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2015 MLB Futures Game in Fives

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Bobby Glover checks in with notes on the Futures Game.

Hometown Boy Kyle Schwarber Was Futures Game MVP
Hometown Boy Kyle Schwarber Was Futures Game MVP
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

I had the good fortune to attend the Futures Game on Sunday at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.  This is the second time I have attended the Futures Game in person and I am pleased with how far the game has come over the years.  In 2003 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, the game was an afterthought in the All Star festivities.  The crowd was sparse and enthusiasm was limited.  Fast forward to 2015 with the game as a sellout (although the stadium was far from full) and it is plain to see that interest in the future of our great game is continuing to increase.

What follows is a list of thoughts, observations, and notes from my time at the 2015 Futures Game.

Five Suggestions to Improve the Game

  1. Alter the U.S. against World format and play American League against National League like the All Star Game.  The continuity with the main event would make for some great comparisons in the future as many of these players go on to become All Stars in the big leagues some day.
  2. Ensure the best prospects end up in the game.  Corey Seager, Joey Gallo, Tyler Glasnow, Yoan Moncada, Jose De Leon and others would have upped the ante this year.  Baseball needs their best prospects in this game to make the most of what could be a truly great event.
  3. Promote the game better.  Major League Baseball needs to make a greater effort to push this game to their fan base, plain and simple.
  4. Televise pregame workouts.  Allowing the public greater access to these players.  Fans will feel more invested in these players the more they can see them.
  5. Add an amateur showcase game.  Make Sunday all about the future.  Add a second game including some combination of high school, college, and international amateurs.  Bump the Legends and Celebrity Softball Game to Monday before the Home Run Derby or remove it entirely.
Five Best in Batting Practice
  1. Nick Williams showcased tremendous bat speed including a true highlight shot high up off the batter's eye in dead center.  This round of BP exceeded expectations for me more than anything else from any other player on the day.
  2. Bradley Zimmer scattered spectators from what should have been a safe area on the concourse in deep right center.
  3. Josh Bell left the yard from both sides of the plate.  Although he looked better from the left side where he came closer than anyone else to leaving the stadium entirely, he clearly has power right handed as well.
  4. Aaron Judge's power is as good as advertised.  With minimal effort, the ball explodes off his bat featuring tremendous carry.
  5. Trea Turner showcased surprising pull-side power.  If some of that starts emerging in games, his profile could change significantly.
Five Best In-Game Offense
  1. Josh Bell hit the game's only home run, a laser to right center off a 92 mph fastball from Edwin Diaz in the fourth inning.
  2. Balbino Fuenmayor, perhaps the most improbable player to make either roster, smoked a line drive to right field for a single on a 97 mph fastball from Lucas Giolito in the second inning.
  3. Michael Conforto was 2-2 with a pair of singles.  The first was a liner to center on a 93 mph fastball from Jarlin Garcia winning a left-on-left battle.  The second was a shot to right on a 92 mph fastball from Edwin Diaz.
  4. Kyle Schwarber did was Kyle Schwarber does, drilling a triple to right off Jarlin Garcia.
  5. Trea Turner showcased the aforementioned pull pop by turning around a 97 mph fastball from Luis Perdomo in the 8th inning.  In the process, Turner pulled off the rare triple to left center field while showing off his blazing speed to easily beat the play.
Five Best In-Game Defense
  1. Kyle Schwarber threw out Ketel Marte attempting to steal second base in the first inning.  Unfortunately, he was also responsible for the game's only passed ball.
  2. Michael Conforto completed his excellent all-around showing by throwing out Ketel Marte at the plate following a single by Ozzie Albies to end the third inning.  Like Schwarber, Conforto appears to be intent on forcing the parent club's hand in the second half.
  3. J.P. Crawford had a fine fifth inning in support of Mark Appel including an excellent leaping grab to snare a liner and a smooth 6-3 double play.
  4. World shortstop Raul Mondesi showcased his excellent set of defensive tools when he crossed over to the right side of second base to rob Kyle Schwarber of a single in the 5th inning.
  5. Orlando Arcia finished up the game at shortstop for the World Team and managed perhaps the best defensive play of the day featuring tremendous range to snag a Brandon Nimmo grounder behind second base and then completing the spinning throw in the center field grass to get the out at first.
Five Best Right-Handed Fastballs by Velocity
  1. Frankie Montas sat 97-98, topping out at 101.
  2. Lucas Giolito sat 95-97, topping out at 98.
  3. Luis Perdomo sat 96-97.
  4. Mark Appel sat 95-97.
  5. Joe Jimenez sat 94-97.
Five Best Left-Handed Fastballs by Velocity
  1. Jairo Labourt sat 93-95, topping out at 96.
  2. Jarlin Garcia sat 93-95.
  3. Amir Garrett sat 92-95.
  4. Sean Newcomb sat 91-95.
  5. Blake Snell sat 92-94.

Sorry for the delay.  My travel schedule prevented me from getting this up on Monday.  Any suggestions for improvement aside, the game is a great experience.  I recommend it to anyone that may have the chance to attend in the future.