Sunday’s Futures Game, held at Progressive Field in Cleveland, marked the first time since the Futures Game’s inception in 1999 that the contest was an NL/AL fight as opposed to U.S. versus the world. The regulation length of the game was shortened to seven innings as well. It turned out to be a great game with the AL being shut out 2-0 through six innings only to fight back to tie the game in the final regulation inning, sending the game into an extra inning.
Both NL runs came in during the fourth inning. Tigers pitching prospect Matt Manning started the inning but got into trouble quickly, allowing singles to Carter Kieboom, Alec Bohm, and Taylor Trammell. Trammell’s single brought home Kieboom to break the scoreless tie. Manning then hit Will Craig to load the bases before being removed from the game. Royals prospect Kris Bubic came in and immediately allowed one of his inherited runners to score on a Dylan Carlson single. Bubic would then strike out Daulton Varsho and see Trammell caught trying to steal home, escaping the inning.
The NL pitching was rock solid, blanking the AL through the first six innings. The AL struck in the seventh and final inning as NL lefty Ben Bowden began the inning with a leadoff walk of Jo Adell, then surrendered a one-out, two-run, game-tying home run to Rangers prospect Samuel Huff, knotting the game at 2-2.
The bleeding didn’t stop there, as Bowden relented a double to Isaac Paredes and a single to Jarren Duran, putting the winning run on third base with one out. Padres prospect Luis Patiño entered, striking out both Ronaldo Hernández and Royce Lewis in impressive fashion to send the game to an extra eighth inning.
The extra inning began with a runner on second base, per minor league rules. Nevertheless, the NL wasn’t able to generate any offense against Grayson Rodríguez in the top half. Nor could the AL get anything going against Patiño. The game anticlimactically ended in a 2-2 tie. Somewhere, Bud Selig cringed.
Huff won the 2019 Futures Game MVP Award for his game-tying homer. MLB Pipeline ranks Huff the No. 21 prospect in the Rangers’ minor league system. Having earned a promotion to High-A Down East from Single-A Hickory, Huff is batting an aggregate .284/.327/.559 with 21 home runs and 56 RBI in 321 plate appearances this season.