Photo Courtesy of BaseballAmerica.com
The MLB All-Star Game is Tuesday night, compiling the best baseball players on the planet on one field, battling for home-field advantage in the World Series.
This past Sunday, however, the major league stars of tomorrow took the field in New York for the MLB Futures Game, which featured the best up-and-coming talent that baseball has to offer.
At least one player from each organization, as selected by the MLB Scouting Bureau, MLB.com and Baseball America, was named to a respective Futures team.
Two Detroit Tigers' prospects earned a spot in the 2013 Futures Game—catcher James McCann for Team USA and first baseman Jordan Lennerton for the World Team.
McCann and Lennerton had two completely different stories leading to their selection to the Futures Game, but both represented the Old English D, and both have hopes to join the Tigers in the major leagues sometime soon.
Team USA defeated the World Team, 4-2, for its fourth straight victory.
Here are the scouting reports, going forward, for the two Tigers' prospects who played in the 2013 MLB Futures Game.
James McCann was a late addition to the Team USA roster, being named to the Futures Game to replace Josh Phegley, who was called up by the Chicago White Sox and hit a grand slam against the Tigers that sparked the bench-clearing mayhem of July 11.
McCann, who's the Tigers' No. 11 prospect (as ranked by MLB.com), was Detroit's second-round pick in the 2011 amateur draft, and was the Tigers' first pick in that draft.
In 78 games this season for Double-A Erie, the catcher is hitting .287 with three home runs and 37 RBI.
The 23-year-old McCann is having a much-improved season in Double-A ball after hitting .200 with two homers and 19 RBI in 64 appearances last season.
A former University of Arkansas standout behind the plate, McCann's defense is his strong suit. He is masterful at handling a pitching staff and is a prototypical infield captain. He has a plus-arm and is able to throw out any potential base stealers. At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, McCann is an extremely athletic catcher and can be a valuable backstop behind the plate.
In his only plate appearance in the Futures Game, McCann grounded out, but he was behind the plate for the last four innings and, most importantly, took part in the victorious handshakes after the game's final out.
At 27, Jordan Lennerton was the oldest player who participated in the Futures Game.
Lennerton has been impressive for Triple-A Toledo this season, hitting .387 in May with a 1.106 OPS, seven home runs and 19 RBI.
So far this season, the Canadian is batting .296 with 13 homers and 43 RBI in 95 games for the Mud Hens.
Excluding Avisail Garcia, Lennerton's average and .398 on-base percentage both lead Toledo, and he's been on fire for an extended period of time, boasting a .332 average with nine long balls and 28 RBI in his last 54 games.
The left-handed first baseman was drafted in the 33rd round of the 2008 amateur draft—after being drafted twice previously—and is on pace to amass double-digit home runs and 50-plus RBI for a fourth straight season.
Lennerton started at first base and batted sixth for the World Team, which was looking for its first win in four years.
He recorded a sacrifice fly and a walk in his two at-bats before being replaced in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Lennerton served as the underdog story of the game as the oldest player and the lowest draft pick on the roster.
Only two other Futures Game players were drafted lower than the ninth round, and Lennerton was the only one drafted beyond the 11th round. He told the Detroit Free Press that he used being drafted in the 33rd round as personal motivation for the Futures Game.
“Go and play,” Lennerton said. “Show them what I can do on the field. Let my playing speak.”
“He’s such a grinder," Tigers’ director of player development Dave Owen said. “He’s figured himself out. He’s learning to be more consistent. He understands his swing so much better. He is maturing as a player.”