Future is Now as McKenzie, Mejia Appear in All-Star Futures Game
Bob Toth | On 10, Jul 2017
The future was now on Sunday, even if most people missed it.
Major League Baseball has done an effective job of hiding the All-Star Futures Game, a collection of some of the best and brightest upcoming stars on the minor league stage. With a great opportunity to get the names of these young budding prospects out on a national level, the game was stashed away in the middle of the day Sunday while the big boys in the Majors wrapped up the first half of the 2017 playing schedule.
A pair of Indians minor leaguers – top prospect Francisco Mejia and right-handed pitcher Triston McKenzie – made their way to Miami to partake in the hidden gem exhibition, scheduled two days before the Major League All-Stars were set to play at Marlins Park in the 88th annual Midsummer Classic. The SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game once again pitted Team USA versus the World, and the potential future battery mates in Cleveland, Mejia and McKenzie, would be on opposite rosters for the festivities.
Mejia, the number one prospect in the Indians organization and making his second consecutive appearance in the Futures Game, got the start behind the plate for the World team. By the time he stepped to the plate for the first time, the U.S. team was already out to a 3-0 lead. He grounded out in the third inning facing White Sox prospect Michael Kopech.
The Double-A Akron backstop remained in the game for a second at bat in the top of the sixth inning, this time doing so while his club trailed 7-1. Against Memphis (St. Louis affiliate) right-hander Jack Flaherty, he started the inning with a single in front of the plate. He moved to third on a double by Mauricio Dubon (Milwaukee) and scored on a sacrifice fly by Victor Robles (Washington) to put the World Futures down, 7-2.
The 21-year-old out of the Dominican was replaced behind the plate by Tomas Nido (New York Mets) to start the bottom of the sixth.
The 19-year-old right-hander McKenzie did not appear until the top of the ninth inning in a 7-4 ball game. The Royal Palm Beach, Florida, native faced one batter, getting a fly out from Corey Ray (Milwaukee), before being lifted for another pitcher. The World team would score twice after McKenzie left to pull within one before a groundout ended the ball game.
With the 7-6 win, the US team has now won 12 of 19 contests since the collection of top prospects began battle together in 1999.
Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images