Futures Games Rosters: Looking At The US Team
The Future’s Game rosters are out, finally letting us know who will be representing the US and World teams in MLB’s annual pre-All Star Game prospect showcase. Well, barring the results of the vote-in for the final roster slot for each squad (which you can vote on here, if you so desire). Today, we’ll look at the highlights of the US roster, picking out some of the most notable names for you to watch on that (hopefully) sunny Sunday afternoon.
Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners: Walker just made his AAA debut, impressing all who saw him in how he handled such advanced competition at just 20 years old. Walker also pitched in last year’s’ Futures game, impressing observers greatly with both his stuff and moxie on the mound. While this doesn’t seem to be a chance for Walker to step forward as it would have been in the past, giving a premier talent a chance on a big stage is always a good test to give.
Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks: Bradley has overcome a patch of bad command last season to catapult himself in to the spotlight of the best arms in the minor leagues. A good performance in this game would serve to help cement that status in the minds of many who have yet to be fully convinced.
Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays: Guerreri had many doubters coming in to the season, people who remained unconvinced that his stuff was of sufficient quality to make an impact in the long run. While his strikeout rate is still an unremarkable 7.2 per nine innings, his performance in the Midwest League has still silenced many of his critics, posting excellent groundball rates and giving up just 17 runs (15 earned) in his 12 starts this season.
Honorable Mentions: Anthony Ranaudo (RHP, BOS), Noah Syndergaard (RHP, NYM), Jesse Biddle (LHP, PHI)
Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins: This list wouldn’t be complete without a mention of our newly-minted number one prospect, could it? The Futures Game should prove to be a good test for Buxton, as most of the pitching he’ll be facing is of a higher level than he’s seen before. How he handles that will be of great interest to talent evaluators everywhere.
Austin Hedges, C, San Diego Padres: While Hedges doesn’t have an outstanding offensive profile, he has the potential to be an elite defender. Most of the catchers at this event haven’t been of his calibre in recent years, so this should be a good opportunity for him to strut his stuff behind the plate.
Addison Russell, SS, Oakland Athletics: Russell is a very high-quality prospect who has somehow flown somewhat under the radar so far in his young career. While his numbers with the Stockton Ports don’t pop out at you at first, when you consider the fact that he’s a 19 year old playing in High A ball, they suddenly look much, much more impressive.
Honorable Mentions: CJ Cron (1B, LAA), Brad Miller (SS, SEA), Joey Gallo (3B, TEX)
As a little bit of a bonus feature, of the various options for the last roster spot on the US roster, I would vote for Garin Cecchini myself. A third baseman in the Boston Red Sox organization, he doesn’t get the attention that he deserves. Cecchini was just promoted to AA after a resoundingly successful campaign in the Carolina League, and he should have all the stuff needed to continue to be successful moving forward. An opportunity to play in this game would give him the chance to prove just that against other top prospects.