Minor League Baseball announced the All-Star Futures Game rosters on Wednesday, and San Francisco Giants prospects Nick Pereira and Pablo Sandoval were among the top minor league players invited to play in Pittsburgh this July. Pereira was selected to play for the U.S. team, and Sandoval will play for the world team.
Pereira, 23, has been a pleasant surprise for the Giants in his first full season in the minors. A 10th round pick in 2005 out of the University of San Francisco, Pereira was promoted to High-A San Jose to start this season, and responded by dominating the California League, going 7-1 with a 2.06 ERA, and 76 strikeouts against 16 walks in 78.2 innings. Pereira was promoted to Triple-A Fresno this week, and was roughed up in his first start, giving up 5 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks in 6.1 innings, and giving up twice as many home runs (2) as he had given up in his entire professional career (129 IP) before the game. Pereira was ranked #48 by SFDugout.com in the preseason Top 50 Prospects.
Sandoval, 19, has played this season in Low-A Augusta. He has struggled a little this season after emerging as a top prospect out of Salem-Keizer in the short season Northwest league in 2005. After batting .330 with 15 doubles, 2 triples, and 3 home runs in 75 games in 2005, Sandoval has batting .259 with 12 doubles, 1 triple and 1 home run in 55 games at Augusta. He has also changed positions for the 2nd time in three years. He was a catcher in 2004 with the rookie league team in Arizona, but played third in Salem-Keizer in 2005. This season, he was moved to first base in April and has played there consistently since. Sandoval is one of 6 players from Venezuela selected to play, tied for most for a country on the World Team with the Dominican Republic.
The All-Star Futures Game is Major League Baseball’s showcase of top prospects during the festivities at All-Star weekend. Each team has 25 players selected by the clubs and Baseball America to appear. The Giants were one of 20 teams to have 2 players selected this year. The game will be held at PNC Park on All-Star Sunday at 1 p.m. PT, and can be seen on ESPN2.
2 current major leaguers on the Giants are Futures game veterans. In 2005, SS Marcus Sanders and RHP Merkin Valdez were selected to play in the Futures Game, but Sanders could not play due to injury, so Kevin Frandsen went to play in his place. In 2004, the Giants sent Matt Cain.
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