06/21/12 12:00 PM ET
Royals to be well represented at Futures Game
By Vinnie Duber / MLB.com
The rosters for the Futures Game were announced Thursday, and a trio of Royals will be taking the field at Kauffman Stadium as a part of All-Star Weekend.
Triple-A standouts Jake Odorizzi and Wil Myers will be suiting up for the U.S. squad, and young pitcher Yordano Ventura will be a member of the World Team's pitching staff.
"It's definitely going to be cool playing in front of the home crowd in Kansas City, and I'm definitely looking forward to it," Myers said.
Odorizzi and Myers have been making Royals headlines for months. They were both promoted from Double-A Northwest Arkansas to Triple-A Omaha on the same day in mid-May, and the duo have been putting up impressive numbers as members of the Storm Chasers.
Odorizzi, who was ranked the Royals' No. 4 prospect this year by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, has dazzled at Omaha. In six games (five starts), he is 4-0 with a 2.41 ERA. He's struck out 34 batters in 33 2/2 innings, walking just 10.
"It's been really good so far," Odorizzi said. "It's a little bit different [than Double-A]. The hitters are more advanced. ... They have a better approach to the plate. It's helping me read swings a little bit better."
Myers -- ranked the Royals' No. 2 prospect by Mayo -- is batting .328 in 33 games with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs. Between Northwest Arkansas and Omaha this year, Myers has hit a total of 24 home runs, three times as many as he hit in 99 games with Northwest Arkansas last season.
"I just wanted to come out and have a rebound year after my 2011 season. 2011 was a good year for me, because I definitely learned a lot, learned how to deal with failure, learned how to come out of slumps," Myers said. "Right now I'm going up to every at-bat with some confidence at the plate, and I feel good up there."
Ventura, who Mayo ranked the organization's ninth-best prospect, has pitched well at Class A Wilmington. He's gone 3-5 in 13 starts, and his ERA is 3.10. Opponents are hitting just .227 against Ventura, and he's struck out 78 batters in 61 innings pitched.
The young players won't be the only Royals participating in the game. Royals legend and All-Star Ambassador George Brett will manage the U.S. team. Earlier in the season, Brett spoke of how he was excited to manage in the game after previously managing in 2005 in Detroit.
In addition to Brett, Omaha manager Mike Jirschele and Royals special assistant to player development and former Royals manager John Wathan will be on the U.S. team's coaching staff. Also, Royals Minor League medical coordinator Chris DeLucia will act as the U.S. team's athletic trainer.
This is no new experience for Myers, who was a member of the U.S. team at last year's Futures Game at Chase Field in Arizona. This time around, he's happy to be sharing the honor with his teammate and roommate, Odorizzi.
"Last year was a great experience. It's something I'll never forget. In Arizona, great stadium, great city. My family got to come out and watch me, so it was definitely cool. This year I'm really looking forward to it, obviously, because it's in Kansas City," Myers said. "It definitely helps a lot, going up with somebody you know and knowing somebody in the locker room. Last year, I didn't know too many people there. So it's definitely going to be cool to know somebody there already and have somebody to talk to."
Odorizzi is also happy to be joining Myers in Kansas City.
"Anytime you can do something with a teammate -- especially a friend to go along with that -- it makes that experience a lot more memorable. And I think this is going to be one of the top ones I have," Odorizzi said.
There will be plenty of interested parties when Myers and Odorizzi play in the game, as many are wondering how long it will be until they join the Royals in the Major Leagues.
"They haven't given me a timeframe on that right now," Myers said. "Right now they just want me to go out and just get better every game, have good at-bats. As far as a timetable's concerned, I'm not sure what they have planned, but right now I just want to go out there every day and get better and work on my game."
Odorizzi, meanwhile would be happy to oblige if the Royals tell him to stick around after the Futures Game is over.
"That would certainly be great, but there's nothing I can do to control that," Odorizzi said. "I sure wouldn't be against staying after the game if that's what they told me to do."
The 14th annual Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game can be seen live on MLB.TV, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday on July 8, at 4 p.m. CT. 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.
Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.