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MLB Futures Game 2014: Top Prospects to Watch in Annual Showcase

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MLB Futures Game 2014: Top Prospects to Watch in Annual Showcase
Rob Tringali/Getty Images

All-Star Week isn't only for Major League Baseball veterans.

The 2014 Futures Game kicks off Sunday's action at Target Field with many of the world's most talented up-and-coming players set to take center stage.

According to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, 27 of the Top 100 Prospects will partake in the action, as the U.S. Team takes on the World Team. He also notes that of the 23 players who aren't ranked, 20 of them are in their respective team's Top 20 Prospects lists.

That's a whole lot of young talent on one field.

So, which players should we be on the lookout for once the game commences? Let's take a look.

 

Francisco Lindor

Lindor hails from Puerto Rico and will be taking the field for the World Team on Sunday.

He's ranked as the No. 5 overall prospect on MLB.com, No. 1 shortstop and No. 1 prospect of the Cleveland Indians. Lindor was drafted by Cleveland in the first round in 2011 and currently plays for the Akron RubberDucks.

This year with Akron, Lindor is batting .282 with 89 hits, 11 doubles, four triples, six home runs and 45 RBI. A quick baserunner, he's also accumulated 23 steals.

Lindor's speed makes him dangerous on defense as well. His instincts are phenomenal, and paired with his quickness and strong arm, he's no stranger to turning double plays, having racked up 58 this year.

According to this tweet from the Eastern League, he's on a major roll heading into the Futures Game:

Keep a keen eye on this potential future star.

 

Javier Baez

Baez has plenty in common with Lindor. Not only is he also from Puerto Rico and will be playing for the World Team at shortstop, but he was selected by the Chicago Cubs just one spot after Lindor in the 2011 draft.

Currently, Baez is MLB.com's No. 9 overall prospect and No. 4 shortstop. He's also the No. 1 prospect of the Cubs and currently plays for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs.

This season, Baez has struggled at the plate a bit, as his average dipped to .240; however, his power is still very much on display. In 2014, he's accumulated 74 hits, 18 doubles and 14 home runs while recording 53 RBI.

The shortstop has looked better recently, and perhaps a recent addition in Iowa sparked his surge, according to Josh Norris of Baseball America:

Baez doesn't have a tremendous amount of speed—and may eventually be moved to third base—but his good arm and solid glove have allowed him to remain at shortstop for now.

 

Noah Syndergaard

Syndergaard is one of many talented pitchers on the U.S. Team who has a chance to see some time on the mound on Sunday.

Ranked as MLB.com's No. 12 overall prospect, No. 4 right-handed pitcher and the New York Mets' No. 1 prospect, Syndergaard's power is what allows him to excel on the mound.

The right-hander has a plus fastball that's capable of reaching upward of 96 mph on a consistent basis. His power also shows through on his curve and changeup, which could lead to a nice future three-pitch repertoire.

Syndergaard has nice control over his pitches despite standing at a towering 6'6" due to a repetitive delivery.

This season, he's struggled a bit with the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s. He's maintaining a 5.31 ERA in 16 starts, allowing 97 hits and 47 earned runs. However, his power on the mound has also been prevalent, as he's struck out 82 batters over that span.

Robert Brender of SNY.tv tweeted some strong praise for the pitcher after a dominant performance earlier this month:

Expect to see Syndergaard as a front-line starter in the near future.

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