Before the 2011 Home Run Derby and the 2011 MLB All-Star Game take place, the 2011 Futures Game will get underway on Sunday, July 10, at Chase Field, home to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Representing the Colorado Rockies this year will be third baseman Nolan Arenado and catcher Wilin Rosario.
Arenado was selected in the second round of the 2009 draft and he's been hitting his way through the minors ever since. In 2011, he is a member of the Hi-A Modesto Nuts, hitting .283/.327/.418 with six home runs. The six home runs don't show it, Arenado is expected to be a power bat in the lineup. Whether he winds up across the diamond or remains to be seen, he will need to play his way off the position. With Ian Stewart struggling to fix things and Todd Helton aging, there are definitely spots open on the roster for Arenado in a couple of years. This will be his first appearance.
Making his second appearance, Rosario appeared in 2010's game to much fanfare over his defense then. Had he not torn his ACL a month or so after his appearance in the Futures Game, Rosario may have forced his way into Rockies' major league lineup. Returning to Tulsa, Rosario, 22, has 11 home runs and hitting .263 with a .772 OPS. His future appears bright.
The Futures Game has been played since 1999. Current Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook appeared in 2002 and then made the All-Star Game in 2008. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was selected in 2006 and made, but missed due to injury, the 2001 All-Star Game. Chris Iannetta, Eric Young Jr., and Jhoulys Chacin were others who appeared in the Futures Game as a Rockies prospect.
For more on Rockies prospects, visit Purple Row.