The All-Star Futures Game is a unique and fun matchup that pits the top minor league prospects from the United States against those from other areas of the world. The Futures Game will be played as part of the 2014 All-Star Game festivities.
This will be the 16th year the game has been played. In the previous contests, the United States has won nine times, with the World team winning six. In the 2013 game, the World team blanked the United States by a score of 7-0.
With a total of 57 players named to one of the two squads, the Giants have just one player who will be playing in the game. This underscores the lack of rising talent the Giants have in their minor league system.
Starting pitcher Edwin Escobar is the only player from the Giants organization to be on either roster. Escobar, a left-hander from Venezuela, will be pitching for the World team.
Escobar pitched well in spring training and opened some eyes. He has a live arm and showed good stuff.
Escobar had a chance to make the Giants' Opening Day roster, but he was ultimately sent down to Fresno, their Triple-A affiliate. The hope was for Escobar to hone his skills and get more seasoning.
In 2013, Escobar was very effective. He began the season at High-A San Jose, then was promoted to Double-A Richmond.
In 128.2 cumulative innings of work, Escobar allowed 112 hits and 30 walks while striking out 146. Opposing hitters were batting just .228 against him, and he fashioned an ERA of 2.80 and WHIP of 1.10.
The 2014 season has been a mixed bag for Escobar. He has not had near the success he did in 2013. Overall, his numbers do not warrant a major league promotion at this time.
This year, in 105 innings, Escobar has allowed 122 hits and 34 walks while striking out 93. His ERA is 5.06, to go along with a WHIP of 1.49. His 3-8 record is poor, and opposing hitters are batting a robust .288 off of him.
A major concern has been Escobar's propensity to give up the home run. He has allowed 15 homers in those 105 innings of work.
The Giants have high hopes that Escobar will be ready to join the starting rotation in 2015. However, he must do a lot better than he has this year if that is to become a reality.
As reported by Mike Rosenbaum, MLB Prospects Lead Writer for BleacherReport.com, Escobar has a fastball that typically ranges from 88-92 mph and tops out around 94 mph. Escobar has a good curveball that is a key strikeout pitch for him. His changeup has been inconsistent and needs refinement.
Escobar's mediocre numbers may be due to pitching in the PCL, to some degree. This is a hitter's league and several teams play in hot, dry, elevated locations.
These arid and elevated climates take some of the bite off the breaking pitches, which undoubtedly has hurt Escobar. The ball travels a lot farther at altitude than at sea level, as well.
Nevertheless, Escobar needs to develop more command of his pitches, especially in the strike zone. He has made too many mistakes and has been hit hard over the course of the year.