“Alluhring Strategy” The ‘Futures’ is Now: What to Make of the Hitting Performances from the Futures Game
In Part Two of my Futures Game recap, we will take a look at the significance of hitting performances from the game. As I mentioned in Part One, by and large, the pitchers were dominating. Joey Gallo’s windshield smashing shot won him the MVP, but what else can we take away from the hitting prospects?
Prior to the game, I previewed the US Team and World Team for possible breakout performances. For a quick review on how I did, we start with Mr. Gallo’s 419′ monster shot which certainly brought his talents to the national stage. Good luck trying to get him in any sort of keeper league. Michael Taylor got a hit in four trips, but struck out twice. On the World side, Kennys Vargas ripped a nice double off of Hunter Harvey in 4th, but he too managed to strike out twice. Daniel Alvarez did nothing in his two at-bats which proves I “haven’t got a clue about the guy beyond a few stats.” Regardless, there is still much to break down from the hitting perspective of the game.
World Team “Two-Hit” Hitters
This spring, I spent about two months profiling some under-the-radar, 21 and Under prospect for each position. Two of the guys I wrote about were Dalton Pompey and Rosell Herrera. You can click on their name to read my previous breakdown on them. These are the only two hitters that had a multi-hit game.
Dalton Pompey, OF (TOR), batted lead-off and played the entire game going 2-4 with one strikeout. The switch-hitter has plus speed and was having a great season in A+ Dunedin which earned him a promotion to AA, New Hampshire. Batting from the right, BOS prospect, LHP Henry Owens got him to line out to left field in the first inning. In the 3rd, KC prospect, RHP Christian Binford stuck him out on a steady diet of painting the outside corner. Dalton rips a 95 MPH fastball back up the middle for a leadoff single in the top of the 6th off WSH prospect, RHP Lucas Giolito. He led off the 8th by ripping a 98 MPH fastball into right field for a single off CIN prospect RHP Robert Stephenson. Pompey displayed his speed by stealing second off of Stephenson to set up a potential tying run in scoring position. The 21-year-old, Canadian, was able to translate his game to the big stage by displaying exceptional plate discipline. He didn’t swing at a single pitch that was outside the strike zone in the four at-bats. He stole a base, scored a run and gave us a glimpse of his developing hit tool. If Toronto can resist trading him for pitching in the next two weeks, he would be the ideal lead-off hitter for the big club in the near future.
Rosell Herrera, SS (COL) entered the game as a pinch-hitter for starting DH, Gabby Guerrero in the 7th inning. After working a full count, he laces an off speed pitch into right field for a single. He got another at-bat as the DH with two outs in the 9th off a 97 MPH fastball from NYM prospect RHP Noah Syndergaard. Rosell has had a slow start for High A Modesto this year due to a wrist injury after a break out 2013 campaign. What I saw in his two at-bats is decent plate discipline. He doesn’t swing anything out of the zone early in the count. He fouled off a tough breaking ball off ARI prospect RHP Brandon Shipley with two strikes before working a hit. He has the tools to be an outstanding hitter in this league. Although a SS, he got in the game as the DH which did not go unnoticed. He has had 14 errors in only 30 games this year and likely moves from the position. I could see him moving to AA in 2015 and learning a new position there. He could slide over to 3B but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him move the outfield. This might be his best path to Colorado and could potentially team up to make a potent outfield trio with Rockies’ prospects David Dahl and Raimel Tapia.
US Team “Notables”
Other than the Gallo blast, there wasn’t any other memorable hitting performances per se. There are two guys that may be a little under the radar that I would like to spotlight as guys you should be looking to acquire in dynasty leagues.
