MLB All-Star Game: Reds' Taylor Trammell, Hunter Greene shine in 2018 Futures Game, plus other takeaways
Lots of home runs were hit Sunday. Lots and lots of home runs
WASHINGTON -- Sunday afternoon baseball's best and most exciting young prospects gathered at Nationals Park for the 2018 Futures Game. The Futures Game is exactly what it sounds like: A showcase of baseball's future. These are the players we'll see in the big leagues -- some later this year -- and All-Star Games in the coming years.
Team USA erased an early deficit and held on for a 10-6 win over the World Team on Sunday (box score). Here are seven things to know about the 2018 Futures Game.
Matias puts on a show during batting practice
My favorite part of the Futures Game is batting practice. There are great prospects all over the place and they're just launching bombs in a big league ballpark. It's so fun.
The batting practice hero Sunday was Royals outfield prospect Seuly Matias. He visited the upper deck in right field -- that's an opposite field shot for Matias -- several times during batting practice. Here's some video:
The 19-year-old Matias currently leads the minor leagues with 26 homers this season, which is awfully impressive. It's not often a teenager out-homers grown men in the minors, even across half of a season.
Matias does have some holes to close up in his swing -- he's struck out 109 times in exactly 300 plate appearances this year -- but the power is super legit.
Greene lit up the radar gun
There is a lot of big velocity in the Futures Game, but, hands down, the hardest thrower was Reds righty Hunter Greene. Greene's fastball averaged -- averaged! -- 101.3 mph Sunday. He topped out at 103.1 mph and his slowest heater was 100 mph on the nose.
MLB.com ranks Greene as the 18th best prospect in baseball and says he can "consistently reach 97-101 mph" even as a starter. There has never been more velocity in baseball than right now, and there's even more on the way.
102 going in and 105 going out
Greene has a huge arm and big time velocity, but, if you don't locate even a 102 mph heater, hitters will crush it. White Sox prospect Luis Alexander Basabe turned around one of Greene's 102 mph fastballs for a two-run home run in the third inning. Look how quickly he got around on this:
Goodness. Statcast measured the exit velocity on that dinger at 105 mph. Basabe, who went to the White Sox in the Chris Sale trade, has some of the quickest hands in the minors. They were on full display Sunday.
A Dodgers prospect went deep twice
Even with all the home runs hit in the Futures Game, only one player went deep multiple times Sunday. That player: Dodgers outfielder Yusniel Diaz. Diaz went the other way to right-center field in the fifth inning ...
... then he pulled a ball to left-center field in the seventh inning for another homer. Both dingers tied the score.
The 21-year-old Diaz has six home runs in 59 Double-A games this season.
Another Dodgers prospect got injured
There was an unfortunate moment in the seventh inning of the Futures Game. Dodgers catching prospect Keibert Ruiz left the game with an injury after taking a foul tip to the bare hand. Ruiz did not seem particularly shaken up, but there's no reason to risk anything in an exhibition game. He left the game and went for an X-ray.
Cubs catching prospect Miguel Amaya started the game behind the plate for the World Team before giving way to Ruiz in the middle innings. Once Ruiz got hurt, Amaya re-entered the game because each team only carried two catchers. Club rules at the Futures Game.
A Mets prospect hit the most impressive homer
Dominic Smith might soon start hearing footsteps. Of all the home runs hit in the Futures Game -- there were eight of them -- the most impressive belonged to Mets first base prospect Peter Alonso. This 415-foot moonshot was demolished to left field.
Think Alonso knew he got all that one? He flipped his bat a bit -- I'd call it a minor league bat flip -- and jogged around the bases. The Statcast data is quite impressive:
Alonso, 23, has swatted 21 home runs in 88 games split between Double-A and Triple-A this season.
Team USA continues Futures Game dominance
Another year, another win for Team USA at the Futures Game. Sunday's win was the eighth in the last nine years for Team USA, and they lead the all-time series 13-7. Here are the last five Futures Game results:
USA 3, World 2
Great American Ball Park
USA 10, World 1
Kyle Schwarber, Cubs
World 11, USA 3
USA 7, World 6
USA 10, World 6
Taylor Trammell, Reds
Trammell, the Futures Game MVP, went 2 for 2 with a triple and a home run Sunday. The cameras caught Trammell admiring the triple a bit thinking it would be a home run. Maybe could've been an inside-the-park homer had he run out of the box, but hey, I'm not here to judge. An inside-the-parker would've been cool though.
The Futures Game is not about wins and losses or playing the game the right way, of course. Sure, the players like to win, but ultimately the goal here is to introduce fans to next wave of great players, and we saw plenty of them Sunday.
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