Tag:Futures Game
Posted on: July 10, 2011 11:57 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 1:18 pm

Futures Game: Kipnis could be in bigs soon

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jason KipnisPHOENIX -- On Sunday, Jason Kipnis led off the game for the U.S. team with a home run. Next up is the Triple-A All-Star Game in Salt Lake City on Wednesday and after that, well, he'll be on a plane. The question is whether he's joining his Triple-A teammates in Columbus, Ohio, or headed to Baltimore to join the Indians.

Of all the young talent on display at Sunday's Futures Game at Chase Field on Phoenix, Kipnis is the one most likely to make an impact on this year's pennant race. The U.S. won by the way, 6-4.

The Indians recently brought up Cord Phelps to try to fill in at second base but sent him back down after 19 games that saw him hit .196/.315/.326 in 55 plate appearances. Orlando Cabrera started the season at second base for Cleveland, but the 36-year-old is hitting just .252/.284/.336 and the Indians are searching for an offense spark. That could be Kipnis, the team's second-round pick out of Arizona State in the 2009 draft.

"Right now, I know it's a little cliche, but we're going to take it one step at a time. I've got to worry about Salt Lake City next and then we'll worry about what's after that next," Kipnis said. 

The left-handed hitting Kipnis is hitting .297/.380/.506 with 11 home runs and 11 stolen bases for the Clippers and with Cleveland just two hours away, the fans in Columbus and Cleveland are eager to see him in an Indians uniform. Of course, Kipnis is too.

"It's no longer nerves or anything like that, or being nervous, it's being anxious and being excited for what could happen," Kipnis said. "Whenever they feel ready, I'll be more than raring to go."

That's the attitude he brought into what was his second game in a big-league stadium. While at Arizona State, he played against Washington at Seattle's Safeco Field, and Sunday he had his own cheering section on the third-base line at Chase Field.

Leading off the game against the Braves' Julio Teheran, Kipnis worked a full count before taking a huge cut and putting the ball into the right field seats.

"I just want to put a good swing on the ball, make some hard contact, don't strike out, hope for the best and see what happens," Kipnis said. "I got a fastball I could handle, and I got lucky."

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Posted on: July 10, 2011 11:21 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 11:27 pm

Futures Game: Gloveless Wil Myers

By C. Trent Rosecrans

PHOENIX -- The Royals have an impressive collection of talent at the minor league level, and one of the jewels of the system is 20-year-old Wil Myers, who is hitting .271/.359/.385 with three home runs at Double-A Northwest Arkansas. This follows his 14-homer season last year when he drove in 83 while hitting .315 at both Class A levels.

In order to get him to Kansas City more quickly, the Royals moved Myers from catcher -- a spot he didn't play until he turned pro -- to the outfield.

Myers started Sunday's Futures Game and went 0 for 3 but drove in a run during the U.S. team's 6-4 victory. Before the game, he talked about his move to the outfield, his stirrups and not wearing batting gloves:

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Posted on: July 10, 2011 11:14 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 11:24 pm

Futures Game: Mesoraco on waiting for the call

By C. Trent Rosecrans

PHOENIX --Two years ago, Devin Mesoraco was being called a bust by some, even though the Reds' former first-round pick was still just 21. Through his first three seasons in the minors, he had hit just 18 home runs.

Last season, Mesoraco hit 26 while playing on three levels and hitting .302/.377/.587. This season at Triple-A Louisville, he's hitting .303/.378/.510 and is the reason the Reds could be looking to shop Ramon Hernandez for teams hungry for a catcher. 

Before singling and being hit by a pitch in Sunday's Futures Game at Chase Field in Phoenix, Mesoraco talked about his breakout 2010 and waiting for his shot at the Major Leagues:

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Posted on: July 10, 2011 10:30 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 11:08 pm

Futures Game: Hendriks on baseball in Australia

By C. Trent Rosecrans

PHOENIX -- Growing up in Australia, Twins pitching prospect Liam Hendriks didn't know anything about the Futures Game, but since joining the Twins organization he learned. And on Sunday, he looked around Chase Field and was excited to make his mark.

Hendricks gave up two hits and a run in one inning of work in Sunday's Futures Game but is 8-2 with a 2.70 ERA for Double-A New Britain of the Eastern League.

Among other things, Hendricks talked about how his parents didn't want him to play cricket:

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Posted on: July 10, 2011 10:30 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 12:58 pm

Harper goes 0 for 4 at Futures Game

By C. Trent Rosecrans

PHOENIX -- In what amounted to the biggest stage of Bryce Harper's young career, he went 0 for 4 and left the go-ahead run at second base. His team won anyway, but Harper didn't have his best showing.

It was, however, just an exhibition. Here's what he had to say about his performance in Sunday's Futures Game at Chase Field in Phoenix, which is part of All-Star weekend.

Here's some video taken before the game of his batting practice:

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Posted on: July 10, 2011 8:58 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 12:58 pm

3 Up, 3 Down: Futures Game

By Matt Snyder

PHOENIX -- Hey, we're here, might as well earn our keep. Here's a 3 Up, 3 Down for the Future's Game, which was played Sunday night in Chase Field between most of the game's best up-and-coming prospects. The U.S. team beat the World team 6-4 after taking control with a three-run eighth.

