On Sunday, July 13th, Yankee Stadium played host to the MLB Futures game. The game is comprised of top young minor leaguers from around the world, as the United States takes on the World. In the past, players such as Jose Reyes, Alfonso Soriano and Grady Sizemore have won the Futures game MVP.
Sundays game features hot prospects such as the recently traded Matt LaPorta (now of the Indians), Brewers third baseman Mat Gamel, Phillies pitcher Carlos Carrassco (above), Mets outfielder Fernando Martinez, and Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen. With 2008 being an Olympic year, the U.S. roster was comprised of players who will likely play for Team USA in Beijing, coached by former big league manager Davey Johnson.
A number of prospects really stood out. Carrasco looked slow to warm up in the bullpen before the game (he started the game for the World squad), but when he got going, his fastball was electric. His fastball is one of the few where you can hear an audible PFFFT sound as it approaches the catcher’s glove. He was completely composed on the mound as well, going 1-2-3 in the first, and struck out two. He profiles as a top of the rotation starter for the Phillies.
Another player who stood out was shortstop Elvis Andrus, of the Texas Rangers. He and Jarrod Saltamacchia were the main bounty in last summers Mark Teixieria trade. In the first, Andrus reached on a Fielders choice and advanced to second on the same play. He very quickly stole third, and scored during the same at bat. Later in the game, Andrus made a spectacular play up the middle. His glove looks MLB ready right now, despite the fact that he has not turned 20 yet, and just reached AA.
The Mets Fernando Martinez has been much hyped. He missed most of the second half recovering from an injury, and his .271/.336/.377 line doesn’t look like much until you realize he was playing AA ball as an 18 year old. He missed a chunk of games in May and June this year with another injury(along with his now famous “Well, I guess I’m allergic to seafood” time off), but has already topped last years extra base hit total in less games. Martinez went 1 for 2 with a sharp single, and a long fly out to right field, but more impressive was the defensive play he made in center, a long, running over-the-shoulder catch at the warning track.
An interesting oddity came in the 3rd, as the A’s Brett Anderson gave up a hit and a walk, yet managed to escape with no runs allowed, and no runners on base. How, you might ask? He picked off both of the runners, the above-mentioned Andrus, and Wilkin Ramirez. A very deceptive move, impressive for a young pitcher.
The A’s Trevor Cahill was impressive in his inning of work, striking out 2 and allowing one hit, and I would be shocked if he doesn’t make the Olympic team. I’d also be shocked if he isn’t up with the A’s by 2009, despite just reaching AA earlier this year.
Matt LaPorta probably had the best game of all the Team USA hitters, yet was very unimpressive. His single was a ball that went off an infielder, and could have easily been ruled an error(in fact, my initial markings in my scorecard had it as such). Still, Indians fans should worry, as his power is legit, and he could be a terrific 1-2 punch with Sizemore.
Last but not least is Futures game MVP Che-Hsuan Lin, of the Boston Red Sox. Lin began his day as a defensive replacement in the 6th. His first at-bat came in the 7th, with a man on, and the World team leading 1-0. Lin took the first pitch he saw, and just crushed it into left field, wrapping it around the foul pole. He later added a single to go 2 for 2, and take home the MVP award. Lin, who turns 20 in September, is hitting .251 in A ball, with an astounding 26 stolen bases and 6 triples. He would appear to be several years away from making the bigs.
There were a number of high-ranking prospects playing in the game, but those were the ones that really shined on a big stage. It wouldn’t be a total shock to see a few of them in the majors with the next year.
Posted originally: 2008-07-16 18:31:32