Trout, Harper headline Futures Game rosters
U.S., World teams set for annual top-prospects game
A year ago at this time, Liam Hendriks was beyond excited.
The Australian right-hander in the Minnesota Twins organization was so overjoyed about being named to the 2010 XM All-Star Futures Game World Team roster that he called his parents back home at 2 a.m. their time to deliver the news. A week before the game, though, Hendriks had to have his appendix removed and ended up watching the festivities from his apartment in Florida.
They say that opportunity only knocks once, but for Hendriks, it has knocked a second time. He is one of the 50 prospects who have been invited to participate in the 13th annual Minor League exhibition as part of Taco Bell All-Star Sunday on July 10 in Phoenix. The rosters were released on Thursday, and both the World and United States team rosters are full of elite prospects from all 30 organizations.
The 13th annual Futures Game can be seen live on MLB.TV, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD at 6 p.m. ET, and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on XM 175. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game.
Major League Baseball, along with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, MLB.com, Baseball America, USA Baseball and the 30 Major League baseball clubs, selected the 25-man rosters.
2011 Futures game representatives
"I was so disappointed that I missed out in going last year," said Hendriks, now pitching for Double-A New Britain. "It's amazing. It's such a big honor to be selected to go. To be selected to go twice is incredible. I'd love to actually go and be able to play this time."
Assuming that comes to pass and Hendriks gets to pitch, he'll face a slew of top prospects in the U.S. lineup. The Nos. 1 and 2 prospects on the current MLB.com Top 50 list are Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, and both will be in the U.S. outfield. They are two of nine Top 50 players on the U.S. roster.
"I haven't officially met Bryce," Trout said. "He's a great player, he's having a good year. It'd be a great opportunity to meet him. I like to meet new people."
Led by No. 9-ranked Julio Teheran, a pitcher in the Braves organization, the World team has five Top 50 prospects. Teheran and Trout will be making their second Futures Game appearances.
"I'm thrilled," said Trout, who went 2-for-4 in last year's game in Anaheim and was batting .324 through Wednesday for the Angels' Double-A Arkansas team. "I'm one of those guys -- any opportunity I have to play baseball, I love it. It's a great honor again.
"I look at it as a great opportunity to go out there and shine again. I had a good game, had a great time and met a lot of good guys. It was a great experience."
Mariners third-base prospect Alex Liddi, who hails from Italy, will be on the World Team for the third straight year. That will tie the record held by several players. The remainder of the rosters are filled with players who will experience the Futures Game for the first time.
"I spoke to another couple of Australians who have gone," Hendriks said. "I spoke to Justin Huber [a three-time Futures Gamer] and Luke Hughes. They gave me a good idea about what it's all about. I know what to expect if I get to go."
When the Futures Game was created in 1999, it was an experiment that few players knew about. But over the years, the success of the event, and more important, the success of the players who have played in the game has increased its cachet. All who go know the numbers involved. From the 2010 game, 13 from the U.S. side and six from the World Team have played in the big leagues this season.
Many of this year's roster might see the Majors as early as the second half of this season. Nine of the 50 currently play in Triple-A, but it's the Double-A level that is the most highly represented. A total of 23 players are at what many consider to be the make-or-break level. Eleven more are at Class A Advanced, with seven at Class A.
Trout knows firsthand what that's about. He has met and maintained contact with several of his U.S. teammates from last year's game. He's well aware that players like Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas are now in the Major Leagues, and that makes him feel even closer to reaching his ultimate goal.
"That definitely makes it [seem possible], seeing guys like Moustakas and Hosmer," Trout said. "I think I could be right up with any of those guys. It definitely gives me more confidence.
"I'm just playing hard, trying to win the first half for the Arkansas Travelers. If the Angels give me the opportunity, I'll try to go out there and compete. Personally, I definitely think about it. I know they'll make the right choice."