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Pitching prospects bring heat in Futures Game

MLB.com

This week on the MLBPipeline Podcast, host Tim McMaster and resident prospect gurus Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo talk about some flame-throwing pitchers from the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's episode of the Pipeline Podcast.

McMaster: "The story early on was certainly the pitching for the U.S."

This week on the MLBPipeline Podcast, host Tim McMaster and resident prospect gurus Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo talk about some flame-throwing pitchers from the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's episode of the Pipeline Podcast.

McMaster: "The story early on was certainly the pitching for the U.S."

:: 2017 Futures Game coverage ::

Callis: "Yeah, I feel like, Jonathan, we saw this in Arizona too. I mean, Brent Honeywell, you put him in one of these games, he dominates. The Fall Stars Game, he started and struck out five Top 100 prospects in two innings. Today, he starts and strikes out four Top 100 prospects in two innings. He gets Alex Verdugo with a screwball. He has one of the few screwballs in the Minor Leagues. He got Amed Rosario with a changeup. He got Eloy Jimenez with a changeup and he got Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with a 95-mph fastball. I think, if we're talking about pitching prospects, there are very few prospects in the Minor Leagues who are better than Brent Honeywell, and there are very few who have as many pitches as he has."

Mayo: "Yeah, I think that's what makes him stand out. I mean, the stuff is plenty good. It was 95 or whatever it was, but it's the array of pitches. He'll use all of them and he can throw all of them for strikes. And then they had Michael Kopech come in like in back of him, it almost wasn't fair, and he was as advertised. I think it took him one pitch to get warmed up, 99, and then he hit six triple-digit fastballs and as long as that guy throws strikes, it's scary. It's tough to hit. That kind of set the early tone and allowed the US to jump out to that early big lead, even though the World Team tripped away."

Video: WLD@USA: Michael Kopech throws strong inning

McMaster: "Jonathan, you were doing the game in the broadcast booth, so I'm sure you were able to tell the screwball coming from Honeywell. We were up here and Jim was saying, 'Nothing says Honeywell, we don't have that in the system as far as MLB.com goes,' but how tricky is that for hitters, a pitch that you just don't see much?"

Mayo: "You know, to be honest with you, even from doing the game, he threw a couple of changeups that moved so much that we thought they were screwballs. We had thought he had thrown one, I think the one to end the first inning, we thought that was a screwball but it was actually a changeup. His changeup falls off the table so much and moves so much that it's not like your just a-typical off-speed pitch. It was hard. Unless you had a view, like a catcher's view, where you could really see him turning his hand over backwards, it was one of those things that was really hard to detect. And he throws it, but it's not like he throws it so much that you see it over and over again."

McMaster: "Kopech wasn't the only one in the triple-digit range. Thyago Vieira came in late for the World Team, the Brazilian, and he throws hard as well."

Callis: "Yeah, he actually threw eight triple-digit pitches, so he topped Kopech in that regard."

Video: Top Prospects: Thyago Vieira, RHP, Mariners

McMaster: "And topped velocity, too, right? He was up over 101?"

Callis: "Yeah, 101, and Kopech had a 101. I'd have to look to the first decimal place to break the tie. I don't have that in front of me. But you know, he throws plenty hard. It was fun watching that. Tanner Scott actually also threw five triple-digit pitches, for the Orioles, out of the stretch. He works out of the stretch all the time, and he topped out at 101 as well."

McMaster: "Yeah, so the pitching was dominant for the US team early. Obviously the World Team got back in late from 7-0, they make it 7-6, they get two in the top of the ninth inning and things got really interesting with the tying run on base."