It won't be hard for Pirates fans to decide which team to root for in the annual All-Star Futures Game.
The organization will have two prospects in Kansas City for the matchup of marquee Minor Leaguers, as pitchers Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon were both selected to play for the U.S. Team against the World Team, according to a Thursday announcement.
"We're excited about it," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's a great opportunity for young men throughout every organization to participate in that type of venue, that type of stage that they'll be on. Obviously, it's the best of the best. They've been handpicked."
Cole was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. He made his Double-A debut on Wednesday in Altoona, giving up two runs and five hits over five innings. He struck out six and walked none.
Prior to his callup, Cole started 13 games this year in Bradenton, the Pirates' advanced Class A affiliate. Over that time, the right-hander went 5-1 with a 2.55 ERA, averaging five-plus innings an appearance and 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings.
Taillon, the second overall selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, is still playing in Bradenton, where he was 4-6 with a 4.10 ERA over 74 2/3 innings.
In his most recent start, Taillon surrendered just one hit over seven innings. He struck out five and walked three during the appearance, the longest of his professional career.
"Every player that I've ever talked to, this opportunity had a dramatic impact upon him," Hurdle said. "It was a lot of fun just to be a part of, and obviously the experience that they're going to gain from it should do nothing but help them moving forward."
Joining the two prospects on the U.S. team will be Tom Filer, the pitching coach for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. Under Filer's direction, Indians pitchers lead the 15-team International League with a collective 2.98 ERA.
Filer will coach as part of a staff led by U.S. Team manager George Brett, a Hall of Famer.
Current Pirates who have represented the organization in prior Futures Games include Neil Walker (2006), Andrew McCutchen ('08), and Pedro Alvarez ('09). Prospects Gorkys Hernandez and Starling Marte also have participated in the event.
The 14th annual Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game can be seen live on MLB.TV, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday on Sunday, July 8, at 5 p.m. ET. 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 following @USDugout
Major League Baseball, along with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, MLB.com, Baseball America and the 30 Major League baseball clubs, selected the 25-man rosters.