Sunday, July 10, 2011

All-Star Futures Game: USA vs. World

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Chase Field, site of Tuesday's All-Star Game, and tonight's Futures Game.
PHOENIX -- Hello from the Valley of the Sun, where All-Star festivities officially begin tonight with the annual Futures Game. The format has top prospects from the United States facing their counterparts from international locales.

There are two members of the Nationals organization in the game. You know Bryce Harper is here. He's starting in left field and batting third for for Team USA. Right-hander Brad Peacock, meanwhile, is slated to pitch the second inning for the Americans.

I'll have thoughts from both Harper and Peacock, as well as Class AA Harrisburg manager Tony Beasley (who is on the Team USA coaching staff), after the game. In the meantime, check back for in-game updates and please share your own impressions if you're watching at home on ESPN2...

Where: Chase Field
Gametime: 6:05 p.m.
Radio: XM 89
Weather: Dome (Outside: Partly cloudy, 102 degrees)
2B Jason Kipnis, Cle
SS Manny Machado, Bal
LF Bryce Harper, Wash
1B Paul Goldschmidt, AZ
C Devin Mesorasco, Cin
3B Will Middlebrooks, Bos
DH James Darnell, SD
RF Wil Myers, KC
CF Gary Brown, SF
(P Tyler Skaggs, AZ)

CF Starling Marte, Pit
2B Jose Altuve, Hou
1B Yonder Alonso, Cin
DH Dayan Viciedo, ChW
3B Alex Liddi, Sea
RF Alfredo Silverio, LAD
LF Chih-Hsien Chiang, Bos
C Wilin Rosario, Col
SS Hak-Ju Lee, TB
(P Julio Teheran, Atl)
6:08 p.m. -- And we're underway with a foul ball off Starling Marte's bat and nearly into the press box!

6:15 p.m. -- Couple of baserunners for the World team in the top of the first, and we quickly got a chance to see Bryce Harper show off his arm. When Jose Altuve's hot smash got past third baseman Will Middlebrooks, Harper came charging in to retrive the ball. Altuve took off for second and Harper made a strong throw that might have beaten the runner but skipped away from second baseman Jason Kipnis. USA starter Tyler Skaggs, though, got out of the inning with no damage. So it's scoreless heading to the bottom of the first, with Harper due up third.

6:26 p.m. -- It's entirely possible Harper has never faced a pitcher as good as Julio Teheran in his life. And it looked like it. Teheran, the top pitching prospect in the Braves' system and one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, just blew away the 18-year-old in the bottom of the first. Harper took a 95 mph fastball for strike one. He took an 82 mph slider for ball one. Then he swung and missed at a nasty, 83 mph slider. And then he took a 95 mph heater on the outside corner for strike three. Pretty impressive stuff from Teheran. Though not too impressive for USA leadoff man Jason Kipnis, who clubbed a homer to right to get things started and give the US team a 1-0 lead.

6:32 p.m. -- Wow, nice job by Brad Peacock in the top of the second. He retired the side on only nine pitches, seven of them strikes. The right-hander struck out Alfredo Silverio with a 91 mph fastball. He got Chih-Hsien Chiang to ground out to first on a 94 mph heater. And then he broke out his offspeed stuff to Wilin Rosario, showing off a 73 mph curveball and and an 81 mph changeup that produced a popout to third. Nicely done by the Nats prospect. USA still leads 1-0 going to the bottom of the second.

6:42 p.m. -- Another new pitcher for Team USA in the third, so Peacock's work is done. This will be Shelby Miller of the Cardinals, taking the mound with the Americans now up 2-0.

6:59 p.m. -- At-bat No. 2 for Harper comes in the bottom of the third against James Paxton. Paxton, 22, is a tall lefty from Canada drafted by the Mariners in the fourth round last year. And like Harper, he opened the season in Class A, only to get promoted to Class AA in the last week. Didn't get to see much of a confrontation there, because Harper swung at Paxton's first pitch (a 96 mph heater) and grounded out to first. Nice, sliding play by the Reds' Yonder Alonso, who scooped up the ball and threw to Paxton covering the bag to retire Harper. Still 2-0 USA after three.

7:19 p.m. -- Man, we're seeing some serious heat from the pitchers out here today so far. Julio Teheran. James Paxton. Carlos Martinez. Matt Moore. Impressive stuff from these kids. USA still leads World, 2-0, going to the bottom of the fifth.

7:32 p.m. -- We've had some mass substitutions for Team USA, but Harper remains in the game. He's taken left field for the top of the sixth, and he's due to lead off the bottom of the inning. Would guess that will be his last AB of the night, though.

