Springer, DeShields headed to Futures Game
HOUSTON -- Ask Astros director of amateur scouting Mike Elias or general manager Jeff Luhnow which Minor League player is a future star, and they probably would have a dozen answers.
Well, there can only be two this year, as outfielder George Springer and second baseman Delino DeShields will be on the U.S. Team of this year's Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game on July 14.
The event puts many of baseball's brightest young talents on the same field in a U.S. vs. the World format and is one of All-Star Week's annual attractions.
The 15th annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game takes place at 1 p.m. CT on All-Star Sunday at Citi Field in New York and can be seen live on MLB.com, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday. 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 tagging tweets with the hashtags #USDugout and #WorldDugout.
Also, for the first time, fans determined the final player on the U.S. and World Team rosters by casting their votes in the All-Star Sunday Futures Finalists ballot. There were five candidates for each team, including shortstop Carlos Correa, the Astros' No. 2 prospect.
The Astros selected Correa with the No. 1 overall pick a year ago, making him the highest drafted Puerto Rican ever. Though he is just 18 years old, the Astros sent him to Class A Quad Cities this season. Correa was the third-youngest player in the Midwest League on Opening Day, but he has responded well to the challenge. Correa is hitting .319 with a .408 on-base percentage and started the All-Star Game.
Correa is ranked No. 28 on MLB.com's Top 100 prospect list. He stands out for his power and arm, both of which are above average. Correa is a smooth defender at shortstop and could be DeShields' double-play partner before too long.
Having at least two selections from the Houston organization fits with Elias' vision for the club's Minor League system, which he envisions pumping talent onto the Astros' roster in the upcoming years.
"We hope and expect to see that," he said. "You will start to see waves of players poking their heads into the big leagues this fall and continuing to do so throughout the next few years.
"Building the Minor League system isn't a one-time process. We want a continual pipeline arriving, and doing that sustains a contender. We're almost there, and so is that young talent."
Springer, the Astros' No. 3 prospect according to MLB.com, is one of the closest among a burgeoning talent pool, and he began the season at Double-A Corpus Christi. He was promoted to the Triple-A Oklahoma City affiliate on Sunday, and Springer will start the second half of the season there.
"I'm excited about it," Springer said. "It's another opportunity and another chapter, and I'm looking forward to it."
He hit .297 with 19 home runs and 55 RBIs for the Hooks, displaying the pop he's known for. At the time of his promotion, he ranked among the league's leaders in batting average (sixth), home runs (tied for first), RBIs (tied for second), hits (81, tied for fourth), doubles (20, fifth) and runs scored (56, first).
The 23-year-old is not only a power threat, flashing an arm in center field and swiping 23 bases this season with sneaky speed. That makes him a rare combination of power and speed coveted by every Major League team.
DeShields doesn't display Springer's power, but he's got all the speed he needs. The No. 5 product in the Astros' organization hasn't advanced past A+ ball with the Lancaster JetHawks, but there are few doubts about his bright future.
"He's proven to us he's an elite prospect, and has a very, very high ceiling," Luhnow said.
Still only 20, DeShields has been a pitcher's nightmare on the basepaths again this season, stealing 18 bases. He's added in flashes of run production, belting out a pair of home runs and driving in 25 runs while hitting .286.