Futures Game lineups have distinct KC flavor
KANSAS CITY -- The fans here in Kansas City are excited for more help to arrive from their farm system. On Sunday afternoon, they'll get a glimpse at a few who should be able to call Kauffman Stadium home soon.
They won't have to wait long, as both starting pitchers for the United States and World Teams in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game hail from the Royals organization. Yordano Ventura, the World starter, might be a little further away in the Carolina League, but U.S. starter Jake Odorizzi is in Triple-A Omaha, just that proverbial phone call away. So is Wil Myers, the power bat who was promoted from Double-A to Triple-A at the same time as Odorizzi.
|SS: Billy Hamilton, CIN||1||2B: Jean Segura, LAA|
|2B: Kolten Wong, STL||2||SS: Jurickson Profar, TEX|
|RF: Wil Myers, KC||3||RF: Oscar Taveras, STL|
|3B: Mike Olt, TEX||4||LF: Alfredo Marte, ARI|
|1B: Jonathan Singleton, HOU||5||DH: Xander Bogaerts, BOS|
|LF: Michael Choice, OAK||6||3B: Wilmer Flores, NYM|
|DH: Nick Castellanos, DET||7||1B: Jesus Aguilar, CLE|
|C: Tommy Joseph, SF||8||CF: Jae-Hoon Ha, CHC|
|CF: Anthony Gose, TOR||9||C: Christian Bethancourt, ATL|
|RHP: Jake Odorizzi, KC||P||RHP: Yordano Ventura, KC|
"It's the best thing you can do if you're a pitcher: lead off in your hometown stadium," Odorizzi said. "I'm really looking forward to it. George Brett is our coach and he's an awesome guy to be coaching our team. It's going to be a really exciting day.
"I've never really had to do this before. I'm going to try and throw like I normally do, but I'm sure there might be some adrenaline going, so I'll have to rein it in a little bit. It's really fun. I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do with my inning of work."
If fans can't see the Royals trio in person at the stadium, they can watch live on MLB.com, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday on Sunday, at 5 p.m. ET. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio XM 89. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game. Fans can stay updated by following @MLBFutures on Twitter and can send/receive tweets to/from the U.S. and World team dugouts during the game by following @USDugout and @WorldDugout.
Major League Baseball, along with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, MLB.com, Baseball America and the 30 Major League Baseball clubs, selected the 25-man rosters. While Brett will be in the U.S. Team dugout, Bernie Williams will take the helm in the World Team dugout.
After Odorizzi will follow a stream of U.S. pitchers who should wow any prospect fan. Pirates prospect Gerrit Cole, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 Draft, will follow Odorizzi, with No. 2 overall pick, the Mariners' Danny Hultzen following him. The 2011 Draft parade continues with No. 4 pick Dylan Bundy of the Orioles.
"It means a lot, this is a huge honor to receive this and play with some of the best talent in the game in Minor League ball," Bundy said. "It should be fun. Just the pitchers on our staff, I haven't gotten to see them in person. I can't wait. We'll learn a lot from each other, just by talking in the dugout or in the bullpen."
Ventura will have his hands full right from the get-go even before he gets to Myers, who is hitting third in his second straight Futures Game. Billy Hamilton is the U.S. leadoff hitter and he brings with him an astounding 104 stolen bases in just 82 California League games. If he and No. 2 hitter Kolten Wong of the Cardinals can get on, Myers, with his Minor League-leading 27 homers, and the Rangers' Mike Olt, who will bring his 22 homers to the cleanup spot, have a good chance of bringing them home.
The World Team lineup isn't exactly full of slouches as it tries to even up the overall Futures series at seven wins apiece. The Angels' Jean Segura will lead off, two-time Futures Gamer Jurickson Profar of the Rangers will hit second and the Cardinals' Oscar Taveras will bring his Triple Crown-like numbers to the No. 3 spot.
"I really worked hard in the offseason to try my best to be a part of the team," said Red Sox prospect Xander Bogaerts, who will DH and hit fifth. "It's a great honor for me to be a part of the team now. I was working hard in the offseason, thinking about it, working every day to try to make it to be here."
It's not just the Royals fans who should take note of course. In the 13 previous editions of the Futures Game, a very strong reputation has been built. Players who participate in this game end up in the big leagues, often in a hurry. From last year's Futures Game roster alone, 18 players are on or have spent considerable time on Major League rosters in 2012. So it's easy to forgive the local faithful for wanting their Futures Game reps to stick around for a while.
"I've had people tell me to have car problems, to stay here," Odorizzi said. "We got that before we got here. Now that we're here, it's going to be worse from everyone: 'When are you going to be here?' We're trying our best to get here as quick as possible and we're just going to keep doing it."