Ray, Acuna put on show in Futures Game BP

Brewers prospect belts eight homers, Braves phenom launches six

July 9th, 2017

MIAMI -- Batting practice for the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game can be as exciting as the actual prospect showcase. Thirty of the best hitters in the Minor Leagues take their cuts, and those who witnessed Joey Gallo's onslaught at Target Field in 2014 will never forget it.

This year, Brewers outfielder Corey Ray put on the best show. The No. 5 overall pick in the 2016 Draft is the second-smallest player on the U.S. roster at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, but he's deceptively strong and packs plenty of bat speed in his left-handed swing. That combination made it easy for Milwaukee's No. 2 prospect to reach the seats at Marlins park, which he did eight times to lead all players.

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Ray also showed impressive power to all fields. He pulled two homers to right and another to right-center, but he also blasted four to center field and another to left. He said fellow Brewers prospect Lewis Brinson called him out before batting practice, warning him not to try to do too much and wind up breaking a bat.

"The pitcher asked me where I wanted the ball and I told him belt-high," Ray said. "If he threw it outside, I went to left field. If he came inside, I went to right."

Ray said getting selected for the Futures Game meant more to him because he wasn't healthy enough to start the season while recovering from surgery after he tore the meniscus in his left knee during instructional league last fall. He missed the first 10 days before joining high Class A Carolina, where he's batting .237/.318/.366 with four homers and 18 steals in 64 games.

"At the start of the season, I had no idea my name would be even considered for the Futures Game," Ray said. "now I'm taking BP at Marlins Stadium. It's amazing."

Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna topped the World team with six batting-practice homers. Like Ray, he's not especially big at 6 feet and 180 pounds but has a quick bat that generates plenty of power.

A right-handed hitter, Acuna hit three of his homers to left field, including one into the seats above the bullpen. Atlanta's No. 7 prospect also went deep to center twice and delivered an opposite-field shot to right. His power is one of the reasons he's soaring up prospect charts, as he's batting .312/.361/.497 with 11 homers and 32 steals in 82 games between high Class A and Double-A at age 19.

Other batting practice standouts included Astros outfielder Derek Fisher, who homered five times and sent one shot into the upper deck in right-center; Giants outfielder Bryan Reynolds, who went deep twice from each side of the plate; and Mets shortstop Amed Rosario, who smacked four homers and hit the animatronic home-run sculpture in center field three times.