D-backs prospect Davidson named Futures Game MVP
NEW YORK (AP) — Matt Davidson was overwhelmed when a Hall of Fame representative stopped by and asked for some game-used equipment to display in Cooperstown.
Batting helmet? Sure thing.
Batting gloves? Here `ya go.
But not his bat, Davidson said. No, sir. He needs to hang onto that.
Down in the minor leagues, supplies are limited.
“The Hall of Fame wanted to take one of my bats, and I told them I’m on an unbelievable pace for breaking bats. I broke about 40 this year. It’s unreal,” the budding Arizona Diamondbacks slugger said. “So I don’t know what it is. But I was like, I’ve got to have this. I mean, I’ve got to make the season still. And I hit a homer with it, so I better keep it. It’s lucky.”
Davidson hit a two-run shot Sunday that sent the United States past the World Team 4-2 in the All-Star Futures Game, baseball’s annual showcase for top minor league prospects.
The opening event for three days of All-Star festivities at Citi Field, the Futures Game certainly had a New York Mets flavor in their home ballpark. Two of the team’s touted pitching prospects, Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero, started on the mound, and each worked a scoreless inning.
“It was a glimpse into the future, not just for us, but for our fans. It’s real positive,” general manager Sandy Alderson said.
Both managers were former Mets favorites, too. Edgardo Alfonzo guided the World Team, and his counterpart was Mookie Wilson — who certainly took the job seriously. He brought in Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Jesse Biddle in the middle of an inning to get out of a jam.
New York outfielder Brandon Nimmo also got in the game — and moved into captain David Wright’s locker for the day.
“I’m honored that I get to stand where he stands. I’m not taking his place or anything,” Nimmo said. “I hope this is my field in the future.”
The only other time the Mets hosted the All-Star game was in Shea Stadium’s debut season of 1964. And while a scattered crowd announced at 39,188 was eager to see the promise of a better future, it turned into a big day for the Diamondbacks.
In addition to Davidson’s drive, Chris Owings looked silky smooth at shortstop. On the mound, right-hander Archie Bradley worked a perfect inning, showing off his 98 mph fastball and sharp curve.
Baseball America recently rated Bradley the game’s top pitching prospect. He passed up a chance to play quarterback for Oklahoma back home.
“It kind of felt like we stole the show a little bit,” Bradley said.
After winning MVP honors with his family and girlfriend in the stands, Davidson found himself in the Mets clubhouse handing over his helmet and batting gloves to Brad Horn from the Hall of Fame.
It was a little surreal for a 22-year-old third baseman still eager to set foot in the majors.
“Pretty crazy,” Davidson said. “I mean, I don’t have any words for that yet. Those are like little kid dreams.”
Next up, Davidson planned to catch an early flight Monday back to Nevada, where he’s scheduled to compete that night in the Triple-A Home Run Derby.
“So I’ve got to get some rest and then fly over to Reno and then get warmed up for that. I’m excited about it, though. When you’re in the offseason working out, you want to have a busy All-Star break. So I guess I got my wish. A little busier than I thought,” he said.
Miami’s Christian Yelich and Boston’s Garin Cecchini each had an RBI double. Biddle, who grew up a Phillies fan in Philadelphia, earned the win with 1 1-3 shutout innings. Washington right-hander A.J. Cole came in with two runners on in the ninth and retired both batters he faced for a save.
Davidson connected off losing pitcher Michael Ynoa of the Oakland Athletics.
“I couldn’t help but smile coming around third,” Davidson said. “That’s far beyond how I drew it up.”
Chicago Cubs second baseman Arismendy Alcantara homered for the World off Red Sox right-hander Anthony Ranaudo.
Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts, batting third in the World lineup, singled twice and scored on a sacrifice fly by 27-year-old Detroit first baseman Jordan Lennerton, the oldest player in the game.
It was the fourth consecutive victory for the United States, including last season’s 17-5 rout in Kansas City behind Manny Machado, Gerrit Cole and Wil Myers.
One year later, Machado is a major league All-Star, while Cole and Myers are off to impressive starts at the big league level.
Indeed, history shows that many of the talented kids in this game aren’t far off from major league success. Nineteen players from last year’s Futures Game have reached the big leagues this season.
“Words can’t describe how much fun it was,” Syndergaard said. “It was awesome.”