There's typically never a dull moment at the Futures Game and this year in Phoenix the young talent on display was as exciting as ever. While Bryce Harper may have been the star attraction entering the game, it was the pitching that stole the show Sunday evening. Pitchers like Matt Moore and Carlos Martinez, for example, lit up the radar guns and were able to quiet some of the game's big bats.
Matt Moore, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays
If you were to poll the scouting section at the Futures Game on Sunday, the overwhelming majority would say that Moore clearly stole the show. The Rays' lefty reached 98 mph on the gun and consistently ran it up there at 94-97 mph. Couple that with a plus, late breaking slider at 86-87 mph and it's no mystery as to why Moore has been a strikeout machine in his minor league career. If he stays healthy it appears Tampa Bay has another left-handed ace on the way.
Carlos Martinez, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
There was a lot of velocity being showcased on Sunday in Phoenix and Martinez was a big part of that. The Cardinals' righty reached 98 mph with his fastball, matching Matt Moore for the top velocity of the day. He worked steadily at 95-97 mph. There's some effort to Martinez' delivery and he has some command issues he'll need to iron out, but his fastball and low 80s slider combination make him one of baseball's most dynamic pitching prospects.
Austin Romine, C, New York Yankees
Romine always ends up seemingly playing second fiddle to fellow Yankees' catching prospect, Jesus Montero. But, Romine once again put up a strong showing on Sunday amongst the best prospects in the game. Romine's swing looks more consistent than it did last year and he's showing a little more lift to his pull side. And, he continues to do something he's always done well and that's consistently square the ball up. The righty swinging catcher has a simple approach and uses his hands very well. He also threw in an acrobatic play on a pop up behind the dish, which was one of the Futures Game's defensive highlights.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks
Even on a roster sharing the spotlight with hitters like Bryce Harper, it was Goldschmidt who put on perhaps the most impressive batting practice display. He deposited one ball into the second deck in left field and routinely tested the boundaries of the fences to the deepest parts of the park. This is a swing that will translate to big league action as well. He likely won't be ready until sometime next season, but when he does arrive the power numbers figure to be prodigious.
Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals
Harper remained relatively quiet in the Futures Game, but before the game he still managed to remind everyone just why he's as highly thought of as he is. The lefty slugger produces remarkable carry when he connects with the ball and made a big league ballpark look small during batting practice. He gets outstanding extension and has an explosive finish, creating that backspin and loft that make him the game's most prized hitting prospect.
Jarred Cosart, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
If there was a second place winner as to who impressed most on the mound on Sunday after Matt Moore, Cosart would be up for that award. In his one inning stint, the Phillies' righty worked at 96-97 mph and flashed a sharp, potential plus curveball at 75-77 mph. His fastball shows fantastic life and the only real issue is command. He tends to miss up in the zone, but considering his velocity he can get away with a lot of mistakes. Cosart has a ways to go in his development but his two plus swing and miss offerings make him a front of the rotation type starter in the future.
Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves
Teheran has pitched on this stage before and has pitched in the big leagues, so even as a 20-year-old he entered the game was one of the most experienced and best known commodities on display. And, the Braves' prized young arm was exactly what we've come to expect on Sunday. He reached 97 mph on the radar gun and pitched steadily at 94-96. He also showed off the good breaking ball and changeup that make him arguably the game's most complete and big league ready pitching prospect.
James Paxton, LHP, Seattle Mariners
He didn't get a chance to fully show off his arsenal, but while he was in there James Paxton was very efficient and showed off an explosive fastball. Working at 93-95 mph and reaching 96, Paxton showed he could miss bats with the fastball and pitch aggressively over the plate.
Manny Machado, SS, Baltimore Orioles
Machado is not a player that's going to rocket up the minor league ladder. He needs repetition at the plate and simply more experience. But, when he puts it all together he has a chance to be very special. Machado showed off huge raw power in batting practice before the Futures Game, power that stacked up with any player on either roster. He's a plus athlete as well with the tools to play shortstop. He's a few years off but the O's have someone to be very excited about.
Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
There's been a lot of progress in Lee since his appearance in last year's game. He's stronger and showed he could drive the ball with more authority this time around. The defensive skills and speed still stand out, but the power has come along nicely. The Rays appear to have landed their shortstop of the future when they dealt Matt Garza to the Cubs' last off-season.