The Futures Game is just one day away. We’ve spent the past three days trying to figure out who has the edge in each of the offensive departments, breaking down the infield, outfield and catchers on both the World and US roster.
The US had a clear advantage in the outfield, while the catchers were an overwhelming advantage to the World team. The infielders were pretty even, but with Yoan Moncada being the best prospect in the game, the World team got the ever-so slight edge.
Everyone knows that pitching is the key to ball games. Today we look at the righties that each team loaded up on their roster.
You would think that the World team has the edge by doing some simple math. Of the ten pitchers allowed on their roster, they chose eight right-handed pitchers. It is more than that however, as they have three electric righties anchoring their staff as well as one of the best closers in the minor leagues.
Reynaldo Lopez, Washington’s 22-year-old righty, is currently in Triple-A after blowing away his opponents in Double-A. He throws both heat and strikes, evidenced by his 109 strikeouts in 87.1 2016 innings. He has been a bit off in his first two Triple-A starts, striking out nine and walking six, but he is limiting the damage and sits at 1-0 in his first go at his highest level of pitching.
Alex Reyes has long been the next St. Louis Cardinals great pitching prospect, but he has had a rough 2016. Now 21, he returned from a drug suspension May 22 and although the strikeouts are still there, he has been a bit more hittable than in the past, showing the same command issues he had last season. He has struck out more than 13 batters per nine this season, but is also walking more than four, matching his 2015 output. His stuff can’t be denied, however, as he has a fastball that hits triple-digits, a curveball that freezes opposing hitters and a changeup that many feel can succeed at the top levels.
Jharel Cotton — the eldest World pitcher at 24 — has had quite the interesting career for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Used out of the bullpen and as a starter in his early years, Cotton seems to be settling in nicely in the PCL as a full-time starter. He has been a bit erratic, posting a 4.74 ERA on the season, but he allows less than a hit an inning. He struggles a bit with the long ball, but then again, many pitchers do in the PCL. He still has big strikeout numbers with a 95-mph fastball and a knee-buckling change, striking out 11 batters per nine.
Joe Jimenez is etching out a name for himself as one of the best closers in the minors, and that couldn’t be better news for the Detroit Tigers, who have a long history of inconsistency at the back of their bullpen. He was nearly untouchable in his High-A debut, going 10-for-10 in save opportunities and allowing just five hits and no runs over 17.1 innings. The 21-year old has been just as good in Double-A, going perfect in seven save opportunities while posting a 1.76 ERA and striking out 27 and walking just six over his first 15.1 innings.
Rounding out the World team is the Rays Chih Wei Hu, Pittsburgh’s Dovydas Neverauskas, the Phillies Ricardo Pinto and Toronto’s Francisco Reyes. Hu was traded by the Twins to the Rays and has a modest three-pitch arsenal. The 22-year-old is nothing flashy, and got rocked in his lone Triple-A appearance earlier in April.
For a complete breakdown of the US right-handers, head on over to Today’s Knuckleball for my full article by clicking on the link below: