August 1, 2014
From the Road: Up Close, Batting Practice at 2014 MLB Futures Game
The Baseball Prospectus prospect team is constantly on the road, getting eyes on the top talent throughout baseball -- from the amateur ranks up through the majors. Moving forward I'll be working to bring you inside my travels (hopefully with contributions from others on the prospect team), including pictures and video. There will be a lot of baseball and some broader travel stuff if I think you might find it interesting.
As for this first entry in the "From the Road" series, what better way to start things off than a full BP session from this year's MLB Futures Game participants. As you are I'm sure aware, as part of the All Star Weekend festivities each year Major League Baseball holds a one game exhibition featuring some of the top prospects in the game. The format is US vs. the World, with the World Team consisting of players born outside of the 50 states (which means Puerto Rico, for example, is a feeder for the World squad despite being a US territory).
Along with Jason Parks, Joe Hamrahi, Jordon Gorosh, and a handful of other media members and a score of industry insiders and celebrities, I was fortunate enough to take in batting practice at the field level -- in fact, right along side the "turtle". It was a fantastic couple of hours, highlighted by moonshots from Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Jorge Alfaro, and Kennys Vargas, among others. The main attraction, without question, was Joey Gallo's session, which included 400-plus foot home runs from center to right, with one ball clearing the concourse and another breaking the window of a pick-up truck parked on the concourse (intended to be the prize for the home run derby winner the following night).
We watch these players on a regular basis, but it's rare that you get to see such an impressive collection of talent together on the same field, and even rarer still that you get to watch them go about their business just a few feet from where you are standing. Below is video from each player's BP session -- hope you enjoy!