Brightest talent stands out at Futures Game
Top-ranked prospects display power, speed and more at All-Star showcase
The SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game is one of the best opportunities to scout prospects. While not all the great future stars participate, many of the game's best players are on display at one time in one place.
No doubt, everyone on the field wanted to make a great impression for their fans. It's a big stage with lots of eyes watching.
Here are some of my impressions from Sunday's game:
There are a few players I saw in batting practice and during the game that impressed me with their power.
During batting practice, Orioles outfielder Henry Urrutia and Twins top prospect Miguel Sano put on quite a show with bombs far over the fence and into the outfield seats. Urrutia may be on the cusp of a Major League callup as he can really break open a game with the long ball. Sano has more development remaining, but he is moving quickly.
Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Matt Davidson hit the second deck in left field with a long home run during the Futures Game -- which the U.S. Team won, 4-2, over the World Team -- to earn the Larry Doby Most Valuable Player Award. Davidson used a very easy swing with excellent extension to take Michael Ynoa of Oakland deep into the left-field seats. Chicago Cubs middle infielder Arismendy Alcantara is a multitooled player capable of lifting an offense and making a tremendous impact.
For me, the best pure hitter in the game was Christian Yelich. He has outstanding bat control with an ability to hit the gaps with a short, compact swing. He just makes everything look so easy. Now healthy, Yelich is on his way to a place in the Marlins' outfield.
Byron Buxton is one of the most exciting players in the Minor Leagues, and his hitting will be a welcome addition to the Twins. Buxton has an ability to hit for power and average, but he has game changing speed, balance and defensive skills as well.
I had never seen Carlos Correa play. He had an outstanding batting-practice session, hitting ropes to center field, home runs over the wall and drives to the outfield. The Astros will be very happy if Correa shows the type of bat I saw today.
There is no denying that Billy Hamilton is the rocket that may soon launch in Cincinnati. The Reds' No. 1 prospect didn't reach base in the Futures Game, but he can flat out fly.
Reymond Fuentes has the type of speed that puts tremendous pressure on the pitcher. The Padres' outfielder has the ability to eventually be among the league leaders in stolen bases.
Warning to opposing teams: Do not run on Austin Hedges. He is accurate and has a tremendous release on the ball from behind the plate. He showed off his arm gunning down Boston's Xander Bogaerts in the first inning of the Futures Game.
Other players who flashed the ability to throw in pregame warmups and during the game included Davidson and Padres outfielder Yeison Asencio. The latter has an outstanding arm.
I was really impressed today with the overall performance of U.S. Team starter Noah Syndergaard. The big Mets prospect worked effortlessly, using a high 90s fastball, spotting an effective curveball to keep hitters off balance.
Enny Romero of the Tampa Bay Rays was extremely tough on left-handed hitters. He has an excellent approach using his slider as a consistent and reliable out pitch.
Taijuan Walker of the Seattle Mariners had an impressive outing. He threw his fastball in the high 90s, hitting 97 mph with little effort.
There are several players that really opened some eyes on Sunday. From a development standpoint, I believe quite a few are close to being Major League-ready. Of course, promotions always depend upon team evaluations and team needs. Of the players in today's game, the players I believe are most advanced are Davidson, Urrutia, Cardinals top infield prospect Kolten Wong, Astros No. 3 prospect George Springer, Dodgers No. 2 prospect Joc Pederson, Yelich and Braves catching prospect Christian Bethancourt.
While most of the Futures Game participants will likely advance to the Major Leagues, I think a few will have big league careers that will impact their teams and the pennant races. Of course, nobody knows with certainty how a player will perform in Major League baseball. Here are the 11 position players from Sunday's game I believe have a tremendous chance for success (in alphabetical order): Alcantara, Bogaerts, Buxton, Correa, Indians top prospect Francisco Lindor, Pederson, Pirates outfield prospect Gregory Polanco, Sano, Springer, Urrutia and Yelich.
Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.