Even if you’ve never been to a minor-league baseball game in your life, you should pay attention to the 2007 All-Star Futures game, which will be played in San Francisco on July 8th. The event is part of MLB’s All-Star weekend, and will be broadcast live at 4pm on ESPN2.
This is our chance to get an early look at the best and the brightest minor-league prospects in the nation. The players are chosen by staff members from MLB, representatives of the 30 major-league clubs, and Baseball America magazine. The process gives us a true cross-section of the most talented players, regardless of affiliation or level of experience.
Here are some fun facts about the upcoming minor-league all star game:
- The U.S. Team faces the World Team. I’m guessing one of those two is having more of a language barrier than the other, but a Cali boy trying to converse with a Georgian could be just as difficult.
- The World Team includes players from 11 countries, including Taiwan, Columbia, Australia, and the Netherlands, along with an incredible eight Venezuelans.
- Minnesota fans will have a chance to see Matt Garza again – he started 9 big-league games last year, winning 3, losing 6, and cobbling together a 5.76 ERA.
- Other rising names you might recognize: Cameron Maybin (DET), Justin Upton (AZ), Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS), and Ian Stewart (COL).
- U.S. Pitcher Clay Buchholz pitched like a champ against Roger Clemens during the star’s rehab stint in Trenton. The younger player, who hadn’t even been born when the Rocket broke into the big leagues, struck out eight and walked zero despite his nerves.
- Best names: Joba Chamberlain (NYY), Brian Bocock (SF), Evan Longoria (TB), Emiliano Fruto (WAS), Elvis Andrus (ATL), and Ching-Lung Hu (LAD).
- All 30 MLB teams have farm-system representatives in the game, and no team has more than two players going to San Francisco.
- Seven California-born players are heading back to their home state. I imagine the octet of Venezuelans will be lobbying for a return matchup in Caracas for next year.
Obviously, I’m just having a little fun here. I really don’t know much about these guys, but I think that’s the fun of the Futures game. Last year’s game featured some unheralded names who now grace major-league rosters: Stephen Drew, Alex Gordon, Troy Tulowitzki, Hunter Pence, Homer Bailey and Phil Hughes have all logged time in the bigs this year.
If you’re curious about what the future may hold, set aside a little post-Independence-day time for this game. You may just find a little supporting evidence for that “Wait ’til next year!” cry.
Find Futures Game Rosters here.