The All-Star Futures Game is probably my favorite part of the midsummer classic festivities, because the young players on the verge of something special exude so much optimism and enthusiasm, yet most are pretty grounded and willing to give honest answers in interviews. I arrived at New York's Citi Field early enough Sunday morning to talk to several of these players and watch the impressive displays in batting practice. I left impressed, and not just with their physical gifts.
The first player I wanted to speak with was Houston Astros outfielder George Springer, who certainly isn't the best-known prospect in the game, but fantasy owners really need to know who he is before he makes his big league debut. I asked Springer if he knew who the last minor league player was to produce a 30-homer, 30-steal season, and he didn't. Most of my colleagues didn't know and, full disclosure, I had to look it up before the weekend! It was then-Oakland Athletics outfielder Grant Desme back in 2009. He soon left baseball to become a priest. Springer laughed upon hearing that, but with 26 home runs and 28 stolen bases already -- nobody in the big leagues is close to 20/20 so far -- his numbers are indeed heavenly, and quite tantalizing for fantasy owners.