2021 Futures Game Preview

After a break in 2020, the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game returns this year on July 11th, part of baseball’s annual All-Star Sunday. From the initial game in 1999 through 2018, United States versus the World’s prospects faced each other. That changed in 2019 to American League versus National League prospects. This game features some, if not all, of the top prospects in baseball and gives them a chance to showcase their talents.

Let’s take a look at the rosters broken down by position to see which team has the advantage this year. The first number next to the player is his ranking in our Top 197 published in October 2020 and may change once our next one is published this Fall. The second number is the player’s ranking on their team’s Top 50 prospect list. Click on the numbers to take you right to the team’s article to read more about the players.


Catchers:

American League:
Adley Rutschman, BAL  6th / 1st
Tyler Soderstrom, OAK  194th / 2nd
Bo Naylor, CLE  Unranked / 8th

Soderstrom is having a great season, hitting for both power and average. Rutschman is hitting like the superstar he was predicted to be when he was taken 1st overall in the 2019 draft. Naylor is struggling at the plate this year.

National League:
Francisco Alvarez, NYM  104th / 2nd
Luis Campusano, SDP  70th / 4th
Willie MacIver, COL  Unranked / 26th

Alvarez is making news with his advanced hitting and major power that he’s been showing in Low-A. Campusano has struggled in the majors but is holding his own for AAA while MacIver was having a good year for Spokane and was recently promoted to AA Hartford.

Advantage: American League

Infielders:

American League:
Vidal Brujan, TB  26th / 3rd
Jake Burger, CWS  Unranked / 13th
Jeter Downs, BOS  48th / 2nd
Austin Martin, TOR  20th / 1st
Nick Pratto, KC  Unranked / 43rd
Spencer Torkelson, DET  9th / 1st
Bobby Witt, Jr., KC  8th 1st

Brujan is stealing bases, as he always does but he’s bringing more power to his game and should see time in the majors soon. Burger is having a nice bounceback year after injuries caused the 2017 1st round pick to miss 2018 and 2019. Hopefully, for him, he will miss the game since he was promoted to the majors on July 2nd. Downs flashes speed and power with an average hit tool, for now. Martin is holding his own in his first year in professional ball. Torkelson was promoted to AA earlier this year and has been improving lately, showing why he was the first pick in the 2020 Draft. There was talk of Witt making the majors right out of Spring Training, which would have been amazing. He has double digits in home runs and steals and playing very well for AA. Pratto has been known more for his defense but he’s tapped into power this year.

National League:
CJ Abrams, SDP (Injured)  13th / 1st
Jose Barrero, CIN  Unranked / Unranked
Brett Baty, NYM  130th / 5th
Michael Busch, LAD  Unranked / 4th
Nolan Gorman, STL  36th / 2nd
Marco Luciano, SFG  14th / 1st
Bryson Stott, PHI  138th / 3rd
Michael Toglia, COL  117th / 2nd

Abrams was having a great year stealing bases and getting on base at a high clip in AA but a recent injury has put his season on hold, unfortunately. He was replaced by Barrero (formerly known as Jose Garcia), who is having a great year and was recently promoted to AAA after going .300/.367/.481 with 6 homes and 8 stolen bases for AA. Baty is hitting well for the Mets’ high A team but Busch is struggling for the AA Dodgers squad. After a down 2019 season, Gorman has bounced back with a solid year for AA and was recently promoted to AAA, showing his massive power and decreasing his strikeouts. Luciano is showing why he’s one of the top prospects in the game this year. Stott has hit everywhere he’s played and was also just promoted to AA with an outside shot at making the majors later this season. Toglia is putting up similar numbers to his former Spokane teammate MacIver, with double-digit home runs and a low batting average.

Advantage:  American League

Outfielders:

American League:
Yoelqui Cespedes, CWS  Unranked / 12th
Jasson Dominguez, NYY  31st / 1st
Riley Greene, DET  23rd / 3rd
Jarred Kelenic, SEA  3rd / 1st
Pedro Leon, HOU  Unranked /
Julio Rodriguez, SEA  4th / 2nd

Cespedes, the half-brother of former big-leaguer Yoenis, is a hyped Cuban prospect signed by the White Sox earlier this year. He’s had less than 50 at bats for their high A team but is a potential five-tool contributor. Dominguez is the first player ever selected for the Futures Game without playing professional ball. He was signed during the 2019 J2 period but 2020’s cancellation stopped him from making his debut. Not many players have the hype and potential he possesses as he has been compared to Mike Trout, Bo Jackson and Mickey Mantle. Riley has done nothing but hit since being drafted by Detroit in the first round in 2019 and is tapping into power this season. Kelenic is hitting again after struggling during his time in the majors where he hit .096 in only 83 at bats. Expect to see him back up to stay before too long. Leon was signed by Houston earlier this year and is struggling with the bat for their AA team but has a ton of potential. He’s 23 years old so he should be ready for the majors early next year. Rodriguez was just promoted to AA after a blistering campaign in A ball, where he slashed .328/.410/.582 with 6 home runs and 5 stolen bases in 122 at bats.

National League:
Brennen Davis, CHC  56th / 2nd
Michael Harris, ATL  Unranked / 14th
Heliot Ramos, SFG  55th / 3rd
Alek Thomas, ARI  42nd / 3rd
Ryan Vilade, COL  Unranked / 4th
Drew Waters, ATL  27th / 2nd

Davis is showing a good blend of speed and power in the minors this year and could be promoted early next year. Harris is having a good year for the Braves AA team hitting for power and stealing bases. Ramos has been inconsistent throughout his career and had injury setbacks but he’s fully healthy this year but struggling with a low average in his second stint at AA. Thomas is a future leadoff hitter for the Diamondbacks who can get on base, hit with power, and steal bases. Vilade transitioned from shortstop to outfield and is trying to put himself back on the prospect map. Waters is a great defensive outfielder who has struggled with strikeouts. His defense is above his offense right now and there has been talk of him being promoted soon.

Advantage: American League

Pitchers:

American League:
Shane Baz, TB  68th / 9th
Brayan Bello, BOS Unranked / 19th
Reid Detmers, LAA  129th / 2nd
Marcos Diplan, BAL  Unranked / Unranked
Emerson Hancock, SEA (Injured)  72nd / 3rd
Luis Medina, NYY  Unranked / 8th 
Cole Ragans, TEX  Unranked / Unranked
Josh Winder, MIN  Unranked / 32nd
Cole Winn, TEX  Unranked / 5th
Hector Yan, LAA  Unranked / 14th

Baz has been on fire this year showing the best control of his career and could be the next Tampa Bay ace soon. Bello replaces the injured Hancock after averaging over 11 K/9 over two levels this year. Detmers is striking out over 15 hitters per 9 IP in his first taste of professional ball for AA. Diplan is a former Brewers starter who found success after Baltimore turned him into a reliever. He’s been around since 2014 but is still only 24 years old. Hancock, the 6th overall pick of the 2020 draft, gives Seattle another solid young pitcher to give hope to their near future. Medina is doing well for the Yankees AA team but needs to limit his walks to contribute. Winder is an underrated started in the Twins organization having a breakout campaign while Yan is struggling for the Angels and his inclusion is quite surprising to me. Speaking of surprising, if you had asked me a few months ago which Rangers would make this team, I would not have guess two pitchers.  Winn, the team’s 1st round pick in 2018, is among the minor league leaders in WHIP and Ragans is pitching for the first time in three years after having Tommy John surgery.

National League:
Cade Cavalli, WAS  189th / 3rd
Roansy Contreras, PIT (Injured) Unranked / 19th on NYY (prior to trade)
Jake Eder, MIA Unranked / 47th
Andre Jackson, LAD  Unranked / 30th
Matthew Liberatore, STL  54th / 3rd
Nick Lodolo, CIN  69th / 2nd
Max Meyer, MIA  62nd / 4th
Quinn Priester, PIT  148th / 4th 
Manuel Rodriguez, CHC  Unranked / 39th
Ethan Small, MIL  Unranked / 4th

Cavalli has been dominant during his time in the minor leagues giving Washington a potential ace for the future. Contreras was traded from the Yankees to Pittsburgh in the Jameson Tallion deal and has seen his strikeout and walk percentages go in the right direction but will miss the game due to injury. His replacement, Jake Eder, is having just as impressive of the year averaging over 13 K/9 for the Miami pitching factory. Jackson is yet another successful Dodger pitcher being taken in the 12th round in 2017. Liberatore was obtained from Tampa for Randy Arozarena giving St. Louis hope that they weren’t another team robbed by the Rays. The righthander is having an okay season for AA. Lodolo and Meyer are both pitching very well for their teams. Meyer is possibly Miami’s best pitching prospect, which says a lot about his talent considering the multitude of arms the team has accumulated. Priester throws in the high 90’s and could team with Contreras to give Pittsburgh a solid 1-2 punch atop their future rotation. Small has been promoted to AAA shortly before being added to this team after his solid season and could pitch in the majors very soon after this game.

Advantage: National League

Managers:

American League:

LaTroy Hawkins
Hawkins pitched 21 years for 11 teams finishing his career with 127 saves and a 4.31 ERA.

National League:
Vinny Castilla
Castilla played 16 years in the majors for 6 teams but is best known for his time in Colorado where he hit at least 40 home runs three times.

Advantage: National League

Prediction: The saying is “good pitching beats good hitting” but the American League’s offense is too much for the National League’s pitchers. Both teams have impressive players but I have to give the edge to the AL. They have the last two top overall picks (Rutschman and Torkelson) along with the top International player (Dominguez).  American League 8, National League 4.

MVP:
Jasson Dominguez
The Martian shows off all of his skills with a spectacular display after hitting two home runs, stealing a base and gunning down Heliot Ramos at the plate to secure the win along with the MVP Award for the American League. How can you not be romantic about baseball?




About Tony Bps 52 Articles
Tony Bps Spina is a lifelong baseball fan hailing from the City of Brotherly Love - Philadelphia! Tony has loved baseball since 1980 and has followed the Phillies through good and bad times. Tony is married with 3 kids and works for a financial institution but has enough free time to play in 20 fantasy baseball leagues with 75% of them being Dynasty Leagues. He lives a few blocks away from Citizens Bank Park and attends many Phillies games per year in addition to their minor league teams in Lehigh Valley and Reading. He can be reached on Twitter at @TonyBps1.

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