Tomorrow the rosters for the annual Futures Game will be revealed, but we already know who’ll be managing the collection of elite prospects as part of the All-Star festivities: George Brett and Bernie Williams.
MLB announced that Brett will manage the United States team for the game being played in Kansas City, while Williams will manage the World team.
Brett also managed the United States in the Futures Game back in 2005, when his roster for a 4-0 loss to the World team included Justin Verlander, B.J. Upton, Joel Zumaya, Lastings Milledge, Brandon Wood, Conor Jackson, Daric Barton, Delmon Young, Jeremy Hermida, Chris Iannetta, and Paul Maholm.
Royals prospect Justin Huber was named MVP of that game and went on to hit .224 in 72 games as a major leaguer.
Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.
Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.
Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.