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Davidson takes bite of Big Apple07/14/2013 8:07 PM ET
By Ashley Marshall / MiLB.com
Matt Davidson has a busy couple days ahead of him, but his preparation could not have been better.
The D-backs' top hitting prospect slugged a two-run homer Sunday en route to being named MVP of the Futures Game.
Tomorrow, he will fly out to Reno to take part in the Triple-A Home Run Derby, and on Wednesday, he'll suit up to represent the Pacific Coast League in the midsummer classic.
"It gets you a little more excited for that plane ride back home and it rejuvenates you for that second half," Davidson said. "It's a fun time here, but you have to rest and get ready for that second half."
Davidson was one of two players to leave Citi Field during the game, along with No. 20 Cubs prospect Arismendy Alcantara, who deposited a ball into the Pepsi Porch in right field.
But it was Davidson who delivered the decisive blow, a two-run homer to left-center field that gave the U.S. Team a lead it would never relinquish.
Down against A's right-hander Michael Ynoa after fouling off a first-pitch fastball, Davidson hammered a breaking ball down the first-base line.
Davidson, who flew out in his only other at-bat, came into the game batting .291 with 14 homers for Triple-A Reno, including four long balls in his past 10 games.
"It's definitely a pitchers' ballpark for sure," Davidson said of Citi Field. "The first pitch [from Ynoa] was a heater. You haven't faced half these guys and you can't be in between when guys are throwing 95 mph, so I was sitting dead red. He got it on on me a little bit.
"He shook [his catcher off] three or four times so I was sure he shook to a fastball, but he hung a change-up and I was lucky to run into it."
Davidson, who agreed to donate his batting helmet and gloves for display in Cooperstown's Baseball Hall of Fame after the game, won't get to enjoy his big day in the city too much.
He is scheduled to fly out from New York to Nevada on Monday morning and lands at 12:30 p.m. PT. From there, he expected to get a couple hours' rest before squaring off against five other Triple-A hitters and a hand-picked selection of high schoolers in the Home Run Derby.
MLB.com's No. 62 prospect will be back at the ballpark Tuesday morning for the Triple-A All-Star Game media day and workouts, and from there he's off to a gala that evening. On Wednesday he'll take the field again for the midsummer showcase.
"It's unreal. I'm lost for words," Davidson said of the Cooperstown request. "That's kinda like little kid dream stuff that you're dreaming about. It will be cool one day to get out there and check it out."
But as excited as he was to be asked to donate some game-used gear, he had to turn down the first request for his bat.
"I'm breaking bats like crazy so I need to keep that stuff," he said. "I hit a homer with it, so it's special for me, too."
Just as sweet the second time: Taijuan Walker is no stranger to the futures Game environment, but that didn't take any of the shine off his trip to New York.
The Mariners' top pitching prospect pitched a scoreless inning of relief last July when the game took place in Kansas City, and he savored the chance to see how he fares against the brightest prospects in the game.
"It's an honor definitely," the Louisiana native said. "I got to do it last year, but coming back for a second time is an honor because there are so many great prospects in here.
"I'm excited to get to pitch here and play against the top prospects in the Minors Leagues. Just everyone in here, looking around, pretty much everyone is going to be a Major Leaguer."
Even though his mother grew up in Binghamton, N.Y., a couple hours northwest of Citi Field, the 20-year-old right-hander had only been to the city once before. As such, he relished his time on and off the mound.
Walker went on an open-top bus tour of the city Friday with fellow prospects Archie Bradley and Noah Syndergaard. "I love it here in New York, it's awesome," he proclaimed.
No place like home: Brandon Nimmo has now been in three All-Star Games -- the Under Armour All-America Game, the South Atlantic League's All-Star Game in Lakewood last month and now the Futures Game.
The Mets' No. 4 prospect was not originally part of the Team USA squad, but he made it onto the roster via the fan vote, which allows people to vote on the final pick through social media and online ballots.
"They have the best fan base in the game," Nimmo said of the Mets organization. "They put me in this game. They came out and voted and I'm not even in the Major Leagues, so it shows how much support they have and how much they're looking forward to a bright future."
A need for speed: Despite all of the speed Team USA boasted entering the Futures Game, the biggest threats on the basepaths were largely neutralized.
Billy Hamilton, Byron Buxton and Delino DeShields have combined for 114 stolen bases this season, but it was Kolten Wong who swiped the only bag of the day.
Even though fans didn't get a chance to see the speedsters tear up the bases, that didn't stop people speculating who would win a race.
"I've got asked that a couple times," DeShields said about a 60-yard dash. "And I'm sure all those would say the same thing I'm about to say: I've never lost a race in my life. I'm sure they've never lost a race in their lives.
"It would be very interesting, very close. Whoever pulls it out at the end will win. I don't know who would win, but I'd say I would. Of course I'm going to have confidence in myself. We're all competitive."
Earlier on in the day, the No. 5 Astros prospect discussed his big league potential as both a power hitter and a base stealer.
"It's an awesome feeling ... and I'm blessed to be part of this game," said DeShields, who moved from center field to second base this season.
"Hopefully, this is my life one day. Like [No. 3 Houston prospect George] Springer, his numbers are kinda ridiculous, he'll be like a 30-30 guy in the Majors one day ... I've never seen a five-tool player like him. I could be a 15-50 guy, I don't know about 30-30, I need to get a little extra pop in my bat for that."