June 18, 2024

Discussions about hitting prospects usually include a description of tools and talents. Who possesses the most raw power? Who has the finest feel for hitting? Even with so much more data available, these evaluations frequently include some degree of subjectivity.

Imagine if you could have all of those prospects on the same field at the same time, putting their tools to the test. Wait no more: Major League Baseball announced on Monday the first-ever Futures Skills Showcase, which will take place as part of All-Star Saturday on July 13 at Globe Life Field in Arlington.

The All-Star Futures Game is already the pinnacle event for anyone looking to watch the next generation of Major League stars. At the conclusion of the Futures Game, several of MLB’s top prospects will play in a video game-style tournament that goes beyond the traditional home run derby. There will be three rounds of challenges in which players can earn points for accomplishing various striking talents. Here’s an overview of the challenges, as well as some prospective Futures Gamers who could shine in each round.

Round 1: Hit It Here

Hitters will strive to hit infield and outfield targets to receive points based on their value. Four obstacles (representing typical infield positions) will be put on the infield dirt, and hitters will receive points for hitting outfield targets on the fly or on the bounce. Similar to the KBO Bunt King tournament, batters can gain points by bunting the ball onto bullseye-style targets and scoring points based on where the ball lands.

Round 1 favorites: No. 1 overall prospect Jackson Holliday and top A’s prospect Jacob Wilson are the only two prospects with a 70-grade hitting tool. Dylan Crews and Brooks Lee, with 65 hit grades each, would also be considered favorites.

Round 2: Call Your Shot

Hitters will have multiple swings to demonstrate their bat control. To begin, they will announce which field (left, right, or center) they intend to hit the ball. If they are successful, they will choose one of the two remaining fields and must hit the last field. After all three fields have been cleared, batters will use their remaining swings to “call their shot” to any of the fields. To be counted, all hits must make contact with the outfield turf.

Round 2 Favorites: More bat control here, and in addition to the quartet above, prospects from the recent Top 10 pure hitters in the Minors list, including the Rays’ Junior Caminero, the Cubs’ James Triantos, the Mariners’ Cole Young and Colt Emerson, the Twins’ Walker Jenkins, and the Brewers’ sleeper prospect Mike Boeve, could all contribute significantly.

Round 3: Swing For The Fences

Hitters will demonstrate their all-field power by attempting to hit home runs. Batters will receive incentives for homers hit to the opposite field, as well as the potential to earn additional bonus points for home run streaks on consecutive swings.

Round 3 favorites: This is clearly where the players with the high power grades come into play. Caminero and Nationals outfielder James Wood are the two players with 70-grade power. Sluggers such as the Rays’ Xavier Isaac, the Mariners’ Lazaro Montes, the Orioles’ Coby Mayo, and the Cubs’ Owen Caissie all have 65-grade power and might dominate in this round.

Trying to figure out who might win the whole thing? There is no sure formula, but adding up all 900 hopefuls’ hit and power tools yields a decent list of front-runners for bringing this video game to life (hit and power totals in parentheses):

Jackson Holliday, 2B/SS, Orioles (130)
Junior Caminero, 3B/SS, Rays (130)
Dylan Crews, OF, Nationals (125)
James Wood, OF, Nationals (120)
Walker Jenkins, OF, Twins (120)
Samuel Basallo, C/1B, Orioles (120)
Brooks Lee, OF, Twins (120)
Xavier Isaac, 1B, Rays (120)

“The All-Star Futures Game is a premier event on the baseball calendar for the next generation of Major League stars and the addition of the Futures Skills Showcase to All-Star Saturday will enhance the experience for both players and fans,” Tony Reagins, the MLB Chief Baseball Development Officer, stated. “Building on the success and popularity of the inaugural Spring Breakout, this is another exciting opportunity for Baseball to engage with a young audience while providing a platform for these great young players to display their incredible talents in a competitive format.”

 

Former Angels GM Tony Reagins promoted to Chief Baseball Development  Officer - Halos Heaven

 

Single-day tickets for All-Star Saturday, July 13th, go on sale today at allstargame.com. All-Star Saturday tickets provide entry to all three events at Globe Life Field, including the All-Star Futures Game, MLB Futures Skills Showcase, and All-Star Celebrity Softball Game. Tickets for the HBCU Swingman Classic presented by T-Mobile at Globe Life Field on July 12th, as well as Capital One All-Star Village at Choctaw Stadium from July 13th-16th, are on sale now at allstargame.com.

More details about 2024 All-Star Saturday, including Futures Game roster selections and participants in the Futures Skills Showcase and All-Star Celebrity Softball Game, will be released in the following weeks. For more information on All-Star Saturday, go to mlb.com/all-star/saturday.

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