These 8 prospects will compete in the inaugural Futures Skills Showcase

July 11th, 2024

Since its inception in 1999, the All-Star Futures Game has provided a stage for the next generation of big league stars to show off their tools. Over the years, we’ve seen exciting displays of hitting prowess. But given the nature of the exhibition, it always seemed like the spotlight on those skills was too fleeting.

Until now.

Some of the game’s best hitting prospects will be able to put their considerable tools to the test in direct competition at the conclusion of the Futures Game on Saturday, July 13, in the first-ever MLB Futures Skills Showcase.

The Futures Skills Challenge will air on tape delay at 10 a.m. ET (9 a.m. CT) on Sunday, July 14, on the MLB Network as well as on MLB.TV, and in the MLB App.

A total of eight players — four from each league — will participate in an event inspired by fan-favorite baseball video games of the past and present, giving fans another way to focus on baseball’s future stars after the debut of Spring Breakout earlier this year. Those two events, along with the long-running Arizona Fall League, form a wonderful trifecta of prospect showcases stretching across the calendar.

There will be three rounds of hitting challenges:

1. Hit It Here
Hitters have 10 swings to earn points based on each target’s value. There will be obstacles representing infielders' traditional starting positions placed on the infield dirt to add a degree of difficulty.

Hitters get points for reaching outfield targets on the fly or on a bounce and they earn points by landing the ball on the bunt target.

2. Call Your Shot
This round showcases control and placement, and players will “call their shot” while taking 10 swings to left, center and right. Hitters initially can pick any field to hit the ball to. If successful, then they choose one of the two remaining fields, moving on to the last field once they’re successful with the second one.

Once all three fields have been hit, the player can call his shot to any field with any remaining swings. Six points are earned for each successful swing, with hitters needing to clear the infield for it to count.

3. Swing for the Fences
This one will feel familiar to most fans as it most closely resembles a Home Run Derby. But points for the home runs are weighted: six points for pull-side or center-field home runs; 12 points for any opposite-field shots. And if a hitter goes deep on consecutive swings, he’ll get an additional six-point streak bonus. If he hits more than two in a row, every home run in the streak will get the six-point bonus.

Here are the participants for each league, seven of whom are currently on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list. Four are on Futures Game rosters and four (notated with an ^) are not, though they could get added should a replacement be needed between now and the game.

American League

Orioles: Samuel Basallo, C (No. 2/MLB No. 12)
Ranked as the second-best catching prospect in baseball, Basallo is still a teenager (he doesn’t turn 20 until August) and he’s more than holding his own in Double-A. The left-handed hitter has plus hit and power potential and is currently in the top 10 among Eastern League hitters in both home runs and slugging. Basallo replaces Minnesota's Brooks Lee, who is unable to participate due to his Major League callup.

Sebastian Walcott, SS, Rangers (No. 1/MLB No. 73): Just 18, the Bahamian phenom who signed for $3.2 million in January 2023 is making some solid adjustments in full-season ball. He started slowly but posted an .853 OPS in June and gives the hometown team someone to root for in this competition.

^ Roman Anthony, OF, Red Sox (No. 2/MLB No. 14): The Red Sox went over slot to sign Anthony for $2.5 million as a supplemental second-round pick, and after a very slow start to his first full season on the surface, he hit .301/.422/.565 between High- and Double-A last year. Just 20, Anthony shook off a rough April to post an OPS of .868 in May and .905 in June.

^ Tre’ Morgan, 1B, Rays (No. 13): The Rays took Morgan in the third round of the 2023 Draft and it’s looking like it might be a steal. After hitting .332 in three years at LSU, he’s stepped it up a notch in his young pro career, hitting .396 during his 14-game summer debut last year and a combined .340/.429/.505 this year across two levels of A ball.

More from MLB Pipeline:
Top 100 prospects | Stats | Video | Podcast | Complete coverage

National League
Cam Collier, 3B, Reds (No. 3/MLB No. 85): Collier hit the first home run of Spring Breakout. He’s just 19 and already playing in High-A ball. Lou’s son is tied for third in the Midwest League with 13 home runs.

Termarr Johnson, 2B/SS, Pirates (No. 2/MLB No. 77): The No. 4 pick in the 2022 Draft, Johnson just turned 20 in May and has spent the year in High-A Greensboro. He also shook off a very slow start in April and started getting to his power more over the last month and a half, with six of his seven homers coming since-mid May, while posting a better OPS each month to date.

^ Moises Ballesteros, C/1B, Cubs (No. 5/MLB No. 61): Signed for $1.2 million in January 2021, Ballesteros is just 20 but has already hit his way to Triple-A. He’s posted a combined slash line of .311/.378/.506 this year and has actually stepped it up a notch (.366/.409/.561) in his first 10 games with Triple-A Iowa.

^ Brady House, 3B, Nationals (No. 3/MLB No. 34): Taken No. 11 overall in the 2021 Draft, House showed last year what he could do when healthy with a .312/.365/.497 line and 12 home runs in 88 games as he reached Double-A for the first time. He’s currently tied for third in the Double-A Eastern League with 13 homers.