By James Nahikian
Right on schedule, and as Major League teams play across the country, the next generation is in Kansas City and ready to kick off the All-Star festivities. If you go on Twitter right now, you know what I am talking about, as #FuturesGame is trending worldwide. The Futures Game is set for 5PM today at Kauffman Stadium. The top prospects in baseball get together to play at a Major League ballpark and to show the world why they are the next big thing.
This years crop is absolutely loaded. These players truly will be the stars of tomorrow.
Starting with Team USA:
Leading off for Team USA is the Cincinnati Reds’ top prospect, Billy Hamilton. This shortstop is nothing less than a burner. Hamilton is the fastest guy in baseball. Yes, including the major leagues. Hamilton has over 100 steals already this season for High-A Bakersfield in the Reds Organization.
Batting third for Team USA will be a hometown favorite, as Kansas City gets a preview of their future star, Wil Myers. Now when I say future star, I mean soon to be star. The right fielder will more than likely be in the major leagues within the next couple of months, and he will probably be the everyday right fielder. This guy is a hitting machine.
Batting 4th will be the third basemen, Mike Olt. Olt is the third overall prospect in the Texas system and currently has 22 home runs in the Double-A ranks.
The guys batting 5th and 6th are no slouches either. Houston’s Jonathan Singleton, first base and Oakland’s Michael Choice, left field are both the top prospects in their organizations.
Batting 7th is Detroit Tigers’ super prospect, Nick Castellanos. This guy is an absolute stud. Castellanos tore up the Florida State League this season as he batted over .400 with 87 hits. He earned a promotion to Double-A Erie where he is now batting .307. The 6’4″ third basemen will be the team’s DH. Castellanos has been heavily rumored in Detroit trade talks for the past couple of seasons, but if Nick stays in the Detroit organization like I expect he will, Castellanos will be in the Motor City in no time. Possibly even this year, Detroit has quietly been having Nick take fly balls in the outfield. His bat just might earn himself a September call up.
Don’t forget about the guys coming of the bench either. Manny Machado is the top prospect in the Baltimore farm system. The Orioles, in my opinion, have the best minor league system in all of the major leagues. Machado will more than likely be the Opening Day shortstop come 2013, and will probably see some time in the big leagues in the months to come. Nolan Arenado will also be coming of the bench, Nolan is a third basemen who is the top prospect in the Rockies organization.
The starting pitcher will be another hometown favorite in Jake Odorizzi. The righty is also in the Kansas City farm system and will duel against another future Royal, Yordano Ventura of the World Team.
However, the best pitchers in today’s game will be those in the Team USA bullpen.
Dylan Bundy (Baltimore), Gerrit Cole (Pittsburgh), Jameson Taillon (Pittsburgh) and Danny Hultzen (Seattle) were all at least top 4 overall picks and will all be top of the rotation guys in the big leagues.
The World Team also has some players to keep your eyes on:
Starting with the man batting second, Jurickson Profar. This shortstop is the top prospect in the Rangers organization, and is the No. 4 prospect in Major League Baseball. Profar is currently in Double-A but has been in the middle of a lot of trade talks as Texas already has an everyday shortstop in Elvis Andrus.
Batting right behind Profar is Oscar Taveras, who is the No. 3 overall prospect in the St. Louis system. Taveras has 17 home runs and 63 RBI’s in Double-A this season.
Xander Bogaerts is the DH and will be batting 5th. Bogaerts will be the pride of the Red Sox in this year’s Futures Game. He is the No. 2 overall prospect for Boston and is currently playing in the Class-A Advanced Carolina League.
The bench is highlighted, in my opinion, by Francisco Lindor. The shortstop is the top prospect for the Cleveland Indians. The youngster born in 1993 has 80 hits, 18 stolen bases and an on base percentage of .348 for Class-A Lake County.
Both teams have an abundance of talent, but like I said, you will be most impressed by the USA pitching. Cole, Taillon, Bundy and Hultzen are all futures aces and have dynamic arms.
So sit back, relax, and watch future Hall of Famers take the field in Kansas City in about an hour. Just two days before one of the biggest events on the baseball calender will take place, the stars of tomorrow will shine today.
James Nahikian blogs about the industry of sports. And specializes in articles about the Detroit Tigers, Major League Baseball and Bowling Green State University Athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org And follow him on twitter @KingNahikian or facebook where you can find links to his articles and updates about future