U.S. second basemen. How about some production from the middle of the infield? Jason Kipnis, who isn't far away from joining the Cleveland Indians, led off the first with a home run to right off Julio Teheran, which is no small feat. When Kipnis left the game, Grant Green (A's organization) took over and didn't miss a beat. Green clubbed a pair of doubles, scoring once and driving in one, winning the Larry Doby MVP Award for the game. Eight total bases in four at-bats from second basemen isn't too shabby.

Jarred Cosart (Phillies organization) and Brad Peacock (Nationals organization). In the small sample size of one inning -- no pitcher threw more than one all game -- these were the two most impressive pitchers. Both had efficient, 1-2-3 innings in which they made the opposing hitters look off-balance.

Jurickson Profar (Rangers organization). Of all the impressive things we saw Sunday in Chase Field, Profar's triple ranks among the best. He crushed a ball into the right-center gap and just glided into third base. The speedy shortstop was rounding second base before an outfielder touched the ball and, had there been a bobble or anything, Profar would have scored. This kid can fly. And he's only 18.

Bryce Harper (Nationals organization). Harper looked overmatched against Teheran in the first inning, striking out looking on a 95-mph heater on the black. Of course, it's possible that's the best pitcher Harper has ever seen as he was only recently promoted to Double-A. Teheran has made two starts in the bigs this year. Harper grounded out to first base in each of his next two at-bats and then struck out -- following two straight doubles from his U.S. teammates -- in the eighth. Defensively, Harper made a huge throw home on a double -- showcasing his rocket arm -- but it was ill-advised. He had no shot at cutting the lead runner down and the back-side runner advanced an extra base. Hitting the cut-off man would have been the right move. In fairness to Harper, he's still really young (18), even for this game, but it was not a great showing.

Kelvin Herrera (Royals organization). The 21-year-old reliever has dominated in both High-A and Double-A this season, but Sunday was a different story. The U.S. bats got hot against Herrera, and he had to be pulled before his inning was complete. Grant Green and Tim Beckham doubled back-to-back to tie the game at four. Harper's strikeout and a fly out to shallow center meant Herrera had a chance to get out of the inning with only limited damage, but then things got ugly again. Austin Romine singled and Nolan Arenado doubled to chase Herrera from the game. His final line: 2/3 inning, four hits, three earned runs, three doubles and the loss.

Drew Pomeranz (Indians organization). He's only in Class-A, so it's possible Pomeranz was just a bit overmatched, but the World team really knocked him around the yard. He gave up a single, two-run homer, walk and double. The homer, walk and double all came with two outs, too. Pomeranz ended up being charged with all four runs the World team scored.

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Posted on: July 10, 2011 8:09 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 8:17 pm

Astros prospect plays bigger than 5-7

Jose Altuve

By C. Trent Rosecrans

PHOENIX -- Jose Altuve is easy to miss, and when you do see him, even easier to overlook.

But the Astros' second base prospect is showing he's just more than the short guy. And when I say short, I mean he's about the same height as the squatting umpire. Listed at 5-foot-7, Altuve is even shorter.

"I know everyone talks about my size; it's something that doesn't bother me," Altuve said. "When I go to play, they talk about how I'm short but then they talk about other things after they see me play."

His stature has led many to questions about his future in the game. Even at second base, that's really, really short. His bat, however, is making some believers. The 21-year-old from Venezuela is hitting .353/./382/.551 at Double-A Corpus Christi in 33 games in the Texas League. He started the season in the notoriously hitter-friendly California League in high Class A and hit .408/.451/.606. And get this: He's even hit nine home runs this season -- five in Lancaster and four in Corpus Christi.

For Altuve, just making the Futures Game is evidence that he's changing some minds about whether he can ever play in the big leagues.

"This is something I'm playing here with a lot of guys who have played in the big leagues already and almost everyone will play in the big leagues. It's really good," Altuve said before Sunday's game.

During Sunday's game, Altuve started at second and played second (while wearing No. 2 to top it off). He doubled in his first at-bat and singled in his second, finishing 2 for 3 before being replaced by Jonathan Schoop.

Altuve has already made one move up the Astros' minor-league ladder and could be looking at Triple-A soon.

"I don't think too much about it," he said. "Once something happens, it happens. I just worry about going to field and playing hard. They can do what they want with me."

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Posted on: July 10, 2011 5:43 pm

Futures Game: Yonder Alonso on LF, Cuba and more

By C. Trent Rosecrans

PHOENIX --Reds prospect Yonder Alonso is in his second Futures Game this weekend at Chase Field in Phoenix and is off to good start at Triple-A Louisville, but because he's primarily a first baseman, the Reds aren't in any need to bring him up to the big leagues because they're set at first base with reigning National League MVP Joey Votto playing first.

Alonso has started playing left field in an attempt to be more versatile and as a way to get his bat into the Reds' lineup. It's a good strategy, as he's hitting .298/.372/.490 with 11 home runs and 48 RBI for Triple-A Louisville. His manager, Rick Sweet, said he's making strides in left and is doing well in the field. Alonso said he's enjoying his time in the outfield as well. He's stating at first base for the World team on Sunday for the Futures Game, but said he had to take some extra infield because it's the first time he's play first in the last three weeks.

Born in Cuba, Alonso's family left the island when he was young and he grew up in Miami. He talks about the difficult feelings wearing the Cuban flag on his chest for the game brings up, among other topics.

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