See Also: U.S. Team Capsules
Capsule breakdowns on the World Team for the 2015 Futures Game in Cincinnati at 3 p.m. Eastern on July 12.
Whether it's Carlos Correa jumping to snag a line drive, Kris Bryant blasting opposite-field home runs or Joey Gallo making baseballs seemingly disappear into the night, it's understandable if you feel like you're watching the Futures Game every night.
It's a young man's game. But with seven of the preseason top 10 prospects in the game now playing in the big leagues, the Futures Game rosters have taken a little hit as well.
But it hasn't left the rosters depleted. Watching Lucas Giolito or Alex Reyes mix a near-triple-digits fastball with a jaw-dropping curveball will still be incredibly fun. Michael Conforto and Kyle Schwarber will give fans a chance to compare and contrast two of the best bats from the 2014 draft class. No, we won't get to see Gallo and Bryant put on shows in batting practice, but Aaron Judge and Matt Olson have plenty of raw power, and Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark is a great place to hit home runs.
And with Correa, Francisco Lindor and Addison Russell all in the big leagues and Corey Seager soon to join them, J.P. Crawford, Orlando Arcia, Trea Turner, Raul A. Mondesi and Ozhaino Albies will all state their case for being the next great shortstop prospect.
The Futures Games rosters are selected by Major League Baseball in consultation with MLB.com and Baseball America. This year's game will be played July 12 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Reds legends Tony Perez (World) and Ken Griffey Sr. (U.S.) will manage the teams.
Thankfully, the Futures Game has become a fixture of all-star weekend. This year's game is the 17th, old enough that World Futures Gamer Ozhaino Albies was less than six months old when the first game was played. Next year, we may have the first Futures Gamer who is younger than the game itself.
So as it always is, the Futures Game will be must-see for any fan of the minors and baseball's best prospects. The names quickly move on to the big leagues, so where we once got to watch Bryce Harper and Mike Trout wow fans at the Futures Game, their promotions opened the door for Bryant and Gallo (last year's Futures Game MVP). In a year or two, we'll see Crawford, Giolito and Reyes hand it off to the next wave of young stars. In the meantime, we can only hope that we get as enjoyable a game as we saw last year.
Frank Montas, rhp
White Sox (Double-A Birmingham)
Born: March 21, 1993. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 185. B-T: R-R.
Career Transactions: Signed as international free agent by Red Sox, Dec. 14, 2009 . . . Traded by Red Sox to White Sox as part of three-team deal in which Red Sox acquired RHP Jake Peavy, White Sox acquired OF Avisail Garcia and Tigers acquired SS Jose Iglesias, July 30, 2013.
Background: Montas had impressive, but unrefined, stuff when the White Sox acquired him from the Red Sox at the 2013 trade deadline. He's taken a step forward in his development with his new organization.
What To Watch For: Montas has plenty of arm strength and his fastball has been clocked at more than 100 mph. At its best, his slider is a second above-average offering.
Keury Mella, rhp
Background: Something of a late-bloomer, Mella didn't sign out of his native Dominican Republic until he was 18 years old. He's quickly made up for any lost time.
What To Watch For: Mella gets heavy sink on his fastball and has given up just two home runs in 121 innings in full-season ball. He pounds the strike zone, and his power curveball gives him an out pitch.
Jose Berrios, rhp
Background: The Twins made Berrios the highest drafted pitcher ever from Puerto Rico in 2012 and, two years later, he started the Futures Game in front of the hometown crowd at Target Field.
What To Watch For: Berrios has impressive feel for pitching, control and stuff, showing the ability to effectively mix three above-average pitches. That package has enabled him to fly through the minors, even briefly reaching Triple-A a year ago as a 20-year-old.
Alex Reyes, rhp
Background: Born in New Jersey, Reyes moved during high school to the Dominican Republic, where he lived with relatives before signing with the Cardinals for $950,000.
What To Watch For: Reyes' powerful arm has made him one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. His fastball can reach 100 mph, and his power curveball gives him a second plus offering.
x-Luis Perdomo, rhp (Injury replacement for Reyes)
Cardinals (low Class A Peoria)
Born: May 9, 1993. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 160. B-T: R-R.
Career Transactions: Signed as international free agent by Cardinals, Nov. 20, 2010.
Background: Though he has the same name, he is not the pitcher the Cardinals received many years ago from Cleveland in exchange for Anthony Reyes.
What To Watch For: From the Dominican Republic, Perdomo, 22, has struck out 76 in 77 innings and was a Midwest League all-star. He has three solid-average pitches.
Edwin Diaz, rhp
Background: In a banner year for Puerto Rican pitchers, Diaz was drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft and has found success throughout the minor leagues.
What To Watch For: Diaz has a slight frame, but his fastball sits in the low 90s and can reach 97 mph. The movement he gets on the pitch helps him create lots of groundball outs.
Joe Jimenez, rhp
Background: Undrafted after graduating from the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Jimenez signed with the Tigers and has shown off his powerful fastball in the minors.
