If we had known in March that only one member of the Oakland A's organization would be named to the annual All-Star Futures Game, which prospect would you have guessed? Barreto or Chapman, perhaps? Nunez, Olson, or Pinder? Maybe a pitcher like Overton? I think it's safe to say that nobody would have guessed corner infielder Ryon Healy, who entered the year at No. 20 on our Community Prospect List and didn't crack the top 10 list from any major source. And yet, here we are, with Healy serving as the A's lone rep this year, and it makes total sense to us now.
First, what exactly is the Futures Game? It is not the Triple-A All-Star Game, which will be played between the Pacific Coast League and the International League on July 13. Rather, it is a game made up of the best prospects from all levels of the minors, held as part of the MLB All-Star festivities. One roster is made up of U.S. players, and the other is made up of those from other countries, making it a showdown of U.S. vs. The World. Here's the rundown from Baseball America:
Baseball America works with Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, MLB.com and the 30 teams to select the two 25-man rosters. Each major league organization is represented with at least one player and no more than two, and players from all full-season minor leagues are eligible.
As for Healy, it's great to see him starting to get some recognition for the incredible season he's having. After being sent to repeat Double-A to start the year, Healy mashed so hard that he forced his way up to Triple-A after just over a month. He's continued raking for Nashville, and he's now put up a full calendar year of huge success dating back to the second half of 2015. Here are his numbers from that second half, as well as the two different levels this year:
A couple weeks ago, Nico raised the appropriate question of why we aren't hearing more about Healy from the team and/or the media, considering that he's running circles around even the organization's most heralded prospects and doing so at the highest level of the minors. Well, it appears the word is now officially out. Here's a quote from Bob Melvin, via MLB.com:
"You look for when guys come over to big league camp for the first time, how they handle the situation," Melvin said. "He was scared of nothing. He was aggressive in his at-bats."
The game will be held on July 10 at Petco Park in San Diego, meaning the SoCal native Healy will presumably be playing in front of friends and family. Here's how you can watch:
How to watch the 2016 All-Star Futures Game
Date: Sun., July 10
Time: 1:00 p.m. PT
Place: Petco Park, San Diego
TV: MLB Network
Radio: SiriusXM channel 89, Sirius Channel 209
Oakland A's in past Futures Games
A quick list of all the A's former Futures Game reps. Some of these names will be obvious, and a few will make you say, "Who?"
The only A's to play in multiple Futures Games are Green and Nunez, and the only Oakland prospect to win the MVP (called the Larry Doby Award) is Green in 2011. There are definitely a few names on this list who even I don't remember, and I always forget that Olivo used to be in the system (he was the PTBNL for Chad Bradford back in the day). Santiago Casilla technically wasn't ever in a Futures Game, but his twin brother Jairo Garcia was.
And what about current A's who repped their old teams? (Reference: MLB.com, Baseball Cube)
Billy Butler: 2006 (MVP)
Yonder Alonso: 2010-11
Liam Hendriks: 2010-11
Arismendy Alcantara: 2013
Nashville news: Brugman back, Pinder an All-Star
While we're talking about Healy, let's do a quick Triple-A update as well. The Sounds currently sport the best record in the entire 16-team PCL at 47-33, first place in the four-team American Southern Division.
The biggest news is that outfielder Jaycob Brugman is back in the lineup after a brief absence. He was hit on the elbow by a pitch on June 19 and left that game, and he wound up missing three games while the swelling went down according to the podcast of Nashville's broadcaster Jeff Hem. However, he returned for a doubleheader on June 23 and played in both games, and he appears to be back for good. Unfortunately, the injury interrupted the hot streak he was on, as he's gone just 4-for-28 in seven games since.
As for the aforementioned Triple-A All-Star Game, the Sounds will be sending two reps to that: infielder Chad Pinder and reliever Patrick Schuster (see their stats below). They will play for the Pacific Coast League (which includes teams in coastal towns like Nashville and Memphis) against the International League (which doesn't contain any teams from nations other than the U.S.). It might be time to rename these leagues, fellas.
Hitters (thru 80 games)
The middle infield had a good June, between Pinder (.817 OPS, 5 HR) and Wendle (.815 OPS). Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the supposed big boppers, as Nunez cooled off this month (.581 OPS) and Olson (.628 OPS) did not build on his strong May.
Among the MLB depth guys, Tyler Ladendorf is 11-for-32 since returning to the minors, good for an .806 OPS with 3 BB, 6 Ks, and 2 doubles, while playing LF, CF and SS. Max Muncy and Arismendy Alcantara haven't yet played since being optioned down by the A's this week.
Daniel Coulombe, LHP: 18 games, 1.17 ERA, 23 ip, 34 Ks, 5 BB, 0 HR
Patrick Schuster, LHP: 27 games, 1.36 ERA, 33 ip, 36 Ks, 12 BB, 0 HR
Tucker Healy, RHP: 27 games, 2.23 ERA, 32⅓ ip, 48 Ks, 13 BB, 1 HR
Andrew Triggs, RHP: 13 games, 3.14 ERA, 14⅓ ip, 19 Ks, 5 BB, 0 HR
J.B. Wendelken, RHP: 25 games, 5.27 ERA, 27⅓ ip, 41 Ks, 16 BB, 5 HR
There are no more starters to report on. Manaea, Mengden, and Overton are all up in Oakland, and no more legit prospects have come up yet to take their places. Jesse Hahn is in Nashville's rotation and is as lost as a pitcher can be; he walked seven in a single game earlier in June. We'll worry about his numbers when he starts resembling an MLB-caliber player again. Otherwise the starts are being made by a bunch of filler, with some bullpen games mixed in. On the bright side, the reason the rotation is barren is because all the good ones are up pitching in the bigs now, which is better than just never having had any quality prospects in the first place.
All five affiliates are in action, as Double-A Midland returns from its All-Star Break.
Triple-A Nashville: 5:05 p.m., Angel Castro vs. Oklahoma City
Double-A Midland: 5:05 p.m., Ben Bracewell vs. Northwest Arkansas
High-A Stockton: 7:05 p.m., Matt Stalcup vs. Rancho Cucamonga
Single-A Beloit: 5:00 p.m., Dustin Hurlbutt vs. Peoria
Low-A Vermont: 4:05 p.m., Ivan Andueza vs. Aberdeen
Not really an exciting pitching slate. Hurlbutt, aside from his 80-grade pitching name, is off to an intriguing start for Beloit since his recent promotion and is really the only one even slightly worth watching.