Despite the poor showing of fans at Chase Field, I imagine the All-Star Futures Game is one of the neater events of the All-Star festivities. 50 of baseball's most promising stars get together on one field and duke it out for 9 innings to determine the greatest.... well, it's USA vs the World so I don't know what exactly it determines, but it's still pretty neat. And I say that as one who pays relatively little attention to the minor leagues.
Over 200 players who have played in the Futures Games have made it to the big leagues, including some from this year's teams. Tomorrow, 30 of the MLB All Stars will be players who once participated in the Futures Game. So even though you may not know very many of their names in the following recap now, read it anyway so that you might get to say "Oh hey I read about him" in a year or two.
Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Tyler Skaggs was first on the mound for the U.S. team. He may be tall at 6'4" but he is young and he was practically swimming in that jersey of his. He admitted before the game he might have to work at calming his nerves down, but he pitched pretty well. He got the first batter to fly out to right field, but then Jose Altuve doubled and Skaggs walked Yonder Alonso. But Skaggs settled down and struck out Dayan Viciedo and Alex Liddi ground out to second for a scoreless frame for the World team.
The first batter of the US's half of the frame was Jason Kippis and on a 3-2 count against Julio Teheran, Kippis hit a home run to right field to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead! Also in the first inning, Nationals (and news media) phenom Bryce Harper struck out on four pitches and Diamondbacks AA Mobile power bat Paul Goldschmidt ground out meekly on the first pitch he saw from Teheran. If you only want to know what happened to Skaggs, Harper and Goldschmidt, you can stop reading now - Skaggs only pitched the one inning, and Harper and Goldschmidt were each 0-for-4.
The U.S. built their lead to 2-0 in the second inning on two singles and a groundout, and took a 3-0 lead in the 5th inning when a double by Grant Green scored Gary Brown.
But in the 6th inning, the World team came up swinging. Drew Pomeranz came in to start the inning. Dayan Viciedo singled and, with two outs, Alfredo Silverio hit a home run to left center field (where there's some fancy platform covering a large section of bleacher seats in that corner). After Chih-Hsien Chiang walked, Sebastian Valle doubled to left field. Bryce Harper in left unleashed a rocket that missed the cutoff man and landed 5 feet from the catcher (and was also wide, so Chiang was safe to tie the game). Then Mike Piazza pulled Pomeranz for Kyle Gibson, and Gibson gave up a triple to Jurickson Profar and Valle scored to put the World team up 4-3. Poor Pomeranz was had an ERA of 54.00 - the ONLY U.S. pitcher who had an ERA not 0.00 - and was on the hook for the loss.
In true Diamondback fashion, the U.S. team came back in the 8th inning. Two leadoff doubles by Grant Green and Tim Beckham tied it up, and then the people who everybody thought would do damage, Harper and Golschmidt, struck out and flied out respectively. Never fear, Austin Romine was there to double in Beckham for the lead and then Nolan Arenado doubled to score Romine to put the U.S. team up 6-4. Poor Kelvin Herrerra accumulated an ERA of 40.50 and took the blown save and the loss. Mike Piazza had two players (pitchers) left in his 'pen for the 9th inning, and he used both. After Jacob Turner got the first two outs, Matt Harvey got Reymond Fuentes to ground out to first base (Goldschmidt tossed to Turner) for the save. The U.S. team now has a 7-6 record in the Futures games.
No fangraphs for this one, but I ran a rollcall for the heck of it. We had a pretty good turnout, 22 users and nearly 600 comments. Bulldogs, myself and Clefo were on the podium. (Seriously, guys, and I left for 3 innings to cut up strawberries.) All present were NASCARbernet, dbacks25, BulldogsNotZags, blank_38, snakecharmer, BattleMoses, Clefo, txzona, kishi, imstillhungry95, piratedan7, Dallas D'Back Fan, Husk, xmet, Wailord, Scottyyy, Brian MacKinney, emilylovesthedbacks, Counsellmember, Jdub220, jinnah, and rfffr. Maybe more will show up during the celebrities game.
I am giving a comment of the day of my own choosing to Clefo because you people were not reccing anything.
USA USA USA! WE’RE TWO FOR TWO AGAINST THE FOREIGNERS TODAY! WOOOO
Okay, IHSB should be back soon to provide details with who these guys are and what teams they play for!