Futures Game Will Be A Scout’s Dream, Again

NEW YORK CITY—With a 2 p.m. scheduled start time on Sunday, the Futures Game is not the highlight of All-Star week for casual fans. Those fans are more likely to pack the park for the home run derby on Monday or the major league All-Star game on Tuesday.

But if you’re a scout, a general manager or just a dedicated fan of prospects, Sunday’s Futures Game is the must-watch event of All-Star week. Nowhere else can baseball executives and scouts see this many top prospects in one game all year. Seven of the top 10 prospects in our Midseason Top 50 Prospects list are in the game (an eighth had to pull out because of injury). Overall, 21 of the top 50 prospects in the game will be in New York.

As happens every year, the initial announced rosters and the final gameday rosters have a lot of discrepancies. The U.S. team lost righthander Taylor Jordan (Nationals), catcher Josh Phegley (White Sox), shortstop Brad Miller (Mariners) and corner infielder Joey Terdoslavich (Braves) to big league promotions. Third baseman Joey Gallo (Rangers) and righthander Taylor Guerrieri (Rays) were pulled from the game because of injuries.

In their place, Jordan has been replaced by another Nationals righthander A.J. Cole. Miller has been replaced by Chris Owings (Diamondbacks), Terdoslavich’s spot will be taken by Christian Walker (Orioles), lefthander C.J. Riefenhauser (Rays) will fill in for Guerrieri and James McCann (Tigers) will take Phegley’s spot. Probably the best replacement is the addition of third baseman Garin Cecchini (Red Sox), who will take Gallo’s spot. In most cases, the U.S. was able to add an equivalent prospect to the one who was lost, with Cecchini giving the U.S. roster a more polished and arguably better prospect than Gallo at third base. Only the replacement of Guerrieri with Riefenhauser give the U.S. club a clear prospect hit.

The World team has not been as fortunate. They did lose fewer players as catcher/first baseman Jorge Alfaro (Rangers) and outfielders Jorge Soler (Cubs) and Oscar Taveras (Cardinals) were all pulled for injuries, but they lost more when it comes to prospect talent. It would have been tough to come close to matching the prospect status of Taveras (ranked No. 2 in the Baseball America Midseason Top 50 Prospects list) and Soler (ranked 18th). In their place, the World added outfielders Reymond Fuentes (Padres) and Jesus Galindo (Giants). Alfaro has been replaced by infielder Ji-Man Choi (Mariners). The Friday call-up of righthander C.C. Lee (Indians) means he will not be replaced on the World roster. Since teams usually plan on doling out an inning per pitcher with an extra arm ready in case of an injury, Lee’s absence shouldn’t have much effect on the World’s pitching plans.

READY TO GO: Byron Buxton’s Futures Game debut will have to wait for his elders to get their due.

Buxton, the No. 1 prospect in the game, will start the game on the U.S. bench as Billy Hamilton will get the start in center field in his second Futures Game.

The U.S. starting lineup looks like this:

Billy Hamilton (Reds) CF
Delino Deshields (Astros) 2B
George Springer CF
C.J. Cron 1B
Matt Davidson 3B
Joc Pederson LF
Christian Yelich DH
Addison Russell SS
Austin Hedges C

The planned U.S. rotation is:

Noah Syndergaard (Mets) 1st
Taijuan Walker (Mariners) 2nd
Archie Bradley (Diamondbacks) 3rd
Anthony Ranaudo (Red Sox) 4th
Jesse Biddle (Phillies) 5th
Eddie Butler (Rockies) 6th
Jimmy Nelson (Brewers) 7th
C.J. Riefenhauser (Rays) 8th
Kyle Crick (Giants) 9th
A.J. Cole (Nationals) 9th

The World lineup is:

Reymond Fuentes (Padres) LF
Arismendy Alcantara (Cubs) 2B
Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox) SS
Miguel Sano (Twins) 3B
Henry Urrutia (Orioles) RF
Jordan Lennerton (Tigers) 1B
Gregory Polanco CF
Maikel Franco (Phillies) DH
A.J. Jimenez (Blue Jays) C

The World planned rotation is:

Rafael Montero (Mets) 1st
Enny Romero (Rays) 2nd
Andre Rienzo 3rd
Michael Ynoa (Athletics) 4th
Rafael DePaula 5th
Eduardo Rodriguez (Orioles) 6th
Miguel Almonte (Royals) 7th
Carlos Contreras (Reds) 8th
Yordano Ventura (Royals) 9th