Rangers RHP Jack Leiter is a good place to start because he exemplifies what’s weird about the Futures Game. Leiter hasn’t earned his spot on the field (6.30 ERA), but that’s not uncommon to this game, which different organizations use for different reasons on a player-by-player basis. It’s not an All-Star game, in other words. It’s not even an all-famous game, although that’s what gets Leiter on the roster. It’s not even really a combination of the two. Some organizations might send a middle reliever, like Baltimore did with Marcos Diplan in 2021, who the team DFA’d the other day, almost exactly a year after Diplan gave up home runs to Brennan Davis and Francisco Alvarez in Coors Field during the sixth inning of last year’s Futures Game.
Fun pitching staff, which is kind of the point of the game insofar as it has one. Flores, Tiedemann and Zulueta are catnip to the prospect community. Leiter could rehabilitate some public-eye value if he simply throws hard. Zulueta would be my bet to get the most helium, unless that’s Hunter Brown, who has been excellent in a tough pitching environment this season and looks ready for the big jump. Taj Bradley has allowed zero earned runs in his last four starts and should probably graduate to Triple-A after this game. His ERA May 3 is 0.84 with a 0.81 WHIP.
I’ve never liked Dingler. I think it’s the name. I mean I’ve never met the dude. I probably would like him in person. I like most people, if I get to meet them. Just talking about fantasy baseball, though, he’s a free-agent-level prospect in a lot of dynasty formats. Same for Yainer Diaz, even though I do like him. Shea Langeliers should probably be rostered in dynasty leagues, but you’re not holding him to carry your club up the standings. He could really help in his best seasons, of course, but the topside is solid catcher. He’s pretty blocked at the moment, but Sean Murphy might get moved this month.
Mead gives us all green lights all the time so far. Noel’s been more of a mixed bag but still impressive in his youth, power, and burgeoning plate discipline.
Pratto played his first game at Triple-A on July 20, 2021. He’s hit 38 home runs and stolen 13 bases in 137 games at the level, slashing .248/.371/.551 with 14.5% and 29.7% walk and strikeout rates. It’s not ideal, perhaps, but it’s been 41 percent better than league average.
I sort of expect Rafaela to steal the show somehow. He’s just kind of electric. Well-built for the showcase type environment in that he likes to swing. Likes to steal. Can play everywhere so might play a lot in the scrimmage setting.
Henderson has hit his first mini-skid of the season, slashing .139/.262/.167 with a 40.5 percent strikeout rate over his last ten games. The Sell-High window is wide open on this one for the daring. I’m not saying he’s not gonna hit. The trip and the mostly-for-fun showcase game environment with his peers could do him some good. We all need a mental break sometimes. I’m just never inclined to go all-in on the super-picky-almost-passive minor league hitters, and someone out there in your leagues probably wants Henderson enough right now to make an all-in type trade offer.
Weird group here. I’d sell every single one of them in a dynasty league if they brought back something nice and near. Not that I don’t like them. I just don’t see a whole lot of runway for increases for anyone except maybe Colas and Dominguez, and they’re both already known enough to carry some weight in trade talks. Maybe Valera, too, but he’s got so many believers already that he’d have to blow the roof off to gain mind-share.
Atlanta LHP Jared Shuster (23, AA)
Nice reward for Erik Miller, a reliever who should join the team sometime down the stretch and might be promoted to Triple-A just after the game. Everyone else is probably known to most readers already, with the possible exception of Andrew Abbott, a 2nd round pick in last-year’s draft who dominated High-A but has surrendered a 1.46 WHIP in 50.2 innings at Double-A. Cavalli is pitching really well right now and would stand to make his debut this season if he weren’t marooned on the Nationals. Decent chance he opens next year in the rotation. Burrows, too, should be a rotation mainstay in 2023. Eury Perez should break training camp with the Marlins next year. I fear for the hitters facing him here when he gasses it up for just an inning.
Phillies C Logan O’Hoppe (22, AA)
After years of pretty boring catching crops, we’re currently being spoiled with wave after wave of impressive young backstop, partly because buscones recently realized it’s second only to shortstop as a path to professional contracts.
With the Phillies one game out in the wild card race, O’Hoppe might be on the move this month and find himself in a much better situation for playing time. Good time to see if he’s available in any of your leagues.
Vientos is striking out at a 31.7 percent clip. He’s young enough in Triple-A that it’s not a deal-breaker, but he’s always had some contact issues, and I’d be more likely to trade him away than try to acquire him at this point.
Walker and Vargas could gain some serious heat in this game, as both are physically impressive guys with great hit tools. Could show out in BP for some taste-makers who haven’t seen them much. Both have gotten relatively light grades compared to their on-field skill sets, though Fangraphs did just bump Walker to a 60 after keeping him at 50 for a long time.
Baker takes us back to the introduction: these rosters are an odd mosaic compiled by 30 different artists working with 30 unique tile-sets. Most teams like to send a pitcher and a hitter, and Washington chose not to send Jeremy De La Rosa, their only Named Guy on the hitting side, so Darren Baker gets his chance for a glow-up despite slugging .369 with a 94 wRC+ in 60 games.
The other three in this group are Mon-Stars, built in a lab specifically to terrorize major league pitching. De La Cruz is on the shortlist for next top prospect.
We finish up the article in Future-Star City. If the teams were taking batting practice in position groups, seeing this wrecking crew would be my priority. Everyone in the NL outfield is already a Named Guy, and they could all add another value bump or two before next season.
Thanks for reading!
I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.