Due to the excitement of what was happening at Coors Field on Sunday, it’s easy to forgive the Rockies fan who either didn’t realize or didn’t care that the 2017 Futures Game was being played at the same time. Even MLB Network made the call to flip over to the Kyle Freeland’s no-hitter attempt during the ninth inning and leave the Futures Game without television coverage for a short while. However, the Futures Game had its own share of excitement and a lot of that was thanks to a pair of Rockies prospects.
In its superlatives after the game, Baseball America gave Brendan Rodgers the award for “Best All-Around Performance.” Rodgers singled, walked, and hit a sacrifice fly in three plate appearances. The hit came against Yankees prospect Domingo Acevedo’s 96 mph fastball.
Brendan Rodgers hitting a single in the Futures Game pic.twitter.com/S15joLQNUw— Eric Garcia McKinley (@garcia_mckinley) July 9, 2017
One does not earn the title of best all-around performance without flashing some leather, though. Thanks to the Rockies’ focus on developing positional versatility in the minors, Rodgers had no issues playing second base instead of his customary shortstop. In the top of the third inning, Rodgers caught a 105.5 mph one-hopper to his backhand side and made it look easy.
Rodgers wasn’t the only Rockies prospect making flashy plays with the glove. Ryan McMahon came into the game in the sixth inning at first base and had two plate appearances, going 0-for-1 with a walk. However, in the ninth inning McMahon made his mark on the game and helped Team U.S. escape with the win. With one out and a runner on first base, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. popped a ball up that appeared to be headed out of play before McMahon made the defensive play of the day.
McMahon didn’t stop there. With two outs, A.J. Puk gave up back-to-back singles that, combined with some sloppy defense, allowed the World Team to get within one run. Puk then managed to get a soft grounder to third baseman Brian Anderson, who made a poor throw to first base. However, McMahon was ready to flash the leather again with an athletic play.
Both McMahon and Rodgers have demonstrated their offensive prowess this season while earning promotions before the midpoint of the season, and it’s nice to see that their defense is not lagging behind in development.