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USA Today

At long last, Prospect Pipeline’s Midseason Top 50 Prospects has arrived.

If it feels as though it’s been a long time since we published the preseason rankings, well, that’s probably because it has been a long time—a little more than three months to be exact. Since then, many of the previously top-ranked prospects have graduated to the major leagues, while others have simply fallen off the radar.

Compared to lists published before the start of the season, this ranking is specifically geared toward highlighting the future of baseball. Therefore, any prospect who has exhausted rookie eligibility or even played in the major leagues this season has been excluded.

As you might have guessed, the midseason update is absolutely loaded with new names and faces.

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The 2014 season has seen a number of notable prospects receive call-ups to the major leagues. Undoubtedly, there are more to comeand soon.

Highly regarded youngsters like George Springer, C.J. Cron, Marcus Stroman, Jonathan Singleton and Gregory Polanco have been starting for their respective clubs for quite some time now. Others like Oscar Taveras, Taijuan Walker and Kevin Gausman (no longer prospect eligible) have been shuttling up and down between the minors and majors.

With less than a month to go until the trade deadline, there should be plenty of promotions of prime prospects once the wheeling and dealing opens up 25-man roster spots. That's just what's starting to happen with the rebuilding Chicago Cubs, who announced Wednesday they've brought up infield/outfield prospect Arismendy Alcantara.

Also on Wednesday the Boston Red Sox decided to designate veteran backstop A.J. Pierzynski for assignment, according to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston. They'll be turning the job over to prospect Christian Vazquez, a stellar defensive catcher who can handle the bat.

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It’s scary to think about where the New York Yankees would be right now if not for the success of their rookie class.

All-Stars Masahiro Tanaka and Dellin Betances have captured the headlines during the first half of the season by emerging as the best starter and reliever in the American League, respectively, and the team has also received notable contributions from less-famous young players such as Yangervis Solarte, John Ryan Murphy and Chase Whitley. However, rookies can only a carry a team so far.

The Yankees enter Thursday three games back of the American League East-leading Baltimore Orioles with a 46-44 overall record, though their chances of reaching the postseason potentially took a crushing blow Wednesday with the news that Tanaka was headed to the disabled list with “elbow inflammation.”

The team also has scuffled offensively to begin the month, with a collective batting average of .248 over its last nine games as well as a .668 OPS that ranks 13th in the AL during that span.

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In addition to offering fans a unique opportunity to watch baseball’s brightest prospects on the same field, the annual All-Star Futures Game serves as a stepping stone for young players destined for greatness in the major leagues.

However, trying to determine when a certain prospect might arrive in the major leagues can be challenging, as it forces one to evaluate the player’s overall potential in context of his organization’s long-term outlook.

So when can fans expect to see this year’s Futures Game participants in the major leagues?

Here’s a breakdown of the rosters for the U.S. and World teams complete with estimated times of arrival (ETAs) for every player.

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Few things thrill fans like watching a homegrown talent toe the rubber for their favorite big league club and shut down the opposition.

But before they can dominate in front of tens of thousands of fans every fifth day, pitchers need to prove themselves in the minor leagues.

More than three months into the minor league season, pitchers at every level are opening eyes with their performances on the mound, some more so than others.

That said, here's a look at the hottest and coldest pitching prospects at each level of the minor leagues.

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Many of baseball's top prospects will be on display in this year's MLB Futures Game at Minnesota's Target Field, which will be played Sunday at 5 p.m. ET. Until then, we'll continue to break down all the players from the U.S. and World teams' rosters.

By now, most of you hopefully know that I typically try to stay away from comparing prospects to major leaguers; it can be a misleading exercise, as any number of things can happen to affect a player's developmental timeline and overall projection.

However, considering we'll be viewing the future of the sport just a few days before the actual All-Star Game, I thought I'd take a (conservative) stab at comparing this year's Futures Game participants to well-known big leaguers, both past and present.

With that said, here are the pro-player comparisons for each prospect in this year's Futures Game.

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Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Though the 2014-15 international signing period officially began only last Wednesday, a majority of the top prospects in this year's class have already signed or agreed to sign with a major league club.

While most teams played by the rules and stayed within their allotted bonus pools, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox opted to ignore spending limitations (at the cost of a future penalty) in order to sign many of the top-ranked prospects in this year’s class. 

Based on the quality of players they've signed thus far, it’s hard to criticize either team for having the means to exploit a loophole in the current collective bargaining agreement. At the same time, there also were plenty of teams that landed promising young players without exceeding their bonus pools.

Yet, while the Yankees and Red Sox have both enjoyed a rewarding start to the current international signing period, there are several teams that, for one reason or another, have made lackluster signings, while others that have been kept off the board entirely.

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The Chicago Cubs surprised the baseball world last month by selecting Kyle Schwarber out of Indiana University with the No. 4 overall pick in the first-year player draft.

While the initial belief was that the Cubs drafted Schwarber in order to save money for a run on arms in subsequent rounds, the 21-year-old catcher/outfielder already has proved to be more than a cost-saving pick thanks to a tremendous start to his professional career—a start that has him on the fast track to the major leagues.

After Schwarber and the Cubs agreed to a $3.125 million signing bonus—well below the $4.621 million value for the slot—the team assigned him to short-season Boise, where he batted .600 with four home runs and 10 RBI in his first five games. Unsurprisingly, his impressive showing in the Northwest League resulted in a quick promotion to Low-A Kane County.

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Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Though the 2014-15 international signing period began only last Wednesday, July 2, it didn't take long for teams to lock up many of the best players in this year’s class.

As I detailed last week, the Yankees and the Red Sox are already considered the big winners this year, as both teams blew past their allotted international bonus pools so as to procure a variety of high-end prospects.

However, they weren't the only teams to land potential impact talent in the signing period’s opening days.

Here's a look at many of the other major signings since July 2.

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When it comes to the No. 1 overall pick in the amateur draft, there’s usually a strong belief that the specific player—hitter or pitcher—will be able to reach the major leagues quickly and make an immediate impact for his drafting organization.

In 2013, the Houston Astros selected Stanford right-hander Mark Appel with the No. 1 pick, just one year after he turned down signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates as the No. 8 overall pick. As expected, the organization put the 22-year-old on the fast track to the major leagues, giving him a taste of a full-season level in his professional debut late last summer, with the goal of moving him up the minor league ladder at an accelerated pace.

However, Appel’s highly anticipated 2014 campaign hasn’t unfolded as expected, as he’s already dealt with numerous injuries and generally lacked consistency from start to start.

After the annual winter meetings in early December, Astros manager Bo Porter stated that Appel might make the team’s Opening Day roster if he were one of the team’s five best starters in major league camp (via the Houston Chronicle's Evan Drelich).