Bernie Pleskoff

Six Futures Game players to watch

Crawford, Conforto, Bell among big bats in USA's 10-1 win over World

Six Futures Game players to watch

CINCINNATI -- Any talent show such as the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game provides only brief opportunities for player evaluation. Managers want to be certain every prospect gets time in the game, and 43,661 baseball fans had the opportunity to see the next waive of baseball's top prospects perform in humid conditions that threatened rain, delivered sprinkles and ended in sunshine.

The star power on the field at Great American Ball Park made a warm day even warmer. The USA beat the World Team 10-1.

There are several players who especially caught my eye.

Sean Newcomb, LHP, Angels
Newcomb is only 22, but he was the Angels' first-round selection in the 2014 First Year Player Draft.

Newcomb uses a nice, easy delivery that he consistently repeats. His mechanics are smooth and deliberate. There is no wasted motion, no trying to throw the ball through the chest of the catcher. Rather, Newcomb approaches his work like a surgeon. He mixes in slow breaking balls to complement his 90-94 mph fastball. Using the entire plate, Newcomb threw a perfect inning against the World Team.

J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies
The left-handed-hitting Crawford is one smooth customer. He glides after the ball at shortstop. Crawford has a really quick first step and a strong throwing arm that form the combination for stellar defense. His balance is an excellent component of his excellent range.

Crawford's rookie batting title was a harbinger of big offensive things to come. In today's game, I saw him take nice easy swings without being overly aggressive. Crawford met the ball squarely on the barrel and generated backspin.

Trea Turner, SS, Nationals
There is so much to like about Turner. The San Diego Padres selected him in the first round in 2014 and then traded him to the Washington Nationals.

Not only does Turner have blinding speed out of the batter's box and on the bases, but he can also hit the gaps for doubles and triples, as he did in today's game. He had one of each.

Using a measured swing, Turner gets his bat on the ball by taking the pitch where it is thrown instead of trying to pull everything. He's just a natural hitter.

Michael Conforto, OF, Mets
A 2014 first-round selection, Conforto has hit for average at every level he has played so far. Now in his second season, Conforto has played at three classifications and is currently with Binghamton in Double-A. He has a career Minor League average of .307 in 552 plate appearances.

Conforto does not look as tall, as he is listed 6-foot-1. But he does get all of his 211 pounds into every swing as a left-handed hitter.

Enjoying a two-hit Futures Game, Conforto almost flicked his strong wrists at the ball in his line-drive swing. He is quiet and measured at the plate, with very good mechanics.

Josh Bell, OF/1B, Pirates
A second-round selection in 2011, Bell is not really known as a home run hitter. The most he has ever hit was 13 in 2013. Bell has four so far this season at Double-A Altoona. However, he hit one today.

Bell is a big, solidly built man at 6-foot-2, 235 pounds. He generates strength from his upper body as he drives to the ball. It almost seems like Bell wants to hit more home runs, but that would be a mistake. He's doing just fine right now, with 13 doubles and six triples for the first half of his season.

In today's game, Bell made an outstanding scoop of a ball in the dirt that was thrown from third base.

Bell has a good eye at the plate and knows the strike zone. He is disciplined and controlled in his approach. While Bell may not become a star, he could do very well as reliable regular.

Raimel Tapia, OF, Rockies
Tapia makes hitting and playing defense look easy. He uses his strong wrists and lengthy arms to cover the plate and drive the ball.

Tall and slender at 6-foot-2 and 160 pounds, the left-handed hitter has the type of tools that translate to stardom. Tapia's two-hit game today showed his offensive skill.

Not known as a power hitter quite yet, Tapia has the type of swing that will translate to RBIs and key big-game hits.

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.