MLBbro.com is always on the watch for the next Aaron Judge, Mookie Betts or Marcus Stroman to wow us with their superstar abilities.
And the next chance to peek into the future is during the All-Star festivities in Seattle at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on July 8th.
The All-Star Futures Game, which started in 2019 to replace the U.S. vs. The World game, will feature the top minor league players in a National League vs. American League format.
The respective rosters went public earlier this week and were announced on various Major League Baseball media platforms such as MLB Network Radio and MLB TV.
MLBbro and Seattle Mariners Icon, Harold Reynolds who will manage the American League Futures team, discussed the upcoming game on MLB TV.
Melanated Mound Marauders On Deck
Here at MLBbro.com, we’ll be keeping a close eye on two pitchers who will be part of the festivities.
J.P. Massey will be representing the Pittsburgh Pirates while Tink Hence puts his talents on display wearing the St. Louis Cardinals colors.
Seven of the players playing in the game have participated in MLB and USA Baseball development programs. MLBbro pitcher J.P. Massey played in the Breakthrough and the DREAM series.
J.P. Massey has been named the FSL Pitcher of the Month! Massey went 1-0 with a 0.72 ERA in 5 starts as he began the month with a 17.0 innings scoreless streak. Massey did not allow more than 1 run in a start in May and had three starts with two or fewer hits allowed. Congrats! pic.twitter.com/ygBdAKRFtl
— Bradenton Marauders (@The_Marauders) June 5, 2023
Massey dominated the month allowing only two earned runs in 25 innings (0.72 ERA) while tallying 29 strikeouts for Single-A Bradenton. If you stretch his production out over the last two months, J.P. has become one of his team’s best starters with a 2.84 ERA over 44.1 innings with 52 strikeouts.
Working with former MLBbro pitcher, Marvin Freeman, Massey has changed the mechanics in his leg kick while working on five featured pitches… a four seamer, a two seamer, a curveball and a changeup. It’s a mentorship that J.P. is very excited about, he told MLB.com.
“We’re still trying to figure out the ideal repertoire and usage rate each and every outing, but [five pitches] allows me to have something that I can use against hitters,” he said. “ If I see them trying to lean towards one pitch, I can throw something that goes in the other direction. It gives me a lot of versatility while I’m on the mound.”
Couple that with wisdom from current MLBbro players Hunter Greene of the Cincinnati Reds and Triston McKenzie of the Cleveland Guardians and J.P. Massey should use the Futures game as a launching pad.
This MLBbro is considered one of the biggest prospects for the St. Louis Cardinals… period.
At #63 in the 2020 Draft, Tink Hence is the highest selection out of the state of Arkansas since 2005.
Despite getting the “Byron Buxton” treatment in 2021 and being limited to eight appearances in the Florida Complex League and a pitch limit with Single A Palm Beach, Tink emerged as a superstar when he finally got his chance on the mound.
This season, the MLBbro is 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA and a 46-to-12 strikeout to walk ratio in 11 starts as of Friday (June 30) for the High-A Peoria Chiefs.
Like Massey, Hence has a cache of pitches to showcase in this event. He has a mid-90s fastball, a vicious curve, a changeup and a slider that gives batters three off-speed pitches to figure out in less than two seconds.
Hopefully the Futures game will allow the Cardinals to give this guy more time on the mound to perfect his craft. Right now, that’s the only thing holding him back. MLB.com believes that this guy can be an ace pitcher in the majors based on their review…
“The stuff needs to hold up into the fifth and the sixth innings — and over 100-plus frames overall — before Hence could be considered a potential ace, but the individual pieces are there.”
Check out these two MLBbros in training in the Futures Game on Saturday, July 8th at 7pm EST.