With the MLB All-Star Game less than a week away, the Los Angeles Dodgers have plenty of reasons to be excited.
The Boys in Blue are sending four players to Minnesota, including two first-timers in Yasiel Puig and Dee Gordon. Puig will also represent the National League in the Home Run Derby, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.
But before the big league festivities kick off on Monday, the 16th annual All-Star Futures Game is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. PT. This exhibition pits a team made up of U.S. prospects against a squad comprised of international prospects.
The U.S. team has won nine of the previous 15 Futures Games, including the last four.
Selected from the Dodgers farm system to play on each respective team were North Carolina-born shortstop Corey Seager and pitcher Julio Urias, a native of Mexico. Both players currently suit up for the Dodgers' High-A affiliate in Rancho Cucamonga, California.
As Urias and Seager continue to make their way toward the highest level, here are the updated scouting reports for these two highly valued prospects.
Julio Urias, LHP
Drafted: N/A, signed out of Mexican League in August 2012
|2014 Stats (High-A)|
|Record (13 starts)||IP||ERA||WHIP||Strikeouts||Walks||K/9|
It's not surprising that at just 17 years old, Julio Urias is the youngest player in the Futures Game.
He's also the youngest player in the California League, where he is holding his own in one of the minors' most hitter-friendly circuits.
Urias' four-pitch arsenal includes a low-to-mid-90s four-seam fastball and a two-seamer that arrives within the same velocity range. Over the past two years, the four-seam offering has gone from 88 mph to now touching 96 mph on occasion, part of the reason why the Dodgers see so much potential in the teenager.
The 5'11" lefty, who has overtaken 2010 first-round pick Zach Lee as the team's top pitching prospect, complements his hard stuff with a low-80s curveball and a mid-80s changeup. Both of these off-speed pitches are still developing but have the capability to become above-average offerings at the highest level.
In 13 starts with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes this season, Urias has fanned 55 batters in just over 51 innings pitched, good for a rate of 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings.
The Dodgers have been diligent in limiting Urias' workload at this early stage of his career. He hasn't thrown more than five innings in any outing so far this season.
But if Urias continues to progress at the current rate, it would not be surprising to see him pitching in the majors before he turns 20.
Corey Seager, SS
Drafted: First round, 18th overall in 2012
|2014 Stats (High-A)|
Corey Seager is the perfect player to represent the Dodgers in the Futures Game.
He may not be getting the same publicity as Triple-A outfielder Joc Pederson, and he's not as young as Urias. But Seager is tearing up the California League, and MLB.com has him ranked as the Dodgers' top prospect in advance of Sunday's showcase.
At 6'4", 215 pounds, Seager is relatively large for a shortstop. Los Angeles may decide to convert him into a third baseman so he can take over the hot corner after Juan Uribe's two-year contract expires following next season.
At least one scout believes Seager has the potential to become a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman, per Hall of Fame baseball columnist Peter Gammons.
The younger brother of Seattle Mariners All-Star Kyle Seager has a smooth swing that allows him to spray the ball to all fields. With 17 home runs so far this season, the 20-year-old has shown solid power, which should improve with continued development.
The Dodgers are banking on that development and excited about Seager's potential. Just last week, the team refused to part ways with its 2012 first-round pick during negotiations with the Chicago Cubs regarding a potential deal involving ace Jeff Samardzija, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Prior to being selected to the Futures Game, Seager's performance this season earned him a trip to the California/Carolina League All-Star Game last month.
He currently leads the California League in OPS (1.045), hits (112) and doubles (33).
The Futures Game will be broadcast live on MLB Network and MLB.com. All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.
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