Game-defining home runs by Red Sox über-prospect Yoan Moncada and Cubs teenage sensation Eloy Jimenez turned what was a tight contest into an 11-3 laugher of a win for the World team in this year’s edition of the Futures Game. It’s the first time the US team has lost in six years.
Early on, the story of the game was pitching, as Cardinals top prospect Alex Reyes went 1.2 innings for the world club, striking out four with a devastating combination of triple-digit velocity and both a curve and change that got multiple swinging strikes.
In the third, the US lineup took advantage of Reyes’ departure, jumping on Toronto lefty Angel Perdomo for two runs. The 22-year-old, who is working in the Midwest League, was tagged for a pair of doubles by Alex Bregman, who finished a homer short of the cycle, and Indians outfielder Clint Frazier.
The US extended their lead in the fourth when Orioles catcher Chance Sisco launched a homer to center, delighting a large contingent of his hometown fans from Covina who came south to cheer on the 2013 second-rounder.
Meanwhile, the US pitching was dominant early.
San Diego-area native Joe Musgrove got the start and induced three straight grounders in his frame before Reds lefty Amir Garrett came on for two hitless frames. Jeff Hoffman of the Rockies and Phil Bickford each went one inning as well. While the Giants’ righty wasn’t particularly sharp, he got a pair of strikeouts around a walk and a Yandy Diaz single.
In the sixth though, the World lineup busted through against Nate Smith, the sole Angels representative in the game.
Padres prospect Manuel Margot led off with a single and then scored the first of two World team runs when Jimenez, still just 19 years old, ripped a double down the left field line. The big Dominican came around when Marlins slugger Josh Naylor, the only player younger than him in the game, roped a double of his own to center.
The World team had a chance to tie it up when the Padres’ Carlos Asuaje lined a single up the middle, but David Dahl threw a laser home to nail Naylor at the plate.
But in the eighth, Arizona prospect Anthony Banda, part of the Gerardo Parra trade with Milwaukee in 2014, gave up a laser homer to left by Moncada to put the World roster ahead for good.
In the ninth, things got out of hand as the world team sent 11 men to the plate and scored seven against Tampa righty Ryne Stanek. The most impressive blow was a massive homer off the upper façade of the Western Metals Building by Jimenez, who finished the day 2-for-3.
“This team has some good looking players,” said World team manager Moises Alou, who is serving as a special assistant for the Padres and has spent a fair amount of time with the club’s single-A affiliates this year.
The former Expos, Marlins and Cubs All-Star called out the performances of Jimenez, who he’s seen multiple times in the Midwest League, Naylor, and Mets shortstop standout Amed Rosario.
The Padres’ representatives had a strong showing overall. Margot went 1-for-4 with a walk and scored twice. He also turned in one of several defensive highlights in the game, robbing Carson Kelly of a homer with a leaping catch in right-center.
Asuaje, who also came over from the Red Sox in last winter’s Craig Kimbrel trade, had two solid singles and a walk in three trips to the plate after entering in the fifth.
While there was plenty of big velocity in the gameeven after Reyes left, Nationals righty Reynaldo Lopez was the only other to hit 100, which he did on at least two pitches.