Indians prospects Francisco Lindor and Jesus Aguilar were named to the World Team for the 2012 MLB Futures Game in Kansas City today. The Futures Game will be held on Sunday, July 8th at 5pm and air on ESPN2. The Futures Game has become my favorite part of all-star weekend, far surpassing the actual MLB All-Star game itself. The players try hard, all of them consider it an honor to be there, and it's an opportuinity for me to get a great look at some great players that I've only been able to read about in the past. I've seen both Lindor and Aguilar in action of course, but getting a chance to see Dylan Bundy, Jurickson Profar, Billy Hamilton, Wil Meyers and others is a rare treat that should be taken advantage of by any baseball fan.
Lindor of course was the Indians 1st round pick last year and has been playing an outstanding shortstop for the low-A Lake County Captains. He's been playing gold glove defense while hitting a solid .285/.369/.410 with 4 HR, 23 RBI and 14 SB. Most impressively, he's doing it as an 18-year old playing against competition that's generally 2-3 years older than he is. Lindor was my #1 prospect in the Indians organization this offseason, and barring an unforseen catastrophe will garner the same honor come the spring of 2013.
Aguilar, who I refer to as Big, Bad Jesus Aguilar for his imposing stature at the plate, has been the high-A Carolina Mudcats first baseman this season. He's hitting .295/.378/.469 with 6 HR and 30 RBI. The AVG and OBP lead the Mudcats, and his SLG and OPS are 2nd on the team to Jeremie Tice. His OPS is actually 9th in the entire Carolina League, which helps show just how difficult that league is on hitters. Aguilar was my #15 prospect in the organization this offseason, and if he can maintain those numbers for all of 2012, he'll take a nice leap forward next year.
In what is becoming a somewhat rare treat, I completely agree with the MLB selections of both Lindor and Aguilar. If I got to pick the players that the Indians get to send to KC, those are the two players I would have chosen. Lindor is one of the top prospects in all of baseball, and Aguilar has impressive raw power that he'll enjoy showing off in BP and hopefully in the game as well. They're exciting players, and will do a great job showcasing the Indians organization to fans around the world on television. For example, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus was in attendance for the Midwest League All-Star game and got to see Lindor play there. Here's what he had to say about the young SS:
"Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor remains a joy to watch. He went 2-for-4 with a run, RBI and stolen base on Tuesday, but again, it's his defense that makes him stand out. He began an inning-ending double play on one of those groundballs where you think to yourself, “that's maybe a double play in the big leagues, but almost never in the Midwest League.” He has great instincts, great hands and great actions."
He's already one of my favorite players in the organization, and he's yet to play a game above low-A. If you haven't had the chance to see Lindor or Aguilar play yet, do yourself a favor and set up your DVR for the game and enjoy some quality baseball on all-star weekend.
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