J.P. Crawford, SS (PHI) is not even 20 years old, but has a real advanced approach at the plate. In his first at-bat against HOU prospect, RHP Michael Feliz, he lays off a fastball off the plate and then drops a base hit between the SS and CF. His speed wrecks havoc as he steals second easily and sets the table for Gallo to crush a fastball fall over the right field wall. Crawford was selected 16th overall in the 2013 draft and is in his first full season of pro ball. He had a very good start at Low A Lakewood, stealing 14 bases and getting on base at a .398 clip. He got promoted to High A Clearwater about a month ago and is still adjusting to the higher level of talent. The reason I’m high on Crawford is more evident in his second at-bat. Although he did not reach base, he worked a seven pitch count into what should have been a hit up the middle if it weren’t for an outstanding defensive display by 2B Jose Rondon and a little help from the 1st Base Ump. He didn’t swing at anything out of the zone and fought off a tough curve ball to stay alive with two strikes. This plate discipline is not typical for a player of his age and experience. With plus speed, a developing hit tool and a slick glove, he should be a long time fixture in Philly starting as soon as 2016.
Jesse Winker, OF (CIN) was having such a great season at High A, Bakersfield that he recently earned a promotion to AA, Pensacola. He is slashing .297/.401/.489 with 15 HRs that is drawing comparisons to former Reds prospect, Jay Bruce. He ripped the first strike he saw off the left field wall for a double. He would have stolen third if Renfroe hadn’t fouled off the pitch. He is not known for his speed but won’t clog up the base paths. His second at-bat had him going opposite way as well, but that one hung up for a shallow fly out. Jesse is another example of a young player (only 20) with a very mature approach at the plate using all fields and laying off pitches out of the zone. He has developing power that flashes plus with a definite plus hit tool. I could see him reach the Queen City at some point in 2015 and you want to have him stashed on your dynasty leagues sooner rather than later.
Bonus Thoughts: Cubs Hitters and Future Lineup
One of the bigger story lines prior to this game was the impact of the two stud Cubs prospects, Kris Bryant, 3B (CHC) and Javier Baez, SS (CHC). Bryant had 31 HRs by the Futures Game and Baez, struggling somewhat in AAA Iowa, did have a combined 37 HRs and 111 RBIs last season as a shortstop. So…Bryant didn’t have a great game. He went 0-3 with 2 Ks and 4 LOB. Should we be concerned? Hell…No! It was just one game and he was off his game. 30+ HRs in half a season in AAA is a much better sample size of what you can expect of him going forward. The 22-year-old, Bryant is already a mature player despite just being drafted 2nd overall in the 2013 Amateur draft. I don’t see Chicago bringing him up this season because they are not playing for anything. Let him finish this season in Iowa and prepare his plus power and arm to win a job coming out of Spring Training. His counterpart, Baez, was single-handedly responsible for all the scoring for the World Team. His 6th inning blast off Giolito is a glimpse of what he will offer in the big leagues. His plus hit tool, power and arm are ready for Chicago right now. Again, why bring him up to when the Cubs aren’t playing for anything this season. They already have a shortstop that is having a very good season. Both guys are Top 10 overall prospects on pretty much every list out there. What’s not to love? Well, I am interested in seeing how Theo and Jed plan to get these guys into the lineup everyday when they reach the majors. They also have a SS named, Addison Russell, that they just acquired to be their shortstop of the future. Seems like a log jam in the higher levels of the Cubs system. They are going to have to trade someone (hopefully for a top pitching prospect) even if its Starlin Castro who is only 24, a three-time all-star and signed to a long-term contract. They will still need to have one or more guys move positions to make it work. The sweet thing about this collection of talented prospects is that many of them have either played other positions before or are athletic enough to eventually do so. Here is one man’s dream lineup for the Chicago Cubs within the next 2-3 years…
- Alcantara, 2B
- Russell, SS
- Rizzo, 1B
- Bryant, RF
- Baez, 3B
- Soler, LF
- Schwarber, C
- Almora, CF
This could be one the most menacing National League lineups in history and for many years into the future. This is assuming Castro gets traded for pitching help and Schwarber can stick behind the plate. They also have a few other notable hitting prospects in Vogelbach and McKinney that could be used for trade bait or replace one of the above that gets moved for a king’s ransom. Either way, the North side of Chicago should have happy days coming soon.Bryan Luhrs Real Deal Dynasty Sports, Creator & League Commissioner MajorLeagueFantasySports.com, Fantasy Baseball Writer http://www.realdealdynasty.com @realdealdynasty
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