The 2013 Futures Game includes several familiar names that recently spent time in the South Atlantic League.
Former Augusta GreenJackets pitcher Kyle Crick, ranked as the top prospect in the San Francisco Giants system, was named to the United States team for the game that features many of the top prospects in the minor leagues. The game is scheduled for July 14 at Citi Field in New York as part of Major League Baseball’s All-Star festivities.
Crick posted a 2.51 ERA with 128 strikeouts in 111 1/3 innings for the GreenJackets in 2012, vaulting him to the top of the Giants prospect list. An oblique injury has limited him to six starts this season for San Jose, but he has a 1.46 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings.
The SAL is represented well with four players from the league on the two rosters. Hickory’s Joey Gallo and Jorge Alfaro made the rosters, but only one will play. Gallo leads the minors with 25 home runs and should see time at third base. Alfaro recently broke a finger and will miss the game.
Lexington’s Miguel Almonte made the World team. The young right-hander with a hard fastball has a 3.39 ERA and 80 strikeouts over 79 2/3 innings in his first full season.
West Virginia’s Dilson Herrera also made the World team. The 19-year-old second baseman entered the weekend hitting .267 with 17 doubles, two triples and seven home runs. He shows surprising power for a 5-foot-10, 150-pound middle infielder, and he flashes above-average defense. Herrera is ranked 20th in the Pittsburgh Pirates system by Baseball America.
Two recent SAL graduates also made the rosters. Right-hander Eddie Butler was promoted out of Asheville before the All-Star break and has put himself on the map this season, recording a 1.66 ERA for the Tourists and 2.45 ERA for A-Advanced Modesto. He entered the season ranked sixth in the Colorado Rockies system and should continue climbing the list.
New York Yankees prospect Rafael De Paula was promoted out of Charleston at the break after sporting a 2.94 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings in the SAL. He’s ranked 10th in the Yankees system.
Former North Augusta star Taylor Guerrieri made the United States team. He has a 2.08 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 65 innings for Class-A Bowling Green this season and ranks third in the Tampa Bay Rays system.
SECOND CHANCE: Charleston second baseman Angelo Gumbs has shown the tools that put him seventh in the Yankees system, but a short and unsuccessful stint for A-Advanced Tampa earlier this season also showed his weaknesses.
Gumbs displayed solid bat speed and hands to turn on an inside fastball for a home run Thursday. The bat speed mirrors his scouting reports, as he pairs it with good body strength from a muscular frame for above-average pull power. He can also spray the ball across the field with authority.
Gumbs entered the weekend hitting .277 with two home runs and five stolen bases in 53 plate appearances for Charleston. This is after hitting .214 with no home runs in 170 plate appearances for Tampa to begin the season.
Gumbs’ struggles picking up spin and covering the outer half of the plate. He doesn’t let strikeouts beat him, but he has trouble with hard contact on those pitches, and a below-average walk rate means he must remain consistent with the bat to stay on base.
The second baseman’s skill set is in his favor, however, as a power/speed combination is rare in a middle infield prospect.