Baseball America

2013 Futures Game: United States Roster

PITCHERS

Jesse BiddleJesse Biddle, lhp

Phillies (Double-A Reading)

Born: Oct. 22, 1991. Height: 6-4. Weight: 225. Bats: L. Throws: L.

Career Transactions: Selected by Phillies in 1st round of 2010 draft; signed June 10, 2010.

Background: A lifelong Phillies fan who grew up in Philadelphia and attended the Game Five clincher of the 2008 World Series two years before the Phillies picked him, Biddle has risen to become the Phillies’ best pitching prospect.

What To Watch For: Biddle gets swings and misses with his 89-93 mph fastball that he locates well, and he has sharpened his curveball to the point where it’s a second out pitch.

Jesse Biddle’s Statistics

Archie Bradley, rhp

Born: Aug. 10, 1992. Height: 6-4. Weight: 225. Bats: R. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Diamondbacks in 1st round of 2011 draft; signed Aug. 15, 2011.

Background: Bradley battled with fellow Oklahoman Dylan Bundy for the title of best high school pitcher in the 2011 draft. He spurned a scholarship offer to be a quarterback for Oklahoma to sign with the Diamondbacks for a club-record $5 million bonus.

What To Watch For: Bradley features a 93-98 mph fastball and an excellent 12-to-6 curveball. His control has improved significantly this year, which helped him quickly jump to Double-A.

Archie Bradley’s Statistics

Eddie Butler, lhp

Rockies (High Class A Modesto)

Born: March 13, 1991. Height: 6-2. Weight: 180. Bats: B. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Rockies in supplemental 1st round of 2012 draft; signed June 12, 2012.

Background: A Virginia native, Butler became just the third player in Radford history to be taken in the top 10 rounds of the draft. He led the Pioneer League in ERA, WHIP and opponent average in his pro debut last year and has continued that strong run in full-season ball this year, jumping from low Class A to high Class A after just nine starts.

What To Watch For: Butler can dominate with his 94-96 mph fastball, and there’s a chance his curveball and slider will both work as big league pitches. He needs to improve his changeup to cement himself as a starter.

Eddie Butler’s Statistics

Kyle Crick, rhp

Giants (High Class A San Jose)

Born: Nov. 30, 1992. Height: 6-4. Weight: 220. Bats: L. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Giants in supplemental 1st round of 2011 draft; signed July 5, 2011.

Background: A first baseman for most of his high school career in Texas, Crick discovered he was better suited to pitching when he hit the mid-90s with his fastball before his senior year. After compiling a 2.51 ERA last year, he missed time with an oblique injury this spring, but he has shown no ill effects since returning.

What To Watch For: Giants coaches say Crick’s fastball is a better pitch at this point than Matt Cain’s was at the same point in his career. It sits in the mid-90s and can touch 99 mph. His curveball also should be an above-average pitch.

Kyle Crick’s Statistics

Taylor GuerrieriTaylor Guerrieri, rhp

Rays (Low Class A Bowling Green)

Born: Dec. 1, 1992. Height: 6-3. Weight: 195. Bats: R. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Rays in 1st round of 2011 draft; signed Aug. 15, 2011.

Background: In a draft class that included Dylan Bundy, Archie Bradley, Robert Stephenson and Jose Fernandez, Guerrieri’s stuff matched up favorably with any of them. He signed with the Rays out of a South Carolina high school and compiled a 1.04 ERA in short-season ball.

What To Watch For: Guerrieri will take a slow path through the minors because that’s the Rays’ way, but his stuff is advanced. He pairs a plus fastball that peaks at 98 mph with a potentially plus curveball and a promising changeup.

Taylor Guerrieri’s Statistics

Taylor Jordan, rhp

Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg)

Born: Jan. 17, 1989. Height: 6-3. Weight: 190. Bats: R. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Nationals in 9th round of 2009 draft; signed June 14, 2009.

Background: The Reds drafted Jordan out of high school in 2007, but he did not sign and went to two junior colleges before the Nationals drafted him two years later. He was derailed by Tommy John surgery in 2011 but has put himself back on the radar this season.

What To Watch For: Jordan gets lots of groundball outs with an 88-94 mph fastball that has natural sink. His slider and changeup are good enough to keep hitters off balance as well.

Taylor Jordan’s Statistics

Jimmy Nelson, rhp

Brewers (Triple-A Nashville)

Born: June 5, 1989. Height: 6-6. Weight: 245. Bats: R. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Brewers in 2nd round of 2010 draft; signed June 22, 2010.

Background: Through much of his college career at Alabama, Nelson was an erratic starter who could dominate or get shelled. He has been much more consistent with the Brewers, emerging as the club’s most polished upper-level starter.

