Even though the A’s and the rest of MLB are still finishing off the first half, the All-Star break has begun and kicking off festivities is the MLB Futures Game. It’s a glimpse into the future of MLB as some of the best prospects in the game play in this matchup.
The A’s sent two players to the game in C/1B Tyler Soderstrom and OF Lawrence Butler. Soderstrom, currently at Triple-A Las Vegas, ranks as Oakland’s best overall prospect and has been mashing in Vegas during his first extended time there. Meanwhile Lawrence is considered one of the better players in the system while at Double-A but looks like he might be getting a promotion to Las Vegas any day now.
And both players started! Butler got the call in left field to begin the game and slotted in the lineup all the way up into the 5-hole, while Soderstrom came a batter behind him at #7 while playing first base, making way for Mariners catching prospect Henry Ford behind the plate.
The NL struck first in the top of the second for two runs and then Lawrence Butler led off the bottom half of the frame for the AL. He worked a 2-2 count against St. Louis’ #2 prospect Tink Hence but grounded out to second on a 2-2 count. Soderstrom came up a batter later and singled to center field for the AL’s second hit of the game:
It was a quiet game from there for a while as both squad’s pitching locked down the opposing offenses. Butler came back up in the fourth but struck out on a 2-2 curveball down around the knees, and Soderstrom followed him up by swinging at three straight balls up in the zone and missing all of them.
The NL team eventually broke through against the AL pitching by scoring three runs in the top of the sixth. And remember, this was only going to be a 7-inning game in the first place. It was almost over.
Butler got his final at-bat of the game in the bottom half of the frame and worked a 3-0 count. And then grounded out to second base for the second time today. Soderstrom came up soon after and worked a 3-2 walk, but again was stranded on the base paths as the AL couldn’t get the big hit. The NL went on to win this game 5-0, taking this game after losing last year.
Soderstrom had a solid performance as he went 1-2 with a walk and a strikeout, while Butler went hitless in his first appearance in the Futures Game. Soderstrom could be up with the A’s any day now. And Butler probably next season behind him. This Futures Game gave A’s fans a small glimpse at a couple players expected to be major contributors for the club. And it feels like sooner than later.