2011 All-Star Futures Game Preview

There is no greater showcase for baseball's stars of tomorrow than the annual Futures Game held on All-Star weekend. This year's event, which takes place in Phoenix, figures to be as exciting as ever, as the baseball world will get to see names like Bryce Harper and Jurickson Profar, and many more in action. Here's a look at some players to keep a close eye on this Sunday.

Players To Watch - USA

Jarred Cosart, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies | Age: 21

Fans like to hear about pitchers who have front of the rotation type upside, and Cosart is a pitcher with that type of ability. There are also few things that get people's attention like an explosive fastball. Well, it should be fun to watch Cosart's 94-96 mph this weekend, and in what figures to be a one inning stint it wouldn't be surprising to see him up around 97-98 mph. This is one of the highest upside arms in all of minor league baseball. The Phillies can afford to bring him along slowly, and that should be positive for Cosart's development as well.

Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals | Age: 18

Harper is baseball's most famous prospect and most people tuning in for the game will have their sights set on the former number one overall pick. And, the lefty slugger is quickly proving he's worth every ounce of the hype. Washington has put him in Double-A at the age of 18 and so far he's handling the task with ease. He's clearly baseball's most electrifying young hitter, and pre-game batting practice should be a lot of fun to take in this Sunday in Phoenix.

Wil Myers, OF, Kansas City Royals | Age: 20

Entering last off-season, Myers looked to be that next power hitting catcher that we all anticipated arriving in the big leagues. That was until the Royals moved him to the outfield over the winter. But, his bat has the potential to be potent enough that it really won't matter where he plays. And, he gives the Royals yet another blue chip prospect on the verge of making a splash in the majors. While Myers has yet to completely explode at the Double-A level, it doesn't take long to see the lightning in his bat. And, for anyone in attendance in Phoenix, don't miss batting practice. Although he's only hit three homers this season, the raw power is highly impressive.

Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Age: 19

Trout may have been no secret to the baseball world entering last year's Futures Game, but he introduced himself to a national audience in a big way last summer in Anaheim. It was Trout clearly stealing the show, showing off electrifying speed and an advanced hit tool. Well, it figures to be a showcase of more of the same this time around in Phoenix. And since then Trout's power game has even progressed, as he already has 9 home runs on the board in Double-A to go with his 28 steals.

Players To Watch - World

Henderson Alvarez, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays | Age: 21

Alvarez is one of those pitchers who seems to improve in leaps and bounds the more innings he puts under his belt. He's been superb in Double-A in 2011 and he's still just 21-years-old. Alvarez is the owner of a mid-90s fastball and a still improving a very strong breaking ball. While Blue Jays' fans might not get a chance to see Alvarez in the big leagues in 2011, if he continues to improve at this rate it's not unreasonable to expect him sometime near the middle of 2012. This is exactly the front end caliber type arm Toronto needs to continue to develop and they are beginning to get a very deep crop of them stockpiled.

Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves | Age: 20

The baseball world got a brief look at things to come in Teheran's cup of coffee with the Braves this season. And, perhaps more so than any other player participating in this game, Teheran is on the cusp of making a major impact at the big league level. In all likelihood, the next time he gets the call he'll be there to stay. Teheran feels like he's been a known commodity for a long time now, but he's still just 20-years-old. Considering his dominant plus stuff and experience pitching at a high level, I would expect him to be one of the pitching standouts of the game.

Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Tampa Bay Rays | Age: 20

Lee had the talent that said he belonged in last year's game, but at the same time you could make the case that he was a bit crude and over matched at the time. The smart and adaptable player that he is, Lee has continued to improve and is putting together an outstanding year in High-A ball. He was one of the centerpiece prospects Tampa received in exchanged for Matt Garza and so far they have to be thrilled with his development. He's not only playing the defense we have come to expect and stealing bases, but he's also driving the ball with authority.

Jurickson Profar, SS, Texas Rangers | Age: 18

Profar is no secret to hardcore Ranger fans, but he's quickly becoming a household name across the prospect world as well. At just 18-years-old, what stands out about Profar is his advanced hit tool. This is what will allow him to continue to move up the ladder relatively quickly. Despite his young age, don't expect him to be over matched at the Futures Game. This is a youngster who can handle advanced pitching and plus stuff.

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