Castellanos powers U.S. to Futures rout

Tigers prospect homers in nine-run sixth, scores three times

By Sam Dykstra / Special to | July 8, 2012 6:35 PM

One game might not be an adequate sample size, but if Sunday was any indication, the future for America's baseball stars is a bright one.

Nick Castellanos went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer and three runs scored as the U.S. trounced the World team, 17-5, at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

The U.S., boasting 10 of's Top 100 Prospects, collected 17 hits, including eight for extra bases.

"I wanted us to step on their throats," U.S. manager George Brett told, "and we did."

Castellanos, the Tigers' No. 2 prospect, earned MVP honors after sparking a nine-run sixth inning. He started the uprising with a single and came around to score on fellow Detroit Minor Leaguer Rob Brantly. Two batters later, Manny Machado --'s No. 3 prospect -- ripped a two-run double.

Wil Myers (Royals) lifted a sacrifice fly, Mike Olt (Rangers) doubled home a run, Jonathan Singleton (Astros) delivered an RBI single and Nolan Arenado (Rockies) followed with a base hit to chase Angels prospect Ariel Pena. Castellanos greeted Julio Rodriguez (Phillies) with a three-run blast to extend the U.S. lead to 15-5.

"I remember saying to myself, 'That's huge. That's awesome,'" Castellanos told "It was a great at-bat. The pitcher pitched me really well. I worked a 3-2 count and he left, I think, a two-seamer that got in. And I was able to get the good part of the bat to it and it got enough to get out. That at-bat's definitely up there with the greatest at-bats I've had in pro ball."

Had Castellanos not taken home the game's individual hardware, Myers -- Kansas City's No. 2 prospect -- would have been an interesting choice. The North Carolina native went 2-for-4 and, like Castellanos, drove in three runs. Singleton also merited consideration after going 3-for-4 with a walk, an RBI and two runs scored.

"It was definitely cool to be out there in front of the home crowd," Myers said. "I saw the ball well. The hitter's eye is great here; the ball looks huge coming in. I was able to get some good pitches over the plate and I was lucky to take advantage of them."

Reds speedster Billy Hamilton, who leads the Minor Leagues with 104 stolen bases, contributed a two-run triple.

On the World side, Rangers top prospect Jurickson Profar launched a solo homer off U.S. starter Jake Odorizzi (Royals) with one out in the first and added a single in the third before leaving for a defensive replacement.

Cubs farmhand Jae-Hoon Ha hit a two-run homer off Pirates prospect Gerrit Cole in the second and singled in the fourth in his only two at-bats.

"I felt really excited," Ha said. "I didn't think I hit a home run, I thought it was going to hit the wall. But I hit it hard."

Orioles No. 2 prospect Dylan Bundy earned the win after giving up three singles in a scoreless fourth. D-backs No. 3 prospect Tyler Skaggs followed that with a spotless fifth while Taijuan Walker (Mariners), Alex Meyer (Nationals), Zack Wheeler (Mets) and Matt Barnes (Red Sox) combined to allow one hit over three scoreless innings to close it out.

Starter Yordano Ventura (Royals) along with Jose Fernandez (Marlins), Enny Romero (Rays) and Kyle Lotzkar (Reds) were the only World hurlers to post shutout frames. Tigers flamethrower Bruce Rendon retired both batters he faced, reaching 102 mph on the radar gun.

Sam Dykstra is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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