The 2022 All-Star Game is coming this month, and with it several days of special events. Among them is the annual Futures Game, showcasing many of the top prospects from around the minor leagues in a seven-inning exhibition contest. The Futures Game will be held Saturday, July 16.
Rosters were announced Thursday, with each team sending either one or two prospects, and you can click here to see the full lists for both leagues. The Oakland A’s got two spots on the American League squad, for catcher Shea Langeliers and outfielder Denzel Clarke.
Langeliers is arguably the A’s top prospect right now, at least according to MLB Pipeline, who also ranks him No. 33 nationally as of their midseason update this week. Not every Futures Game representative is necessarily their team’s highest-rated farmhand, but there’s always plenty of minor league star power there and Langeliers will add to that. Here’s a quick refresher on the catcher from our writeup earlier this week:
Langeliers was part of the Matt Olson trade package, and you can click here for a full scouting report. He’s been playing for Triple-A Las Vegas all year and taking full advantage of the hitter-friendly atmosphere, blasting 14 dingers in 68 games. But the promising bat (with 60-grade power) is only a secondary consideration, as his true calling card is his elite defense behind the plate (70-grade arm, 65-grade fielding) which already makes him a virtual lock to at least contribute in the majors.
Clarke doesn’t bring the same national notoriety as Langeliers, but he’s more than a sleeper himself. He was Oakland’s 4th-round draft pick last summer, but he signed for quite a bit above his slot value, receiving 3rd-round money. He’s off to a strong start in the pros so far, opening this year in Low-A ball and needing only 42 games to force his way to High-A.
- Clarke, 2022 A-: .295/.420/.545, 149 wRC+, 7 HR, 14 SB, 14.5% BB, 29.0% Ks
- Clarke, 2022 A+: 11-for-48 (.229), 2 HR, 3 SB, 5 BB, 23 Ks
That early production comes backed up with some impressive tools. FanGraphs puts a 60/70 present/future grade on his Raw Power, while MLB Pipeline gives his speed a 60-grade and says the following about his athleticism:
Clarke’s ability to move around allows him to play center, but with his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame, he’s likely to end up as a corner outfielder. He has all the makings of what you want in terms of player development, from the body type to his raw tools. Now he just needs to play every day.
The A’s past representatives in the Futures Game include the following (click here for full list back to 1999):
- 2014: Renato Nuñez
- 2015: Renato Nuñez and Matt Olson
- 2016: Ryon Healy
- 2017: A.J. Puk
- 2018: Jesús Luzardo and Sean Murphy (skipped due to injury)
- 2019: Jorge Mateo
- 2020: no game
- 2021: Tyler Soderstrom
On top of that list, a few current Oakland players/farmhands have represented other clubs in the past. Outfielder Cristian Pache repped the Braves in 2019, reliever Domingo Acevedo repped the Yankees in 2017, and starter Brent Honeywell repped the Rays that same year. In 2015, infielder Tony Kemp repped the Astros, and starter Frankie Montas repped the White Sox. Go back another decade, and Elvis Andrus repped the Braves in 2007 and then the Rangers in 2008.
Would be intrigued to see a bicep flexing contest between Clarke and Dominguez.— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) July 7, 2022