The 2016 Futures Game starts soon. You’ll probably miss it.

Craig Calcaterra
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SAN DIEGO — One of the coolest things surrounding the All-Star Game is the Futures Game. It pits some of the top prospects in all of baseball against one another in a U.S. vs. the World Junior All-Star Game. And unlike the actual All-Star Game, the participants here are hungry. It should be a big event. It should be the annual Gateway Game for casual fans to get to know the next generation of stars. Stars who are not several years away, but who may contribute to playoff runs this season and will certainly become big names in the seasons to come.

Except everyone misses it because they play it on Sunday when actual major league games are taking place, including a nationally-televised game between the Diamondbacks and the Giants and all manner of non-baseball Sunday night prestige TV on various cable channels tonight. Moreover, many members of the media who might cover it are en route to San Diego after covering their team’s Sunday games and will miss it too, giving the game less exposure than it might otherwise get. It’s just bad scheduling, really. They should play it on Monday, do the Home Run Derby on Tuesday and the All-Star Game on Wednesday. Or, if they want to keep the same general schedule, do the Future’s Game and Derby back-to-back on Monday, giving it a spotlight. Oh well, I make that complaint every year and no one listens, so maybe next year I’ll stop bothering to make it.

That bit of grumpiness aside, this year’s Futures Game gets underway at 7pm this evening, 4PM Pacific, here at Petco Park. It will be televised on MLB Network and able to be streamed on MLB.com. Here are the lineups:

U.S. Team

1. CF Andrew Benintendi, BOS
2. 3B Alex Bregman, HOU
3. LF Clint Frazier, CLE
4. RF Hunter Renfroe, SD
5. DH Ryon Healy, OAK
6. 1B Dominic Smith, NYM
7. SS Dansby Swanson, ATL
8. 2B Travis Demeritte, TEX
9. C Chance Sisco, BAL
SP Joe Musgrove, HOU

World Team

1. CF Manuel Margot, SD
2. LF Raimel Tapia, COL
3. 2B Yoan Moncada, BOS
4. RF Tyler O’Neill, SEA
5. 1B Ronald Guzman, TEX
6. 3B Yandy Diaz, CLE
7. C Gary Sanchez, NYY
8. DH Jorge Bonifacio, KC
9. SS Willy Adames, TB
SP Alex Reyes, STL

You may know some of them, you may not. But if not, you will know some of them soon. Last year’s Futures Game showed that the future really does come at you fast, given that guys like Kyle Schwarber, Michael Conforto, Ketel Marte, and Trea Turner participated.

Give the Dbacks and Giants a miss. Also give a miss to the prestige TV. Go to MLB.com or MLB Network and watch the Futures Game instead. Even if Major League Baseball wants to keep it a secret for some reason.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu is scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.