What To Watch For: Jimenez can get his fastball up to 98 mph and mixes in a power slider. He has advanced control for a power pitcher of his age.
Jarlin Garcia, lhp
Background: It took Garcia a few seasons to reach full-season ball as he developed physically and on the mound, but he's been worth the wait.
What To Watch For: Garcia has a powerful fastball from the left side and showed he can control the pitch as well, posting the lowest walk rate in the South Atlantic League in 2014.
Jairo Labourt, lhp
Background: Labourt led the Northwest League with a 1.77 ERA last year and has built on that success this season with high Class A Dunedin.
What To Watch For: The rare big Dominican lefthander, Labourt gets good sinking action on his low-90s fastball. He's still learning how to control it, and he's averaged 4.8 walks per nine innings during his career.
Juan Gonzalez, rhp
Dodgers (Triple-A Oklahoma City)
Born: April 5, 1990. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 200. B-T: R-R.
Career Transactions: Signed as international free agent by Rockies, Oct. 6, 2006 . . . Signed by Dodgers as minor league free agent, Nov. 8, 2013.
Background: Since shifting to the bullpen in 2013, Gonzalez has taken a big step forward.
What To Watch For: Gonzalez has a powerful arm and routinely hits the mid-90s with his fastball. He gets late running life on the pitch, which leads to groundball outs, and he isn't afraid to challenge hitters.
Wei-Chieh Huang, rhp
Background: Huang pitched at the National Taiwan University of Physical Education and Sport before signing with the Diamondbacks.
What To Watch For: Huang has been impressive at the outset of his professional career, posting a 32-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first five starts. He has a low-90s fastball and can throw all four of his pitches for strikes.
Elias Diaz, C
Background: Diaz is a further testament that when it comes to catchers, it pays to be patient. In his first four seasons as a pro, Diaz looked overmatched at the plate, though his defense shined.
What To Watch For: Diaz is an excellent defender whose receiving, blocking ability and arm make him a safe bet to have a big league career. He doesn't have much power, but he's developed into a catcher who can draw a walk and makes contact.
Gary Sanchez, C
Background: Sanchez signed for $3 million in 2009, giving him the then-third-largest signing bonus in Dominican amateur baseball history. He made it to low Class A Charleston as an 18-year-old, but his ascent has slowed since.
What To Watch For: Sanchez has above-average offensive potential for a catcher, with a chance to hit 20 home runs, and he possesses a well above-average arm. Receiving premium velocity has been Sanchez's biggest weakness as a pro, so take note at the Futures Game.
Max Kepler, 1B/OF
Background: When the Twins signed Kepler out of Germany, his $800,000 bonus was the highest ever given to an amateur European player. Understandably, it took a while for Kepler to acclimate to tougher competition, but he's taken big steps forward in 2015.
What To Watch For: Kepler plays first base, but he still moonlights in center field. He's more athletic than most first baseman and has shown a steady improvement in his plate discipline and strike-zone awareness.
Cheslor Cuthbert, 1B/3B
Background: A native of Corn Island—a small island off the Eastern coast of Nicaragua—Cuthbert's $1.35 million bonus set a record for a Nicaraguan amateur player.
What To Watch For: Cuthbert always has used a simple swing that generates contact. His hitting approach is geared more toward line drives than power, though he has hit more home runs in recent seasons. In addition to playing first and third base, he has played second base as well.
x-Balbino Fuenmayor (Injury replacement for Cheslor Cuthbert)
Royals (Triple-A Omaha)
Born: Nov. 26, 1989. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 230. B-T: R-R.
Career Transactions: Signed as international free agent by Blue Jays, Aug. 23, 2006; Released by Blue Jays, May 23, 2013; Signed by independent Frontier (Frontier), June 2013; Signed by independent Quebec (Can-Am), May 2014; Signed by Royals, Oct. 29, 2014.
Background: The 2014 Indy League Player of the Year, Fuenmayor has made the most of his second crack at affiliated ball.
What To Watch For: A lot of strikeouts, but intriguing power.
Raul A. Mondesi, 2B/SS
Background: The son of Dodgers outfielder and San Cristobal mayor Raul Mondesi, the younger Mondesi signed for $2 million and quickly proved himself one of the more advanced all-around talents from his signing class.
What To Watch For: Mondesi has moved through the minors quickly, so his stats haven't caught up to his tools, but he is an above-average defensive shortstop with well above-average speed and surprising power for his size.
Ketel Marte, 2B/SS
Background: Just 21 years old, Marte has established a track record of hitting. He hit .304 at two levels in 2014 and is flirting with a Pacific Coast League batting title this season as one of the league’s youngest players.
What To Watch For: Marte's contact ability, defensive versatility and basestealing ability make him a valuable middle infielder who is nearly big league ready at an age when many players are just being drafted.
