Cubs prospect named MVP; Berrios pitches scoreless frame for World
By Mark Sheldon
CINCINNATI -- Get used to seeing many of these names and players in a Major League ballpark -- some sooner than later. Several prospects represented themselves and their organizations well in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game as the U.S. Team rolled to a 10-1 victory over the World Team before an announced crowd of 43,661 fans at Great American Ball Park.
The U.S. Team used a three-run third inning that included catcher Kyle Schwarber's two-run triple to take the lead for the good and then added on with a Josh Bell two-run home run in the fourth and a five-run bottom of the sixth.
"It was awesome to come out and actually step on the field I grew up watching ballgames on. It was special. My eyes lit up as soon as I stepped on it," said Schwarber, who hails from Middletown, Ohio, which is just north of Cincinnati, and was named the game's Most Valuable Player.
Twins prospect Jose Berrios started for the World Team and provided one scoreless inning with a walk. Lucas Giolito of the Nationals started for the U.S. squad and worked two scoreless innings with two hits and a strikeout.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Local boy does good: As pitcher Jarlin Garcias of the Marlins encountered his own two-out danger in the bottom of the third with a walk and a game-tying RBI single by J.P. Crawford of the Phillies, Schwarber lined a two-run triple into right field that put the U.S. squad up by two runs. Schwarber, who was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 Draft, went to Indiana University and is the Cubs' No. 2-ranked prospect.
"It was a great experience, being able to play in front of all my friends and family and all these great fans and to play with a great group of guys," Schwarber said. "It was easy to get along with these guys. There were no personalities [getting in the way]. We were all here for the same purpose -- to have fun."
Two-out scoring: Reds lefty pitching prospect Amir Garrett had two outs in the top of the third inning for the U.S. when Ketel Marte from the Mariners lined a RBI single to right field that scored Raimel Tapia to put the World Team up, 1-0. Marte is Seattle's No. 3 prospect.
Nailed at the plate: The World Team nearly added on vs. Garrett in the third when Ozzie Albies from the Braves lined a single to left field. Marte tried to score from second base, but he was out on a play at the plate by a perfect throw from left fielder Michael Conforto of the Mets. Conforto also had a nice day at the plate as he went 2-for-2 with two singles and a run scored.
"Off the bat. I know there's two outs and I think they were looking to extend the lead a little bit," Conforto said. "Off the bat, I got a good jump and got my feet set up the right way and got a good throw in there. Schwarber did a good job of getting a tag on him."
Bell rings a homer: The No. 28 overall prospect on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100, Bell of the Pirates hit a 1-0 fastball from Edwin Diaz in the fourth inning for a two-run home run to the seats in right-center field. The first baseman, who is Pittsburgh's No. 3 prospect, is hitting .312 with four homers and 13 doubles in 80 games this season at Double-A Altoona.
"I feel like I've hit for power in the past. I'm hitting for average right now," Bell said. "I feel like there are guys in the big leagues who I can aspire to be like who are hitting for both power and average."
U.S. rally in the sixth: The U.S. added on with in the bottom of the sixth when Nick Williams of the Rangers' organization hit a RBI single to center field that scored Reds right field prospect Kyle Waldrop just ahead of the throw. Brandon Nimmo of the Mets rolled an RBI single through the left side that scored Matt Olson of the A's. Trevor Story kept things rolling with a RBI double off the wall in right-center field before a two-run double down the left field line by Trea Turner of the Nationals made it a nine-run game.
"It was awesome. I was kind of nervous at the beginning. Once I got on the mound and got the first one out of the way, I was like 'this is the same thing I do every day, just a bigger crowd.' I was thinking to myself in the bullpen, 'do not pass out please.' It was great. It was a very good experience being here. The fans made it a lot better. I enjoyed my time here." -- Garrett, the Reds' No. 4-ranked prospect on pitching in a big league stadium for the first time
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Schwarber's triple in the third wasn't the first time he's introduced himself to a team with a three-base hit. His first hits at Double-A Tennessee, the Major Leagues for Chicago and back at Triple-A Iowa -- all this season -- were all triples.
The U.S. Team holds an 11-7 lead all-time in Futures Games. This is the sixth consecutive year that the American squad has beaten the World Team, extending the longest streak in the game's history.