Teams, organizations, teammates, even the prospects themselves have been busy talking about the Futures Finalists vote.
For the first time, fans are determining the final player on both the U.S. and World team Futures Game rosters by casting their votes in the All-Star Sunday Futures Finalists ballot, available exclusively on MLB.com and the Club sites. Fans may cast their ballots until tonight at 11:59 ET.
There are five candidates for each team. The U.S. Futures Finalists are: OF Tyler Austin (Trenton/NYY; #VoteAustin); OF Nick Castellanos (Toledo/DET; #VoteCastellanos); 3B Garin Cecchini (Portland/BOS; #VoteCecchini); OF Courtney Hawkins (Winston-Salem/CWS; #VoteHawkins); and OF Brandon Nimmo (Savannah/NYM; #VoteNimmo). The players vying for the final roster spot on the World Team are: SS Javier Baez (Dayton/CHI; Puerto Rico; #VoteBaez); 1B Ji-Man Choi (Jackson/SEA; South Korea; #VoteChoi); SS Carlos Correa (Quad Cities/HOU; Puerto Rico; #VoteCorrea); 3B Renato Nunez (Beloit/OAK; Venezuela; #VoteNunez); and 2B Rougned Odor (Myrtle Beach/TEX; Venezuela; #VoteOdor).
World Team futures finalists voting
|1.||Carlos Correa||QC River Bandits (HOU)|
|2.||Javier Baez||Daytona Cubs (CHC)|
|3.||Rougned Odor||Myrtle Beach Pelicans (TEX)|
|4.||Ji-Man Choi||Jackson Generals (SEA)|
|5.||Renato Nunez||Beloit Snappers (OAK)|
It's possible that a debate over who's the better shortstop, Correa or Baez, could rage on years from now in the big leagues. Consider this Futures Finalists contest the first step, with the 2012 No. 1 overall Draft pick and the 2011 No. 9 pick locked in what is effectively a dead heat.
Both Correa and Baez are getting help from their parent organizations, with @Astros tweeting out a link to the ballot for Correa and @Cubs doing the same for Baez. Both have gotten shout outs from @LasMayores, the official twitter account of MLB.com's Spanish-language site. Baez also received tweets from the team he's playing for in 2013, the Daytona Cubs, and the team that would like to see him this year, the Double-A Tennessee Smokies, while Correa is getting help from the Quad Cities River Bandits, his current team.
U.S. Team futures finalists voting
|1.||Brandon Nimmo||Savannah Sand Gnats (NYM)|
|2.||Garin Cecchini||Portland Sea Dogs (BOS)|
|3.||Nick Castellanos||Toledo Mud Hens (DET)|
|4.||Tyler Austin||Trenton Thunder (NYY)|
|5.||Courtney Hawkins||Winston-Salem Dash (CWS)|
They're not the only World Team candidates getting some love. Choi, the Mariners prospect, has been getting international support as well, receiving tweets from Brad Miller, named to the U.S. Team in this year's Futures Game, his former teams -- the Clinton LumberKings and High Desert Mavericks, as well as the Australia Baseball League, where he once played.
The United States team race has Nimmo leading the way, though there's still time -- and plenty of creative marketing taking place -- to shift the standings.
Nimmo, who could get the chance to play in his potential future home, has been getting some help in high places. Big leaguers Eric Young Jr. and Zack Wheeler, both alumni of the Futures Game, have tweeted support for the 2011 first-round pick, as has reliever LaTroy Hawkins. But the biggest helping hand may have come from Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, who even used a clever #MetsCowboy hashtag to describe Nimmo, a Wyoming native.
Mets prospect Brandon Nimmo can be elected to the ALL-STAR FUTURES GAME on July 14. Vote for Nimmo at http://goo.gl/dwaIq #MetsCowboy
- Sandy Alderson (@MetsGM) June 27, 2013
Cecchini has been getting plenty of support as well, with Red Sox affiliates in Portland, Salem and Greenville all pushing the #VoteCecchini cause. Anthony Ranaudo, on the U.S. pitching staff, is doing his part to get his organization-mate there.
#RedSox fans help send my teammate Garin Cecchini to the Futures Game. Text "U2" to the number 89269 right now!! Go! RT to spread the word.- Anthony Ranaudo (@anthony_ranaudo) June 27, 2013
Austin, who was voted to play in last year's Futures Game, but couldn't attend because of a concussion, is getting the vast Yankees empire to help, with @Yankees tweeting a plea for votes. But it might be a slightly smaller Twitter account that is more meaningful to Austin. That comes from @austinmom03. Tyler's mother, Kim, is doing her part to get her son back in the race.
Castellanos, last year's Futures Game MVP, has garnered support from his current club, the Toledo Mud Hens, as well as from the parent Tigers.
And Hawkins might still be best known for his Draft night back flip, but the campaigns that have sprung up in his name should earn some points as well. The Winston-Salem Dash, where Hawkins plays, produced this video to spread the word.
In addition to voting on the web at MLB.com/futuresfinalists, fans also may use their mobile phones to cast votes via text message. To receive the All-Star Sunday Futures Finalists ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. Individual player votes may be cast directly via text by sending a player's code to 89269. For example, Text "U3" to vote for U.S. Team Player 3. Player codes are as follows: Austin (U1), Cecchini (U2), Castellanos (U3), Hawkins (U4), Nimmo (U5), Baez (W1), Choi (W2), Correa (W3), Nunez (W4) and Odor (W5). All votes are final. Standard rate text messaging fees apply - check with mobile carriers for details.
The 15th annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game takes place at 2 p.m. ET on All-Star Sunday, July 14, at Citi Field in New York and can be seen live on MLB.com, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio XM 89. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game. Fans can stay updated by following @MLBFutures on Twitter and can send/receive tweets to/from the U.S. and World Team dugouts during the game by tagging tweets with the hashtags #USDugout and #WorldDugout.