7:39 p.m. -- Alfredo Silverio of the Dodgers takes Drew Pomeranz of the Indians deep to left for a two-run shot in the top of the sixth. Harper tried to scale the wall, but he had no chance. That cuts Team USA's lead to 3-2.

7:45 p.m. -- Holy moly, did Harper just show off his arm or what? He tracked down Sebastian Valle's double into the left-field corner, then fired the ball back to the plate, short-hopping the catcher. Yes, it was slightly off-line, and it didn't really have a chance of getting the runner. But still. Man. That was a 325-foot missile.

7:54 p.m. -- Another groundout to first for Harper, who faced Blue Jays right-hander Henderson Alvarez in the bottom of the sixth. Took a pair of fastballs (97 and 94 mph) for balls. Then swung at a 93 mph fastball on 2-0 and rapped another groundball to first. So he's 0-for-3 with a strikeout and two grounders. The World team, by the way, now leads 4-3 after scoring four times in the top of the inning.

8:12 p.m. -- Guess Harper's going to play the full game. He's back out in left field for the top of the eighth. Should get to bat once more; he's due up third in the bottom of the inning.

8:26 p.m. -- And Harper strikes out for the second time tonight. This one was on a 97 mph fastball from right-hander Kelvin Herrera (a Class AA closer in the Royals system). The at-bat came after back-to-back doubles, which tied the game and put the go-ahead runner on second. So, let's see: Harper goes 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and strands the potential winning run in scoring position ... aren't the Nats already paying Jayson Werth a lot of money to do that?

8:30 p.m. -- Fortunately for Harper, his teammates have rallied to score three runs in this inning and now lead 6-4.

8:46 p.m. -- That'll do it. Team USA wins, 6-4, behind the performances of 11 pitchers. Brad Peacock played his part, retiring the side with ease in the second inning. Bryce Harper didn't really contribute, but he certainly got a taste of what it's like to face four really tough pitchers who are close to big-league ready.


TheAman said...

I hear Harper put on an unbelievable show in batting practice, truth?

Depot Master said...

Kevin Youkilis seems to have nothing to worry about at 3B :)

dj in Fl. said...

Great pre-game comments from Aaron Boone about the Nats future, and that Rizzo has not ruled out Harper making the team out of ST next year.

Anonymous said...

Peacock looked good... Harper.. not so much

Drew8 said...

Way to Go Brad Peacock! Beautiful job.

Why did the broadcasters and the graphic say Harper is 19?

He's 18 -- he doesn't turn 19 till Oct. 16.

NatsLady said...

Anon 6:33, agree on both. Announcer said Harper was "overmatched" by pitching at this level.

CBinDC said...

Peacock looked good

Harper well better next time but that throw from left was very speedy .....

They did say Harper was 19 is ESPN after all

Anonymous said...

Mark.. Keith Law stated the Peacock was best suited for Bullpen... True? I would think the Nats need to develop starters.

skidge said...

Yeah, ESPN correctly said Harper was born in October 1992 but kept saying he was 19. (I'm sensitive to this because he's 6 weeks younger than my 18-yo son, who does not have a 9.9 million dollar contract to do anything...)

dj in Fl. said...

@Annon- Yes they said that, and it is just becuse of his size. Sounds like a good way to start a fight.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Anon: I don't know about that. Peacock talked before the game about how a key to his success this year has been a small tweak that allows him to hide the ball longer. Thinks that's why opponents had more success against him the second and third time around the order in the past. Harrisburg manager Tony Beasley, who's coaching here, also was raving about Peacock's command of three different pitches: fastball, slider, changeup. He showed all three in that Rosario at-bat. Certainly looked like a starter's repertoire to me.

Will said...

Anon 6:38 - Law consistently trashes any Nats prospect not named Strasburg or Harper. I don't put much stock for most ESPN analysts, especially one who went on the radio in spring training to say Espinosa wasn't ready and possibly never would be. If Danny were a Met, Philly, Yankee, or Red Sock, Keith would be leading his ROY campaign.

Will said...

Also love that the guy Law called "the best right handed prospect in baseball" is now in hot water in the third.

FS said...

It is good to see Harper struggle against Teheran who made one spot start in majors this season (right?).

Hoping second time will be different I hope.

Thanks Mark for providing updates. Adds to the experience.

FS said...

Come on Reds, you already have Votto at 1B. Show some love and trade Yonder to Nats for a bag of balls. :P

I am guessing this is the last we see of Harper in this game. Kinda disappointing. Wished he had made an impact on the game.

CBinDC said...

Well start the clearly we made a mistake drafting this guy talk .....Harper is 0 for 2 ohhh no what are we going to do .......LOL .....does he play the whole game ?

A DC Wonk said...

