All-Star Game festivities commence in Minneapolis this afternoon with the MLB Futures Game. For the 16th year, squads of full-season prospects handpicked by Baseball America will represent the U.S. of A. and the rest of the world.
In years past, the Royals were much more heavily represented in this game. In fact, Royals were selected as MVP of the game in consecutive years, 2005 and 2006, as Justin Huber (World) and Billy Butler (USA). Butler hit a home run in his MVP turn, something that seems like a distant possibility these days.
Today, the Royals' sole representative in this year's game is Christian Binford. Given how the Royals farm system has fared thus far in 2014, it's hard to argue that anyone else other than maybe Hunter Dozier should have been considered, but it's hard to figure where Dozier would fit in given the presence of Kris Bryant and Joey Gallo.
Full rosters can be found here. The US squad seems particularly stacked, with top-line prospects Bryant and Gallo joined by D.J. Peterson, Corey Seager, and pitchers Lucas Giolito, Henry Owens, Robert Stephenson, and Noah Syndergaard. The World team is headlined by infielders Javier Baez and Francisco Lindor and pitchers Julio Urias and Jose Berrios, that latter being the starting pitcher and representative of the host Minnesota Twins.
With the US pitching staff looking particularly stacked, it is hard to envision Binford getting a shot at more than an out or two, but it will be the first opportunity for many Royals fans to get a look at the walk-averse righty.