SAN FRANCISCO -- Major League Baseball's Futures Game will be played in a different format this year, but it also might be time for a new name. The future comes pretty quickly these days.
Last year's Futures Game included Pete Alonso, Fernando Tatis Jr. and many others who already have gotten a taste, or much more, of big league life. Alonso is an All-Star less than a year after participating, and Tatis Jr. easily would have been had he stayed healthy the whole first half.
The 2018 game also featured Shaun Anderson, who was promoted earlier than expected this season and now is a fixture in the Giants' rotation. With teams shying away from free agency, more and more young players are being given a chance to carry a heavy load.
The Giants are hopeful that their two selections this year can help accelerate the rebuild.
Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos are the organization's top two prospects, and both were chosen for this year's Futures Game, which will be played Sunday at 7 p.m. (ET) in Cleveland and will have a National League vs. American League format after 20 years of top American prospects facing those originally from other countries.
Manager Bruce Bochy said he plans to watch Bart and Ramos in action, and if the Giants still are going when the Futures Game starts, he intends to get a recording. While Bochy almost certainly won't manage either player, he has had both of them in camp at times and keeps tabs through San Jose manager Billy Hayes, a longtime member of the big league staff.
"He likes them a lot," Bochy said. "He's excited about those two and how good they can be potentially and how good they are now. It's a shame Bart had a little setback, but he's getting back in the flow of things."
Bart, 22, seemed to be pushing for a September call-up before fracturing his left hand two weeks into April. It took him a while to get back in gear once he returned, but he recently put together an eight-game hitting streak. Bart has a .747 OPS overall, with six homers and 21 RBI in 33 games. The Giants are most excited about his development behind the plate and view him as someone who will shut down running games at the big league level.
Ramos, still just 19, missed time with a knee injury but has put up eye-opening stats in his first season in the California League. The outfielder has a .298/.381/.497 slash line with nine homers and 11 doubles in 191 at-bats. Ramos is participating in the Futures Game for the second straight year.