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.

The Giants are considering Pablo Sandoval at second base

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Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.

It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.

Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.