In advance of Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game in Queens, Citi Field will play host to the 15th annual All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, featuring some of the games brightest up-and-coming stars with the United States squaring off against the World team.
The Red Sox will be sending three players to the affair, so let's take a look at how they got there and what the future holds for these young prospects.
Anthony Ranaudo RHP
Profile: A 2010 first round draft pick (No. 39 overall) by the Red Sox out of LSU, Ranaudo struggled through the 2012 season with injury woes, leaving many to question what to make of the 6-foot-7 righty. He dedicated his offseason to getting healthy and staying that way with a routine rooted in hip exercises aimed at securing his body’s core. It has paid off in a big way in 2013 as he has begun to reach the potential that many expected from him, taking the reins as the ace of a Portland staff that was initially stacked with big arms.
Path to Queens: This season Ranaudo has been the best pitcher in the Double-A Eastern League, which helped him earn the honors of starting in the E.L. All-Star Game for the Eastern Division this past Wednesday. This season he is 8-2 with a 2.67 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 91 innings. He struck out a season high 13 batters on June 13th and has a 2.94:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio on the year. Ranaudo is scheduled to be the fourth pitcher in the game for the U.S. team on Sunday.
Future: The next inevitable step for Ranaudo is to Pawtucket, which should happen fairly soon, especially given the current state of pitching above where he currently is with the Sea Dogs. If he can continue to pitch at the level he has this season he can project into the Red Sox rotation within a year or two.
Xander Bogaerts SS
Profile: An international free agent signing in 2009, it’s been nothing but rave reviews for Bogaerts since he broke in as a 17-year-old in the Dominican Summer League. Now the consensus top prospect of the Red Sox farm system he is just one step away from becoming a fixture in the big league lineup for Boston after jumping from Portland to Pawtucket in June. He also enjoyed a stint with the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic prior to the regular season. A right-handed power hitter with an array of plus tools in the bin, Bogaerts is now considered by many to be one of the Top 5 overall prospects in the game.
Path to Queens: This is Bogaerts second trip to the Futures Game having gone 1-for-4 with two strikeouts last year in Kansas City. After a slow start (of about a week) at the beginning of the year, he turned into the machine everyone had expected, hitting .311 with six homers, 35 RBIs and 40 runs in 56 games with Portland. Following his bump to Triple-A he continued to get good wood on the ball and has seven home runs and 19 RBIs in 29 games.
Future: The sky is the limit for Bogaerts right now with the only concern being where he might play once he becomes a regular, every day Major Leaguer. Like Jose Iglesias he is now getting some reps at third base, a position many think he projects more towards based on his frame which should fill out a bit more.
Garin Cecchini 3B
Profile: Another product of the Red Sox 2010 draft, the Lake Charles, Louisiana native dropped to the fourth round after suffering an ACL tear as a senior in high school. In his first pro ball experience in Lowell he again went down with a fractured wrist after getting hit during an All-Star run in 2011. In 2012 he enjoyed a full season in Low-A Greenville where he batted .305 with 62 RBIs, 84 runs and 51 stolen bases, earning Red Sox Minor League Base Runner of the Year.
Path to Queens: After losing out in the fan voting for final spot on U.S. roster, Cecchini was named to the squad as an injury replacement for Rangers third base prospect Joey Gallo. His hitting splits were .350/.469/.547 in 63 games with High-A Salem, and he has continued his torrid pace after being called up to Portland. Since joining the Sea Dogs he has hit .361/.465/.500 in 19 games. Cecchini will come off the bench for the U.S. squad.
Future: Although it would be great if the Red Sox had the patience to see Cecchini through, a back log of left-side infielders could force them to make a move and Cecchini would be a very valuable trade chip. Should he stay, Boston would have themselves a prototypical third baseman with the added bonus of speed and with the potential to improve his pop along the way.
Other names of note for the U.S. include Phillies top prospect LHP Jesse Biddle, Rays 20-year-old RHP Taylor Guerrieri, speedsters Billy Hamilton (OF Reds) and Delino Deshields (2B Astros) and former UConn standout George Springer, an outfielder in the Houston system who has hit 26 home runs between Double and Triple-A this year.
The World team boasts the likes of hard-hitting OF Miguel Sano who is currently playing for the Twins Double-A team in New Britain, Connecticut, Top-5 overall prospect OF Oscar Taveras (Cardinals), former Sox prospect OF Rey Fuentes, Yankees RHP Rafael DePaula and Royals flame-throwing RHP Yordano Ventura.
The first Futures Game was played at Fenway Park back in 1999 with the World team winning 7-0. The U.S. holds an 8-6 advantage in the series, having won three straight.
You can catch the Ranaudo, Bogerts, Cecchini and the rest live on ESPN2 starting at 2:00 p.m., with the game’s starting lineups listed below.
Billy Hamilton CF (Reds)
Delino Deshields 2B (Astros)
George Springer RF (Astros)
C.J. Cron 1B (Angels)
Matt Davidson 3B(Diamondbacks)
Joc Pederson LF (Dodgers)
Christian Yelich DH (Marlins)
Addison Russell SS (A’s)
Austin Hedges C (Padres)
Noah Syndergaard RHP (Mets)
Reymond Fuentes LF (Padres)
Arismendy Alcantara 2B (Cubs)
Xander Bogaerts SS (Red Sox)
Miguel Sano 3B (Twins)
Henry Urrutia RF (Orioles)
Jordan Lennerton 1B (Tigers)
Gregory Polanco CF (Pirates)
Maikel Franco DH (Phillies)
A.J. Jimenez C (Blue Jays)
Enny Montero P (Rays)
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