Futures Game: A look at the World Team

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We’ve already checked out the U.S. Team that will take the field this evening in Anaheim.  Now let’s get better acquainted with the squad representing the rest of the world:

World Team

2B Brett Lawrie, Brewers
SS Osvaldo Martinez, Marlins
1B Yonder Alonso, Reds
3B Alex Liddi, Mariners
LF Carlos Peguero, Mariners
RF Wilkin Ramirez, Tigers
C Wilin Rosario, Rockies
CF Gorkys Hernandez, Pirates
DH Francisco Peguero
, Giants

Starting Pitcher

Simon Castro, Padres

Notes

Brett Lawrie was selected 16th overall in the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft and has already climbed his way to Double-A Huntsville.  The Canadian-born second baseman is batting .295/.359/.473 this season with six home runs, 11 triples and 24 stolen bases.  He should be a fixture atop the Brewers’ big league lineup very soon.

The Reds have enjoyed a breakout 2010 season and will head into the All-Star break at the top of the National League Central standings.  They’re also hoping that Yonder Alonso, a first-round pick in 2008, will begin to break out soon.  The Cuban first baseman has hit just .266/.333/.404 with nine home runs in 334 at-bats this season between Double-A Carolina and Triple-A Louisville.  Hopefully the Futures Game will be a launching pad for the revival of his still-young career.

Alex Liddi is the first Italian-born player to play professional baseball in the United States.  He’s batting just .265 with a .338 on-base percentage this season at Double-A West Tennessee, but the Mariners feel has a fairly bright future.  He doesn’t turn 22 until mid-August and he launched 23 home runs in 129 games at the Single-A level last year.

The Tigers signed Wilkin Ramirez at age 17 as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic and he is one of the few players on either Futures Game roster with a taste of the big leagues.  He went 4-for-11 with a home run and three RBI in a short stay in Detroit last season.  This year he has taken a step back, currently rocking a .219/.264/.368 batting line for Triple-A Toledo, but the 24-year-old still has time on his side.

Simon Castro will take the hill first for the World Team.  A top pitching prospect in the Padres’ system, he has thrown up a 2.74 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP and a 76/27 K/BB ratio in 85.1 innings this season at Double-A San Antonio.  The 22-year-old fanned 157 batters in 140.1 innings in 2009 for Single-A Fort Wayne.  To say the least, he has a bright future.

Nationals Acquire Ryan Raburn From White Sox

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The Washington Nationals have acquired outfielder Ryan Raburn from the Chicago White Sox. Raburn had been playing at Triple-A Charlotte. He’ll be assigned to Triple-A Syracuse in the Nats organization. The Nationals will send cash or a player to be named later to the White Sox to complete the deal.

Raburn has yet to play in the majors this season. Last year he hit .220/.309/.404 with nine homers in 113 games for the Colorado Rockies. The year before that he hit an excellent .301/.393/.543 in part time play for the Indians. Over the course of his 11 year career the 36-year-old has hit .253/.317/.436, which breaks down to an OPS+ of exactly 100, which is league average. Primarily an outfielder, Raburn has played every position except shortstop and catcher in his career. He’s even pitched twice.

The Nats plans for him aren’t entirely clear, but depth it depth.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.