Sunday's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, which will be broadcast live on MLB Network and streamed on MLB.com at 4 p.m. ET, will feature 27 players from MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list and will get the festivities surrounding the 88th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard started.
The 2017 edition of the prospect-packed showcase will be the 19th Futures Game, which means there have now been almost two decades of "we-knew-you-when" to look back on. And that history tells a clear story: If you're looking to find the next generation of All-Stars, start by tuning in on Sunday.
A quick scouring of all the Futures Game rosters since the game's inception in Fenway Park in 1999 and this year's Major League All-Star Game rosters reveals that 29 players, including Final Vote contenders, are proud Futures Game alumni. The 2014 Futures Game rosters alone included 2017 All-Stars Mookie Betts, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, and Corey Seager, not to mention 2016 NL MVP Kris Bryant. (Betts and Correa didn't play in the '14 Futures Game due to MLB promotion and injury, respectively, but they were on the rosters.)
With forthcoming greatness on baseball's grandest stage almost a foregone conclusion when it comes to this yearly spectacle, here's a look at 10 Futures Game graduates who will take the field two days later at the Midsummer Classic:
Jose Altuve, 2011
Altuve was 21 years old and barely a month into a Double-A promotion when he took the field for the World Team at the 2011 Futures Game at Chase Field in Phoenix, but he did what he seemingly always does: defy expectations and hit, hit, hit. Altuve went 2-for-3 with a double while starting at second base that day and afterward offered a prescient warning for future pitchers who might mistake a lack of height for a lack of ability.
"They see that I'm a short guy," Altuve said. "So I know they're going to throw a couple of fastballs right down the middle."
Nolan Arenado, 2011 and 2012
The future perennial Gold Glover and feared Rockies slugger made his presence felt in both Futures Games, and then he made his Major League debut the following year at the age of 22. In 2011, Arenado went 1-for-2 with a double and an RBI after entering the game as a defensive sub, and he went 1-for-3 the following year and scored a run.
"Everything's going well right now," Arenado said in 2011. "I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing."
Starlin Castro, 2009
Castro, now a key player in the Yankees' resurgence, was a 19-year-old Chicago Cubs prospect in Class A ball when he entered the 2009 game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis as a defensive sub at second base. Castro made an immediate impact, going 1-for-1 with an infield single and then scoring the tying run in the seventh inning of a rain-shortened World Team victory.
Michael Conforto, 2015
Conforto was a little over a year removed from being selected by the Mets with the 10th pick in the Draft when he went 2-for-2 with two singles and a run scored for the USA team at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. But he also showed the versatility of his talents when he threw home from left field to catcher Kyle Schwarber to nail Ketel Marte, clocking 91.6 mph on the toss, according to Statcast™.
Bryce Harper, 2011
Harper, one of the most touted prospects in years by the time he showed up for the Futures Game at Chase Field, had just been promoted to Double-A Harrisburg at the age of 18. He didn't get any hits while playing the whole game in left field for Team USA, but he did uncork one awesome throw, almost reaching home plate on the fly from deep in the corner.
Carlos Martinez, 2011
Martinez was 19 years old and fresh out of the Class A Florida State League when he took the mound at Chase Field and flashed 98 mph with his fastball for the World Team. Martinez showed his penchant for missing bats in his one inning of work, striking out a batter, hitting another with a pitch, and inducing an inning-ending double play to keep it scoreless.
"Right now I've really been working on my changeup," the eventual Cardinals ace said that day. "I know it's going to help me in the future."
Gary Sanchez, 2015 and 2016
Sanchez was firmly on the radar in the Bronx while playing in the 2015 Futures Game in Cincinnati and then at the 2016 game at Petco Park in San Diego. Sanchez started at catcher in both games and doubled in two at-bats in 2015.
"If I work hard, anything could happen in the future," Sanchez said at the 2016 game, a few months before truly arriving on the MLB scene and going on a home run tear that would net him second place in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.
George Springer, 2013
The Astros' do-everything outfielder, who went 11th overall in the 2011 Draft out of the University of Connecticut, started the 2013 Futures Game at Citi Field in New York in right field and hit third in the lineup for Team USA. He played eight innings, went 1-for-3 with a single, and hit a monstrous foul home run. Springer would make the big leagues the following April.
Mike Trout, 2010
Trout was already the talk of the Minor Leagues when he played in the 2010 Futures Game in Angel Stadium as an 18-year-old, and he did not disappoint, going 2-for-4 with a double and two runs in front of his home crowd after coming in as a pinch-runner in the first inning. Trout also made the roster for the 2011 Futures Game, but he didn't play in that renewal, having already been promoted to the Angels' big league roster.
Joey Votto, 2006 and 2007
Votto started at first base in the 2006 Futures Game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, going 1-for-2 before being subbed for Pablo Sandoval. In his second go-around the following year at the 2007 Futures Game at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Votto made even more of a mark, hitting a solo home run.
On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, tune in to the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.