2020 Vision: 30 Picks For Next Year's Futures Game
The 2019 Futures Game is in the books, which makes it the perfect time to start dreaming about what the lineups might look like next year in Los Angeles. While some of this game’s stars might find themselves in the big leagues come 2020, the next Futures Gamers are likely just getting their feet wet in pro ball.
With that in mind, we’ve identified one prospect from each team who we think has an excellent chance to represent their team on July 12 at Dodger Stadium. To make the exercise a little more fun, we’ve set a couple of guidelines. Namely, each team’s candidate has to be a first-time Futures Gamer and cannot have played above high Class A.
Three hundred sixty five days in advance, here are our guesses:
D-backs —Kristian Robinson, OF
The 18-year-old has started hot in the short-season Northwest League and has long been known for a dynamic skill set across the board.
Braves — Shea Langeliers, C
The Braves’ first-rounder from the most recent draft would add an excellent defensive backstop to the National League roster.
Orioles — Adley Rutschman, C
The No. 1 overall pick in this past draft and perhaps the most celebrated amateur prospect since Bryce Harper, Rutschman has superstar written all over him. If healthy, he’s a shoo-in for next year’s Futures Game.
Red Sox — Triston Casas, 3B
Casas had his first taste of pro ball cut short by injury, but he has more than made up for lost time with his turn at low Class A Greenville. He’s swatted 15 home runs through his first 75 games this year, which is tied for the third-best total in Boston’s system.
Cubs — Brailyn Marquez, LHP
The lefthander touched 100 mph at this year’s Midwest League all-star game and has easily the highest ceiling among Cubs pitching prospects. He matches the pitch with a slider that projects as above-average or better.
White Sox — Andrew Vaughn, 1B
As if Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada weren’t enough, the White Sox might have struck gold (or at least Golden Bear) with the best college prospect in this year’s draft not named Adley Rutschman.
Reds — Jonathan India, 3B
The Reds’ 2018 first-rounder has played excellent defense and shown signs of power in the traditionally pitcher-friendly Florida State League.
Indians — George Valera, OF
Injuries have sidetracked Valera in the early stages of his career, but he’s shown the marks of a five-tool player when healthy. If he makes it, he could wow onlookers with his batting practice display.
Rockies — Ryan Rolison, LHP
The Mississippi product brings an arsenal of three average or better pitches from the left side, and his numbers this season have been far better away from the hitters oasis of Asheville’s McCormick Field.
Tigers — Riley Greene, OF
The Tigers’ first-rounder in the most recent draft, Greene was the best pure hitter in the 2019 prep class and has the potential to be an offensive-minded center fielder.
Astros — Jairo Solis, RHP
Solis is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery he had last August, but when healthy he shows a four-pitch mix fronted by a mid-90s fastball and an above-average changeup. He’s one of the system’s highest-ceiling arms.
Royals — Kyle Isbel, OF
The easy pick here would be Bobby Witt Jr., the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft, but Isbel is one to watch in Kansas City's system. He’s got classic leadoff skills with potentially average power thrown in as well.
Angels — Jordyn Adams, OF
The Angels bet on Adams’ tools coming out of high school, and we’re betting on them here. The two-sport star combines strength and athleticism and with time could develop into an extremely explosive player.
Dodgers — Niko Hulsizer, OF
The system’s biggest breakout prospect, Hulsizer has put himself on the map with power that one evaluator estimated was among the best in the organization.
Brewers — Mario Feliciano, C
At just 20 years old, Feliciano is beginning to deliver returns on his offensive potential. He’s got an athletic, whippy stroke that produces excellent power to all sectors of the ballpark.
Twins — Jhoan Duran, RHP
Duran boasts one of the most intriguing arsenals in the minors, with a pitch package highlighted by a fastball that has touched 102 mph this year and a split-changeup with two-seam action in the low 90s.
Marlins — Braxton Garrett, LHP
Fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, Garrett has utilized an arsenal of three potentially average or better pitches to whiff 89 hitters in 68.2 innings as part of an extremely talented rotation at high Class A Jupiter.
Mets — Ronny Mauricio, SS
Mauricio turned 18 years old on Opening Day and has more than held his own as the second-youngest player in the South Atlantic League. Mauricio’s future has a wide variety of outcomes, but some evaluators see a shortstop with the potential for 15-20 home runs per year.
Yankees — Luis Gil, RHP
The Yankees might have hit the jackpot on this lottery ticket acquisition. Gil’s elite fastball, a nasty breaking ball and improving changeup put him near the top of the system’s heap of promising young righthanders.
Athletics— Jameson Hannah, OF
The A’s second-rounder out of Dallas Baptist in 2018, Hannah has shown a bat geared to produce line drives as well as plus speed that serves him both on the bases and in center field.
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Phillies — Francisco Morales, RHP
Morales has some Jekyll and Hyde qualities, but when he’s right he shows some of the nastiest stuff in the system. He’s still working on his changeup, but his mid- to upper-90s fastball and double-plus slider have helped him whiff 85 batters in 60 innings with low Class A Lakewood.
Pirates — Oneil Cruz, SS
Cruz fits the Futures Game format perfectly. His raw power would be certain to wow onlookers during batting practice, and his rifle arm at shortstop would draw plenty of oohs and aahs as well.
Padres — Xavier Edwards, SS
In his first full season as a pro, Edwards has shown elite bat-to-ball skills that remind evaluators of the way Luis Urias performed at the same level. His .337 average is the best in the Midwest League.
Giants — Marco Luciano, SS
San Francisco’s bonus baby from the 2018 international class has already started with a bang. In 15 games in the Rookie-level Arizona League, the 17-year-old has already swatted seven home runs. For context, that’s already halfway to the total that led the league last year and is already tied for eighth in the Giants’ system.
Mariners — Julio Rodriguez, OF
It’s not enough to say Rodriguez might make the Futures Game next year. He’s got the tools to take home the game’s MVP honors. A tool shed in center field, Rodriguez has the ability to hit for average and prodigious power. He also has a double-plus arm in center field.
Cardinals — Zack Thompson, LHP
The Cardinals’ first-rounder in this year’s draft has already raced to high Class A and used a mix of average or above-average pitches to draw a bunch of swings and misses this year as Kentucky’s Friday night starter.
Rays — Matthew Liberatore, LHP
Though he might not quite light up the radar gun like most pitchers in the Futures Game, Liberatore mixes an arsenal of above-average or plus pitches with polish and poise that belies his age.
Rangers — Bubba Thompson, OF
Thompson has missed nearly all of the season, but entering the year he was lauded for a mix of above-average or better tools, including double-plus speed. A return to health in 2020 could lead to a breakout year and a Futures Game berth.
Blue Jays — Eric Pardinho, RHP
Pardinho broke out in a big way in 2019 when he carved up the Rookie-level Appalachian League as a 17-year-old. He missed most of the first half with elbow soreness but made his way to low Class A Lansing and still offers and enticing mix of pitches that are above-average or plus.
Nationals — Tim Cate, LHP
Cate was the Nationals’ second-rounder in 2018 and made his name on the strength of a curveball that projects to be double-plus. He combines the hook with a low-90s fastball that has allowed him to strike out 92 hitters through the first half of the season.