MLB Futures Game Preview: The infielders

This Sunday from San Diego, the best prospects worldwide will partake in one of baseball’s most fun traditions, the Futures Game. A who’s who of prospects from all levels will go head to head in a battle of the World prospects versus the U.S. prospects.

Yesterday, we took a look at the outfielders on both sides for Sunday’s matchup. Behind age and experience, the U.S. outfield prospects had a clear advantage over the younger World outfielders. What about the infield?

This time, there is no advantage in age as both are nearly identical with a median age of 22 years old. The U.S. does have some more experienced, upper-level players who may be ready for a call-up, but that shouldn’t take away from the exciting prospects on the World side.

The World team took a hit yesterday when they lost one of their most talented players in Yankees 21-year old shortstop Jorge Mateo. Mateo — the Yankees No. 2 prospect overall — was suspended two weeks for violations to team policy. Mateo actually struggled a bit this year at his highest level of ball, but was still putting up nice numbers in High-A Tampa despite seeing an increased strikeout rate and a career low stolen base percentage.

They should still be just fine as Yoan Moncada — arguably the most exciting prospect in either infield — headlines a cast of strong prospects. Moncada continues to put himself into the argument for best prospect in the game as he continues to rake in Double-A. The 22-year old switch-hitting second baseman is slashing .293/.339/.569 with eight extra base hits in his 14-game Double-A debut.

24-year-old Carlos Asuaje had a tough Double-A debut campaign in 2015. He saw a decrease in his power numbers and posted a batting average below .300 for his first time in full-season ball. Perhaps that led to him being part of the Craig Kimbrel trade in the offseason, but it appears the left-handed hitting second baseman is back on track in the Pacific Coast League. He is slashing .319/.383/.458, striking out 46 times and walking 33 in his first 323 Triple-A at-bats.

The Mets’ Dilson Herrera brings MLB experience to the World roster with two separate stints in the big leagues, albeit not so successful ones. The 22-year-old right-handed hitting second baseman seems to have found his power stroke in the hitter-friendly PCL, on pace for career bests in home runs with 12 and doubles with 21.

Willy Adames — 20 years old — of the Tampa Rays and Josh Naylor — 19 years old — are the two youngest World infielders. Adames, the slick fielding shortstop who the Rays acquired in the David Price trade, is handling his Double-A debut very well with a career best eight home runs already. He is about to set career highs in doubles and stolen bases, as well. Naylor was drafted just last season by the Marlins. The first baseman has exciting raw power in just his first full season with 29 extra base hits, including nine homer runs.

Who made the US squad? How do they matchup against the World? Head on over to Today’s Knuckleball for my full article by clicking on the link below.

All-Star Futures Game preview: Breaking down the infield

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