy Hamilton coming in to run around and freak people out with his wheels, and Joc Pederson coming in to gamer around and freak people out with his gamer qualities. But the starting three [speculation] are straight scary in the talent department; all three in the BP Mid-Season Top 50, with Yelich and Buxton in the Top 10. Buxton is going to steal everybody’s heart, and I might frame the poem I wrote to him and put it in his locker before or after the game, with a note that says, "Hey, man. Great tools. Do you want to be best friends?” Yelich will get a few hits and the fans will swoon. Springer will freak people out with his batting practice displays, and Peter Gammons will pat me on the back and say, “Jason, you are my best friend and man this guy can straight rip.” I’m not making any of this up.

Infielders
C.J. Cron, Angels, Arkansas Travelers, Double-A
Delino DeShields, Astros, Lancaster Jethawks, High-A
Matt Davidson, Diamondbacks, Reno Aces, Triple-A
Joey Gallo, Rangers, Hickory Crawdads, A-Ball
Brad Miller, Mariners, Tacoma Rainiers, Triple-A
Addison Russell, A’s, Stockton Ports, High-A
Joey Terdoslavich, Braves, Gwinnett Braves, Triple-A
Kolten Wong, Cardinals, Memphis Redbirds, Triple-A

Thoughts: It’s a little thin, with Russell and Wong as the only representatives from the Top 50. Miller will be a nice player to come off the bench, as will the catalytic DeShields, but the World infield wins the prospect battle. Russell has legit pop and impressive bat speed, so he’s always one to watch, and Wong can really play the game. Do you think B.D. Wong will be at the game? Gallo might have the best raw power in the minors, and he is going to hit a ball into the spirit world. He will probably hit a bomb in the game and add a few whiffs in for good measure.

Catchers
Austin Hedges, Padres, Lake Elsinore Storm, High-A
Josh Phegley, White Sox, Charlotte Knights, Triple-A

Thoughts: I’d watch Hedges watch video, so you know I’m happy about this. I hope he plays the entire game, and I apologize in advanced to any member of the Josh Phegley fan club or immediate family for those comments. I just want to see Hedges.

Pitchers
Jesse Biddle, Phillies, Reading Fightin Phils, Double-A
Archie Bradley, Diamondbacks, Mobile BayBears, Double-A
Eddie Butler, Rockies, Modesto Nuts, High-A
Kyle Crick, Giants, San Jose Giants, High-A
Taylor Guerrieri, Rays, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Single-A
Jordan Taylor, Nationals, Harrisburg Senators, Double-A
Jimmy Nelson, Brewers, Nashville Sounds, Triple-A
Noah Syndergaard, Mets, Binghamton Mets, Double-A
Anthony Ranaudo, Red Sox, Portland Sea Dogs, Double-A
Taijuan Walkder, Mariners, Tacoma Rainiers, Triple-A

Thoughts: If you are scoring at home, that’s five members of the BP Top 50, including two of the top 10 prospects in the game. I think I need to change my pants because I just wet them with excitement. These arms will make the day, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Syndergaard not only blows up the radar gun but also shoves it at such a level that Mets fans in attendance wet themselves with excitement. The 2013 Futures Game, brought to you by Depends adult diapers. Trust me, you will need them.

World Squad

Outfielders
Yeison Asencio, Padres, San Antonio Missions, Double-A
Gregory Polanco, Pirates, Altoona Curve, Double-A
Jorge Soler, Cubs, Daytona Cubs, High-A
Oscar Taveras, Cardinals, Memphis Redbirds, Triple-A
Henry Urrutia, Orioles, Bowie Baysox, Double-A

Thoughts: Taveras has been dealing with an ankle injury, one that he re-aggravated last week, so he is unlikely to participate. The remaining cast is interesting and impressive, but adult diapers shouldn’t be necessary. Soler is going to put on a show during batting practice, and Polanco is going to show people why he is a no doubt top 15 talent in the minors. The wild card for me is Urrutia, a player I have yet to put eyes on or even get many reports on.

Infielders
Arismendy Alcantara, Cubs, Tennessee Smokies, Double-A
Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox, Pawtucket Red Sox, Triple-A
Maikel Franco, Phillies, Fightin Phils, Double-A
Dilson Herrera, Pirates, West Virginia Power, A-Ball
Jordan Lennerton, Tigers, Toledo Mud Hens, Triple-A
Francisco Lindor, Indians, Carolina Mud Cats, High-A
Miguel Sano, Twins, New Britain Rock Cats, Double-A

Thoughts: I think I just had a hot flash. I’m throwing scorn at the creators of the sport for not designing the infield to consist of six players. For those counting at home, three world infielders are ranked in the Top 10 in the minors, and at least six will be in consideration for the top 101 in the game. This ain’t no sippin’ tea. At any given point, you could witness magic. Sano, Franco, Bogaerts, Lindor, Herrera, Alcantara. I’m not okay.

Catchers
Jorge Alfaro, Rangers, Hickory Crawdads, A-Ball
Christian Bethancourt, Braves, Mississippi Braves, Double-A
AJ Jimenez, Blue Jays, New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Double-A

Thoughts: Love seeing #TheLegend on the roster, as the pop times on display for the world team could lead to a new sexual revolution. Alfaro will freak people out with his batting practice prowess, and Peter Gammons will do somersaults behind the cage, much to the joy of the on-looking crowd. I’ll cry real tears and throw roses at his feet. Bethancourt will throw a ball from behind home plate into Brooklyn. I’ve never been this happy.

Pitchers
Miguel Almonte, Royals, Lexington Legends, A-Ball
Carlos Contreras, Reds, Bakersfield Blaze, High-A
Rafael De Paula, Yankees, Tampa Yankees, High-A
C.C. Lee, Indians, Columbus Clippers, Triple-A
Rafael Montero, Mets, Las Vegas 51s, Triple-A
Andre Rienzo, White Sox, Charlotte Knights, Triple-A
Eduardo Rodriguez, Orioles, Frederick Keys, High-A
Enny Romero, Rays, Montgomery Biscuits, Double-A
Yordano Ventura, Royals, Omaha Storm Chasers, Triple-A
Michael Ynoa, A’s, Beloit Snappers, A-Ball

Thoughts: A lot of future relievers on the world squad, which shouldn’t come as a big shock. We are going to see serious gas, and De Paula will likely strike out everybody in a uniform, including Peter Gammons, who will don a Buxton jersey and take his cuts in the inning of his choosing. Almonte has been on my radar a while, and I’ve hyped him enough to have my entire career hitched to his status. If he wins the MVP, I get a raise and a company car. If he walks a hitter, Joe Hamrahi will replace me with Peter Gammons, who has become omnipresent and beyond the restrictions of time and space. People will ask if the Ynoa on the roster is the same Ynoa that was a big prospect a few years ago. Ventura will throw 100 mph and freak people out who thought this was a friendly exhibition. I’ll celebrate his velocity with a laugh and a cry, because the experience of watching all this talent on the same field completely destroys me like a lost lover.

This is why we love the game. This is why we love the minors. This is everything.

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

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