2 top-10 KC Royals prospects selected for 2024 All-Star Futures Game

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The All-Star break festivities are less than two weeks away, and one of the highlights is the annual Futures Game. The KC Royals will have two representatives in Arlington, Texas, in pitcher Ben Kudrna and outfielder Gavin Cross. The full rosters for the 25th Futures Game were announced on MLB Network early Tuesday.

The KC Royals have two high-quality prospects traveling to Texas.

Both players are top-10 prospects in the Royals farm system, with Kudrna ranked third as the best pitching prospect and Cross ranked seventh as the best outfield prospect. Cross is one of 12 first-round selections on the AL Futures Game roster this year, alongside notable prospects like the Detroit Tigers' Max Clark and the Minnesota Twins' Brooks Lee.

A 2021 second-round pick, Kudrna hasn't pitched above High-A but is regarded as having the highest pitching ceiling in the Royals system. His three-pitch arsenal includes an above-average slider and changeup, complemented by a four-seam fastball that he controls effectively. The Blue Valley Southwest product's 31% CSW in 2024 is among the best in the Royals system as well. While other Royals prospects may excel in specific statistics, Kudrna stands out for his consistency and frequent display of mid-rotation potential.

Cross rebounded from an illness-addled 2023 season, showing why the Royals selected him ninth overall in 2022. His refined plate approach and exceptional bat-to-ball skills have made him a formidable presence at the plate for Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where he has already recorded 22 extra-base hits in 2024. He is still drawing walks at a double-digit clip, and his 25.1% strikeout rate is a vast improvement from 2023. Plus, his 15 stolen bases this season are a credit to not his raw speed but his nuanced approach on the basepaths.

What is the Futures Game?

48 of the 54 players chosen for the Futures Game, including Cross and Kudrna, also participated in the first Spring Breakout event. Kansas City won their Spring Breakout game back in March, defeating the Milwaukee Brewers in walk-off fashion. The Futures Game will be live on MLB Network and broadcasted on MLB.com, MLB.tv, and the MLB App.

MLB, MLB Pipeline, and Baseball America chose 27 players for each team: 25 current players and two inactive players designated as injury or call-up replacements. Every organization is represented, and all player development levels are allowed to compete in the Futures Game.

The 2024 All-Star Futures Game will be seven innings long and will feature the top minor league prospects taking part on All-Star Saturday. The Futures Game will continue with its National League vs. American League format, which was established in 2019 after 20 years of U.S. vs. World contests. 87.9% of all previous Futures Game participants went on to play in at least one MLB game, with 232 players (20.7%) being chosen to play in at least one MLB All-Star Game.

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