US prospects to take on World standouts July 13 at Target Field
June 24, 2014
Right now, they're strewn across the country with different teams at different levels in the Minor Leagues . For one game next month, they'll all be on the same field together, for perhaps not the last time. For one game, the Future will be on the big stage.
The rosters for the US and World teams -- each filled with some of the most prominent prospects in the Minors -- were announced for the 2014 Futures Game to be held July 13 at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins and the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game two days later.
Cubs No. 2 and MLB.com's No. 8 overall prospect Kris Bryant might be the biggest name and hottest player on the US squad. The No. 2 overall pick in last year's Draft put up a .355/.458/.702 slash line with 22 homers and 58 RBIs, each Southern League bests, in 68 games for Double-A Tennessee before being promoted to Triple-A Iowa. He's picked up where he left off since joining the Pacific Coast League, smashing five home runs in his first six games. That gives him 27 on the season, which ties him with Rangers prospect and fellow US Team third baseman Joey Gallo for the Minor League lead.
Red Sox No. 5 prospect Mookie Betts, who has played second base and center field this season, should give the US plenty of speed and quality at-bats at the top of the lineup, given his .346/.432/.525 line with 28 steals between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket this season.
The Americans certainly won't be wanting for arms. MLB.com's No. 10 overall prospect Noah Syndergaard (6-4, 4.98 ERA, 67 strikeouts in 65 Triple-A innings) returns for his second straight Futures Game after the Mets farmhand got the start at Citi Field a year ago. An arsenal of Robert Stephenson, Henry Owens, Hunter Harvey, Lucas Giolito, Braden Shipley and Daniel Norris will give the US plenty of top-100 talent on the mound.
Meanwhile, the World team roster is particularly stacked at the shortstop position with Javier Baez (MLB.com No. 6), Carlos Correa (No. 7) and Francisco Lindor (No. 9) making the cut.
Correa, who was batting .325 with a .926 OPS in 62 games for Class A Advanced Lancaster, was having perhaps the best season of the three before recently going down with an ankle injury that has sent him to the disabled list. The Astros have not announced a timetable for his return, although it's unlikely he'll actually be able to participate in the Futures Game.
Lindor, the Indians' top prospect, has done little to hurt his reputation as a slick fielding shortstop during his first season with Double-A Akron. He also owns a .281/.360/.403 slash line with 19 steals in 71 games with the RubberDucks. Baez, on the other hand, has struggled for Triple-A Iowa (.226/.278/.424) but has shown plenty of the power potential (11 homers) that gave him an elevated prospect ranking in the first place.
Likely to get the ball to start on the mound in perhaps his future park will be Twins No. 5 prospect Jose Berrios. The 20-year-old right-hander has been cutting up the Florida State League with an 8-2 record, 2.05 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 83 1/3 innings for Class A Advanced Fort Myers.
The game could feature two teammates squaring off as Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga shortstop Corey Seager and left-handed pitcher Julio Urias -- the Dodgers' No. 1 and 3 prospects, respectively -- are each set to suit up for the US and World teams.
Former Twins manager Tom Kelly will be the skipper for the US side while Hall of Fame hurler and Netherlands native Bert Blyleven will manage the World squad. The US has won four straight Futures Games, including last year's 4-2 victory in New York.
Here are the complete US and World rosters for the 2014 Futures Game: