With Friday’s announcement of upcoming Futures Game rosters, let’s take a look at both teams and see which side has an edge in catchers, infielders, outfielders and pitching. The numbers next to the players are their rankings in our Overall Top 148 prospects from March. Please keep in mind that these rankings are from our March report and the players/rankings will change when our next overall list is released. It was very curious not to see some of the top prospects named to the Future Stars team like Nick Senzel (injury), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (injury), and Kyle Tucker (possible call up?). There are still a ton of great prospects playing in the game as noted below.
Danny Jansen from Toronto and Oakland’s Sean Murphy are the two catchers selected here. Both are rising up the ranks and having very solid seasons. Murphy is ranked #5 on our Oakland Top 50 list and has continued to develop his hit skills to go along with his strong defense. Jansen has a knack for getting on base and his power is developing.
The catching corps is very impressive with our 18th-ranked prospect, Cleveland’s Francisco Mejia, and Keibert Ruiz from the Los Angeles Dodgers organization (#58). Mejia had a slow start to his year but has turned it on lately. They are joined by Miguel Amaya out of the Chicago Cubs organization, who already has 10 home runs in 73 games this year.
Edge – World
This is a great group of future stars. Bo Bichette and Brendan Rodgers tied for 6th place in our rankings representing Toronto and Colorado respectively. Peter Alonso (#127) is having a spectacular year for the Mets’ organization and could get called up later this season. Ryan Mountcastle (#95) is also having a solid year for Baltimore. Keston Hiura (#75), out of the Milwaukee system, is a highly-touted hitter drafted last year and Nate Lowe from Tampa Bay is showing surprising power. Carter Kieboom is the top ranked shortstop in Washington’s system, recently promoted to Double-A back on June 21st. I’m sure he will be cheered wildly during introductions. Pittsburgh’s Ke’Bryan Hayes rounds out the infield.
The World team boasts a number of top prospects including San Diego’s Fernando Tatis, Jr. (#8), San Diego’s Luis Urias (# 47) and Houston’s Yordan Alvarez (#77). Alvarez came back strong from a hand injury earlier this year and was promoted to Triple-A the same day the Futures Game rosters were announced. Another high-riser, Andres Gimenez from the New York Mets organization, was selected in addition to Washington’s young shortstop, Luis Garcia. Gimenez leads his league in stolen bases with 26 to go along with 5 home runs in 75 games. Garcia was recently promoted to High-A. Similar to Kieboom, he should receive a loud ovation when introduced to the home crowd.
Edge – United States
The United States outfield is stacked with talent. Anaheim’s Jo Adell (#57) is showing both speed and power this year. Minnesota’s Alex Kirilloff is fully recovered from his Tommy John surgery and is playing exceptionally well in his return. Taylor Trammell (#36) is showing a great eye at such a young age. Seattle’s powerful Kyle Lewis (#61) is also coming back from injury. His power hasn’t shown up this year but he’s still hitting. San Diego’s Buddy Reed is having an amazing year. Through 77 games, Reed has 11 home runs with 33 stolen bases, a .316 batting average and .368 OBP.
The World’s outfield looks great with powerful Dodgers prospect Yusniel Diaz (#128) and the Minor Leagues home run leader, Kansas City’s Seuly Matias. San Francisco’s Heliot Ramos (#51) joins the party along with Tampa Bay’s Jesus Sanchez (#59) and Leody Taveras (#39). Two stars that were unranked to start the year also join the team in Randy Arozarena out of St. Louis and Luis Alexander Basabe from the Chicago White Sox. There is a great combination of speed and power here.
Edge – United States slightly
This pitching staff looks promising and intimidating. Three of our top 30 prospects are on this team – Forrest Whitley (#15), Pittsburgh’s Mitch Keller (#19) and Hunter Greene (#27) from Cincinnati. Whitley left his last start on July 5th with an oblique injury after returning from his suspension. He has struck out 30 batters in 21 innings while only giving up 14 hits. Keller was promoted to Triple-A on June 30th after a great showing in 86 Double-A innings this year. Other prospects to join them include Atlanta’s Kyle Wright (32), Justus Sheffield (#65) from the New York Yankees, Dylan Cease (#75) from the White Sox, and Detroit’s Matt Manning (#79). Dakota Hudson from the Cardinals, C.D. Pelham from Texas and Shaun Anderson from the Giants round out the pitching staff. Hudson could be called up soon to St. Louis.
The World pitching staff is solid but isn’t anywhere near as talented as its opponent. Our 85th-ranked prospect, Oakland’s Jesus Luzardo, has been putting up very impressive numbers this year and he is joined by Miami’s Jorge Guzman, our 114th-ranked prospect. Two other names of note stand out – Enyel De Los Santos (#20 on our Phillies Top 50) and Bryan Mata (#4 on our Red Sox Top 50). Yoan Lopez from Arizona, Kieran Lovegrove from Cleveland, Lewis Thorpe from Minnesota, Jesus Tinoco from Colorado and Baltimore’s Alex Wells round out the staff.
Edge – United States
Prediction – United States wins 5–2. As the saying goes, good pitching beats good hitting and the United States’ pitching staff is extremely talented and could limit the World team’s bats. The World’s pitching thins out after the top 3 which will let the United States get to them later in the game.
Featured image graphic – via MLB Pipeline on Twitter