Scouting the Futures Game for deals
July, 10, 2011
By Jim Bowden | ESPN.com
The 13th anniversary of the XM All-Star Futures Game this weekend in Phoenix is a unique opportunity for general managers, assistant GMs, scouting directors, scouts and top evaluators to see the best major league prospects in baseball in one game. During my years as a GM, I always sent at least two of my top evaluators to the game and made it a must-watch for myself for the years I attended the games, starting with the first Futures Game in 1999 at Fenway Park in Boston. Last year, a record 38 All-Stars were alumni of the Futures Game. Seven players who have appeared in this special game were part of an AL or NL All-Star team the next year, including players like Jason Heyward, Evan Longoria and Neftali Feliz.
This game is also an opportunity for “sellers” to scout key players for the trade deadline, which is just three weeks away. The media and fans always tend to focus on the players who could be traded at the deadline from the major league level, like this year’s rumors that surround the Padres’ Heath Bell, the Mets’ Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez or the Astros’ Wandy Rodriguez. However, those teams are hoping to acquire in return future major league All-Star-caliber players who might be one to four years from playing in the major leagues.