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

Justin OnslowContributor IIJuly 12, 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 08:  Francisco Lindor of Puerto Rico and the Cleveland Indians in action during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium on July 8, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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.

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.

 

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

PlayerPositionMiLB Team
Jesse BiddleLHPReading (AA)
Archie BradleyRHPMobile (AA)
Eddie ButlerRHPModesto (Advanced A)
Kyle CrickRHPSan Jose (Advanced A)
A.J. ColeRHPPotomac (Advanced A)
C.J. RiefenhauserLHPDurham (AAA)
Jimmy NelsonRHPNashville (AAA)
Anthony RanaudoRHPPortland (AA)
Noah SyndergaardRHPBinghamton (AA)
Taijuan WalkerRHPTacoma (AAA)
Austin HedgesCLake Elsinore (Advanced A)
James McCannCErie (AA)
C.J. CronINFArkansas (AA)
Delino DeShieldsINFLancaster (Advanced A)
Matt DavidsonINFReno (AAA)
Joey GalloINFHickory (Full A)
Brad MillerINFTacoma (Advanced A)
Addison RussellINFStockton (AAA)
Kolten WongINFMemphis (AAA)
Christian WalkerINFFrederick (Advanced A)
Byron BuxtonOFFort Myers (Advanced A)
Billy HamiltonOFLouisville (AAA)
Joc PedersonOFChattanooga (AA)
George SpringerOFCorpus Christi (AA)
Christian YelichOFJacksonville (AA)

 

World Team Roster

PlayerPositionMiLB Team
Miguel AlmonteRHPLexington (Full A)
Carlos ContrerasRHPBakersfield (Advanced A)
Rafael De PaulaRHPTampa (Advanced A)
C.C. LeeRHPColumbus (AAA)
Rafael MonteroRHPLas Vegas (AAA)
Andre RienzoRHPCharlotte (AAA)
Eduardo RodriguezLHPFrederick (Advanced A)
Enny RomeroLHPMontgomery (AA)
Yordano VenturaRHPOmaha (AAA)
Michael YnoaRHPBeloit (Full A)
Jorge AlfaroCHickory (Full A)
Christian BethancourtCMississippi (AA)
A.J. JimenezCNew Hampshire (AA)
Arismendy AlcantaraINFTennessee (AA)
Xander BogaertsINFPawtucket (AAA)
Maikel FrancoINFReading (AA)
Dilson HerreraINFWest Virginia (Full A)
Jordan LennertonINFToledo (AAA)
Francisco LindorINFCarolina (Advanced A)
Miguel SanoINFNew Britain (AA)
Yeison AsencioOFSan Antonio (AA)
Gregory PolancoOFAltoona (AA)
Jorge SolerOFDayton (Advanced A)
Jesus GalindoOFAugusta (Full A)
Henry UrrutiaOFBowie (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

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

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

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.