Maybe all those commenters here at NI that are blaming Rizzo for not bringing up Harper already will pipe down a bit?

Hope springs eternal . . .

But, more importantly, this is great news about Peacock!

NatsLady said...

I really don't have much use for Law. On Baseball Today he went on for about 15 minutes about why the Mariners' reliever was pulled, manager's strategy, etc., and I kept shouting "HE WAS INJURED." Finally, somebody actually looked at the game and noticed that.

Then he argued vociferously that Z'nn and not Clipp should have been chosen for the ASG, in fact, NO RELIEVER should be chosen. I don't buy that. The skill sets are different, a sprinter vs. a long-distance runner. You simply don't expect your starter to get three outs without giving up a run in the first inning of every game. You expect that from your closer.

On the other hand, his position and mine on Riggs were the same.

Anonymous said...

Lets just hope that Harper hasn't caught the same virus that Werth has!

NatsLady said...

Yeah, why should be bring Harper up to do nothing at the plate, we already got guys like that.

Drew8 said...

Regarding Peacock:

Mark, I think there's good fodder for a takeout on the amazing job the Nats minor league system is doing with some of the less-prominent pitching prospects.

It's not just Peacock and Milone. Taylor Jordan has a 2.48 ERA at Hagerstown. Daniel Rosenbaum has a 2.76 ERA at Potomac.

Going into his start today in Richmond, Harrisburg's Erik Arnesen was 6-1 with a 2.05 ERA.

If even one of these guys pans out as major league prospect it's a great credit to folks like Spin Williams and Randy Tomlin.

JaneB said...

It's interesting how much play Harper is getting from the commentators. I hope we all get to see him hit a dinger in the game. Glad Peacock had a 1-2-3 inning. Now, I'm walking away from baseball till Tuesday night. Good thing I have "Praying for Gil Hodges" in hand to read, per the advice of several of you.

Anonymous said...

I would love for the Nats to be known as a pitching producing organization. In the post-steroid era, I think the balance has shifted towards pitching and defense. Pitching prospects can be traded for bats as needed in this new (old) paradigm.

However, I am worried that MLB is going to muck around with the rules to have fewer 2-0 games though.

FS said...

Right now that Garza trade is looking like Rays ripped Cubs off of any decent minors they had.

One of the ESPN guy just said that Harper might play the whole game. Any truth?

Anonymous said...

Mark.. Do the kids that play in this game get to stay for the Allstar Game/Festivities. Might be good for Harper to see the MLB stars.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Anon: Harper said he's leaving tomorrow night and going home to Las Vegas for a couple of days before rejoining Harrisburg for the start of the second half of their season.

NatsLady said...

Well, that was NOT elegant on Harper's part in LF. Announcers not happy with him.

FS said...

well another reason not to promote the kid right now. He has to learn his defensive position. But like Mark noted, impressive arm.

CBinDC said...

I do not care what they are saying that throw was there before the runner on the fly.... impressive in my opinion.....and now Bryce is set up again ...on with the show

CBinDC said...

Question I always wonder why some teams have a keyhole and most do not and what purpose is it really

NatsLady said...

It was a long throw, but not on target. Now a weak grounder. Not showing his best stuff.

FS said...

ugh another groundout to first. I hope he has at least one solid hit before game ends.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

CB, the dirt path from the mound to the plate is ornamental, a "throwback" design feature.

CBinDC said...

Thankz Sec 3 but I still wonder why it was ever a part of baseball diamond in the first place .....all symbols of a diamond included that line ...and some still do why was it there at all

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

it's probably a holdover from 19th century fields, maybe cricket. in photos from pre-modern baseball, it looks much wider.

Doc said...

Keith Law might consider a career shift to covering the city slow-pitch beer leagues in NY. Eventually, he'll find something that he is good at.

Espi should send him a x.c. of his ROY award, with an obscene message attached!

CBinDC said...

Who is the coach with the Nationals hat ?

NatsLady said...

Ooops, Harper K'd on a beautiful pitch to hit.

Joe Seamhead said...

How do you spell, "not ready for prime time?"

FS said...

BTW does this game go in Extras if tied after ninth? Isn't celebrity game scheduled next? So I am assuming not.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

I don't watch ESPN broadcasts much. Are the announcers usually this lax?

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

FS, if it's tied after 9, they play one more, but that's it.

NatsLady said...

Kid is playing for the Modesto "Nuts" -- don't you just love minor-league team names?

Mark Zuckerman said...

CBinDC said...
Who is the coach with the Nationals hat?

That's Tony Beasley, current manager at Harrisburg and formerly Nats 3B coach in 2006.

CBinDC said...

Thank you Mark

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

CB, Tony Beasly from Harrisburg is coaching for the US side.

