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Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Futures Game

The rosters for the Futures Game, to be played in St. Louis on July 12, were announced today. Here is a breakdown of each the United States' pitchers and infielders. Outfielders tomorrow.



Madison Bumgarner LHP, SF: A fireballing left-hander, Bumgarner has again and again flashed the potential the Giants saw in 2007, when they drafted him 10th overall. His strikeouts are down this season, but his ERA is still stellar (1.88), and the opposition is batting just .221 against him between High-A San Jose and Double-A Connecticut.

Kyle Drabek RHP, PHI: Son of former Major Leaguer Doug Drabek, Kyle has done much to prove that he is more than just a famous name. After missing most of last season with Tommy John surgery, Drabek has been a buzzsaw through the competition. In 87 2/3 innings between two levels, he has fanned 91, held hitters to just a .221 average and allowed an astounding one home run.

Danny Duffy LHP, KC: This 20-year-old Royals prospect has dominated with the Wilmington Blue Rocks so far this season, especially against lefties. Duffy has lit up fellow southpaws to the tune of a 1.96 ERA. Overall, Duffy is sporting a better than 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Casey Kelly RHP/SS, BOS: Just when he thought he was out, the Futures Game pulls him back. Kelly was supposed to spend the second half of this season as a shortstop after working as a pitcher over the first half. With Greenville and Salem, Kelly put up a 1.64 ERA and a .187 batting average against. He wants to try to hit, though, and the Red Sox are willing to let him try.

Mat Latos RHP, SD: I first heard of this guy when I covered the Eugene Emeralds, the Padres' Northwest League affiliate, in 2006. This season between Fort Wayne and San Antonio, Latos has impressed, striking out 64 in 58 1/3 innings while allowing just 12 bases on balls. San Diego is hurting for pitching, and Latos could be just the guy to help get the franchise back on the right track.

Brad Lincoln, RHP, PIT: Considering they took Lincoln while Brandon Morrow, Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer were still on the board, the Pirates had better hope Lincoln doesn't turn into yet another what-if. He had T.J. surgery in 2007, and this season has put up a 2.20 ERA with Altoona and Indianapolis.

Brian Matusz RHP, BAL: The arms just keep on coming for the Orioles. In a group that includes Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta and Troy Patton, Matusz has just as high a ceiling as his peers. He just got called to Double-A Bowie, and could challenge for a spot in the Baltimore rotation as early as 2010.

Jarrod Parker, RHP, ARI: One word: Heat. Parker can bring it as high as 98 miles per hour (though he usually sits around 94) and is far and away the Diamondbacks' top prospect. Between High-A Visalia and Double-A Mobile, Parker has used his considerable talent to fan 70 hitters in 66 1/3 innings while posting a nearly 2-to-1 groundout-to-airout ratio.

Trevor Reckling, LHP, LAA: A native of Newark, Reckling makes up for an average fastball with superior breaking stuff, including what Baseball America calls a "drop-off-the-table" curveball. His 38 walks in 83 1/3 innings show he needs to polish his command, but his .202 batting average against reaffirms his top-flight potential.

Chris Tillman, RHP, BAL: Despite being one of just two Triple-A pitchers on this list (Lincoln is the other), Tillman is still just 21 years old. He was one of the key pieces of the trade that sent Erik Bedard to the Mariners. He's permitted just 59 hits in 66 innings this season and has fanned 70 in that time. Look for him in the Orioles' rotation in 2010, if not sooner.


Jason Castro, LH, HOU: One of the few bright spots in an otherwise barren farm system, Castro backed up Buster Posey in the 2007 Cape Cod League. Castro projects for above average power -- BA reports he ranks about a 55-60 on the 20-80 scouting scale -- and an ability to hit for average, as well. He's hitting .305 with eight home runs and 47 RBIs between two levels this season.

Tyler Flowers, RH, CHW: Originally in the Atlanta system, Flowers moved to the White Sox when the Braves dealt for Javier Vazquez. This season with Double-A Birmingham, Flowers has pounded 10 HR, driven in 38 and compiled a fantastic .281/.436/.958. Defensively, he's nabbed 32 percent of would-be basestealers this season.


Pedro Alvarez, 3B, LH, PIT: He hasn't hit for a particularly high average yet (.246), but the power is clearly there. The Pirates' top pick in 2008 has socked 16 home runs and driven home a whopping 60 runs so far in his first pro season, good enough to warrant a promotion from Lynchburg to Double-A Altoona. Given his 75 strikeouts in 256 at-bats, it's easy to project him as Pittsburgh's answer to Ryan Howard, especially if he learns to walk a little more.

Chris Carter, 1B, RH, OAK: Carter was one of the slew of prospects acquired by Oakland in exchange for Dan Haren and Carlos Gonzalez (who's since been dealt to Colorado). He's replete with power, popping 11 longballs and driving home a half-hundred with Double-A Midland this season. With Jason Giambi nearing the tail end of his career, Carter could be the A's first baseman of the future.

Danny Espinosa, SS, SH, WAS: Probably on this list solely because the Nationals had to have a representative, Espinosa has managed to produce a .370 on-base percentage with modest .259 and .444 batting and slugging marks. He's stolen a dozen with the Potomac Nationals, but has been caught seven times. He'll need to work on his efficiency in that category if it is to be considered a legitimate weapon at the major league level.

Scott Sizemore, 2B, RH, DET: After cleaning up in Double-A, Sizemore has had a bit of a rough go of it so far in his brief foray into Triple-A. Overall, he's been compared to the man he may one day replace: Placido Polanco. He's sporting a rather spiffy .300/.390/.910 batting line this season and is improving steadily at second, though he'll never be a top-flight defender.

Josh Vitters, 3B, RH, CHC: Vitters, the Cubs top pick in 2008, doesn't turn 20 until late August. He's hit 13 home runs and driven home 42 this season, which obviously bodes well for his future. Just seven walks in 254 at-bats says he has significant work to do as far strike-zone command is concerned. Aramis Ramirez is in place for a while at Wrigley, which will buy Vitters the time he needs to develop into an adequate replacement.

Brett Wallace, 3B, LH, STL: The Cardinals' 2008 first-rounder has already made it to Triple-A, and is doing relatively well for someone in his first season of professional baseball. He's popped eight home runs and racked up 25 RBIs in 270 at-bats across two levels. He's OBPing at a better-than-average .359 clip (though most of that was compiled at Double-A) but is slugging just .400.

Jemile Weeks, 2B, SH, MIL: Weeks is the brother of Milwaukee's Rickie, and to say he's excelling at High-A Stockton would be an understatement of massive proportions. There's not much more to say about Weeks except this: He's hitting .388/.479/1.166 in 20 games. Wow.

Eric Young Jr., 2B, SH, COL: The son of former Major Leaguer and current ESPN analyst Eric Young, Junior was a 30th-round selection of the Rockies in 2003, but is still just 24 years old. He's stolen 43 bases -- yes, 43 -- in just 67 games this season with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Coupled with phenom Dexter Fowler, the Rockies could be burning up the basepaths for years to come.


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