MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Futures Game batting practice is prodigious power show

Top prospects take opportunity to show off slugging skills

Futures Game batting practice is prodigious power show

SAN DIEGO -- One of the highlights of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures actually comes before the game, when 30 of the game's best position prospects take batting practice. Several players showed off their pop Sunday afternoon at Petco Park.

Phillies outfielder Dylan Cozens, who ranks second in the Minors with 24 homers, led all players with nine batting-practice homers. The 6-foot-6, 235-pound lefty hitter showed off his massive strength by driving balls out of all parts of Petco, hammering one homer to right field, three to right-center, two to center field, one to left-center and two to left field. His two longest shots both carried well past the 396-foot marker in right center.

"It was lot of fun," Cozens said. "It's a beautiful ballpark, a beautiful day, a great place to be. I hit a couple of balls where I got jammed that went out to the opposite field. If I'm doing that, the ball carries here pretty well."

Futures Game batting practice homers
Player HR
Dylan Cozens 9
Josh Naylor 7
Andrew Benintendi 6
Ryon Healy 6
Hunter Dozier 5
Eloy Jiminez 5
Hunter Renfroe 5
Amed Rosario 5
Willie Calhoun 4
Dominic Smith 4

Marlins first baseman Josh Naylor topped the World team with seven BP homers, all of them pulled to right field. The 6-foot, 225-pounder built on past All-Star Week experience, having finished second in the Junior Home Run Derby two years ago at Target Field in Minneapolis. Competing on Monday night concurrent with the big league competition, he hit four homers -- more than Josh Donaldson, Brian Dozier, Justin Morneau and Yasiel Puig.

"That was a little more different," said Naylor, drafted 12th overall as a Canadian high schooler in 2015. "I was a little more nervous and there were a lot more fans. Today, I felt like I had been here before and knew what to expect."

He admitted to trying to put on a show during batting practice.

"Absolutely," Naylor said. "If I hit one out, I just try to hit the next one farther."

Futures Gamers tour San Diego

Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi isn't nearly as big as Cozens or Naylor at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, but his electric bat speed gives him plenty of left-handed power. He led NCAA Division I with 20 homers as an Arkansas sophomore in 2015, went seventh overall in the Draft to the Red Sox last June and already has risen to Double-A. He hit six BP homers, all of which got out of the park in a hurry, five to right field and one to center.

"I think my size sometimes catches people off guard," Benintendi said, "but I don't think size matters when it comes to power. Mechanics and technique and bat speed matter more."

Athletics third baseman Ryon Healy matched Benintendi with six BP homers for the U.S. team, including one of two balls that reached the third level of the Western Metal Supply Co. building down the left-field line. Royals third baseman Hunter Dozier and Padres outfielder Hunter Renfroe delivered five each, with Dozier crushing a ball well past the left side of the batting eye in center.

For the World squad, Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez and Mets shortstop Amed Rosario finished second to Naylor with five homers each. Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez hit just one but made it count, matching Healy by reaching the third level of the Western Metal Supply Co. building.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.