The All-Star break unofficially officially starts tonight with the MLB Futures Game taking place at Progressive Field.
Here’s how to watch:
What: The MLB Futures Game — an All-Star Game of sorts for some of the best prospects in baseball.
Where: MLB Network
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
Why: Aside from the excitement of the game taking place in Cleveland, this year’s Futures Game has a new twist to it. Instead of being USA vs. The World as it had been since its inauguration in 1999, a new AL vs. NL format will debut. Which makes a whole heck of a lot more sense.
For the American League squad, the Indians will be represented by third base prospect Nolan Jones and outfielder Daniel Johnson. They probably have a few pitchers worthy of an appearance, but Futures Games rules limit rosters to a maximum of two prospects per organization.
Jones is a 21-year-old drafted by the Tribe in the 2016 amateur draft in the second round. This season with the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats, he’s slashed .286/.435/.425 with seven home runs and five stolen bases.
By far, Jones’ best attribute is his patience at the plate. Who knows if it’ll actually translate to the majors, but he has sported a 20% walk rate in 107 career games at High-A. He is expected to be promoted to Double-A following the Futures Game, and we could expect to see him in Cleveland sometime in 2020 or 2021. If you’d like to learn about Jones, check out Brian Hemminger’s interview with him.
So Jones is still a year or two off from debuting, but the other Futures Game representative, Daniel Johnson, looks like he’s major league ready right now.
Part of the offseason trade that saw Yan Gomes head to the Nationals and opened the door for Roberto Pérez to take over as starting catcher, Daniel Johnson has just been icing on the cake for the Indians this season. The 23-year-old has an 80-grade arm according to FanGraphs and has put up a bat to match it this season. In 38 games with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers, Johnson has slashed .292/.374/.500 with four home runs and four stolen bases.
Jones will be starting at third base for the AL Team tonight, while Johnson will be the team’s DH.