U.S. will have loaded squad at Futures Game
The 14th annual Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game is less than a week away, so it's time to get prepared for Sunday afternoon's who's who of Minor League prospects.
The Futures Game can be seen live on MLB.com, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday on Sunday, July 8, at 5 p.m. ET. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio XM 89. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game. Fans can stay updated by following @MLBFutures on Twitter and can send/receive tweets to/from the U.S. and World team dugouts during the game by following @USDugout and @WorldDugout.
Major League Baseball, along with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, MLB.com, Baseball America and the 30 Major League baseball clubs, selected the 25-man rosters. George Brett will manage the U.S. Team, with Bernie Williams manning the World Team dugout.
Now it's time to take a closer look at the players in each dugout. Here is the U.S. Team.
Matt Barnes, Red Sox (Top 100: 95; BOS: 4)
The No. 19 pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft has already earned a promotion and is dominating at his second level in his first full season. He's among the Minor League leaders in ERA, strikeouts and batting average.
Dylan Bundy, Orioles (Top 100: 7; BAL: 2)
The No. 4 pick in last year's Draft, Bundy didn't give up an earned run in the first eight starts of his pro career to earn a promotion up a level. He would be first in the Minors in average against and second in ERA if he had enough innings to qualify.
Gerrit Cole, Pirates (Top 100: 8; PIT: 2)
Last year's No. 1 overall pick just recently got bumped up to Double-A, where he won his sixth straight decision in his debut. He's struck out more than a batter per inning and has held opposing hitters to a .220 average.
Danny Hultzen, Mariners (Top 100: 11; SEA: 1)
The lefty, who went No. 2 overall last year, struggled in his Triple-A debut, but he's still among the Minor League leaders in ERA and average against. He's not far from helping out in Seattle.
Alex Meyer, Nationals (Top 100: 71; WAS: 2)
Meyer went No. 23 overall in last year's Draft and shook off a rough April to turn in a stellar May and June to be third in the South Atlantic League in strikeouts and fourth in average against.
Jake Odorizzi, Royals (Top 100: 38; KC: 4)
Part of the haul from the Zack Greinke deal, Odorizzi is just about ready to help out in Kansas City. He's pitched very well since being promoted to Triple-A, continuing to strike out more than a batter per inning while keeping his walk rate low throughout his career.
Tyler Skaggs, Diamondbacks (Top 100: 16; ARI: 3)
Last year's Futures Game starter, Skaggs replaces Trevor Bauer, who got called up to the D-backs. With the way the lefty has pitched, he may not be far behind Bauer on the way to the big leagues. And Skaggs won't turn 21 until after the All-Star Game.
Jameson Taillon, Pirates (Top 100: 5; PIT: 1)
The No. 2 overall pick in 2010, Taillon began the year pitching extremely well, then hit a bit of a rough patch, but the Pirates have to be thrilled with how he bounced back: a seven-inning, one-hit, no-run masterpiece.
Taijuan Walker, Mariners (Top 100: 13; SEA: 2)
Still only a teenager, the Mariners' top pick in the 2010 Draft (43rd overall) dominated in his first two months following an aggressive opening assignment to Double-A before hitting a large bump in June.
Zack Wheeler, Mets (Top 100: 22; NYM: 1)
In his first full year with the Mets, the return from the Carlos Beltran trade looks like he's ready for a promotion. Wheeler ranks among the Eastern League leaders in ERA, BAA and strikeouts.
Rob Brantly, Tigers (DET: 15)
The replacement for the injured Travis d'Arnaud, Brantly recently earned a promotion to Triple-A. He's shown an ability to hit for average at the plate and control the running game behind it.
Tommy Joseph, Giants (SF: 5)
Originally drafted for his bat, Joseph has shown he can stay behind the plate, including throwing out over 45 percent of those attempting to steal on him this season. He's fully recovered from concussion symptoms that forced him out earlier in the year.
Nolan Arenado, Rockies (Top 100: 17; COL: 1)
He's not quite hitting for the same extra-base pop as he did in 2011, but he's more than holding his own in Double-A, where Arenado is hitting for average and continuing to be one of the toughest Minor Leaguers to strike out.
Nick Castellanos, Tigers (Top 100: 42; DET: 2)
After hitting better than .400 in the Florida State League, the 2010 sandwich-round pick got moved up to Double-A. Following a brief adjustment period, Castellanos has done what he's done throughout his brief career: hit. The extra-base power is starting to come, too.
Scooter Gennett, Brewers (MIL: 5)
All the 2009 16th-round pick has done since joining the Brewers organization is hit and prove people wrong. He's doing it again in Double-A, making the Southern League All-Star team.
Billy Hamilton, Reds (Top 100: 27; CIN: 1)
The fastest player in the Minors -- maybe in all of baseball -- is setting the world on fire with his speed, challenging a number of stolen-base records. He's getting on base and hitting, too, looking like a dynamic leadoff hitter of the future.
Manny Machado, Orioles (Top 100: 3; BAL: 1)
Heading to the Futures Game for the second straight season, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 Draft has been making a solid transition to Double-A as a teenager, with an .828 OPS in June.
Mike Olt, Rangers (Top 100: 34; TEX: 3)
After an injury-interrupted first full season, Olt tore it up in the Arizona Fall League. He's continued that in 2012, sitting among the Minor League leaders in home runs, slugging and OPS, all while showing a better overall approach at the plate.
Jonathan Singleton, Astros (Top 100: 35; HOU: 1)
Even with a June drought at the plate, Singleton is still among the Texas League leaders in a host of offensive categories in his first full season with the Astros after coming over in the Hunter Pence deal last summer.
Kolten Wong, Cardinals (Top 100: 91; STL: 4)
The 2011 first-rounder hasn't skipped a beat in going straight to Double-A in his first full season. The Texas League All-Star is among the league leaders in batting average and stolen bases.
Tyler Austin, Yankees (NYY: 14)
Austin is proving his short-season performance in 2011 was no fluke. Moving to the outfield hasn't hurt his bat, as he's leading the South Atlantic League in OPS. He's hitting for average and power, and he's stealing bases to boot.
Michael Choice, A's (Top 100: 49; OAK: 1)
After hitting 30 home runs in his first full season, Choice hasn't flexed as much muscle up in Double-A in 2012, but he still has as much raw power as anyone on the U.S. roster.
Anthony Gose, Blue Jays (Top 100: 47; TOR: 2)
Gose might be the only one who could give Hamilton a contest in a foot race. He's also displaying a better understanding of what it takes to be a leadoff man, showing more on-base skills as he's just a phone call away from Toronto.
Wil Myers, Royals (Top 100: 14; KC: 2)
Myers finished June leading all of the Minors in homers and was in the top five in a host of other offensive categories. Maybe the Royals will just let him stay in KC after the Futures Game.
Christian Yelich, Marlins (Top 100: 28; MIA: 1)
Time on the disabled list only slowed the 2010 first-rounder briefly. Yelich continues to show the ability to hit for average and more developing power, even in perhaps the most pitching-friendly home ballpark in the Minors.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.