With offense at a premium in the 2014 MLB Futures Game, the bats that put runs on the board were praised heavily on Sunday.
Pitching dominated the clash between the World team and the U.S. team. Just three of the 20 pitchers who got into the game surrendered runs, leading to a 3-2 win for the United States.
The Futures Game is a spectacle of the next generation of MLB stars. The top prospects for many teams take part in a great showcase of upcoming fan-favorites and superstars. It's a great opportunity for fans to become acquainted with some of these players, as the game introduces youngsters outside fans' favorite organizations.
Several players made names for themselves in this one with strong showings from Target Field. Below you'll find those top performers, along with a full box score of the action.
*Box score courtesy of MLB.com.
|World Futures Box Score|
|SUB - Baez, J, SS||2||1||1||2||0||1||1||.500|
|SUB - Rondon, 2B||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.000|
|SUB - Santana, D, RF||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|Guerrero, G, DH||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|PH - Herrera, R, DH||2||0||2||0||0||0||0||1.000|
|Nunez, R, 3B||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||.500|
|SUB - Franco, 3B||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.000|
|SUB - Jimenez, A, C||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.000|
|Feliz, M(BS, 1)(L, 0-1)||1.0||2||2||2||0||2||1||18.00|
|U.S. Futures Box Score|
|SUB - Johnson, Mica, 2B||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.000|
|SUB - Crawford, SS||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||.500|
|SUB - O'Brien, 1B||2||0||0||0||0||2||1||.000|
|SUB - Ramsey, J, LF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|SUB - Bell, RF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|SUB - O'Conner, C||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||1.000|
|Meyer, A(H, 1)||1.0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0.00|
|Thompson, Ja(W, 1-0)||0.2||0||0||0||0||2||0||0.00|
Joey Gallo, U.S. Futures
Joey Gallo is a top prospect in the Texas Rangers' system, and to say that he has ridiculous power would be an understatement. Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com wrote about how Gallo displayed that power on Sunday:
Gallo, a prized bat in the Rangers' system, was the star of the show in pregame batting practice, with one particular poke breaking the windshield of the promotional Chevrolet truck parked in the concourse well beyond the right-field wall.
In the actual game, the left-handed-hitting Gallo outdid himself, smacking a 2-0 offering from Astros prospect Michael Feliz over that truck, a two-run blow estimated to have traveled 419 feet. That homer put the U.S. up for good, 3-2, and earned Gallo MVP honors.
Gallo currently stars for the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders. He opened the year with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and owns a total line of .307/.434/.7033 with 31 homers, 73 RBI and 73 runs scored in 85 games.
The third baseman has a pretty favorable path to the big leagues. The 20-year-old plays a position that the Rangers will need to fill in the near future, as Adrian Beltre's contract is up following the 2015 season. One more year in the minors will be just enough for Gallo to adjust to better pitching.
While it's difficult to project rookie contributions, Gallo has the bat to really impress out of the gate.
Javier Baez, World Futures
Javier Baez, a top prospect in the Chicago Cubs' system, took Lucas Giolito (Washington Nationals) deep to right field in the sixth inning. The fact that he hit a home run isn't really surprising, as Baez is a strong hitter with a good power tool.
The pitch he hit the home run on made the play unbelievable, however. Giolito spoke about the pitch, via Castrovince:
It was like somebody was telling him what pitches were coming, and he just knew I was about to throw a curveball there. I was expecting to just kind of get it over. I wanted to throw it sharp, and I don't think it came out sharp, but I just wanted to get it over and get ahead, maybe get a double play out of it, maybe bust him in with a fastball the next pitch. But he was all over it. Credit to him. Nothing I can do about that.
Baez is one of the many prized hitters the Cubbies have in the minors. The shortstop is scuffling a bit at Triple-A Iowa, however, slashing .240/.305/.449 in 84 games at that level. This is his first-ever stop at Triple-A, so that should erase any doubts about his progression.
Had Gallo not smacked that home run later in the game, Baez would have been in position for MVP honors. His home run gave the World team a 2-1 lead in a game where it seemed like they wouldn't scratch a single run across the board.
Domingo German, World Futures
Domingo German, a top pitcher in the Miami Marlins' system, only pitched one inning, but it was an extremely impressive outing from the Dominican right-hander.
He struck out Kris Bryant (Cubs) with a 95 mph fastball and Gallo with an 83 mph changeup. To finish off the inning, he induced a ground ball to shortstop off the bat of D.J. Peterson (Seattle Mariners).
His outing put Twitter in a bit of a frenzy:
German's stuff is sharp and polished. His fastball tops around 96 mph, while his sinker is hard and heavy. His changeup sits in the lower 80s, giving him a good change of velocity to keep hitters off balance.
Currently in Class-A ball, it might be a little while before we see German's electric stuff in the bigs.
Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR