The 2014 MLB All Star Futures Game rosters were announced last night. Here's my take on the International Team.
Alfonso Alcantara, RHP, Angels, Dominican Republic: Age 21, Alcantara currently has a 4.43 ERA with a 60/38 K/BB in 65 innings for Low-A Burlington. He has better arm strength than statistics, with a fastball that can hit 100 MPH and an improving slider.
Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins, Puerto Rico: Age 20, Berrios is the highest-drafted high school pitcher in Puerto Rico history, a first-rounder (32nd overall) in 2012. He’s putting up the numbers to match this year with a 2.05 ERA and a 98/21 K/BB in 83 innings for High-A Fort Myers. He throws consistent strikes with his low-90s fastball and an above-average changeup and breaking ball.
Edwin Escobar, LHP, Giants, Venezuela: Age 22, Escobar has a 5.09 ERA in the difficult Triple-A Pacific Coast League for Fresno, but with a more promising 83/28 K/BB in 88 innings. He’s given up 103 hits, but features a three-pitch mix and could become a mid-rotation starter.
Domingo German, RHP, Marlins, Domonican Republic: Age 21, German is thriving for Low-A Greensboro with a 2.28 ERA and a 76/14 K/BB in 83 innings, thanks to sharp command of an impressive fastball/curveball combination.
Tayron Guerrero, RHP, Padres, Colombia: Age 23, Guerrero has been dominant in A-ball this year with a 0.93 ERA and a 46/14 K/BB in 39 innings for Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore. He can hit 98-100 MPH and has developed a good slider.
Jorge Lopez, RHP, Brewers, Puerto Rico: A second-round pick in 2011, 21 year old Lopez has taken a step forward this year with a 3.00 ERA and a 56/20 K/BB in 72 innings for High-A Brevard County. He has a low-90s fastball but has quickly improved his curveball and changeup after a rough ’13 season.
Francellis Montas, RHP, White Sox, Dominican Republic: Age 21, Montas has a 1.64 ERA with a 51/11 K/BB in 55 innings for High-A Winston-Salem. He can hit the mid-90s and has shown better command of his curve, slider, and changeup this year. He was originally signed by the Red Sox and came to Chicago in the Jake Peavy trade.
Enny Romero, LHP, Rays, Dominican Republic: Age 23, Romero tempts scouts with his 90-96 MPH fastball and hard breaking slurve. His changeup comes and goes and the overall results haven’t been there this year, with a 5.04 ERA and a 70/33 K/BB in 75 innings for Triple-A Durham.
Luis Severino, RHP, Yankees, Dominican Republic: Age 20, Severino has a 2.99 ERA in 15 starts between Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa, with a 78/16 K/BB in 72 innings. He also hits the mid-90s, his slider and changeup have developed quite rapidly, and he throws strikes.
Julio Urias, LHP, Dodgers, Mexico: Urias is just 17 years old (not a typo) but already pitching in High-A, with a 3.35 ERA and a 48/21 K/BB in 46 innings for Rancho Cucamonga in the difficult California League. His fastball has gone from 88 to 96 MPH in the last two years and his breaking ball and changeup are quite advanced given his age. He’s one of the most unique prospects in the game.
Jorge Alfaro, C, Rangers, Colombia: Age 21, Alfaro draws praise for his cannon throwing arm, mobility, unusual speed for a catcher, and plus power potential. He’s also still very raw, throwing out 30% of runners this year but giving up 17 passed balls and seven errors in 49 games behind the plate. He’s hitting .258/.316/.424 for High-A Myrtle Beach, adequate production but nothing special. He’s young enough to improve a great deal and the tools stand out on any field.
Christian Bethancourt, C, Braves, Panama: Age 23, Bethancourt also shows first-class defensive tools but doesn’t always use them well. He teases scouts with flashes of good hitting but handicaps himself with poor strike zone judgment, hitting .265/.293/.365 for Triple-A Gwinnett this year but with a 9/38 BB/K ratio.
Javier Baez, SS, Cubs, Puerto Rico: Age 21, this first round pick from 2011 hit 37 homers and stole 20 bases in 2013. He’s had a rougher go at Triple-A Iowa this year, knocking 11 homers with 14 steals but hitting just .229 with a .285 OBP. 91 strikeouts in 245 at-bats are worrisome, but Baez still shows outstanding bat speed.
Carlos Correa, SS, Astros, Puerto Rico: Age 20, drafted in the first round in 2012, Correa has having an excellent season for High-A Lancaster (.325/.416/.510 with 20 steals) until going down with a leg injury a few days ago and will unfortunately miss the Futures Game. He can field as well as he hits and projects as a multi-faceted star.
Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies, Dominican Republic: Age 21, Franco had a monster ’13 season (.320/.356/.569 with 31 homers) but like Javier Baez he has struggled with the transition to Triple-A, hitting .212/.268/.326 for Lehigh Valley. He has a better grasp of the strike zone than Baez but scouts question his swing and he has been very streaky, hitting poorly in April (.172/.234/.253), much better in May (.282/.358/.445), then slumping again in June (.165/.188/.253).
Rosell Herrera, SS, Rockies, Dominican Republic: Age 21, Herrera has hit .270/.311/.336 in 35 games for High-A Modesto this year, missing most of May with a wrist injury but returning effectively this month (.290/.343/.419). He hit .343 with 16 homers last year but benefitted from a friendly hitting environment. He has the tools to play any infield position but is still learning to cut down on mistakes.
Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians, Puerto Rico: Age 20, Lindor was a first round pick in 2011. He’s best-known for sharp defensive skills but he can hit too, batting .283/.362/.409 for Double-A Akron this year. He’s stolen 19 bases and shows the necessary knowledge of the strike zone to be a threat at the top of the order. He may also show more power with time.
Renato Nunez, 3B, Athletics, Venezuela: Age 20, Nunez is hitting .274/.340/.500 with 12 homers and 20 doubles for High-A Stockton. The power is legitimate and he’s made good progress smoothing out his defensive actions at third base. He’s been extremely hot lately, hitting .364/.455/.667 this month.
Jose Peraza, SS, Braves, Venezuela: Age 20, Peraza is another slick defender and has made a lot of progress with the bat, hitting .342/.365/.454 with 35 steals this year for High-A Lynchburg. Just promoted to Double-A Mississippi, he’s remained hot by going 10-for-27 in his first week of action. He lacks home run power but the speed and defense stand out.
Kennys Vargas, 1B, Twins, Puerto Rico: Age 23, Vargas is a monstrous (6-5, 275) switch-hitter with enormous power potential and the numbers to back it up, hitting .313/.390/.523 with 14 homers this year for Double-A New Britain. He controls the strike zone as well (34 walks, 47 strikeouts in 262 at-bats) and doesn’t demonstrate the contact problems that often plague young sluggers. Vargas’ emergence helps take some of the sting out of injuries to Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton for the Twins.
Dariel Alvarez, OF, Orioles, Cuba: Age 25, Alvarez signed as a free agent last summer and has done good work for Double-A Bowie, hitting .308/.326/.503 with 12 homers. He’s aggressive and has only drawn eight walks in 73 games, but he makes contact readily, shows pop, and has a strong throwing arm.
Gabby Guerrero, OF, Mariners, Dominican Republic: Age 20, Guerrero may not have as much talent as his famous uncle Vladimir but he’s a prospect in his own right, hitting .308/.354/.451 with 12 steals this year for High-A High Desert. The home park is helping him (.879 OPS at home, .743 on the road) but he has the bat speed, youth, and strong throwing arm to be a good prospect even without the famous name.
Steven Moya, OF, Tigers, Puerto Rico: Age 22, Moya is another power masher with a .260/.284/.520 line and 16 homers this year for Double-A Erie. He is extremely aggressive, walking just eight times with 82 strikeouts in 269 at-bats. He’ll kill a mistake pitch, and also shows some speed and a good throwing arm.
Dalton Pompey, OF, Blue Jays, Canada: Age 21, Pompey was a 16th round pick in 2010 and has become a favorite prospect for Jays fans, hitting .313/.392/.470 this year for High-A Dunedin. A switch-hitter, he has a good approach at the plate, draws walks, is showing more power, and has stolen 27 bases in 29 attempts.
Domingo Santana, OF, Astros, Dominican Republic: Acquired in the 2011 Hunter Pence trade with the Phillies, Santana is still only 21 years old but is battering Triple-A pitching for Oklahoma City with a .295/.377/.493, 12 homer line. He strikes out quite a bit but few players offer as much power and he’s made considerable progress refining his skills. It is only a matter of time before he joins George Springer and Jon Singleton in the Astros lineup.