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That was the future I was promised as a kid. It has not come to pass.
Not even close. No flying cars, no vacation spots on the moon, no nothing, just the same old same old. And considering that we live in a time where many people think science is an ugly rumor that should be hidden from children there seems scant hope of any of that stuff coming to pass while I’m extant.
In other words, it is with a jaundiced eye that I view any form of pronostication.
But prognosticate we must. It is the only way humans have to shape the future. We figure out what we want then figure out how t make it with what we have and then we define a plan to get us where we want to be.
Major League Baseball is no different. The youths of today are their stars of tomorrow. And you can see those future stars on July 8 in Kansas City, or by watching them on TV at 4:00 PM Central Time.
Both the Cubs and the Sox are represented this year, so let’s look at the future of each club.
We’ll start with the Cubs.
Jae-Hoon Ha made quite an impression on Cubs outfield coach Dave McKay in Spring Training.
“I saw a guy who has a chance to be a great outfielder,” McKay said of Ha, 21.
Ha will get a chance to show off his baseball talents in the 2012 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, which will be held July 8 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. The game will feature the top Minor League prospects, and Ha will represent the Cubs on the World Team against the U.S. squad.
“He has great speed, a great feel on the bases,” McKay said of Ha, who is playing for Double-A Tennessee this year. “Sometimes you have guys who have speed and a lot of talent but they don’t have that feel. The instincts aren’t there and the harder they try, the more mistakes they make. [Ha] has got good instincts.
“After spending a short time with him, I thought, ‘Here’s a guy you’re going to see a lot of down the road.’
Spend a short time with the South Korean outfielder, and he’s sure to make you laugh. Ha does imitations of some of the players, including top prospect Brett Jackson, and he can mimic Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio’s bow-legged walk.
There’s something else you should know about Ha—he can sing.
“He’s got a great voice,” McKay said. “He could go on a talent show and do well. He can sing. [Cubs manager Dale Sveum] got him to sing in front of the team one time.”
Cubs outfielder Tony Campana wasn’t sure whether to approach Ha because Campana didn’t know if Ha spoke English.
“He’ll come up to you,” Campana said. “He’s not shy to come up and show he can talk. He’ll sing to you. He likes getting laughs out of you.
“He’ll bust it out anywhere,” Campana said. “He’s just a funny guy.”
OK, he can sing and laugh. Can he play?
“He can really play, too,” Campana said. “He can hit, he’s got some pop, he can run, and he plays really good defense.”
In 66 games with Tennessee through Wednesday, Ha was batting .256 with two home runs, 16 doubles, one triple and 20 RBIs. This is his fourth season in the Cubs organization after he was signed as a non-drafted free agent in September 2008.
Yes, you read that right. A light hitting, low average, hitter with a great personality is the pick to click for the Cubs. It’s a good thing that he’s funny, because I doubt fans will be laughing.
Let’s spin over to The Cell and see if the Sox’ next great hope is any different.
In looking for the top young players throughout the White Sox organization, the focus should immediately go to the Major League roster.
There’s Chris Sale, 23, who is one of the early favorites to start for the American League at the 2012 All-Star Game in Kansas City. There’s fellow rotation-mate Jose Quintana, 23, who has filled in for injured starter John Danks with great success.
Move to the position players and Gordon Beckham, 25, anchors the infield at second base, with Dayan Viciedo, 23, providing power in left. And don’t forget the bullpen featuring closer Addison Reed, 23, Nate Jones, 26, and Hector Santiago, 24.
That’s quite a contribution for a team sitting at or near the top of the American League Central for much of the last month. Go beyond the White Sox top rung, though, and there’s more talent that could be on the way in the next couple of years.
One of those players, infielder Carlos Sanchez, has been selected to represent the White Sox as part of the World Team for the annual Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
Sanchez doesn’t turn 20 until June 29, but he already has played within the White Sox system for parts of four seasons. The switch-hitting infielder, signed as a free agent out of Venezuela on May 6, 2009, was with the Dominican Summer League White Sox in ‘09 and ‘10 and split the ‘11 season between Bristol and Class A Kannapolis, where he hit .286 with 30 RBIs and 48 runs scored over 68 games.
During the present campaign, the 5-foot-11, 175-pounder is batting .327 for Class A Winston-Salem and ranks fourth in the Carolina League in average while sitting No. 1 with 85 hits. Sanchez has 41 runs, 32 RBIs and 11 stolen bases and has split his defensive time between shortstop (39 games) and second base (27).
Former Yankees great Bernie Williams will manage Sanchez and the World Team.
Okay, that’s much better. Although it might help is he could dance or something. I’d hate to have a boring clubhouse.
The 14th annual Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game can be seen live on MLB.TV, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com’s Gameday on July 8 at 5 p.m. ET. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio XM 89. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game. Fans can stay updated by following @MLBFutures on Twitter and can send/receive tweets to/from the U.S. and World team dugouts during the game by following @USDugout and @WorldDugout.
Major League Baseball, along with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, MLB.com, Baseball America and the 30 Major League baseball clubs, selected the 25-man rosters.
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