Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Belated comments on the Futures Game

Miguel Sano went 0-for-2 with a walk and a HBP
while playing the whole game at third base for the
World Team on Sunday.
Bryon Buxton during batting
practice with Team USA.
"Hype" is too strong a term for the lead-in to the annual Futures Game, which is probably the most pure baseball, and thus least popular, event of All-Star week. (There were plenty of seats available at Citi Field, or so it appeared on the telecast).

But there was a certain level of pre-game buzz for the prospect-laden exhibition, and that buzz was heavily focused on the Twins duo of Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. The attention laden on those two  — certainly among Twins fans, and in the industry as well — probably does qualify as hype. Buxton is now being touted as the brightest prospect in the minors, Sano as the best power hitter, they're in the same system ... They got a lot of the media attention in the week before the game, and they deserved it.

It would not be surprising if Buxton and Sano were in the Futures Game next summer (in Target Field) as well. It's possible — and I hope this is the case — that either or both will make themselves ineligible by forcing their way to the majors, but reality is that Buxton right now is in high A ball and Sano is not getting a lot of hits in his initial foray into Double A.

And neither got a hit Sunday either. Sano played the entire game at third base for the World team (and hit cleanup); he had, I would say, a good 0-for-2. He hit the ball hard for his outs (Buxton caught his final fly on the warning track in center) and drew a walk with a good selective plate appearance. He didn't get himself out.

Buxton, on the other hand, was a mid-game substitute for Team USA (Billy Hamilton, a more advanced prospect, got the start ahead of him) and struck out in his two plate appearances.

That they combined to go 0-for-4 Sunday is perhaps disappointing but no more significant than the fact that Kirby Puckett once went 0-for-4 in an All-Star game (1987).

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