Dan's Dugout: 'Futures' Stars Are on the Verge • Latino Sports


Dan’s Dugout: ‘Futures’ Stars Are on the Verge


SAN DIEGO – If past history serves as an accurate barometer, many of the prospects who played in the All-Star Futures Game at Petco Field Sunday will reach the major leagues soon.

Twenty-two of the players on last year’s rosters have made major-league debuts.

The game, now in its 18th year, pits a “world” All-Star team comprised of international players against a U.S. team. The Americans hold an overall 11-7 lead in the series, which is sponsored by Sirius XM Satellite Radio.

The World won this year, 11-3, after being held hitless for the first five innings. But the players mattered more than the score.

Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada reinforced his blue-chip rating with an upper deck home run that earning him MVP honors for 2016.

Last year’s Futures Game MVP was Kyle Schwarber, a catcher-outfielder who made his mark with the Chicago Cubs shortly after appearing in the mid-July exhibition.

Other notable names who won MVP honors in the game have been Jose Reyes, Alfonso Soriano, Billy Butler, and Aaron Hill.

The 2016 World Team features players from 10 countries and territories. Not surprisingly, the baseball-crazy Dominican Republic ranks first with 13 players, while Canada, Cuba, and Venezuela have two each. Also represented are Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Taiwan, Lithuania, and South Africa.

Former Padres closer Trevor Hoffman, the leading candidate in next year’s Hall of Fame balloting, managed the U.S. team while former Cubs outfielder Moises Alou ran the World team.

Player rosters included 16 first-round picks from the annual amateur draft including Dansby Swanson, the top man chosen. Drafted by Arizona, he was traded to Atlanta after the season in five-man swap that sent starting pitcher Shelby Miller to the Diamondbacks.

Since the first Futures Game in 1999, 145 players selected for that contest have also been seleced to major-league All-Star teams. They include 31 players on the current All-Star rosters who are Futures Game alumni.

In addition to the Futures Game and the ongoing All-Star FanFest, Sunday’s activities also included the All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game. Actors J.K. Simmons, Jamie Foxx, and Mark-Paul Gosselear and Olympic softball pitcher Jennie Finch joined a long list of baseball Hall of Famers for that game.

They included former Padres Rollie Fingers, Rickey Henderson, Ozzie Smith, all members of the Hall of Fame, plus Cooperstown contenders Tim Raines and Trevor Hoffman.

At the same time, pairings for Monday’s Home Run Derby were announced, with the most prolific power-hitters of the moment given top seeding. Mark Trumbo of Baltimore was seeded first, followed by Todd Frazier of the Chicago White Sox, and Adam Duvall of the Cincinnati Reds.

Elsewhere in baseball: Who would have bet that Didi Gregorius would be the best players on the Yankees this year? Or any year? . .

Mexico City and Montreal remain front-runners for expansion or for receiving teams that might relocate (i.e. Tampa Bay) . . .

Carlos Beltran, still hitting despite aching knees, is a good bet to be traded by the Yankees before the August 1 trading deadline . . .

Poor Wilmer Flores: he hits five home runs in a couple of days and wins a seat on the bench because the Mets brought back Jose Reyes.

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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