What To Look For: Nelson can get swings and misses up in the zone with his 92-95 mph, four-seam fastball or get ground balls with his low-90s, two-seam fastball. Some scouts see him as a future power reliever because his secondary stuff is less advanced and his delivery is herky-jerky.

Jimmy Nelson’s Statistics

anthony-ranaudo-2013-cwAnthony Ranaudo, rhp

Red Sox (Double-A Portland)

Born: Sept. 9, 1989. Height: 6-7. Weight: 230. Bats: R. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Red Sox in supplemental 1st round (39th overall) of 2010 draft; signed Aug. 16, 2010.

Background: A New Jersey native, Ranaudo dominated as a sophomore at Louisiana State in 2009 but battled nagging injuries and inconsistency in the years that followed. This year he’s pitching like it’s 2009 again.

What To Watch For: When at his best, Ranaudo has been dominant. He pounds the zone with a 92-96 mph fastball, getting good downward plane thanks to his height, and setting up a plus curveball. He still needs to improve his changeup.

Anthony Ranaudo’s Statistics

Noah SyndergaardNoah Syndergaard, RHP

Mets (Double-A Binghamton)

Born: Aug. 29, 1992. Height: 6-6. Weight: 240. Bats: L. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Blue Jays in supplemental 1st round of 2010 draft; signed June 15, 2010 . . . Traded by Blue Jays to Mets, Dec. 17, 2012.

Background: Syndergaard’s velocity spiked as a high school senior and continued to climb in pro ball, peaking in the high 90s. He quickly established himself as the top pitching prospect in the Blue Jays system, triggering his inclusion in the offseason trade to the Mets for reigning Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey.

What To Watch For: Syndergaard shows remarkable control for such a tall, young power pitcher. The development of a slider this season has sped up his arm when throwing his curveball, improving deception on the pitch and earning him a midseason promotion to Double-A.

 

Noah Syndergaard’s Statistics

 

taijuan-walker-2013-mugTaijuan Walker, rhp

Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma)

Born: Aug. 13, 1992. Ht. 6-4. Weight: 210. Bats: R. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Mariners in supplemental 1st round of 2010 draft; signed June 18, 2010.

Background: Nicknamed Sky Walker in high school because of his dunks on the basketball court, Walker has quickly grown into one of the best pitching prospects in the game. He returned to Double-A to open the season but earned a promotion to Triple-A in June.

What To Watch For: Walker generates more swings and misses with his fastball than most power pitchers, throwing 93-95 mph and touching 97, and his curveball and changeup could both be plus pitches. Scouts cite Dwight Gooden as a comp for Walker’s combination of dominant stuff and athleticism.

Taijuan Walker’s Statistics

CATCHERS

Austin Hedges, C

Padres (High Class A Lake Elsinore)

Born: Aug. 18, 1992. Height: 6-1. Weight: 190. Bats: R. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Padres in 2nd round of 2011 draft; signed Aug. 15, 2011.

Background: Perhaps the best catching prospect in the minors, Hedges stands out for his defensive tools, but he can hit too. A bruised bone in his hand has muted his power output this season in the California League, but not his batting eye or throwing arm.

What To Watch For: Scouts focus on Hedges intently between innings, watching his smooth transfers and accurate throws to second base. He has gunned down 35 percent of basestealers this season while holding his own offensively. He has more thunder in his bat than his first-half numbers suggest.

 

Austin Hedges’ Statistics

 

josh-phegley-2013Josh Phegley, C

White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte)

Born: Feb. 12, 1988. Height: 5-10. Weight: 220. Bats: R. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by White Sox in supplemental 1st round of 2009 draft; signed June 25, 2009.

Background: Injury and illness have slowed Phegley’s career, the worst episode coming in 2010 when he had to have his spleen removed after a rare condition called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura caused him to have low blood platelets. He got back on the field for a full season in 2011, and his performance has picked up each year since.

What To Watch For: Phegley is showing the impressive power scouts saw from him in college, already surpassing his previous career high for homers. His best defensive tool is his throwing arm, which has helped him erase 46 percent of basestealers for his career.

 

Josh Phegley’s Statistics

 

INFIELDERS

C.J. Cron, 1B

Angels (Double-A Arkansas)

Born: Jan. 5, 1990. Height: 6-4. Weight: 6-4. Bats: R. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Angels in 1st round of 2011 draft; signed June 28, 2011.

Background: Cron’s father Chris reached the majors as a player, manages the Tigers’ Double-A Erie squad and will work as a coach in the Futures Game. C.J. led the minors with 123 RBIs in high Class A last year, while playing through a torn labrum that had bothered him since his final year of college at Utah.

What To Watch For: Cron combines prodigious strength with contact ability. He’s an aggressive hitter, so he doesn’t walk much, but his bat-on-ball skills limit his strikeouts. A catcher in college, Cron’s shoulder problems forced a move to first base.

