Bernie Pleskoff

Futures Game BP a display of raw power

Royals, Cubs, Rockies, Reds prospects among standouts

Futures Game BP a display of raw power

On a humid afternoon at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, I watched an amazing display of power during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game batting practice sessions. I can confirm that any fears that this edition of the Futures Game would be diluted by the recent promotions of highly-regarded prospects is unfounded. These guys can hit.

No, there was no Joey Gallo breaking a window on a car parked in the right field concourse, as it happened last year in Minneapolis. No, there was no shot like the one the late Oscar Taveras of the St. Louis Cardinals hit in 2012, when he smacked the middle of the center-field scoreboard at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

Instead, there was just a steady stream of majestic home runs hit to all parts of the hitter-friendly stadium. And believe me, the players were trying hard to put on a show.

There were a couple of very interesting trends I noticed this afternoon. First, I saw a number of players on the World Team use bright yellow-barrelled bats. Maybe they're a sign of the future. I also noticed how thin the handles are on the bats that almost every hitter used. Thin handles and thin barrels. It's another indicator that bat speed is king. Get those hands through the bat as quickly as possible.

Who impressed me?

Remember the name Balbino Fuenmayor of the Kansas City Royals. The huge, right-handed-hitting first baseman looks much bigger than his listed 6-foot-3, 230 pounds. Fuenmayor hit the message board above the first tier of the bleacher seats in left field. He put on an awesome power display.

Raimel Tapia is a paper-thin, 6-foot-2, 160-pound Colorado outfielder. Get ready, Rockies fans. You're going to love this man. From a physical standpoint, he has a similar build to that of Hank Aaron, when Aaron was just breaking into the game. Like Aaron, Tapia has extremely quick wrists and lightning-fast hands.

One of the sweetest swings belonged to Orlando Arcia, a potential future shortstop for the Milwaukee Brewers. He took the ball all over the field and showed some true pop.

I know Yankees fans are excited about catcher Gary Sanchez, and for good reason. He has strength in his legs and forearms that could propel him to a big power future.

Everything written about the Cubs' Kyle Schwarber is true. He has awesome power in a very broad, 6-foot, 235-pound frame. Schwarber looks like a catcher, period. His left-handed bat will be a source of plenty of RBIs at the big league level.

Nick Williams smoked some balls during batting practice. During one round, he sniffed his bat after he finished. Williams had a big smile on his face as he kept trying to determine if the odor was a burning smell or just paint. The great Ted Williams said he could smell his bat burning when he got all of a pitch.

The hometown Reds fans are really going to get a kick out of left-handed-hitting Kyle Waldrop if he does what he did in batting practice. He hit one shot after another into the seats in right field. It was an impressive display of raw power.

Rays third baseman Richie Shaffer hit his share of balls into the bleacher seats. I can see why he's hitting fourth in the USA lineup. Shaffer 6-foot-3, 218 pounds.

Lanky Bradley Zimmer is a bright light in the Indians' outfield of the future. A very projectable hitter, his quick hands generate a smooth, sound swing as he blasts his way to right and right-center fields as a left-handed hitter.

Tony Kemp of the Houston Astros is only 5-foot-6. He weighs 165 pounds. There was a bit of a cheer from Kemp's teammates as he blasted one out of the park in his final swing of the session.

There is no need to worry about the Prospect Pipeline. We will see tremendous talent continue to progress and make it to the big league rosters.

While batting practice isn't the final production, it is a preview of what is yet to come. These guys can play.

Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.