July 15, 2013

Futures is bright for U.S.

The Associated Press

NEW YORK - Matt Davidson of the Arizona Diamondbacks hit a two-run homer and the United States beat the World team 4-2 on Sunday in the All-Star Futures Game, baseball's annual showcase for top minor league prospects.

Xander Bogaerts
click image to enlarge

World’s Xander Bogaerts, a former Portland Sea Dog, scores ahead of the tag by United States’ Austin Hedges in the fourth inning of the All-Star Futures game Sunday. Bogaerts was 2 for 3 in the game, which the U.S. team won 4-2.

The Associated Press

The opening event for three days of All-Star festivities at Citi Field, the Futures Game certainly had a New York Mets flavor in their home ballpark. Two of the team's touted pitching prospects, Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero, started on the mound, and each worked a scoreless inning.

New York outfielder Brandon Nimmo also got in the game, managed by a pair of former Mets favorites. Edgardo Alfonzo guided the World Team, and his counterpart was Mookie Wilson -- who certainly took the job seriously. He brought in Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Jesse Biddle in the middle of an inning to escape a jam.

Miami's Christian Yelich and Boston's Garin Cecchini each had an RBI double. Biddle, who grew up a Phillies fan in Philadelphia, earned the win with 11/3 shutout innings, and Washington right-hander A.J. Cole got a save.

Cole came in with two runners on and retired both batters he faced.

Davidson, selected the game's MVP, connected off losing pitcher Michael Ynoa of the Oakland Athletics. Chicago Cubs second baseman Arismendy Alcantara homered for the World off Red Sox right-hander Anthony Ranaudo.

It was the fourth consecutive victory for the United States, including last season's 17-5 rout in Kansas City behind Manny Machado, Gerrit Cole and Wil Myers.

One year later, Machado is a major league All-Star, while Cole and Myers are off to impressive starts in the big league level.

Indeed, history shows that many of the talented kids in this game aren't far from major league success. Nineteen players from last year's Futures Game have reached the big leagues this season.

The only other time the Mets hosted the All-Star game was in Shea Stadium's debut season of 1964. And while a scattered crowd announced at 39,175 was eager to see the promise of a better future, it turned into a big day for the Diamondbacks.

In addition to Davidson's drive, which would not have cleared the Citi Field fences before they were moved in prior to the 2012 season, Chris Owings looked silky smooth at shortstop for the U.S.

On the mound, Arizona right-hander Archie Bradley worked a perfect third inning, showing off his 98 mph fastball and sharp curve. Baseball America recently rated Bradley, who passed up a chance to play quarterback for Oklahoma back home, the game's top pitching prospect.

"It kind of felt like we stole the show a little bit," Bradley said.

The left-handed hitting Yelich, the designated hitter for the U.S. team, cracked an RBI double off Tampa Bay lefty Enny Romero, who was throwing 97 mph heat.

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, batting third in the World lineup, singled twice and scored on a sacrifice fly by 27-year-old Detroit first baseman Jordan Lennerton, the game's oldest player.

 

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