The All-Star Futures Game featured runs in bunches, some sloppy play and some highlight reel plays.
Within an outstanding atmosphere and a few sprinkles of rain (which helped bring the temperature down into reasonable territory, as opposed to the triple digits the Midwest has been tormented by recently), fans were able to faces to names as the best minor league talent was putting on a show at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals fans gave warm welcomes to their three representatives. Jake Odorizzi and Yordano Ventura (who will reportedly be promoted to Double A) started the game for Team USA and the World Team respectively while Wil Myers started in right field. All three gained large ovations when they were announced, with Myers getting the largest.
Once the game started, Odorizzi made one mistake to Jurickson Profar, who took a high fastball into the right field corner and over the wall for a homer, but Odorizzi struck out Diamondbacks pr0spect Alfredo Marte to finish the inning. Ventura dispatched the US team with little incident, inducing three groundouts in a perfect inning. In the Futures Game, pitchers don’t go more than an inning, so the Royals duo of pitchers were in and out quickly.
Wil Myers batted third for George Brett‘s USA team and received a standing ovation in his first at bat. He grounded out to third, but it was close at first. Myers played the whole game, moving to center field halfway through the game. He drove in three and went 2-4 with two singles and a sacrifice fly. He made every play in the outfield that he had a shot at, but didn’t make quick reads in center, so he has more to get used to in that spot. He didn’t look lost, just not as comfortable as he did in right.
The World team jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the Profar homer and a two-run homer by Jae-Hoon Ha of the Cubs. They added the fourth in the third inning but only one more all day.
The US team got on the board after Billy Hamilton drove a ball to deep center that got over Ha’s head, which was dangerous with Hamilton’s speed – he ended up with a two run triple and flew around the basepaths in the process. Kelton Wong of the Cardinals hit a one-out chopped back to Chris Reed of the Dodgers who looked Hamilton back and made a bad throw to first which let Wong get over to third after driving in the run. Myers grounded out to second to tie the score.
The runs just piled up after that for the US team. In the sixth inning, they put up nine runs, including a three run bomb to center by game MVP Nick Castellanos of the Tigers. Ariel Pena was hit hard repeatedly in the inning and gave up eight runs and only retired Myers, who hit a sacrifice fly to drive in a run.
Manny Machado was impressive in the game. On the US side, the Orioles prospect doubled off the left field wall and made a couple of leaping catches at shortstop. Mike Olt from the Rangers system had a deep drive for a double as well.
The game wasn’t really close, but it was an entertaining event regardless and attendance was better than most other Futures Games. Many were Royals fans there to see Myers and company, but they were treated to the elite of the minor leagues – and a lot of offense.
Bonus – I wanted to share this gif of a foul ball that Myers just missed during the game that broke the camera behind home plate (simply click the image):