For the second straight year, the Royals will have two players representing the organization at the All-Star Futures Game, which will be played this year in Phoenix on July 10. On Thursday afternoon, Major League Baseball announced the game’s rosters, and NW Arkansas outfielder Wil Myers and relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera were among the 50 prospects selected to play in the game.
The Futures Game is played every year on the Sunday prior to the All-Star game, pitting a team of U.S.-born prospects against a squad of foreign-born talent. Wil Myers was selected to play for the U.S. team, while Kelvin Herrera will be the first Royals prospect since 2008 to suit up for the World club.
Myers entered the 2011 season as the Royals’ third-best prospect. The 20-year-old North Carolinian has played this season for the Double-A NW Arkansas Naturals, hitting .291/.361/.417 with three home runs, 10 doubles, and 14 RBIs in 151 at bats. Making the transition from catcher to the outfield this season, Myers missed over a month of the season while recovering from a knee injury and subsequent infection. Finally healthy, the young right-handed slugger has been hitting well of late, batting .368/.455/.526 with six doubles over his last 10 games.
This season has also been one of transition for Herrera. After a couple of seasons marred by arm trouble, the 21-year-old right-hander became a full-time reliever this year, and he took to the new duty immediately. Herrera began the season at High-A Wilmington, where he posted a 0.61 ERA in eight appearances and 14.2 innings pitched. The young flamethrower was promoted to NW Arkansas in early May, and by some measures he’s been even better at the more advanced level. In 14 games with the Naturals, Herrera is 2-0 with four saves and a 1.74 ERA. Most impressively, he has fanned 28 batters in 20.2 innings pitched while issuing just one walk.
Indeed, command of plus stuff has allowed Herrera to strike out 40 batters between the two levels while surrendering just three walks and 23 hits in 35.1 innings pitched. He has held his opponents this year to a paltry .184 batting average.
At last year’s Futures Game, the U.S. team prevailed over the World, 9-1. Starting first baseman Eric Hosmer finished the game 4-for-5 with a double and two RBIs, but Angels catcher Hank Conger ultimately was named as the game’s MVP.
Recent Royals Futures Game selections:
2010: Eric Hosmer (U.S.), Mike Moustakas (U.S.)
2009: Danny Duffy (U.S.)
2008: Julio Pimentel (World)
2007: Luke Hochevar (U.S.)
2006: Billy Butler*(U.S.), Alex Gordon (U.S.)
2005: Justin Huber* (World)
2004: Andres Blanco (World), Ruben Gotay (World)
2003: Zack Greinke (U.S.), Alexis Gomez (World)
*-Denotes Futures Game MVP