MLB Futures Game 2013: Preview, Rosters and Top Players to Watch

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MLB Futures Game 2013: Preview, Rosters and Top Players to Watch
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The MLB All-Star Futures Game takes place Sunday at Citi Field, headlining one of the best prospect showcases in all of professional sports.

As 52 of baseball’s best minor league prospects take the field, fans get a chance to see Major League Baseball’s future display its talent in anticipation for the MLB All-Star Game—a fitting preamble to a best-of-the-best exhibition of the greatest players the sport has to offer.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

A full nine-inning contest, the game not only gives fans a chance to watch future stars in action, but also gives each player an opportunity to prove why he is worthy of being considered one of baseball’s top talents. Considering the tremendous talent that has been featured in past editions, players should consider it a massive honor.

Last year, the U.S. team—a squad many considered a pitching-centric roster—went on to defeat the World team 17-5 on the shoulders of a nine-run sixth inning. If we see that kind of offensive firepower this year, fans are going to be in for a treat.

Let’s take a look at the vitals for the Futures game, as well as full rosters and players to watch in this marquee exhibition event.

 

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Where: Citi Field; Queens, N.Y.

When: Sunday, July 14, at 2 p.m. ET

Television: ESPN2

Radio: MLB Network Radio: XM 89

Streaming: MLB.com

 

U.S. Team Roster

Player Position MiLB Team
Jesse Biddle LHP Reading (AA)
Archie Bradley RHP Mobile (AA)
Eddie Butler RHP Modesto (Advanced A)
Kyle Crick RHP San Jose (Advanced A)
A.J. Cole RHP Potomac (Advanced A)
C.J. Riefenhauser LHP Durham (AAA)
Jimmy Nelson RHP Nashville (AAA)
Anthony Ranaudo RHP Portland (AA)
Noah Syndergaard RHP Binghamton (AA)
Taijuan Walker RHP Tacoma (AAA)
Austin Hedges C Lake Elsinore (Advanced A)
James McCann C Erie (AA)
C.J. Cron INF Arkansas (AA)
Delino DeShields INF Lancaster (Advanced A)
Matt Davidson INF Reno (AAA)
Joey Gallo INF Hickory (Full A)
Brad Miller INF Tacoma (Advanced A)
Addison Russell INF Stockton (AAA)
Kolten Wong INF Memphis (AAA)
Christian Walker INF Frederick (Advanced A)
Byron Buxton OF Fort Myers (Advanced A)
Billy Hamilton OF Louisville (AAA)
Joc Pederson OF Chattanooga (AA)
George Springer OF Corpus Christi (AA)
Christian Yelich OF Jacksonville (AA)

 

World Team Roster

Player Position MiLB Team
Miguel Almonte RHP Lexington (Full A)
Carlos Contreras RHP Bakersfield (Advanced A)
Rafael De Paula RHP Tampa (Advanced A)
C.C. Lee RHP Columbus (AAA)
Rafael Montero RHP Las Vegas (AAA)
Andre Rienzo RHP Charlotte (AAA)
Eduardo Rodriguez LHP Frederick (Advanced A)
Enny Romero LHP Montgomery (AA)
Yordano Ventura RHP Omaha (AAA)
Michael Ynoa RHP Beloit (Full A)
Jorge Alfaro C Hickory (Full A)
Christian Bethancourt C Mississippi (AA)
A.J. Jimenez C New Hampshire (AA)
Arismendy Alcantara INF Tennessee (AA)
Xander Bogaerts INF Pawtucket (AAA)
Maikel Franco INF Reading (AA)
Dilson Herrera INF West Virginia (Full A)
Jordan Lennerton INF Toledo (AAA)
Francisco Lindor INF Carolina (Advanced A)
Miguel Sano INF New Britain (AA)
Yeison Asencio OF San Antonio (AA)
Gregory Polanco OF Altoona (AA)
Jorge Soler OF Dayton (Advanced A)
Jesus Galindo OF Augusta (Full A)
Henry Urrutia OF Bowie (AA)

 

*Full rosters can also be found at MiLB.com. Rosters reflect recent changes based on injuries and call-ups, via MLB.com.

 

Francisco Lindor

USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Indians selected Francisco Lindor with the eighth pick in the 2011 draft, and fans have been waiting patiently to see what he can do against top competition.

Wait no longer.

The Futures Game doesn’t exactly showcase MLB talent, but many of the pitchers Lindor will be facing aren’t long for the minors—though it won’t just be opposing pitchers he’ll be looking to victimize.

The shortstop is a quick, athletic wizard with the glove, known for his innate ability to make difficult plays look all too routine. Lindor isn’t bad at the dish (.307 average this season), but he isn’t going to wow anyone with his power.

That said, Lindor will be one of the most exciting players to watch in this game, especially in the field. No one in this exhibition features more defensive prowess than the 19-year-old phenom.

 

Christian Yelich

Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Christian Yelich hasn’t impressed with his plate discipline (49 strikeouts in 171 at-bats), but there’s no denying his power.

The left-handed-hitting outfielder has as much power as anyone who will be featured in the Futures game, and he has the picture-perfect swing to back it up. With eight home runs and 32 RBI in the minors this season, the 21-year-old boasts enough pop in his bat to make life very difficult for World team pitching on Sunday.

As noted by Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, Yelich is coming off a foot injury that resulted in some missed time in June, but the outfielder is on the mend and should be ready to put on a show in the Futures game.

This will be Yelich’s second consecutive appearance in the contest after going 1-for-2 with a walk in 2012.

 

Byron Buxton

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 2 pick in the 2012 draft, Byron Buxton is perhaps the most exciting prospect in all of baseball right now. It won’t be long before we see the 19-year-old roaming center field at the next level.

With a complete five-tool skill set reminiscent of Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout, Buxton has cruised through his short minor league career, devouring opposing pitching along the way. Despite his range and speed, Buxton also offers tremendous power that has led to nine home runs and 68 RBI already this season.

The Minnesota Twins may not wait very long to see what he can do in the major leagues.

Buxton was expected to sputter early in his career as the finer aspects of his game developed, but he has proven his detractors wrong to this point. As long as Buxton is in top form on Sunday, he’ll be the unquestioned top player to watch both at the dish and in the field.

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