Top 5 Futures Game Pitchers

SAN FRANCISCO–One of a scout’s most difficult jobs is getting a feel for pitchers in an environment like the Futures Game. That said, their assessments are always interesting.

Last year, a lot of scouts weren’t on Brewers righthander Yovani Gallardo after he showed very little in his one inning of work. Gallardo’s stuff was flat, his fastball didn’t have its usual hop and his offspeed pitches were mediocre at best.

But that was one inning. We all know what Gallardo is capable of, he just didn’t have his best outing on the big stage in Pittsburgh in 2006.

So when breaking down the top five arms in this year’s Futures Game, keep in mind this list is based on a consensus of scouts who worked the event–and only got to see one inning or less from all of the 17 arms who took the mound on Sunday:

1. Clay Buchholz, rhp, Red Sox

“He’s got the stuff, the mound presence and the poise to be successful,” a scout from a National League club said. “He’s just an exceptional arm. There are things in his delivery that will allow him to throw strikes for a long time.”

2. Deolis Guerra, rhp, Mets

“Just unbelievable stuff with great life and movement late in the zone,” an American League scout said. “His breaking ball is very good right now, but it has a chance to be plus-plus. He pounds the zone, repeats well for a big-bodied guy, and really has a chance to be special.”

3. Henry Sosa, rhp, Giants

“I thought he was going to throw 100 (mph),” another scout from an American League club said. “When I saw him earlier this year I had no idea who he was and he came out throwing 97 with two above-average breaking balls. He really went out there and pitched . . . the adrenaline really kicked in and he was on.”

4. Carlos Carrasco, rhp, Phillies

“Outstanding changeup with plus fastball command,” a scout from an N.L. club said. “He’s not afraid to throw his changeup, and that sets him apart even from some of the other guys in this game. He has three pitches above average to plus and everything’s easy. The ball just comes out of his hand so freely.”

5. Franklin Morales, lhp, Rockies

“He’s lefthanded and he blows 97 (mph),” said another N.L. scout. “What’s not to like? Yeah, he lacks consistent command of his pitches and I think he’ll always have that to some degree. But that’s OK when you can throw 97 on the inner half. He’ll get away with the lack of command because of the velocity and the plus curveball. There really isn’t a workable changeup, and I see him as a bullpen guy down the road that can blow it by you or drop that hammer.”