The World Futures Team scored seven runs in the ninth inning to secure an 11-3 win over the U.S. team in the 2016 version of the annual All-Star Futures Game. And though it would be silly to try to draw any meaningful conclusions out of a single baseball game, the following seven performances stood out. In no particular order:
1. Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
The Astros’ infield prospect looked like a full-blown ringer in the Futures Game, annihilating baseballs for a triple, double, and single, respectively, in his first three at-bats. (He popped out in the fourth, missing a chance to become presumably the first player ever to hit for the cycle in a Futures Game.)
Though primarily a shortstop to date in his minor league career, Bregman started at third base — the position that likely represents his best route to the Majors, since the Astros have Carlos Correa at short. He made a couple nice plays there, too, first starting a slick 5-4-3 double play and later demonstrating good range and a quick release while charging a slow chopper. He did fumble a broken-bat roller after moving to shortstop later in the game, but hey, Carlos Correa plays short.
2. Chih-Wei Hu, Tampa Bay Rays
Hu required only eight pitches to get through a perfect fifth. He struck out both Ryon Healy and Dom Smith — a pair of guys here for their hitting — and elicited some genuinely lousy looking swings in the process.
Did you know that Hu’s surname is phonetically identical to a commonly used English pronoun, which so happens to be associated with a popular Abbott and Costello sketch about baseball? Well, it is.
3. Yoan Moncada, Boston Red Sox
One of the foremost showpieces of the 2016 Futures Game, Moncada seized the opportunity to show off his vast array of skills. While batting left-handed in the fourth, he ripped an opposite-field single, then swiftly stole second (and took third on an errant throw). While batting right-handed in the eighth, he launched a towering homer into Petco Park’s second deck.
This man is very strong and very fast and he’s probably very good at baseball. The Red Sox have too many good young position players right now.
4. Chance Sisco, Baltimore Orioles
Hey, remember that thing I said about how it’s silly to try to draw conclusions from a single baseball game? Well, silly people left the Futures Game thinking Chance Sisco has big power, because Sisco hit a bomb to deep right-center off Blue Jays prospect Francisco Rios. As it turns out, Sisco only has one home run in 71 games for Class AA Bowie this year and hit six all last season. Not really his game.
Dude can get on base, though: Sisco owns a career .401 OBP across parts of four seasons as a pro. Plus he’s a lefty-hitting catcher, which is a rare and valuable thing.
5. Clint Frazier, Cleveland Indians
Too many guys to bother listing here impressed the Futures Game audience with fantastic flow, and Frazier is here as a representative of the coming era in which roughly 50% of every team looks like members of Led Zeppelin. He also hit the ball hard a couple of times, including an RBI double in the third.
6. Eloy Jimenez, Chicago Cubs
Representing both the Chicago Cubs and a race of pampered post-humans from the year 802,701 AD, Eloy Jimenez provided the foremost defensive highlight of the Futures Game by leaping over the rail in right field to make a catch. He later added the exclamation point on the World Team’s late rally with a towering three-run home run off the Western Metal Supply Co. building in left field in the ninth inning.
Jimenez also ripped a double down the left field line off Angels prospect Nate Smith, extra impressive because Smith is a 24-year-old with nearly a full season of Class AAA ball under his belt and Jimenez is a 19-year-old playing full-season Class A ball for the first time. He’s one of the youngest players in the Midwest League, and he ranks fourth in that circuit with an .899 OPS.
7. Carson Fulmer, Chicago White Sox
Fulmer made extremely quick work of the World Team in a perfect seventh, striking out two batters and generating a handful of swinging strikes. He mixed his low-to-mid 90s fastball with a variety of breaking stuff, looking fairly polished in the process. Fulmer, the eighth-overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Vanderbilt, has struggled a bit with his control as a professional but had no such troubles on Sunday. He threw only 11 pitches, and nine of them were strikes.
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