The Futures Game rosters for the All-Star week festivities in Minneapolis have been announced and it will feature some high-ceiling prospects. Joey Gallo, Kris Bryant, D.J. Peterson, and Francisco Lindor will all participate in the game that pits the United States vs. The World. Hardly seems like a fair fight, does it?
Each Major League team gets at least one representative, and the Royals will send pitcher Christian Binford of the Wilmington Blue Rocks to the game to represent America. Binford is a fine prospect, and a fun sleeper to root for, but he's not quite the sexy prospect that those other names are. Binford is however, quietly having a solid season in the Carolina League. Through 13 starts he has a 2.35 ERA and just 11 walks in 76.2 innings of work. He hasn't walked a batter in his last 23.2 innings of work. That command hasn't come at the expense of missing bats either. He has increased his strikeout rate this year to 10 per nine innings, a career high. His 7.73 strikeout-to-walk ratio leads all starting pitchers in the Carolina League.
Before the season, John Sickels ranked Binford as a C+ prospect, the 15th best prospect in the Royals system. He wrote:
Excellent fastball command resulted in 2.67 ERA and 130/25 K/BB in 135 innings at age 20 in Low-A, which is very good. Doesn't burn radar and secondary pitches are inconsistent, but he's dominated the low levels well enough to get on the map.
You can watch the Futures Game on Sunday, July 13 at 4 p.m. CT on ESPN.
Royals Futures Game Representatives:
2006 - 3B Alex Gordon and OF Billy Butler
2007 - P Luke Hochevar
2008 - P Julio Pimental
2009 - P Danny Duffy
2011 - OF Wil Myers and P Kelvin Herrera
2013 - P Yordano Ventura and P Miguel Almonte
2014 - P Christian Binford