USA Team All-Star Justin Upton hits a solo home run against the World Team All-Stars All-Star Futures Game at AT&T Park on July 8, 2007 in San Francisco. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
The Futures Game is now in its 12th season, and the All-Time Roster is pretty much a Who's Who - or, more accurately, a Who Will Be Who of baseball. Last year, no less than 38 of the players on the All-Star roster had taken part in the Futures game earlier in their career, and seven had appeared in the Futures game, then in the "proper" All-Star Game the next season. After the jump we take a look at the Diamondbacks in the Futures Game, and in particular, at the current Arizona player who was once the MVP there.
Nine of the current 25-man Diamondbacks roster took part in the event earlier in their career.
- Sean Burroughs, 2000-2001
- Stephen Drew, 2006
- Zach Duke, 2005
- Daniel Hudson, 2010
- Miguel Montero, 2005
- Gerardo Parra, 2008
- Wily Mo Pena, 2001-2002
- Justin Upton, 2007
- Chris Young, 2005
Burroughs is the name that stands out, not least because he was voted the Most Valuable Player of the 2000 game in Atlanta. It's interesting, and kinda amusing, to look back at reports of the game, and the names of the participants there. To revisit an earlier theme, it's a mix of a Who's Who and a Who's He? This paragraph contains a couple of examples of both:
They were there to see former Spring High School star Josh Beckett use a 96-mph fastball and a knee-buckling curve while pitching a scoreless inning. They were there to see heralded Yankees prospect Drew Henson finishing up another baseball summer before returning to Ann Arbor to play quarterback for the University of Michigan. They were there to see Marcus Giles, 22, who was given the same locker his brother Brian, an outfielder with the Pirates, will have Tuesday night. And they were there for a peek at Seattle's 6-10 Ryan Anderson - nicknamed the Space Needle - and to see why he's frequently compared to Randy Johnson.
Beckett and Giles would indeed go on to enjoy highly-successful careers in the majors. However, Henson managed only nine at-bats there with the Yankees - coincidentally, after being traded to New York for Wily Mo Pena. Anderson was drafted by the Mariners and was their Baseball America top prospect for four straight years, but his career was derailed by shoulder injuries, and he abandoned his baseball dreams to attend Scottsdale Culinary Institute and pursue a career as a chef. Last rumor I found had him serving five months in Tent City for his third DWI. Truly, there is no such thing as a pitching prospect...
Back with Burroughs in 2000, his bat made it to Cooperstown after the game. He said, "I kind of sat back and tried to take it all in. I didn't want it to rush by. I don't know what's going to happen the rest of the summer. I'd love to be in San Diego in September, but I'd also like to play in the Olympics." He went with the Olympic route, taking home a gold after the American team beat the Cubans 4-0 in the final game - also on that roster was another future Diamondback, Jon Rauch.
For the Diamondbacks, the list above is just the tip of the Futures iceberg, over franchise history. Other former D-backs who were on the roster include: Orlando Hudson, Conor Jackson, Edwin Jackson, Adam LaRoche, Trent Oeltjen, Lyle Overbay, Jarrod Parker, Chad Tracy and Jose Valverde. This year will see two more added to the list. One is left-handed pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who has been destroying pitching at High-A, with 120 K's in 97.2 innings; only two minor-leaguers at any level have more strikeouts this season. The other is Paul Goldschmidt, who I trust needs little introduction; he leads all prospects in 2011, with 25 home-runs already.
Should be a fun game; there's a couple of differences, however, of which you should be aware. The rosters are chosen not by fans, or even players and managers, but by Baseball America, working with MLB. As in the main contest, every organization is represented, with no more than two players from any organization - that's necessary, as the rosters are smaller, with only 25 players on the World and US squads. [For the purposes of the game, Puerto Rico is included in the "World"] Games last nine innings, with no more than 11 possible - a tie is declared at that point - and pitchers are limited to one inning.
Hometown icon Luis Gonzales will be managing the World team this year, and uUnless it does end level - something yet to happen - it will give bragging rights to the winning side, as the teams are tied 6-6 after the first dozen years of the event. It'd certainly be nice if Goldschmidt were to slug a home-run; as we saw in the first game at Salt River Fields, where he tied things up with a three-run bomb in the ninth, he can show a flair for the dramatic! Be nice if, on "home territory," he was to join the likes of Alfonso Soriano, Jose Reyes, Grady Sizemore - and, of course, Sean Burroughs - and become the Futures MVP.