MLB’s All-Star events are arguably the best of the four major sports. The NFL’s Pro Bowl is a running joke at this point. The NBA’s All-Star weekend has lost some of it’s luster due to lack of competitiveness and the absence of stars in a slam dunk competition that was, at one time, must-see entertainment. The NHL’s All-Star festivities are always a lot of fun, but don’t usually receive the fanfare of the other sports.
As for baseball’s mid-summer classic, the game itself is always competitive, and the Home Run Derby always promises plenty of fireworks, fun and drama.
Aside from the co-main events, the hidden gem of the All-Star festivities is always the Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game. If you are a true fan of the game, or even a prospective fan looking for a reason to be excited about your team, the Futures Game should be the first thing you watch.
Not only does it provide a glimpse into the future of the league, but you will also catch some of the most exciting players in the game finally getting the chance to showcase their skills on a national stage.
You’ll find Hunter Greene and Jorge Guzman firing 102mph fastballs, and Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette sending them 500 feet into orbit. You’ll find Jo Adell using his blazing speed to steal bases, and Francisco Mejia gunning him down with his cannon arm.
Don’t know any of those names yet? Trust me, you will. They are the future of the league, and the future is bright. These are 30 of the game’s top prospects, and every team in the league will be represented. So, there will be something for every fan to root for.
For those who are looking for the best of the elite talent, however, here are three of the brightest stars to watch out for during next Sunday’s game:
Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. – 3B, Toronto Blue Jays
If that name sounds familiar, it should. Vlad Jr. is the son and namesake of Hall of Fame outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, of the then-Montreal Expos. At only 19 years old, Junior is already stepping out of his father’s shadow and making a name for himself.
Billed as the game’s No. 1 overall prospect, Vlad boasts other-worldly power and the ability to put the bat on the ball no matter where it’s thrown (a trait he picked up from Dad, no doubt).
Don’t blink though, or you might miss Vlad’s time as a top prospect, as he is hitting .407 (not a typo!) with the AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats. After he appears in this Futures Game, look for Vlad Jr. to be striking fear in the hearts of MLB pitchers everywhere in the middle of a big league lineup very soon.
Jo Adell – CF, Los Angeles Angels
As the Halos’ first round pick in 2017 and current No. 1 prospect, there is nothing Adell can’t do on a baseball field. With the kind of speed/power package that most teams can only dream about from their first round picks, Adell is already tearing his way through the Angels’s system in only his first year of pro ball, hitting .320 across multiple levels of the minor leagues, with 17 home runs, 65 RBI and 11 SB in only 80 games.
With his smooth stride in the outfield and the cannon arm to go with it, Adell is a walking highlight reel, and should be joining Mike Trout in the Angels outfield before long.
Oh, and did I mention he threw 98 off of a mound in high school? Adell is the real deal, and definitely someone to watch in Sunday’s game.
Jorge Guzman – SP, Miami Marlins
The little-known centerpiece acquired in the blockbuster Giancarlo Stanton trade with the New York Yankees this off-season, Guzman boasts one of the best fastballs at any level of pro ball. Topping 100mph regularly with little effort, Guzman pairs his blazing heat with a swing-and-miss slider for a devastating combo that will get big league hitters out for years to come.
In only his first season in pro ball, Guzman has already shown flashes of dominance, and should shoot up top prospect lists as he gains more experience.
This list could go on indefinitely, as seemingly every future star on both rosters has something exciting to offer. The Home Run Derby and All Star Game receive most of the coverage and fanfare though, as they should.
With that said, I would argue that the Futures Game has more excitement to offer, as all of these kids still have everything to prove and plenty of reason to play this exhibition with everything they have. This is where the Futures Game stands above the rest, in its ability to elevate some of these kids from unknown commodities to household names.
The stage is set, now let’s play ball.
The SiriusXM Futures game can be seen at 4pm on Sunday July 15th on MLB Network from Nationals park in Washington D.C., as the World team will take on the U.S. team.
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Featured Photo: twitter.com
Vlad Photo: sbnation.com
Adell Photo: thesportsdaily.com
Guzman Photo: twitter.com