Today, in a non-2020 pandemic-enduced world, would have been the Major League Baseball Futures Game. Unfortunately we are in said 2020, and thus there is no Futures Game this year. Josh Norris of Baseball America took a look at what the teams could look like this year if they only picked from the various teams 60-man player pools this year. It gave me the idea to try and just pick who could represent the Cincinnati Reds if a game were taking place this year.
For nearly the entire existence of the game it was set up as a Team USA vs. Team World event, but that recently changed and it’s now a Team National League vs Team American League event. I enjoyed the old way as you’d have a team representative on both sides in most years.
Most teams wind up with two representatives. I’m going to stick with picking one American-born player and one international player for the Reds this year. While there are no rules against a player being in the game multiple years, I’d rather not do that and let others experience everything that comes along with the game – even if it’s all a hypothetical exercise. So, if I were put in charge to make the decisions on who gets the honor this year, here is who I’d pick and why:
Nick Lodolo – Left-handed pitcher
One of the organization’s top prospects, the Reds first round pick from 2019 was dominant in his debut last year after the draft as he walked no one and struck out 30 batters in 18.1 innings between Billings and Dayton with a 2.45 ERA in the two stops. Without a season happening in the minor leagues right now, Lodolo is in Cincinnati as a part of the 60-man player pool roster.
So why does he get one of the spots? He’s the highest rated prospect that hasn’t been to the game – ranked second in the system. That helps. The other option I’m taking will be a position player, so Lodolo fits in well here.
Jose Garcia – Shortstop
The Reds #4 prospect, Jose Garcia, has been on the minds of Reds fans since he went on a tear in spring training before things were shut down. He posted a 130 OPS+ last season with the Daytona Tortugas, hitting a lead best 37 doubles to go along with a triple and eight homers. His .280/.343/.436 line was good enough for the 5th best OPS in the Florida State League. Like Lodolo, Garcia is among the players on the Reds 60-man player pool roster in Cincinnati.
Among international prospects in the organization, it’s Jose Garcia and then everyone else. The next highest rated prospect is Vladimir Gutierrez, who isn’t eligible for the game because he’s currently suspended – but even if he were, he’s rated in the teens on the list, while Garcia is a Top 100 prospect in minor league baseball and currently more highly regarded than any others on this side of things.