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What To Watch For In The 2022 Futures Game

With the annual Futures Game being held this afternoon at Historic Dodger Stadium, the Baseball America team will be on-site bringing you live coverage throughout the day of the event. Leading up to the game there are several storylines and players to watch for. Below are some of the BA Team’s keys to watch for today.

Will Masyn Winn top Oneil Cruz’s 97.8 mph on an infield throw? 

Earlier this week Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Oneil Cruz set the record for hardest velocity on an infield throw of the Statcast era at 97.8 mph. During Friday’s Louisville Slugger and Baseball America Prospect Pad Winn was asked about the record and if he had his sights on breaking it this weekend. Winn stated that if he gets an opportunity on Saturday to uncork one, he’s going for the record. Winn had a throw clocked at 99.8 mph last season during his time in the Florida State League, but there is a caveat to that throw. Infielders regularly throw harder on relays than they do when fielding a grounder, because it’s easier to put their full momentum behind the throw. If Winn can top even 98 mph on a standard infield play, it would be a very impressive feat.

Which hitter will have the hardest ball in play?

With sluggers up and down each lineup, multiple balls are likely to be put into play at 100-plus mph. Powerful hitters like Jhonkensy Noel of the Guardians, Gunnar Henderson of the Orioles, Matt Wallner of the Twins, Oscar Colas of the White Sox, Jasson Dominguez of the Yankees, Francisco Alvarez of the Mets and of course, Jordan Walker of the Cardinals are all capable of hitting 100-plus mph and upwards of 110 mph on any given ball in play. With plenty of power on both squads we could see balls fly out of the park.

Which pitcher will throw the hardest?

Yes, we know. Velocity isn’t everything when it comes to the quality of a fastball. There’s a reason we didn’t throw a top-of-the-scouting-scale 80 on Hunter Greene’s fastball coming into 2022, even though it’s one of the fastest fastballs ever seen.

But when you talk about the Futures Game, you want to see pitchers hit triple digits. Here’s a quick rundown of the pitchers most likely to do so:

Which player will raise their national profile the most?

Not every prospect in the Futures Game has the same level of fame as say a Jack Leiter, Francisco Alvarez, Corbin Carroll or Jordan Walker. A player like Jackson Chourio could cement his place nationally with a good showing in today’s game. Prospects like Spencer Steer and Curtis Mead are entertaining players with the ability to impact the game in a big way with their bats. Ceddanne Rafaela of the Red Sox has the ability to make highlight-reel plays on both sides of the ball and could potentially see time in the infield and outfield today.

Two high school teammates on the field together. 

The Rangers’ Jack Leiter and the Yankees’ Anthony Volpe played high school baseball together at Delbarton High in Morristown, N.J. If American League manager Jimmy Rollins coordinates it correctly, Leiter could have Volpe behind him at shortstop when he enters the game. Leiter and Volpe, who are long-time friends, haven’t played together since 2019. There have been several high school teammates that have played together in the Futures Game, including Matt Davidson and Taijuan Walker of Yucaipa (Calif.) High, as well as Anthony Slama and Danny Espinosa of Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, Calif.

Francisco Alvarez (Photo By Elsa Getty Images)

Prospect Promotion Incentive: Taking Stock Of Year One & Looking Ahead To 2023

The Mariners added the 29th pick in the 2023 draft simply by rostering their 26 best players on Opening Day last year. Even more teams are poised to add picks in the 2024 draft, thanks to the Prospect Promotion Incentive.

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