All-Star festivities kicked off Sunday at Coors Field with the Futures Game highlighting baseball’s top prospects.
The National League’s 8-3, seven-inning win over the American League featured plenty of offense. One Chicago White Sox prospect and two Cubs represented their organizations, led by Cubs outfield prospect Brennen Davis’ MVP performance.
Here’s a look at how the Cubs and Sox prospects fared.
Brennen Davis, Cubs outfielder
2-for-3, 2 home runs, named Futures Game MVP
Davis starred for an NL lineup that poured it on. He became only the third player to hit two homers in the Futures Game, joining Alfonso Soriano (1999) and Yusniel Diaz (2018).
After striking out in his first at-bat, Davis bounced back in a big way the next time he stepped to the plate. He connected on a 95 mph fastball for a 428-foot homer that cleared the center-field wall to put the NL up 6-0 in the fourth.
Two innings later, Davis took a 2-2 slider out to left field for his second solo homer, this one a 410-foot shot.
“It’s really surreal being out here in front of this kind of crowd and having my friends and family here,” Davis said after Ken Griffey Jr. presented him with the MVP award. “You just can’t put it into words.”
The Cubs’ top position-player prospect showed off his power potential and why he could be a solid all-around player in the Cubs outfield. In 21 games for Double-A Tennessee this year, Davis is hitting .278 with a .381 on-base percentage, .862 OPS, 10 doubles and four home runs.
Yoelqui Céspedes, White Sox outfielder
Céspedes didn’t bring much affiliated pro experience into Sunday’s exhibition. It’s the 23-year-old Cuban’s first season stateside with the White Sox organization, and he was showcased in the AL lineup.
Céspedes popped out in his first at-bat during the second inning, getting underneath a fastball up in the zone. In the fourth, facing Cary-Grove alumnus and Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Quinn Priester, Céspedes struck out on four pitches, ending the at-bat on a swing and miss at a cutter down and out of the zone.
Individual performances aside, the Futures Game is a great opportunity for prospects such as Céspedes to compete and be challenged against the best pitchers and hitters in the minors.
Manuel Rodríguez, Cubs right-hander
1 inning, no runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Rodríguez flashed one of the hardest fastballs in the game. He touched 100 mph and consistently hit 98 to 99 in his inning.
An eight-pitch walk to AL leadoff hitter and Seattle Mariners prospect Julio Rodriguez in the sixth didn’t derail Rodríguez. He came back to get a quick fielder’s choice, and after the baserunner was thrown out attempting to steal third, Rodríguez struck out Oakland Athletics prospect Tyler Soderstrom swinging on a 99 mph sinker to end the inning.
Rodríguez, 24, has a 1.65 ERA in 16 appearances between Double A and Triple-A Iowa. If he continues to pitch well, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Cubs give Rodríguez a look. The roster likely will look different come September after whatever trades Cubs President Jed Hoyer makes by the end of the month. Rodríguez, who is already on the Cubs’ 40-man roster, could be another glimpse of the team’s future.