CLEVELAND – The SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game entered its third decade on Sunday evening with a new format (American League vs. National League), but it still provided fans a glimpse at the next stars of Major League Baseball.
The bats were quiet for much of the night, but they came alive in spurts, especially as the AL came from behind in an eventual 2-2 tie in eight innings. There were strong performances in the batter’s box and on the mound that stood out. Here are some of the game's top performers:
1) Sam Huff, C/1B, Rangers: Huff brought his 21 homers and .559 slugging percentage into the Futures Game. Entering mid-game to play first base, Huff grounded out in his first at-bat in the fifth, but then played hero in the bottom of the seventh. Facing Rockies lefty Ben Bowden, he squared up a 1-0, 94-mph fastball and crushed it out to left, sending it 418 feet at 109.3 mph off his bat, according to Statcast. Huff was named the Futures Game MVP.
2) Nate Pearson, RHP, Blue Jays: Armed with perhaps the best fastball of any pitcher in this year’s Futures Game, Pearson didn’t disappoint in the fifth inning. He hit triple-digits four times, from 101.2 to 101.7 mph. And his slider was just as dangerous. All six he threw were for strikes, ranging from 86.8 up to 90.5 mph. After throwing two breaking balls and having them fouled off by Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux, Pearson used a 101.2 mph fastball to get a swinging strike three. He got Braves center fielder Cristian Pache to ground out to third on an 0-1 slider and then got Giants catcher Joey Bart to swing through a 1-2 slider to finishing the most dominant inning of the game.
3) Luis Patino, RHP, Padres: Patino entered the game with the score tied and runners at first and third with one out in the bottom of the seventh. He then struck out Rays catcher Ronaldo Hernandez on a slider and Twins shortstop Royce Lewis on a 98.8 mph fastball to end the threat. The right-hander stayed on to pitch the eighth and set the AL down in order, finishing things off by striking out Angels outfielder Jo Adell on a 98.2 mph heater.
4) Carter Kieboom, SS, Nationals: You know that whole axiom about how the guy who makes a great play always comes up the next inning? That’s exactly what Kieboom did. He ended the third inning with a nifty play on a slowly hit grounder by Tigers catcher Jake Rogers, throwing on the run (and getting a little help scoop-wise from Pirates first baseman Will Craig). The Nats infielder, who made his big league debut earlier this season, then led off the top of the fourth on a single to left off of a slider from Tigers right-hander Matt Manning. After collecting the game’s first hit, Kieboom would come around to score the game’s first run.
5) Taylor Trammell, OF, Reds: For a little while, it looked like Trammell might collect his second straight MVP Award at the Futures Game. It was Trammell’s single off of a Manning fastball that scored Kieboom in the fourth. Later in that inning, he was on third with two outs and tried to steal home with Royals lefty Kris Bubic on the mound. He was called out to end the inning, but replays show he likely got his hand in ahead of the tag.
6) Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Marlins: He only pitched two-thirds of an inning, but boy was it electric. He averaged 99.3 mph on his fastball, second only in average velocity to Pearson. He hit 100 mph on five of them, even though Adell turned around one for a single.
7) DL Hall, LHP, Orioles: The lefty may not have struck anyone out, but he was awfully tough to hit. He ran his fastball up to 98 mph and was most impressive at the end of his time on the mound. When he sawed off Cubs catcher Miguel Amaya’s bat, resulting in a groundout to short, the broken barrel hit Hall in the leg. He stayed in the game, then threw three fastballs better than 96 mph to get Pache to fly out to center.