Each front-office member who was polled was asked to pick the most exciting hitter and pitcher. It was a split camp on the mound, but there was no doubt whom everyone could not wait to see take his swings. Of 29 people polled, 19 picked outfielder Byron Buxton, ranked by MLB.com as the Twins' No. 2 prospect, as the player they most wanted to see.
"I'm looking forward to seeing him take batting practice and run down balls in center field," one scout said. "He's a 'scout's dream' type of prospect. It's always good to see the tools and game production come together."
The only other hitter to receive multiple votes was Buxton's organization-mate Miguel Sano. The slugging third baseman got six votes, while Francisco Lindor, Addison Russell, Brandon Nimmo and Joc Pederson each received one. So did Joey Gallo of the Rangers, but he will not attend the Futures Game because he is on the disabled list. One executive voted for both Twins prospects.
"Buxton has so many tools, and Sano has such special power," he said. "Both are so intriguing, and I can't wait to see them on a national platform playing top competition."
The pitching poll was a different story. Nine pitchers were mentioned by those polled, with right-hander Taijuan Walker, rated by MLB.com as the Mariners' top prospect, narrowly winning with seven votes. D-backs righty Archie Bradley was right behind him with six. Yordano Ventura of the Royals and Michael Ynoa of the A's received four votes each. The Yankees' Rafael De Paula had three, and Rockies right-hander Eddie Butler two. Jimmy Nelson (Brewers), A.J. Cole (Nationals) and Eduardo Rodriguez (Orioles) garnered one vote each.
A couple of scouts had not seen Walker in person, or at least not since his amateur days, and wanted to see how far he had come. The same was said about Ynoa, the big international signee who is starting to take off now that he is finally healthy.
"He's a much-hyped international sign whose health has really derailed him so far," one scouting executive said. "I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of progress he's made now that he's finally healthy and in a full-season league."
All the Futures Gamers can be watched at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday at Citi Field live on 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.