MLB’s 20th Futures Game at Nationals Park on Saturday was indeed that — a glimpse into the multicultural future of the sport.
Eight African-American players shined on the US Team, which was managed by five-time All-Star and nine-time Gold Glove Torii Hunter. The game featured 19 of baseball’s Top 100 Prospects and most of them showed out with captivating displays of speed, power, defensive ability and personality in helping the US Team defeat the World Team for the ninth time in ten years.
MLB Futures Game 2018: USA continues dominance with 10-6 victory over World Team | MLB – https://t.co/zz59nDTN4L
So much is made of baseballs low numbers as it pertains to African-Americans on MLB rosters. The mix of future games players and the abundance of ballers of color throws a curveball in the “black guys don’t play baseball” rhetoric that is often circulated by the media.
We saw an eclectic group of players on the field,” said MLB Network analyst and former MLB player Harold Reynolds. So many people are talking about the numbers (of African-American baseball players) are down. I think this will start a trend.
A knock on baseball is that it doesn’t know how to promote its superstars, particularly the African-American players. But The Future Games showed everyone how it’s done.
Taylor Trammell is your 2018 @SiriusXM All-Star #FuturesGame MVP! Congrats, @Taytram24! #RedsMiLB
The interaction in the dugout, the team support and the swag all produced great television. And, most fittingly, one of the young Black Knights, Taylor Trammell, hit a home run and a triple en route to winning the 2018 Larry Doby Future Games MVP trophy.
Pretty Awesome to see a kid who used to play for me, who used to hit with me do this is the MLB Futures game! Keep Grinding @Taytram24 still see that sweet swing! https://t.co/sUnMONH0wn
Flanked by Tony Reagins, Executive Vice President of Baseball & Softball Development, the 6-foot-2 195-pound Trammell thanked God for the blessings, MLB for the opportunity to showcase his talents and the Cincinnati Reds for drafting him in 2016 with the No. 34 overall pick.
Im just happy to be here,” said Trammell, who provided some comedy relief in the top of the ninth inning when he thought he hit a homer to center field and threw the dugout the deuces to signify his second homer of the day, only to have to end up high tailing it to third when the ball hit the center field wall. All of his teammates and the announcers got a kick out of it.
“That’s going to be on TV forever,” said Hunter when the cameras flashed on his dugout reaction. “He threw deuces.”
No one was happier than Reagins to see the African-American players flourish. Reagins, promoted in March by MLB, is responsible for overseeing the growth of youth and amateur levels of the sport, both domestically and internationally. The solid representation of Black Knights in The Futures Game further magnifies the importance of Reagins and his job.
Trammell stole the show from fellow Reds farmhand and highly-touted two-way phenom, Hunter Greene. Greene was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft and is expected to be the Black Shohei Ohtani when he reaches the league. High expectations to say the least.
In addition to Trammell and Greene, the game featured other exciting Black players such as:
LA Angels speedy outfielder Jo Adell, the No. 11 overall pick of the 2017 Draft.
Hi Jo, hi Jo, it’s off to work you go! We’re excited to see how @joadell25 represents the #Angels in the 2018 Futures Game!
Twenty-three year-old Seattle Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis, the No. 11 overall pick in 2016.
The story behind the rise of Mercer Outfielder and 2016 MLB Draft Prospect, Kyle Lewis. Created by: Amanda Irvine
San Diego Padres multi-tool killer Buddy Reed, a charismatic and energetic center fielder from the Bronx who was selected in the second round of the 2016 MLB June Amateur Draft.
Buddy Reed #FuturesGame https://t.co/GWSP0IVeZi
“Touki” Toussaint, who moved to Haiti at the age of three and then back to the states at six years old, joins Greene and top Yankees prospect Justus Sheffield, a 2014 first-round pick of the Cleveland Indians, as the three African-American pitchers on the U.S. Team.
Hunter Greene, the @Reds’ top pitching prospect, was bringing the in the #Futures game: Fastballs thrown: 19 Fastballs over 100 MPH: 19 Watch live: https://t.co/oIijGGoWrr https://t.co/07XBRFWvEI
Touki is in the Braves organization and was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft.
Touki Toussaint in to pitch the 8th for the World. He only found out he was pitching in the Futures Game yesterday at 3 pm. When his farm director called, Toussaint first thought he had been traded. On Touki’s late bid, and the breakout season behind it https://t.co/Y9RiEZq1q6
Ke’Bryan Hayes is another young Black Knight who participated in The Future Games on Saturday. Hayes, son of 1996 Yankees World Series champion Charlie Hayes, hit one of the eight homers launched in the game.
Young Hayes! #Pirates’ Ke’Bryan Hayes, son of 1996 World Series champion Charlie (@ball2ear), making it look easy with a 2-run in the #FuturesGame. Watch live: https://t.co/oIijGG7lzT
Most people will probably overlook the significance of this years Futures Game as most fans don’t watch the game, but it was a watershed moment that gave everyone a glimpse into the future of baseball and all of the young Black Knights that MLB has coming down the pike in the near future.