Orlando Arcia, SS
Background: The brother of Twins outfielder Oswaldo Arcia, Orlando missed the entire 2012 season with a broken ankle, but even with that setback, he's still made one of the youngest players in the Southern League.
What To Watch For: Arcia is one of the better gloves in the minor leagues, showing above-average range, excellent hands and a plus arm. His glove would get him to the big leagues, but he's also shown an advanced, contact-oriented hitting approach.
Ozhaino Albies, SS
Braves (low Class A Rome)
Born: Jan. 7, 1997. Ht.: 5-9. Wt.: 150. B-T: B-R.
Career Transactions: Signed as international free agent by Braves, July 2, 2013.
Background: The Braves weren't scared away by Albies lack of physicality and he's quickly rewarded them by hitting nearly .350 in his first two pro seasons.
What To Look For: The youngest player in this year's Futures Game doesn't play like an 18-year-old. He has an uncanny feel for the game to go with above-average bat speed and a smooth swing from both sides of the plate.
Rafael Devers, 3B
Red Sox (low Class A Greenville)
Born: Oct. 24, 1996. Ht. 6-0. Wt.: 195. B-T: L-R.
Career Transactions: Signed as international free agent by Red Sox, Aug. 9, 2013.
Background: Devers ranked No. 3 on Baseball America’s top international prospect ranking in 2013, and he’s done nothing to cool scouts’ enthusiasm since signing. He has hit for average and power in three pro stops.
What To Watch For: Devers is one of the most advanced 18-year-old hitters in the game, with bat speed, barrel control and an understanding of the strike zone. He already shows some power, but expect to see much more as he matures.
Renato Nunez, 3B
Athletics (Double-A Midland)
Born: April 4, 1994. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 200. B-T: R-R.
Career Transactions: Signed as international free agent by Athletics, July 2, 2010.
Background: This will be Nunez’s second Futures Game, and last year he stood out by singling on a 98 mph fastball from Alex Meyer. He has shown plenty of power as a pro, hitting 19 home runs in 2013 and 29 in 2014.
What To Watch For: Nunez has excellent power potential, but he’s still working to make enough contact. At his best, the power comes easy with a fluid, easy swing, but he too often starts looking to yank balls down the line which makes him vulnerable to a pitcher who can hit his spots.
Raimel Tapia, OF
Rockies (high Class A Modesto)
Born: Feb. 4, 1994. Ht: 6-2. Wt.: 160. B-T: L-L.
Career Transactions: Signed as international free agent by Rockies, Nov. 29, 2010.
Background: Tapia hit .357 in Grand Junction in 2013 to lead the Pioneer League and has generally hit everywhere he's played.
What To Look For: Tapia has excellent hand-eye coordination and above-average bat speed that allows him to spray the ball to all fields. He's also shown improved reliability in center field, though he most likely will end up playing an outfield corner in the majors.
Nomar Mazara, OF
Rangers (Double-A Frisco)
Born: April 26, 1995. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 195. B-T: L-L.
Career Transactions: Signed as international free agent by Rangers, July 2, 2011.
Background: The Rangers made Mazara the highest-paid Dominican amateur ever when they signed him for $4.95 million in 2011. He started slow but blossomed in a return to Hickory in 2014 and then adeptly handled a jump to Double-A Frisco while still a teenager.
What To Look For: Mazara has gone from having an exaggerated leg kick to a tiny toe tap. That cleanup to his setup has allowed him to generate more consistent contact and has helped him get to his excellent raw power.
Manuel Margot, OF
Red Sox (Double-A Portland)
Born: Sept. 28, 1994. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 170. B-T: R-R.
Career Transactions: Signed as international free agent by Red Sox, July 2, 2011.
Background: From the day the Red Sox signed Margot, he's has adapted quickly to being pushed. Sent to short-season Lowell as an 18-year-old, he jumped to low Class A Greenville as a 19-year-old and has made it to Double-A Portland as a 20-year-old.
What To Look For: Margot is a well-rounded center fielder, one who gets great jumps to both gaps in center field. He generates lots of solid contact and has above-average speed.
Yorman Rodriguez, OF
Reds (Triple-A Louisville)
Born: Aug. 15, 1992. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 210. B-T: R-R
Career Transactions: Signed as international free agent by Reds, Aug. 15, 2008.
Background: Rodriguez has learned the power of patience. He signed with the Reds back in 2008, far enough back that Ken Griffey Jr. was still the team's center fielder, but he persevered and made his big league debut in 2014.
What To Look For: Rodriguez is well-rounded and capable of playing all three outfield positions. He has a chance for average power and a potentially average hit tool. He doesn't have star potential, but he's close to becoming a big league contributor.
Socrates Brito, OF
Background: Brito has always been an outfielder whose tools indicate great promise. He's shown signs at times of turning the corner, but he's still working at turning potential into production.
What To Watch For: Brito is the most athletic outfielder in the Diamondbacks system, with the arm to play right field and the speed to handle center. He has raw power that is apparent in batting practice but doesn't usually play in games.