MLB All-Star Futures Game 2013: Grading Performances of Every Top Prospect
MLB All-Star Weekend kicked off on Sunday afternoon with the Futures Game, as Team USA topped Team World 4-2 in the annual matchup of some of the game's top young talent.
Diamondbacks third baseman Matt Davidson took home MVP honors on the strength of a two-run home run in the fourth inning that proved to be the difference, but there were plenty of impressive performances.
What follows is a look at each Futures Game participant who cracked the top 25 in the Baseball America Midseason Top 50 Prospects rankings, how they performed in the game, and my grade of that performance.
No. 23 Prospect: SP Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets
2013 Stats: 16 GS, 5-3, 2.69 ERA, 90 K, 83.2 IP
Futures Game Performance: 1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K
Acquired from the Blue Jays in the R.A. Dickey trade, it likely won't be long before Noah Syndergaard joins Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler atop the Mets' impressive young rotation.
The starting pitcher for Team USA, the 20-year-old right-hander got two quick outs before giving up a single to Xander Bogaerts (BOS), who was then caught trying to steal second by catcher Austin Hedges (SD) to end the inning.
No. 20 Prospect: CF George Springer, Houston Astros
2013 Stats: .315/.418/.624, 26 HR, 72 RBI, 68 R, 28 SB
Futures Game Performance: 1-for-3, HBP
Perhaps the leading candidate for Minor League Player of the Year right now, 23-year-old George Springer dominated at Double-A and has hit .404/.507/.842 with seven home runs and 17 RBI in 14 Triple-A games.
Starting in right field and hitting third for Team USA, he grounded out in the first and flew out in the fourth before reaching base after getting hit by a pitch in the fifth. He singled in the eighth off of Carlos Contreras (CIN).
No. 19 Prospect: SS Addison Russell, Oakland Athletics
2013 Stats: .263/.341/.478, 9 HR, 40 RBI, 53 R, 12 SB
Futures Game Performance: 0-for-2, 2 K
The No. 11 pick in last year's draft, Addison Russell shot through three levels in his pro debut last year, and opened 2013 as a 19-year-old in High-A where he has more than held his own.
That said, the Futures Game was not his best performance. He struck out with a runner on second base to end the bottom of the second, and then struck out again with runners on first and third in the fourth inning, before being replaced by Chris Owings (ARI).
No. 13 Prospect: CF Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates
2013 Stats: .305/.363/.456, 8 HR, 48 RBI, 41 R, 28 SB
Futures Game Performance: 0-for-1, BB
Ranked as the Pirates' No. 4 overall prospect and not part of the Top 100 entering last year, according to Baseball America, Gregory Polanco has been a fast riser over the past year-and-a-half.
The starting center fielder and No. 7 hitter for Team World, Polanco popped out to third in the second inning and coaxed a walk from Anthony Ranaudo (BOS) in the fourth before giving way to Jesus Galindo (SF) as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the sixth.
No. 9 Prospect: SS Carlos Correa, Houston Astros
2013 Stats: .324/.421/.455, 5 HR, 49 RBI, 51 R
Futures Game Performance: Did Not Play
Last year's No. 1 overall pick, Carlos Correa was elected to the Team World roster via the Final Vote, as he edged out Cubs prospect Javier Baez for the honor.
He was the only player from either side not to get into the game, though the 18-year-old may very well find himself back at the Futures Game next season as he continues his rise through the Astros organization.
No. 8 Prospect: CF Christian Yelich, Miami Marlins
2013 Stats: .257/.339/.486, 8 HR, 32 RBI, 32 R
Futures Game Performance: 2-for-2, 2B, RBI
Though his numbers don't jump off the page this year, Christian Yelich showed what he could do against major league pitching with a strong spring, and he was impressive once again on the big stage in this game.
Starting at designated hitter in the seventh spot for Team USA, the 21-year-old got the scoring started when he doubled off of Enny Romero (TB) with two outs in the bottom of the second to score Joc Pederson (LAD). He singled to center in his only other at-bat in the fourth before giving way to pinch-hitter Christian Walker (BAL) in the sixth.
No. 7 Prospect: SP Taijuan Walker, Seattle Mariners
2013 Stats: 17 GS, 6-7, 2.16 ERA, 112 K, 100 IP
Futures Game Performance: 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 K
The second pitcher into the game for Team USA, Taijuan Walker entered in the top of the second inning, and the first batter he had to face was Twins slugger Miguel Sano.
The right-hander got Sano to ground out to shortstop, which was followed by a groundout to second from Henry Urrutia (BAL) for a quick two outs after just six pitches. After a nine-pitch at-bat with Jordan Lennerton (DET) ended in a walk, he got Gregory Polanco (PIT) to pop out to third base to end the inning.
No. 6 Prospect: SP Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks
2013 Stats: 18 GS, 8-4, 2.06 ERA, 115 K, 104.2 IP
Futures Game Performance: 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K, Hold
The third pitcher into the game for Team USA, Archie Bradley retired the 8-9-1 batters for Team World in order in his only inning of work.
He needed just 12 pitches to get out of the inning, getting a flyout from Maikel Franco (PHI), a groundout back to the mound from A.J. Jimenez (TOR) and a groundout to the shortstop from Reymond Fuentes (SD).
No. 5 Prospect: SS Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians
2013 Stats: .306/.373/.410, 1 HR, 27 RBI, 51 R, 20 SB
Futures Game Performance: 0-for-1
Taken with the No. 8 pick in the 2011 draft on the strength of his slick fielding abilities, Francisco Lindor has taken his offensive game to another level this season, as the 19-year-old Indians farmhand looks like a future star.
He didn't get into the game until the seventh inning, when he pinch-hit for the DH spot and promptly grounded into an inning-ending double play. The game ended with him on deck, and he didn't get a chance to flash his glove in the field, so it was an all-around forgettable game for Lindor.
No. 4 Prospect: SS Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox
2013 Stats: .294/.390/.489, 13 HR, 54 RBI, 53 R
Futures Game Performance: 2-for-3, K, BB, R, CS
After dazzling for Team Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) this past spring, Xander Bogaerts continues his rapid ascent to the big leagues, and the 20-year-old turned in a solid performance here.
The World Team managed just three hits, and Bogaerts had two of them. He singled off of Noah Syndergaard (NYM) in the first inning but was caught stealing.
He singled again in the fourth inning, and eventually scored on a Jordan Lennerton (DET) sacrifice fly. A strikeout in the sixth and a walk in the ninth concluded his day at the plate.
No. 3 Prospect: 3B Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins
2013 Stats: .293/.388/.609, 22 HR, 66 RBI, 64 R
Futures Game Performance: 0-for-2, BB, HBP
Starting at third and hitting cleanup for the World Team, the powerful Miguel Sano went hitless but reached base twice in four plate appearances throughout the entire game.
He grounded out to shortstop in the second and flew out to center field in the eighth, but between those two at-bats, he drew a walk against Anthony Ranaudo (BOS) in the fourth and was hit by an Eddie Butler (COL) pitch in the sixth.
No. 1 Prospect: CF Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins
2013 Stats: .333/.418/.533. 9 HR, 63 RBI, 77 R, 35 SB
Futures Game Performance: 0-for-2, 2 K
Byron Buxton entered the game for Billy Hamilton and led off the bottom of the fifth inning against Yankees right-hander Rafael De Paula. After working a full count, he struck out swinging.
His second at-bat came in the seventh inning, with 20-year-old Royals right-hander Miguel Almonte fanning him on a 2-2 changeup.