Futures Game Roster Announced

It’s nearing midseason, the time for recognition of some of the top performers in baseball. It’s also a big year in Cincinnati who will host All-Star Game festivities which will include three Reds prospects making the trip to participate in the Futures Game.

As excitement grows in Cincinnati for their first all-star game since 1988, it will also be a memorable experience for three Reds prospects that have been selected to participate in the Futures Game. Amir Garrett, Kyle Waldrop, and Yorman Rodriguez will represent the franchise in the annual event that has become a big part of the all-star festivities. To add host city flavor to the contest, the teams will be managed by Big Red Machine members Tony Perez and Ken Griffey, Sr.

Left-hander Amir Garrett has been named to the US Team pitching staff. He’s been one of the more intriguing prospects in the system since Cincinnati selected him in the 22nd round of the 2011 draft. Before then he had virtually no prep baseball experience while working on his hoops skills at a basketball powerhouse in Las Vegas. He got the attention of multiple teams at a tryout camp when he unleashed a mid-90’s fastball, but it was the Reds that eventually inked him with a $1 million signing bonus.

After that his baseball development was part-time while he played for St. John’s basketball team, not the preferred route for any baseball prospect much less one as raw as Garrett. He’s since dedicated himself to the sport full time and has risen to the high-A level of the organization in his second full minor league season. Now 23 years old, he’s sitting on a 3.22 ERA with more strikeouts than his 67 innings pitched at Daytona.

Joining Garrett on the US Team is outfielder Kyle Waldrop who recently celebrated a debut at AAA Louisville with a two-hit game after his promotion from Pensacola. After his twelfth round selection in 2010 he’d been a bit under the radar, but that changed last year when he was recognized as the 2014 Cincinnati Minor League Hitter of the Year. The 23 year-old left-hander was added to the 40-man roster this offseason and his bat has not only provided a rapid ascent up the system, but put him in a situation that could bring him an MLB debut after roster expansion.

Another Reds outfielder that made his debut after expansion last year was Yorman Rodriguez, who is on the World Team. He’s been a high-profile prospect in the Reds system since their $2.5 million investment on a sixteen year-old back in 2008, the largest signing bonus ever given to a Venezuelan. He’s now 22 year old and slashing .281 AVG/.322 OB/.446 SLG/8 HR at AAA Louisville including a .363 AVG thus far over the month of June. He’s had his ups and downs along the way while steadily climbing the pipeline and competing against older players. It’s a pretty safe bet he’ll be back in a Reds uniform after expansion this season if not sooner. His performance against the top minor league level this year should put him in contention for an active roster spot come opening day next year.

It is a bit ironic that these three make the trip for the Futures Game because most of the highest-rated prospects in the Cincinnati system are right-handed pitchers. Still, make no doubt that they have bright futures. With some turnover expected on the parent team over the next year Waldrop and Rodriguez could provide a righty-lefty combination for backup outfielders and with the regular left-fielder nearing his 38 birthday there could be a generous amount of action become open. Garrett is like many young pitching prospects with a need to improve his command. He’s been a starter since turning professional, but with Aroldis Chapman nearing the end of his contract he could one day provide another hard-throwing lefty to work out of the bullpen.

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