A pair of singles and a nifty slide into home plate summed up Xander Bogaerts' afternoon for the World club. Fellow Boston Red Sox seedling Garin Cecchini also came up with a clutch RBI double in the eighth to provide an insurance tally for the Americans.
Cole back in style
Bogaerts, the BoSox's franchise farmhand has scuffled a bit with a .260 clip since his promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket, but the dynasty-league blue chip already has left the yard seven times and managed an .814 OPS in 104 at-bats.
Boston has Jose Iglesias entrenched at shortstop while Stephen Drew (hamstring) is on the DL, and they'd probably keep the former in the lineup at third even after Drew comes back, based on Will Middlebrooks' progression at Triple-A Pawtucket. There's a slim chance Bogaerts forces his way up, however, and a player in a typical AL-only universe should already have stashed the Aruban. Some mixed leaguers encountering a dwindling number of intriguing waiver targets could start considering the 20-year-old as a no- or few-strings flier.
Cecchini, meanwhile, has displayed his elite domain over the strike zone with a .347 BA and a .456 OBP at Double-A Portland over 75 at-bats and 90 plate appearances. There's a backlog of infield prospects on this club, but the 22-year-old hot-corner patroller could make noise in Beantown or elsewhere in late 2014, at the soonest. Cecchini profiles as a lefty-hitting Nolan Arenado: His plate discipline should arrive more quickly than his power during his initial seasons.
You'd think A.J. Cole were older than 21 given how long he's been on the prospect scene, but the righty, who was re-acquired by the Washington Nationals this offseason following two years in Oakland, has pitched only in A ball. The starter was called on to close out the U.S. victory, registering a backwards K and a groundout after he came in with two runners on base and one out.
The 6-foot-5, 190-pound drink of agua displays mid-90s heat with a power curveball and other possible plus offerings. Whispered Justin Verlander comparisons have propelled Cole back onto the elite scene. He's still years away from joining a rotation (most logically 2015, if he forces the issue) but is polished enough to buck that outlook. He can't be left unowned in long-term roster formats.
For more Futures Game fallout, including reports on the Seattle Mariners' Taijuan Walker, the Chicago Cubs' Arismendy Alcantara and more youngsters, click on Lawr Michaels' latest Tumbling Dice.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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