 

C.J. Cron’s Statistics

 

Matt Davidson, 3B

Diamondbacks (Triple-A Reno)

Born: March 26, 1991. Height: 6-2. Weight: 225. Bats: R. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Diamondbacks in supplemental 1st round of 2009 draft; signed June 15, 2009.

Background: Davidson’s power made his a showcase standout throughout his high school career, and the Diamondbacks signed him out of a California high school in 2009. Any questions about how his power would translate were answered as Davidson put up back-to-back 20-homer seasons in 2011 and 2012.

What To Watch For: Power is Davidson’s calling card, but he’s not a one-dimensional hitter. He has a mature approach at the plate, willing to take balls the other way when he’s going well. His defense has further to go, but he has the hands and arm strength to stick at the hot corner.

 

Matt Davidson’s Statistics

 

Delino DeShields, 2B

Astros (High Class A Lancaster)

Born: Aug. 16, 1992. Height: 5-9. Weight: 205. Bats: R. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Astros in 1st round of 2010 draft; signed Aug. 5, 2010.

Background: DeShields could one day challenge the 463 career steals racked up by his father of the same name. Billy Hamilton’s exploits overshadowed him in 2012, but DeShields stole 101 bases of his own, rebounding from a disappointing 2011 with a breakout season at two Class A levels.

What To Watch For: Speed and athleticism are at the top of the list with DeShields, both on the bases and in the field. He has the patience at the plate to make him a dangerous leadoff hitter, with enough strength in his bat to keep opposing pitchers and defenses honest.

 

Delino DeShields’ Statistics

 

joey-gallo-2013-bm-mugJoey Gallo, 3B

Rangers (Low Class A Hickory)

Born: Nov. 19, 1993. Height: 6-5. Weight: 205. Bats: L. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Rangers in supplemental 1st round of 2012 draft; signed June 12, 2012.

Background: Gallo hit 65 career home runs in high school, a Nevada record, and then set an Arizona League season record with 18 in his pro debut. In his sights: the South Atlantic League single-season summit of 40, reached previously by a 20-year-old Russell Branyan in 1996.

What To Watch For: Top-of-the-scale power is Gallo’s defining characteristic, and like Branyan before him, he brings with it strikeouts and walks. Gallo can hit the ball out of any ballpark, to any field, and he has a terrific arm, and those are his only real standout tools.

 

Joey Gallo’s Statistics

 

Brad Miller, SS

Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma)

Born: Oct. 18, 1989. Height: 6-2. Weight: 185. Bats: L. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Mariners in 2nd round of 2011 draft; signed Aug. 15, 2011.

Background: Miller won ACC player of the year honors in 2011, when he hit .431 for Clemson, and all he has done since is hit .334 in his three-year minor league career. After he ranked second in the minors with 186 hits last season, he already earned a promotion from Double-A to Triple-A in May.

What To Watch For: Miller’s batting stance inevitably draws comparisons to Craig Counsell, though Miller isn’t quite that extreme. He’s a pesky, contact-oriented hitter who slashes line drives from gap to gap. Errors have been a problem, but he has the pure tools—range and arm strength—to play shortstop.

 

Brad Miller’s Statistics

 

addison-russell-2013-mugAddison Russell, SS

Athletics (High Class A Stockton)

Born: Jan. 23, 1994. Height: 6-0. Weight: 195. Bats: R. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Athletics in 1st round of 2012 draft; signed June 15, 2012.

Background: The A’s hadn’t taken a high school hitter in the first round since Eric Chavez in 1996 before they grabbed Russell out of a Florida high school with the No. 11 pick last year. He was the youngest player on a California League roster on Opening Day this year.

What To Watch For: Russell has dynamic talent, capable of being a difference-maker with his bat or his glove. He’ll hit line drives all over the field, and scouts can project quality power for him down the road. There’s little doubt he can stick at shortstop, as he’s a good athlete with above-average speed and a strong arm.

 

Addison Russell’s Statistics

 

Joey Terdoslavich, 1B/OF

Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett)

Born: Sept. 9, 1988. Height: 6-0. Weight: 200. Bats: B. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Braves in 6th round of 2010 draft; signed June 18, 2010.

Background: Terdoslavich was the Braves’ minor league player of the year in 2011, when he set a Carolina League record with 52 doubles. He struggled initially in Triple-A in 2012 but rebounded to hit .315 after a demotion to Double-A and has torn up the International League in his second crack at it this year.

What To Watch For: There’s a good reason Terdoslavich set that doubles record. The switch-hitter peppers the gaps with line drives, and he has shown more home run power this year. He couldn’t stick at third base, so he’ll have to play first base or a corner outfield spot.

