Being selected to play in the MLB Futures Game on All-Star weekend is one of the highest honors a minor league player can receive. Brooklyn Cyclones catcher Francisco Alvarez and third baseman Brett Baty represented the New York Mets when the best Nation- al League prospects played the best in the American League at Coors Field in Denver July 11.
This was a first time the Cyclones affiliate had players selected for the game. MLB and each team’s player development staff decide player selection, which is often a springboard to the majors. Such was the case for the Mets’ Pete Alonso in the 2018 game. The former Cyclone hit a 400-foot home run to carry the USA Team to a 10-6 win over the World Team.
Cyclones manager Ed Blankmeyer praised Alvarez, the Mets’ No. 1 prospect, during a postgame interview two weeks before the Fu- tures Game.
“He’s doing really well at a very demand- ing position and has good catching instincts,” Blankmeyer said. “He has been hitting well and handles the staff with good pitch calling. His promotion from Low-A St. Lucie was very well earned.”
After hitting .417 in 15 games in Florida, Alvarez was called up to Brooklyn in late May and has a combined .321 average and nine home runs across two minor league levels. The 19-year-old is the youngest player in High-A.
Baty, 21, is the Mets’ No. 4 prospect. The organization’s 2019 first-round draft pick has been Brooklyn’s leading hitter with a .312 average and a .409 OBP. Baty is noted for his overall consistency and his ability to be selective in the strike zone, and Blankmeyer says he improves on offense and defense each day.
At the Futures Game, Alvarez put the icing on the cake for his team by stroking a solo home run in an 8-3 win. Although Baty didn’t get a hit during his two times at bat, his first- half performance earned him a promotion to Double-A Binghamton for what could be the start of a fast track to Flushing. He has fans wondering if he’s the second coming of Da- vid Wright.