All-Star Sunday is only 16 days away. What is considered the precursor to the big game consists of the All-Star Legends and Celebrity softball game and the Futures game. While we still do not know which celebrities will be playing, we were treated to the 2013 futures game rosters.
As you can see, the rosters are a little different from last time. Now, there’s no Jurickson Profar, Zack Wheeler, Dylan Bundy, basically, those who have reached the majors are all off the list. Still, there are some interesting names to look for.
Today, we look at part of the roster for Team USA.
Team USA’s staff consists of plenty of high school arms. Among them are Phillies top prospect Jesse Biddle, Diamondbacks top prospect Archie Bradley, Giants top prospect Kyle Crick, Rays 2011 top draft pick Taylor Guerrieri, Mariners top prospect Taijuan Walker, and the most interesting USA pitcher, Noah Syndergaard, acquired by the Mets in the Dickey deal in the offseason. Syndergaard is interesting in the fact that he blazed through Port St. Lucie en route to a well-deserved promotion to Double-A Binghamton. Syndergaard is turning heads, and may be considered the real top prospect in the Dickey deal, as Travis d’Arnaud has been sidelined with a broken foot since April. It is widely believed, and in some ways, hoped, that Syndergaard will start, although in all likelihood, Walker may get the ball, as he is the only pitcher in Triple-A.
In the catcher/infield department, the two big standouts are Padres backstop Austin Hedges and Addison Russell of the A’s. Hedges, who needed a lot of money in order to break his college commitment, tore through the Midwest league, and is now playing for the High-A Lake Elsinore Storm, where he has done similar work in the California League. Addison Russell was the first pick in Billy Beane’s Anti-moneyball philosophy era, and he’s proven to be one wise choice. Having dazzled in his pro debut last season. Russell is now playing for the Stockton Ports, where he faces Hedges. Russell will not see any major league action for a while, but when he does come up, expect the label #1 prospect in baseball to come with him.
In the outfield, the two notable names to look out for are Twins prospect Byron Buxton and Reds prospect Billy Hamilton. Buxton was the number two pick in the 2012 draft and while he started out slowly, he’s really turned himself around this season, and has already made it to the Fort Myers Miracle in the Florida State League. On the other hand, Hamilton is a name that has been on the radar for quite some time. Last year, Hamilton broke the minor league record for most stolen bases in a season, and although he has yet to be promoted, given the future of the Reds outfield, expect him to suit up in either August or September.
This year, Major League baseball has decided to add a little fun to the game, by having the people choose the final representative. a la the final vote in the MLB all-star game. There are five candidates to choose from.
Tyler Austin, outfielder, Yankees
All you need to know about Austin is that he’s a converted catcher, and has been the most hyped Yankees prospect since Robinson Cano.
Nick Castellanos, outfield, Tigers.
Castellanos caught national attention when he was named MVP of last year’s game. A return appearance would be welcome, although if Castellanos is promoted, he will no longer be eligible.
Garin Cecchini, Third baseman, Red Sox
Cecchini is probably the most hyped Red Sox prospect not named Xander Bogaerts. He is currently leading the minors in batting average, and may be the clear favorite for the final spot.
Courtney Hawkins, outfield, White Sox
Hawkins currently stands as the White Sox best prospect, and his athleticism and tools certainly have put him on the map. He has made a quick jump to the Carolina League, and would be a darkhorse for the final spot.
Brandon Nimmo, Outfield, Mets
Nimmo is the ultimate underdog here. Not only is he at the lowest level among the Final Vote prospects, but he was drafted out of Wyoming, a state that does not sponsor baseball. Nimmo is toolsy with speed, and he can hit. He can make the final roster based on hometown popularity, though.
To conclude this post, there is a poll, which will ask who you want for the final spot for Team USA.
(Update: Brandon Nimmo is currently leading in the real poll with 39% of the vote. Trailing him with 23% is Garin Cecchini, followed by Castellanos at 20% while Austin and Hawkins bring up the rear at 9%)
Up next: the World Team profile.