Big League Stew

The 10 coolest things about the 2012 Futures Game

David Brown
Big League Stew

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — OK, perhaps "coolest" isn't the best way to describe anything in sultry K.C., where recent temperatures have been stuck in the triple digits. But it was 87 degrees and overcast for the first pitch, quite reasonable for July and swell conditions for the U.S. to beat the World 17-5 on Sunday. And the sellout crowd at Kauffman Stadium did get to see plenty of cool stuff, including Nick Castellanos of the Tigers win the game's MVP. But that's not all:

1. Watching Billy Hamilton run the bases

Hamilton, a 21-year-old shortstop prospect with the Cincinnati Reds, came in with 104 stolen bases playing for two Class A teams, so he's in great shape to break Vince Coleman's record of 145 steals, set in 1983. In the third inning, he lined a pitch to center that froze outfielder Jae-Hoo Ha, who probably would have caught the ball had he run back immediately. Ha's pause also fooled Hamilton, who didn't start running hard until after he rounded first base. Hamilton made it to third, sliding in for a two-run triple, but he could have had an inside-the-park home run. "Oh, yeah," Hamilton said.

One batter later, he danced off third base on a grounder back to the mound and seemed to influence pitcher Chris Reed into rushing a throw to first for an error, which allowed Hamilton to score. "I see that a lot," Hamilton said.

[Jeff Passan: Reds prospect Billy Hamilton may be fastest player — ever]

2. Watching Hamilton hit into a double play

If Hamilton was the fastest player in the Futures Game, then Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Gose was No. 2. In the fourth inning, Hamilton grounded to infielder Jean Segura, who stepped on the second base bag to retire Gose and before throwing to first to complete an unlikely double play. It prompted reporter Kevin Goldstein to say the apocalypse was coming. It also ruined the prospect of Hamilton and Gose being in position to run the bases at the same time. "We probably would have stole a couple of bases" otherwise, Gose said.

3. Gose lays out to make a great catch

Gose robbed Oscar Taveras of extra bases in the third with an all-out dive on a ball hit to center. Gose's recovery, along with his throw to first base might have been better, but Jurickson Profar hustled back to prevent a double play.

4. The strawberry on Gose's leg

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(Big League Stew)


Gose has an enormous and painful-looking scrape on his right leg from a recent game. "I was sliding and trying to break up a double play — and I was out," Gose said with a laugh. "I scraped my knee and my calf. Oh, it's on fire, too."

5. George Brett is awesome

Brett, the Hall of Fame third baseman for the Kansas City Royals, managed the U.S. squad and reportedly gave a "rousing" pregame speech to motivate his guys. He also said he was "scared to death" once the World Team jumped to a quick 4-0 lead. Brett works in the Royals front office, and coaches during spring training, but it was a rare treat to see him in uniform at Kauffman Stadium.

[Tim Brown: Beloved ex-Yankee Bernie Williams tries hand at managing]

6. The future of the Royals

KC fans have heard it before, that the future will be brighter, but it was neat for the home fans to cheer outfielder Wil Myers, along with right-handers Jake Odorizzi and Yordano Ventura (of the World Team). Unfortunately for Myers, Royals GM Dayton Moore did not spontaneously promote him to the majors after the loud ovation he received before his first at-bat. Myers had a pair of hits and drove in three runs.

7. The 2011 draft on display

Of course, it makes sense that high draft picks would dominate the rosters (at least on the U.S. side), but the early results on the 2011 draft have been ridiculous. No less than seven first-rounders from '11 played in Sunday's game. It would have been eight, had the Arizona Diamondbacks not already promoted Trevor Bauer to the majors. Gerrit Cole of the Pirates, Danny Hultzen of the Mariners and Dylan Bundy of the Orioles pitched the second, third and fourth innings, respectively, for the U.S. Coming on later, Alex Meyer of the Nationals and Matt Barnes of the Red Sox each pitched two-thirds of an inning. Jose Fernandez of the Marlins and Chris Reed of the Dodgers each pitched an inning for the World.

"I can't say I'm surprised," Cole said. "I knew how good Trevor was, I know how good Danny is. A lot of the guys in this room, you know how good they are. And Trevor's not even here right now."

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(Big League Stew)

8. "Jurickson Profar"

Aside from Bundy, he had the best name in the game and he might have been the best prospect playing Sunday. Just 19 years old and currently at Class AA Frisco, Profar is a Curaçao native who soon will be playing shortstop for the Texas Rangers. (Hey, someone alert Elvis Andrus!)

9. A nine-run sixth inning

OK, this wasn't cool at all for the international players, but the U.S. put the game out of reach with a monstrous nine spot in the sixth. Castellanos hit a three-run homer to center to cap the scoring.

10. Castellanos' reaction to winning MVP (via USA Today):

"I went to Cooperstown when I was 12," said Castellanos, who's batting .371 in a season that began at Class A Lakeland (Fla.) and continues at Class AA Erie (Pa.). "The names that are in there … and now my bat?"

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