 

Joey Terdoslavich’s Statistics

 

Kolten WongKolten Wong, 2B

Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis)

Born: Oct. 10, 1990. Height: 5-9. Weight: 185. Bats: L. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Cardinals in first round of 2011 draft; signed June 25, 2011.

Background: Wong parlayed his All-America season at Hawaii in 2011 into a $1.3 million bonus from the Cardinals, and he has kept on hitting as a pro. He has a .304 career minor league mark, not including his .324 showing in the Arizona Fall League last year.

What To Watch For: Don’t let Wong’s 5-foot-9 stature fool you; he’s got pop in his bat, capable of lashing line drives into the gaps all day long with the occasional homer. Although he doesn’t have blazing speed, he excels at small ball as well, and he’s an adept bunter and an intelligent basestealer.

 

Kolten Wong’s Statistics

 

OUTFIELDERS

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton, OF

Twins (High Class A Fort Myers)

Born: Dec. 18, 1993. Height: 6-2. Weight: 189. Bats: R. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Twins in 1st round of 2012 draft; signed June 13, 2012.

Background: Buxton easily could’ve been the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft, and the Twins were ecstatic he was there for them at No. 2. There’s nothing Buxton can’t do on the field, including pitch, as he struck out 18 in a Georgia state title game on his way to Baseball America’s High School Player of the Year award.

What To Watch For: Buxton alone is worth the price of a Futures Game ticket. He’s a true five-tool talent, with the bat speed to hit for power and the easy swing to hit for average. He has well above-average speed in center field, and his tools and athleticism earn him comparisons to the likes of Andrew McCutchen and Matt Kemp.

Byron Buxton’s Statistics

Billy Hamilton, of

Reds (Triple-A Louisville)

Born: Sept. 9, 1990. Height: 6-0. Weight: 160. Bats: B. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Reds in 2nd round of 2009 draft; signed June 13, 2009.

Background: Hamilton played in the 2012 Futures Game as a shortstop on his way to setting a pro record with 155 steals last year. He returns this year as a center fielder. It has proven to be a relatively easy transition, as the game’s fastest player has found his speed translates well to running down fly balls.

What To Look For: When he lays down a bunt, Hamilton will turn in one of the fastest home-to-first-times anyone will ever see. All that’s left for him to prove is that his lefthanded swing is capable of matching up against power pitching.

Billy Hamilton’s Statistics

joc-pederson-2013Joc Pederson, OF

Dodgers (Double-A Chattanooga)

Born: April 21, 1992. Height: 6-1. Weight: 185. Bats: L. Throws: L.

Career Transactions: Selected by Dodgers in 11th round of 2010 draft; signed Aug. 16, 2010.

Background: The son of former Dodger Stu Pederson, Joc passed on a chance to play baseball and football at Southern California to sign with the Dodgers out of a California high school in 2010. He broke out by hitting .328 with 16 homers in high Class A in the second half of last season and has kept on producing in Double-A this spring.

What To Watch For: Pederson has a high baseball IQ and a grinder’s mentality, but he has plenty of tools as well. His power has continued to emerge, yet he doesn’t try to do too much and can go the other way. He has the athleticism to be a center fielder and is capable of playing any outfield spot.

Joc Pederson’s Statistics

George SpringerGeorge Springer, OF

Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi)

Born: Sept. 19, 1989. Height: 6-3. Weight: 200. Bats: R. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Astros in 1st round of 2011 draft; signed Aug. 15, 2011.

Background: Springer flew under the radar in high school before blossoming into a star at Connecticut, helping the Huskies end a 16-year NCAA tournament drought with trips in 2010 and 2011. He was one of just two minor leaguers to hit 20 homers and steal 30 bases last year.

What To Watch For: Springer’s power/speed combination takes a back seat to no one, and he’s one of the most exciting prospects in baseball. He has tremendous bat speed and can hit balls out of any part of the park, and his above-average speed makes him a top-flight center fielder.

George Springer’s Statistics

christian-yelich-2013-cwChristian Yelich, OF

Marlins (Double-A Jacksonville)

Born: Dec. 5, 1991. Height: 6-4. Weight: 195. Bats: L. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Selected by Marlins in first round (23rd overall) of 2010 draft; signed Aug. 16, 2010.

Background: Yelich hit .330 last season and has been the Marlins’ minor league player of the year in each of his two full seasons since being their top pick out of a California high school in 2010. A prep first baseman, his athleticism led the Marlins to give him a shot in the outfield and he has made it stick.

What To Watch For: Yelich has the prototypical sweet lefthander’s swing, and his willingness to use the entire field points to continued high averages as he moves forward. He has serviceable power–though it won’t be a strength—and he’s a good runner who will be a capable center fielder and basestealer.

Christian Yelich’s Statistics