One of the premier events of Major League Baseball’s All-Star weekend is the Futures Game. It’s where fans get to watch some top minor league prospects showcase their talent on one of MLB’s biggest stages. And sometimes, those players go on to become leg superstars. Clayton Kershaw, Kris Bryant, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Robinson Cano all appeared at a Futures Game before they made it to the bigs.
The 2016 Futures Game was played Sunday at Petco Park. On one side was Team USA, managed by former MLB superstar Trevor Hoffman; on the other was Team World, managed by legend MoisesAlou.
Heading into the contest, the world team hadn’t won a Futures Game since 2008. But that streak ended yesterday when it defeated the USA, 11-3, thanks to the bat of game MVP YoanMoncada. The Boston Red Sox prospect, originally from Cuba, proved his power-hitter bonafides by going 2-5 with two RBIs and a blast into Petco Park’s upper deck.
Moncada is the first Futures Game MVP from Cuba.
The game was scoreless for the first two innings. In the bottom third, though, Team USA got on the board thanks to a pair of doubles by Houston Astros prospect Alex Bregman and Cleveland Indians prospect Clint Frazier. USA tacked on another run after back-to-back walks following an RBI fielder’s choice.
The score remain 2-0 until the bottom of the fourth when Baltimore Orioles prospect catcher Chance Sisco hit a home run to give USA a crucial insurance run.
But Team World would not go down without a fight. In the top of the sixth inning, Chicago Cubs prospect Eloy Jimenez and Florida Marlina prospect Josh Naylor knocked in two runs to make the score 3-2.
The sixth also featured some dazzling defensive plays by both teams. Colorado Rockies prospect and Team USA player David Dahl gunned out the tying run at home plate, while San Diego Padres prospect Manuel Margot robbed St. Louis Cardinals prospect Carson Kelly of a home run in center field.
In the top of the seventh, Chicago White Sox pitching prospect Carson Fulmer was phenomenal, striking out two and pitching a 1-2-3 inning. In the top of the eighth, Moncada made Team USA pay after an error by Bregman (who was just a dinger away from the cycle). His go-ahead two-run jack gave Team World its first lead of the day, 4-3.
USA looked for a comeback in the bottom of the eighth. But it didn’t happen. The team’s hopes were snuffed out for good as World scored seven runs in the top of the ninth, it up 11-3.
Both teams displayed good talent, and it was an exciting game to watch. Who knows — maybe next year one of these players will be playing in the 2017 All Star Game.
Photos: Max Ferregur (with Moncada), Sean M. Haffey/getty (action)