MLB Futures Game: Players To Watch

We will get a great look at the MLB’s top prospects in the All-Star futures game Sunday. This can tell us a lot about who to look for in the future and how to adjust our betting strategy once some of these players make their way into the big leagues.

Last year, Jason Heyward made his first appearance on national TV at the futures game, and he didn’t disappoint. He showed off his bat, and let us all get a glimpse of what was going to happen once he hit the majors.

And his bat didn’t disappoint when he made his major league debut. He hit a three-run homerun in his very first MLB at bat.

A great showing at the futures game doesn’t make major league success a lock, but it allows these young players the chance to showcase their talent to the entire nation. It also allows us to get a good look at mechanics and the way they handle their at bats.

This is a better indicator for future success than just looking at the minor league statistics, which can be inflated due to inferior competition. At this biggest stage, the players have to deal with the national spotlight as they are facing the best players in the minors. Watching how they deal with this situation will tell us a lot about their future MLB careers.

Here is a look at some players you should watch at the futures game:

SP Tanner Scheppers (Texas Rangers)

Scheppers uses his fastball and his power curve to overwhelm batters. He can throw some serious heat and has been clocked at 99mph. Scheppers has struck out 46 in 30 innings as a reliever in the Rangers’ farm system. The organization is looking to turn him into a starter, and he might join new ace Cliff Lee early next year.

SP Jordan Lyles (Houston Astros)

Lyles has an exceptional changeup and a strong slider. He has struck out 86 in 96.2 innings as a starter for Double-A Corpus Christi, and has shown some great control. He has only walked 28 for an average of 2.9 walks per nine innings. Lyles is expected to make his big league debut early 2011.

3B Mike Moustakas (Kansas City Royals)

Moustakas generates blazing bat speed. He set the California high school record for most career homeruns with 52 dingers. He leads the Double-A Texas League in homers with 21 and in slugging percentage with .705. Moustakas should make his way into the big leagues early next season.

OF Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels)

The fans at Angel Stadium will be excited to see trout Sunday. The outfield prospect has been getting it done in the batter’s box and on the base paths. He sports a .362 average with 19 doubles, seven triples, and six homeruns for the Single-A Cedar Rapids. He also has the speed and instincts to create runs on the basepaths. He leads the Midwest league with 45 steals and has been caught stealing only nine times. Trout should be able to start in Double-A next year and make his way into the big leagues in the near future.

C Wilin Rosario (Colorado Rockies)

Rosario is a strong defensive catcher and has a rocket arm. He has thrown out 20 runners and allowed only 31 steals for a great CS percentage of 39%. Rosario has also shown his power with 12 homeruns in 57 games. He has 10 doubles, one triple, and 32 RBI in 2010. He should make it to the big leagues in 2012.

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