Previewing tonight’s Rising Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League

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Already missing real-live baseball? Of course you are. Well, fear not, as some of the game’s best prospects will be on display in the Arizona Fall League’s annual Rising Stars Game, which will be broadcast live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 9 p.m. ET tonight.

According to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, 28 of last year’s 50 Rising Stars played in the major leagues during the 2010 season, including Buster Posey, Ike Davis, Mike Leake and Starlin Castro, just to name a few. In other words, here’s your chance to catch some of next year’s sensations right now.

Manny Banuelos, a prospect in the Yankees’ organization, will start for the East while Mike Montgomery, a prospect in the Royals’ organization, will pitch for the West.

Banuelos, who turns 20 in March, posted a 2.51 ERA and 85/25 K/BB ratio over 15 starts between three different levels in the minor leagues this past season, reaching as high as Double-A Trenton. The left-hander was named as the Yankees’ No. 3 prospect by Baseball America this week. Montgomery, a 21-year-old southpaw, compiled a 2.61 ERA and 88/31 K/BB ratio over 20 starts between three different levels this season, including 13 starts with Double-A Northwest Arkansas. The former 2008 supplemental first-round pick was ranked as the team’s No. 1 prospect by Baseball America coming into the season.

Rising Stars East lineup: CF, Trayvon Robinson (Dodgers), 2B Charlie Culberson (Giants), 1B Brandon Belt (Giants), LF Brandon Laird (Yankees), C Austin Romine (Yankees), RF Marc Krauss (Diamondbacks), DH A.J. Pollock (Diamondbacks), 3B Ryan Adams (Orioles), Tyler Pastornicky (Braves)

Rising Stars West lineup: CF Ben Revere (Twins), LF Caleb Gindl (Brewers), 2B Dustin Ackley (Mariners), 1B Eric Hosmer (Royals), C Ryan Lavarnway (Red Sox), RF Leslie Anderson (Rays), DH Eric Thames (Blue Jays), 3B Zack Cox (Cardinals), Jose Iglesias (Red Sox)

I know, I know. Where’s Bryce Harper? Unfortunately, he is ineligible for tonight’s game because he is a member of the “taxi squad.” Bummer. Still plenty of reasons to tune in, though. I’m mostly looking forward to watching Brandon Belt and Dustin Ackley play, as I have only seen a handful of at-bats from either until this point.

Report: Padres interested in Maikel Franco

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals
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The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.

Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.

Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.