There are about a half-dozen easily reparable problems with the Futures Game, not least of which is that it's scheduled against a full slate of games on a Sunday afternoon. What should be a showcase of the next generation of All-Stars -- "This year, they play on Sunday. Soon, they'll play on Tuesday!" -- ends up as something of an afterthought, as baseball fans around the country are much more likely to be watching their hometown favorites do battle on the last day before the break.
Those fans who do tune in, or who are lucky enough to be in the house for the kickoff of All-Star Week, are treated to some entertaining individual performances from some of the top prospects in the game. Like the Arizona Fall League, the Futures Game can fall a bit short of the hype due to the appearance of some second- and third-line players, a problem exacerbated this year by USA Baseball's desire to use the game as a tryout for the Olympic team. There's also the fact that it's clearly an exhibition; at any given moment, it was 50/50 whether anyone on the field or in the stands would know the score.
That's what makes the Futures Game great. It is, to borrow a phrase from my colleague
Other players worth writing about, for one reason or another:
Remember two things as you read on: it's one day, and I am not a scout.
I can't emphasize what an eye-opener this was. I'm not going to sit here and say that performance analysis is invalid and I'm headed over to start a Web site devoted to the advancement of scouts, but the gap between what a player does and how he does it -- and what that means for his future -- was really put into stark relief by watching Inman.