Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo and Astros shortstop Carlos Correa made history yesterday when it was announced that they had won the inaugural Futures Game final vote. The final vote was established as a means to give the Futures game more visibility so that fans can see what the future holds for their favorite teams.
Nimmo, who was drafted by the Mets in the first round of the 2011 draft out of Cheyenne, Wyoming, has gained some degree of celebrity for not only being the highest draft pick in state history, but also for playing in a state that does not sanction baseball at all. Since signing, Nimmo has spent his pro career in Single-A, where he’s shown good contact but limited power. He also earned an All-Star selection in the South Atlantic League after a torrid start, which was cut short by a hand injury.
Correa, who became the highest draft pick out of an international baseball academy, had an earlier start to his pro career than Nimmo, spending the previous season in the Rookie league before jumping past the short season league in favor of the Midwest league, where he currently plays for the Quad City River Bandits.
Nimmo beat out Tigers top prospect and 2012 Futures game MVP Nick Castellanos, Red Sox top prospect Garin Cecchini, brother of 2012 Mets first round pick Gavin, Yankees outfield prospect Tyler Austin, and White Sox 2012 first round pick and top prospect Courtney Hawkins. It took a good marketing campaign as well as plenty of home team support, as players like Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, LaTroy Hawkins, even Sandy Alderson pulled for his first Mets draft pick by referring to him as #MetsCowboy on his seldomly used Twitter.
Correa beat out top Cubs prospect and first round pick Javier Baez, Rangers prospect Rougned Odor, Athetics prospect Renato Nunez, and Mariners prospect Ji-Man Choi for his right to represent the World Team.
Amazingly, the polls that I posted did not have either player winning, as you the readers chose Nick Castellanos and, through blatantly obvious ballot stuffing, Rougned Odor as the winners of the polls. Nimmo finished fourth in the US poll, ahead of only Tyler Austin, while Correa finished second.
For the person who thought it would be hilarious to stuff the ballot, I shall stoop to your level and refer to you as Scott, for this reason:
The 2012 Futures Game will be held at Citi Field on July 14th, along with the Legends and Celebrity Softball game. I shall be attending, so if you want to say hello or chat prospects with me, I will be sitting in Section 106, Row 23, Seat 14. Until then, have a happy 4th.
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.