NatsLady said...

Boy, that brief interview with Harper was a bust. Mumbling, and no clue (apparently) that he was a bust in this game. Said the right things about his teammates in Harrisburg, but didn't mention how great Peacock was--also his current teammate.

NatsLady said...

Thanks for the updates, Mark. I think that about sums it up, Harper got a taste of good pitching. Peacock is just about major-league ready, looking forward to seeing him here.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

"So, let's see: Harper goes 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and strands the potential winning run in scoring position ... aren't the Nats already paying Jayson Werth a lot of money to do that?"

Oooh, Mark brings the snark!
Yeah, Harper interviews like an 18-year-old who has been coached to not [mess] up by shooting off his mouth. But 40,000 people didn't pay to hear him talk. He'll be ok.

Catcher50 said...

The path from the plate to the mound is called a keyhole (for obvious reasons). Griffith Stadium had one, as did most parks before the 60s. The reason was that without the advanced irrigation and drainage systems, that area inevitably got worn down, looked terrible and actually could effect the ball game.

BTW, if you look at pix of Griffith Stadium, you will see two fungo circles.

Tony Beasley -- and you spelled it wrong, too said...

Too slow, Sofa! You can't scoop Zuckerman!

Catcher50 said...

BTW, I just checked on Google world and looked at Povich Field, which doesn't have a keyhole, and you can see the worn spot from the plate to the mound.

Wally said...

I don't think Law is so bad. He is a pretty hard judge of talent, which causes fans of most teams to have a similar reaction to some of those here, which is 'he hates our prospects'. He certainly cultivates a sarcastic style in his writing, which can be offputting. If I think about it logically, though, the fact that only a reasonably small percentage of prospects turn in to above average major leaguers means Law's skepticism on most prospects is more right than wrong.

But that being said, Law is a writer, not a scout. Peacock will be whatever his talent lets him become, not what a writer predicts he will be. FWIW, Law's opinion on Peacock is shared by some others (like Goldstein, I think), while others like Baseball America are more bullish. The concern over whether he is a starter comes down to Beasley's comments: command of his secondary
pitches. If you believe he has it, he has a good chance to be a MLB starter. But even if he ultimately is a reliever, that is not so bad, right? I know of one that is going to the ASG. I am pretty excited to see Peacock emerge this year. Like to see him in AAA soon.

Doc said...

@ Catcher50:

Thanks for the history lesson on the 'keyhole'. As Johnny Carson used to say, "I did not know that".

I think that it looks neat, and is an attractive feature of the diamond.

NatsLady said...

Agree, I don't care if Peacock is a reliever or a starter, I'm NOT with Law in overvaluing starters compared to relievers. You need both to win a ballgame. You find the role that best suits the player and the team.

Wally, I'm not down on Law as writer on prospects, I'm no judge in that area and haven't seen the players. Also, I've never read his work, so I can't comment on his style.

I am down on him as a commentator on major league games and players, because those I have seen, and I have heard him make mistake after mistake in his commentary.

I dread the days Law comes on Baseball Today. I love Mark Simon and really like Karabell, and the other pinch hitters (though it's tough to listen to Jim Bowden, he does have some sensible things to say).l

Gonat said...

8:26 p.m. -- ...So, let's see: Harper goes 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and strands the potential winning run in scoring position ... aren't the Nats already paying Jayson Werth a lot of money to do that?


I am laughing at this and hope Werth doesn't read this at that may piss him off though it really is the truth.

Right now I truly believe Harper would be more productive than Werth as those aren't lofty numbers that are hard for a Top Prospect to exceed. .215/.319/.362/.681 with 31 RBIs stinks.

Gonat said...

NatsLady said...
Agree, I don't care if Peacock is a reliever or a starter, I'm NOT with Law in overvaluing starters compared to relievers. You need both to win a ballgame. You find the role that best suits the player and the team.


I agree with you and would add that you have to come to a decision on starter/reliever before your player gets too old.

I commend the "new" Royals as they are making decisions quicker with prospects like Aaron Crow and Kelvin Herrera to make them key parts.

A team needs both starters/relievers as NatsLady said and I think the Nats didn't help themselves or Detwiler soon enough on deciding on his future. You can still take a reliever like Adam Wainwright and David Price and others and take them from reliever to front of the rotation starter if they have the stuff.

Then you got guys like Mock and Chico who can't do either.

NatsLady said...

Yeah, I'm not sure what the eventual story with Detwiler will be. Same with Bally. On the other hand, you look at Clipp, who came up as a starter, and who still throws from the windup, and he wasn't a starter and he wasn't a closer, and what is he--- CLARK KENT!!!

Fear the Goggles!

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