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The Road to The Show™: Futures Game rosters

Holliday, Lawlar among stars to watch at prospect showcase
June 27, 2023

Each week, profiles an elite prospect by chronicling the steps he's taken toward achieving his Major League dream. For more stories about players on The Road to The Show, click here. A marquee event on the baseball calendar has come into focus with Monday’s announcement of the 2023 SiriusXM

Each week, profiles an elite prospect by chronicling the steps he's taken toward achieving his Major League dream. For more stories about players on The Road to The Show, click here.

A marquee event on the baseball calendar has come into focus with Monday’s announcement of the 2023 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game rosters.

The 24th edition of the prospect showcase is set to take place during All-Star Week at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park on Saturday, July 8, at 7 p.m. ET. The game will be a seven-inning contest between the American League and National League’s best prospects. The coaching staff for each squad will be filled with Mariners greats as Harold Reynolds is set to manage the AL side against NL skipper Raul Ibañez.

More than half of the 50 players selected to Futures Game rosters appear on MLB Pipeline’s newly updated Top 100 prospects list. The rosters are filled with top Draft picks, breakout prospects and players who have participated in Development Programs led by MLB and USA Baseball.

Here’s a primer on some of the stars to keep an eye out for at this year’s Futures Game.

Action Jacksons

The two highest-ranking prospects currently in the Minors have much in common. Both 19-year-olds will be in Seattle for the prospect showcase. They’re also both named Jackson.

The Orioles’ Jackson Holliday, MLB Pipeline’s No. 1 overall prospect, will suit up for the AL against the Brewers’ Jackson Chourio, who ranks No. 3. It will be the first Futures Game for Holliday, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 Draft, while Chourio will participate for the second consecutive year after playing in last year’s contest at Dodger Stadium.

Holliday made quick work of Carolina League pitching with Single-A Delmarva before being elevated to High-A Aberdeen at the end of April. He’s maintained a .303 batting average and .936 OPS in 49 games since the promotion, and the natural shortstop has recently taken his first reps at the hot corner.

After climbing three levels in his first full season, Chourio is settling in with Double-A Biloxi. His current numbers don’t reflect the type of electricity the Maracaibo, Venezuela, native brings to each facet of the game. He was also the youngest player in the Southern League on Opening Day.

High-profile debutants, returning stars

Among MLB Pipeline’s Top 10 overall prospects, eight are either current Major Leaguers or Futures Game participants.

Boston’s Marcelo Mayer (No. 4) and the Nationals’ James Wood (No. 5) will each be playing in their first Futures Game, while the D-backs' Jordan Lawlar (No. 6) and Cubs’ Pete Crow-Armstrong (No. 9) will both be participating in the prospect showcase for the second season in a row.

Mayer and Wood have more than just a Futures Game debut in common. Both were promoted from High-A to Double-A at the end of May. Since then, neither prospect has really caught fire at their new level. Mayer is batting .177 with a .676 OPS for Double-A Portland, but he’s hit three of his five Eastern League homers in his past nine games.

Since being promoted, Wood is batting .236/.324/.461 with 11 extra-base hits and 16 RBIs in 24 games for Double-A Harrisburg. He also made the play of the week in center field earlier this month.

Lawlar and Crow-Armstrong are both enjoying successful seasons overall, which have been entirely spent at the Double-A level. Lawlar has been red-hot in June for Amarillo, batting .325 with a .980 OPS, 13 extra-base hits, including four homers, 11 RBIs and 21 runs scored in 20 games. The Nationwide Road to the Show Ambassador also has 20 stolen bases on the season.

Crow-Armstrong has been more consistent over 53 total games with Tennessee. The 21-year-old is batting .280/.363/.491 with nine homers, 45 RBIs and 19 stolen bases. Crow-Armstrong, who was a Gold Glove recipient in 2022, has mostly stayed in center field but has manned all three outfield positions for the Smokies this season.

One and done

It takes a little longer for some prospects to earn the spotlight. The Orioles’ Heston Kjerstad (No. 39 overall) and Rangers’ Owen White (No. 47) have each had an interesting, often difficult journey to their first Futures Game. But it’s likely that this Futures Game will be their last – and only for the best of reasons.

White started the season with Double-A Frisco and bypassed Triple-A to be called up for his Major League debut on June 13. The right-hander pitched two innings of relief in his lone appearance before being optioned to Triple-A Round Rock. Following his Pacific Coast League debut last week, White has a 3.52 ERA with 52 strikeouts over 61 ⅔ innings this season.

Kjerstad, the No. 2 overall pick in 2020, had his professional debut delayed after discovering he had chronic myocarditis, a viral inflammation of the heart. He opened the season with Double-A Bowie and earned a promotion to Triple-A Norfolk at the beginning of June. He’s remained consistent through his first two weeks of International League play and is batting .304/.377/.579 with 15 homers, 15 doubles and 42 runs scored overall.

Both players are candidates to help their clubs during a late-season postseason push and should at least challenge for a spot on the Opening Day roster in 2024.

Remember the name

The Futures Game not only showcases the sport’s highest-ranking prospects, but also those under-the-radar youngsters who have achieved undeniable success at the Minor League level. The Cardinals’ Victor Scott II and Guardians’ Joey Cantillo are two Futures Game debutants who may one day be household names.

Playing in his first full season with High-A Peoria, Scott, the Cardinals’ No. 25 prospect, currently leads all Minor Leaguers with 50 stolen bases. The 22-year-old center fielder is batting .282 with a .763 OPS, 19 extra-base hits and 28 RBIs.

Cantillo, the Guardians' No. 15 prospect, has finally landed on the doorstep of the Major Leagues with Triple-A Columbus. Originally drafted by the Padres in the 16th round of the 2017 Draft, Cantillo came to Cleveland as part of the Mike Clevinger deal in 2020. The 6-foot-4 left-hander held a 1.93 ERA over 14 appearances with Double-A Akron last year and was just as brilliant in his return to the level at the start of 2023. He was promoted to Columbus in May and has maintained a season-long 3.55 ERA with 74 strikeouts in 58 ⅓ innings.

Gerard Gilberto is a reporter for