Futures Game filled with former Arizona Fall Leaguers
Players like No. 2 Cubs prospect Kris Bryant making an impact
If you're a fan of the Arizona Fall League, then you've already seen the future. Ten players with ties to the Arizona Fall League were selected to play in this year's edition of the Futures Game, a contingent headlined by former first-round draftee and AFL standout Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs.
Bryant, the second overall selection in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, batted .364 with six home runs for the Mesa Solar Sox en route to being named the Arizona Fall League's Most Valuable Player last season, and he's continued his assault on prospect pitchers. Bryant batted .355 with 20 home runs for Double-A Tennessee this season, and he was recently promoted to Triple-A Iowa for the Cubs.
Another Cubs prospect, shortstop Javier Baez, will be part of the World Team roster for the Futures Game. Baez, the 11th overall selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, beat Bryant to Triple-A, and they'll have a chance to round out their games and perhaps play together in the Major Leagues.
Baez and Bryant are both ranked among the league's top 10 by MLB.com.
Three players from last year's AFL championship team -- Jorge Alfaro, Dariel Alvarez and Mookie Betts -- will be part of the Futures Game festivities. All three players made their mark for the Surprise Saguaros in last year's Arizona Fall League, but they play in separate organizations.
Alfaro, a catcher, plays in the Texas Rangers' farm system, and he was ranked the No. 39 prospect by MLB.com heading into this season. Alfaro is batting .262 with nine home runs for Class A Myrtle Beach in the Rangers' system, and the Colombia native just turned 21 years old a few weeks ago.
Alvarez, an outfielder in Baltimore's farm system, has taken his own path to the Futures Game. Alvarez, a native of Cuba, has starred in the Minor Leagues and is currently batting .304 with 12 homers for Double-A Bowie. Alvarez, 25 years old, will be one of the oldest participants in the Futures Game.
Betts has turned himself into one of the league's most interesting prospects. Boston selected Betts as a prep infielder in the fifth round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, and he's hit at every level of the Minor Leagues. Betts is currently batting .337 for Triple-A Pawtucket, and he hit .355 in 54 games for Double-A Portland this year before being promoted. He boasts a career .314 average in the Minors.
Two catchers -- Christian Bethancourt of the Braves and Peter O'Brien of the Yankees -- will be among the Futures Game invites who have ties to the Arizona Fall League. Bethancourt played for the Surprise Saguaros in the 2011 AFL, while O'Brien was a member of the Scottsdale Scorpions last fall.
Corey Seager, brother of Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager, is another Futures Game invitee with ties to the AFL. The younger Seager, a shortstop in the Dodgers' organization, played for the Glendale Desert Dogs in last year's Arizona Fall League, and he's continued his upward trajectory. Seager, just 20 years old, is batting .349 with a .400 on-base percentage for Class A Rancho Cucamonga.
Micah Johnson, a speedster in the White Sox organization, will also have a chance to distinguish himself in the Futures Game. Johnson, who has 117 career stolen bases in the Minors, played for the Glendale Desert Dogs last fall and is currently hitting .278 in 25 games for Triple-A Charlotte.
James Ramsey, an outfielder in the Cardinals' organization, will try to continue his hot hitting against the best pitchers the Minors have to offer. Ramsey, currently hitting .307 with 12 home runs for Double-A Springfield, first turned heads as a member of the Salt River Rafters last fall.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.