Handicapping Top 5 MVP Candidates of the 2013 MLB All-Star Futures Game

Mitch Petanick@firstpitchmitchCorrespondent IJuly 13, 2013

Handicapping Top 5 MVP Candidates of the 2013 MLB All-Star Futures Game

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    The 2013 MLB All-Star Futures game will take place tomorrow at Citi Field. On the field will be some of the best and brightest young stars in the game in what should be a preview of future MLB All-Star games to come.

    We have already seen a number of players from the 2012 Futures game break into the big leagues. That list of players includes the likes of Manny Machado, Gerrit Cole, Jurickson Profar, Zack Wheeler and Wil Myers.

    Oddly enough, none of those players were named the MVP of last year's contest. The 2012 MVP was Detroit Tigers prospect Nick Castellanos. Castellanos has yet to crack the big league roster, in fact, he won't even be playing in tomorrow's All-Star Game. He was a vote-in candidate for the final roster spot,  but was beat out by Brandon Nimmo, the hometown favorite.

    With last year's MVP watching from home, here is a short list of players that have a shot to take home this year's honors.

5. Rafael Montero, New York Mets

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    Rafael Montero is one of the brighter pitching prospects in this game, and will be starting for the World Team when they take the field tomorrow.

    Montero has blasted through the Mets farm system using pinpoint control and pounding the strike zone with pitch after pitch. He was probably the hottest pitcher in the Eastern League before getting promoted to Triple-A a couple of weeks ago.

    He isn't having as much success in the Pacific Coast League (a notorious hitter's league), which means he will be out on Sunday to prove that his numbers in the PCL are just a fluke, and he's ready for the spotlight in Citi Field.

    It may be tough for Montero to haul in the MVP award since he will probably only pitch an inning or two, but he definitely has the hometown crowd behind him, and the stuff to do it.

    Projected Game Stats 

    2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

4. Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds

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    Billy Hamilton is the type of guy that can turn a walk into a triple with his speed. Any time you have a player like that on the field, there is a good chance you will see fireworks. 

    He already has 51 stolen bases this season, and is well on his way to hitting the century mark. He has had some trouble getting on base this season, but when he does, watch out. His blazing speed will be on display in front of a national audience for tomorrow's game. 

    Projected Game Stats

    2-for-3, 2 H, 3 SB, 3 R 

3. Christian Yelich, Miami Marlins

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    New York Mets fans better get used to seeing Miami Marlins prospect Christian Yelich. They will get their first taste of his sweet swing during Sunday's All-Star Game.

    Every time Yelich steps up to the plate, there is the opportunity of something special happening. If anyone can take over this game offensively, it will be Yelich, which is why he is a prime candidate to be named MVP of tomorrow's game. Don't be surprised if Yelich puts one up into the Pepsi Porch located beyond the right field fence in Citi Field.

    Projected Game Stats

    2-for-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R

2. Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins

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    When you look up the phrase "total package," there should be a picture of Byron Buxton on the page. Buxton can run, field, hit and hit for power. He was arguably the best player available in the 2012 draft.

    Buxton is crushing the ball this year, hitting .333 with nine homers and 63 RBI. He also has added 35 stolen bases to the mix. The Twins will take it slow with Buxton's development, but don't expect him to take it slow on the field tomorrow when the bright young stars are on display.  

    Projected Game Stats

    3-for-3, 3 H, 2 2B, 1 SB, 2 RBI, 1 R

1. Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets

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    No pitcher has ever won the Futures Game MVP award in it's 14 year history. There is a pretty good chance that changes this year with both teams' starting pitchers coming from the Mets organization.

    Noah Syndergaard is the favorite to win this year's MVP award, featuring a high-90s fastball and the command to completely shut down the World Team lineup for one or two innings.

    Syndergaard will be even more fired up pitching in front of his home town New York fans, and the fans will be backing him 100 percent.

    Since Syndergaard is affectionately called "Thor" by his teammates, does that mean opposing starter and fellow Mets prospect, Rafael Montero, will be playing the role of Loki tomorrow? Even if no Mets players win the MVP award, it sure is an exciting day for Mets fans having two of their top pitching prospects on display at Citi Field during tomorrow's game.

    Projected Game Stats

    2.0 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 ER, 4 K