The U.S. Team includes power arms, toolsy outfielders and a dazzling collection of infielders.
Welcome to part two of a two-part series on scouting the players involved in this Sunday's Futures Game showcase of prospect talent. The International roster preview ran on Thursday.
Christian Binford, RHP, Royals (High-A Wilmington)
Scouting Report (most recent) Link
Binford entered 2014 as a prospect on the rise in the Royals system, and his performance so far has earned him the chance to represent Kansas City in Minnesota for the Futures Game. Binford is more polish than projection, as neither the fastball nor slider projects to be a plus or better offering. Meanwhile, the changeup is lagging behind and will need to jump an entire grade before he can realistically profile in a rotation. Regardless, it appears Binford will provide the Royals with more than the expected value of a typical 30th round selection.
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Carlos Correa will not play, shifting the spotlight to Julio Urias, Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor and the rest of a talented, if somewhat raw, squad.
Welcome to part one of a two-part series on scouting the players involved in this Sunday's Futures Game showcase of prospect talent. The US roster preview will follow on Friday.
Alfonso Alcantara, RHP, Angels (Low-A Burlington)
Alcantara shows a three-pitch mix, with his bread and butter a mid-90s fastball that possesses movement anywhere from 93 to 96 mph. The slider and changeup are both well behind in development, with the slider showing some promise but the changeup looking unplayable too often.
In part two of a two-part series, Ben introduces the foreign-born prospects you might not know.
With the MLB Futures Game rosters being announced last week, Craig and I thought it would be informative to take a look at the rosters and provide some base-level information on some of the prospects you might not necessarily know. Given that this column is geared toward deep and dynasty leagues, many of these names will be familiar, but there are always noobs getting into dynasty leagues that are out of their depth and tired of being pwned or whatever. This one’s for them.
Last week, Craig tackled Team USA and did an okay-ish job. This week, I break down the World Team, because I’m not a xenophobic monster.
In part one of a two-part series, Craig introduces the American-born prospects you might not know.
With the MLB Futures Game rosters being announced yesterday, Ben and I thought it would be informative to take a look at the rosters and provide some base-level information on some of the prospects you might not necessarily know. Given that this column is geared toward deep and dynasty leagues, many of these names will be familiar, but there are always noobs getting into dynasty leagues that are out of their depth and tired of being pwned or whatever. This one’s for them.
This week I’ll tackle the Team USA roster, with Ben following up next week with a look at the World roster. We’re happy for two straight weeks off from our bickering, too.
Poor vantage points have never stopped me before, and I can't resist the temptation to evaluate elite prospects with a quick snapshot of their deliveries. Pitchers will often sacrifice mechanics in All-Star exhibitions, dropping the balance elements in order to pump up the power grades and light up radar guns, an element which needs to be considered in conjunction with the natural caveats of a one-inning sample size. That said, there is much to be learned about a pitcher's baseline delivery when his talent is on display in front of a national audience, and a number of Sunday's hurlers left an indelible impression of development.
Jason Parks highlights his favorite performances, and what he loves so much about the Futures Game.
After nearly two weeks on the baseball road, which included stops in the Eastern League, Carolina League, and Sally League, I finally found myself back home in New York, weary from the travel and homesick for my home, but alive inside because of the events taking place in the borough to my immediate north. The Futures Game is the core of our molecular cloud, the thermonuclear fusion that makes us shine. We stand in the collective glow of their futures, and watch them inch toward the realities their skill sets suggest; major leaguers of tomorrow gathered on one field, the preface of a book yet unwritten. Simply put, this is the best day of the prospect year, a grand celebration of what is present and what is plausible. It’s awesome to witness the birth of a star.
The sun was intense at Citi Field, appropriate heat given the intensity of the event and our proximity to the source of the heat. I arrived early, already beaten down by transit. I love the G train. It’s the friend you never wanted who shows up late, drinks too much, doesn’t pay his tab, and then vomits on your girlfriend in an awkward attempt to kick game. The inconsistency is remarkably consistent.
Did the starters and relievers who worked in the Futures Game and the All-Star Game enjoy velocity bumps? Harry digs into the PITCHf/x data for the answer.
Pitching ruled the All-Star break. The Futures Game featured a gaggle of power arms and a grand total of six runs. And that was twice the output of the main event, where the National League's best failed to score a run. Mariano Rivera made an emotional appearance. And, in the Home Run Derby, Ron Harper showed off a cutter of his own.
I have a confession to make: I think the Futures Game is the best part of the All-Star break.
I’ve been on the Almonte bandwagon since his easy delivery first caught my eye during a fall instructional league game on the backfields in Arizona. I’m a sucker for an easy delivery and an effortless release, and Almonte won my heart that day by pumping a low-90s fastball for strikes and flashing a changeup that was already a near-plus offering. Fast-forward to his full-season debut, and the bandwagon is starting to look like a bus depot, as the 20-year-old continues to take steps forward with the arsenal and the production, working a fastball in the 92-97 range, flashing multiple breaking-ball looks including a bat-missing curve, and throwing a nasty changeup. Almonte’s inclusion on the Futures Game roster was a win for the young Dominican arm, a win for the Royals’ amateur scouting and player development teams, and a win for every wannabe scout that finds arousal in easy arm action and heavily pronated changeups. —Jason Parks