Dan's Dugout: Futures Game Showcases Coming Stars • Latino Sports


Dan’s Dugout: Futures Game Showcases Coming Stars


WASHINGTON – The score showed the U.S. beat the World team in the annual Futures Game Sunday but the international players put on a show to remember.

Big Papi Ortiz managed the World team in the 2018 Futures Game

Although the Americans won the Nationals Park game, 10-6, a pair of prospects from Venezuela stamped themselves as coming stars.

Luis Basabe, a switch-hitting outfielder in the Chicago White Sox system, hit a home run and made a great throw, while lefthanded pitcher Jesus Luzardo of the Oakland A’s fanned a pair of U.S. hitters in the second inning after yielding a solo run in the first.

The World team also got a pair of home runs from Yusniel Diaz, an outfielder from the Los Angeles Dodgers, and a moon shot from 19-year-old Seuly Matis, who had 26 homers in 74 minor-league games this year before going 2-for-3 in the nationally-televised Futures Game.

Heroes for the winning U.S. squad included Toronto Blue Jays prospect Danny Jansen, a catcher whose two-run homer tied the contest in the fourth inning, and infielder Hayes Ke’Bryan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, whose 405-foot homer put the U.S. ahead.

Future New York Mets first baseman Peter Alonso smacked a 415-foot homer, perhaps sending a message to his under-achieving parent club, while Cincinnati Reds farmhand Taylor Trammell connected for a triple and a home run.

Another blue-chip prospect from the Reds, righthanded pitcher Hunter Greene, threw all 19 of his pitches at speeds of at least 100 mph. One of them clocked in at 103.1.

Kyle Wright, ticketed for the 2019 Atlanta Braves rotation, chipped in for the U.S. team in a rare relief appearance. Throwing just five pitches, four of them for strikes, he got two outs.

An oddity of the game was that both starting pitchers wore single digits:  Luzardo (9) for the World and fellow southpaw Justus Sheffield, a blue-chip Yankees prospect, for the U.S. He wore No. 4.

David (Big Papi) Ortiz, long-time star slugger of the Boston Red Sox, managed the World team, with Torii Hunter at the helm of the U.S. squad.

Eight different countries and territories were represented on the roster of the World team. Both teams used 25-man rosters, as teams do in the majors.

With eight victories in the last nine years, the U.S. now leads the annual series, 13-7. It precedes the major-league All-Star Game, scheduled for Nationals Park Tuesday if the weather cooperates. Heavy thunderstorms are forecast.

The only time weather stopped an All-Star Game was also in Washington, in 1969. The game was played the next afternoon.



About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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