Jimenez, Moncada and Bregman shine brightest at 2016 Futures Game

The Futures Game took place in San Diego, which is the most wonderful place on earth, so everything is good and every player was above-average. Here are my thoughts.

• Eloy Jimenez introduced himself to the viewing public in rather dramatic fashion, first making one of the best defensive plays I've ever seen, ranging way over into foul territory and leaping to grab a foul popup from beyond the fence, then turning on a 95-mph fastball in the ninth inning for a home run off the top balcony on the Western Metals facade in left field. Jimenez has always had the potential for that kind of power, but big leaguers don't often hit balls where he hit that one. It was his third hard-hit ball in as many at-bats, including a ground-ball double on a slider coming in on him, and the swing is simple and sound. He's hitting .332/.372/.527 this year as a 19-year-old in low-A for the Cubs and I feel pretty good about his chances of becoming a star.

• Yoan Moncada won the game's MVP award -- yeah, a single-game MVP award doesn't mean a whole lot -- with a couple of impressive hard-hit balls at the plate, including a home run on an 86-mph changeup that he just muscled out of the park.

• Alex Bregman was the star for the U.S. team, with hits in his first three at-bats including an outfielder-and-scorer-assisted "triple" and a hard-hit double to left-center on a 92-mph fastball. Outside of one bobble, he showed good hands and range at shortstop, enough that I still feel as if he'd be a defensive upgrade over Carlos Correa right now for the Astros. His swing is so short and simple and his eye is so good that I think he would be an immediate upgrade for the team over Luis Valbuena, whose first half this year is way above anything he's done in his career to date.

• The early-game pitching was impressive overall, none more so than St. Louis right-hander Alex Reyes, who was throwing 96-101 mph heat complemented with a plus-plus changeup. His breaking ball is fringy and he was casting it Sunday, although he threw one pitch to Dansby Swanson that looked more like a slider -- a good one -- than the other curveballs. I don't love his delivery with his stiff front leg and shorter stride, but you can't change anything here given the quality of the stuff.

• Tampa Bay right-hander Chih-Wei Hu, picked up from Minnesota last July in a trade for Kevin Jepsen (since released by the Twins), was also impressive, throwing 94-97 mph with an out pitch in his palmball that comes in at 89-91 with splitter-like bottom. He comes from a three-quarters slot with a little deception, so while the fastball doesn't have a lot of plane I don't think it's as vulnerable as it might otherwise be.

• Houston's Joe Musgrove started the game for the U.S. team and threw strikes with a 91-94 mph fastball with plus sink that gets in on hitters quickly. His slider was just fringy, 82-84 mph but not that sharp.

• Washington's Reynaldo Lopez was throwing 98-99 mph with a changeup at 89 and hard breaking ball coming in at 76-79. His delivery is all arm, and I can't see that holding up long term in a starter's role, but I think he'd be devastating right now in the Nationals' bullpen. Trading for an elite reliever when you have a guy with this kind of fastball -- not just hard, but live -- seems unnecessary.

• Carson Fulmer was throwing 90-94 mph with at least an average change and slider, probably better, and best of all he's back to his Vanderbilt delivery which, while too violent for him to be a starter long term, is how he has had success most of his life as a pitcher. He has been much better for Double-A Birmingham of late; since the start of June, he has punched out 54 batters in 41⅓ innings with a 3.51 ERA, giving up 17 walks and only one home run. That's a vast improvement and a sign that he might be of some help to White Sox later this year if they're still in the hunt.

• Andrew Benintendi took a great batting practice, showing very quick hands, but the results didn't show up in the game, with a lineout to short on a 94 mph fastball his best bolt.

• If you'd asked me before the game what was the biggest thing lacking from Baltimore catcher Chance Sisco's game, I would have said "power," so naturally he hit an opposite-field homer on a 94-mph fastball. He had one in-game throw, but it was wide of the mark and ended up in center field.

• San Diego center fielder Manuel Margot made a tremendous catch in center, probably robbing Carson Kelly of a home run, but I think I was most impressed by his ninth-inning at-bat against Ryne Stanek, where Margot got to a 2-2 count and then fouled off this sequence: 99, 89 (slider), 99, 88 (slider), took a ball, fouled off 99 again, and then drew ball four. He had one hit and also struck out looking on a 96-mph fastball that was not a strike.

• Cincinnati lefty Amir Garrett threw 93-96 mph with a hard slider at 82-84 that he couldn't command, and an average changeup at 82. That's enough that I would still project him as a starter, even though there always has been some reliever risk with his iffy command and questions on the change.

• The Mets' Amed Rosario was a late add to the game, replacing Jeimer Candelario on the World Team, but was very impressive in his brief stint, taking a 99-mph fastball away and punching a ground ball through the hole on the right side, then showing off his plus-plus arm with a great play in the hole at shortstop.

• Arizona left-hander Anthona Banda was handed a loss and -- most absurdly -- a blown save thanks to the home run he surrendered to Moncada, but actually his stuff was fine. He was throwing 93-96 mph with some sink and showed an average curveball at 81-84 and changeup at 85-86, although one of those changeups was very not average and has since retired happily somewhere in Petco's left-field bleachers.

• Texas first baseman Ronald Guzman, signed along with Nomar Mazara in 2011 but hampered by injuries the last two seasons, looks great physically, leaner and more muscular, and looked great in batting practice as well. He also drew a seven-pitch walk in his first at-bat, which gives me a reason to point out that he's walking more this season than he ever has before in pro ball.

• Colorado's Jeff Hoffman, acquired in the Troy Tulowitzki deal last summer, was solid, throwing 93-96 mph heat but very true, with a curveball coming in at 81 and a good changeup at 84-86. He's still showing kind of a long arm swing without much deception. He gave up a hit to Moncada on a 97-mph fastball and retired the other three batters he faced, including the Margot strikeout that maybe shouldn't have been.

• So I lied. Here are a few thoughts on players who disappointed a little on Sunday: San Francisco's Phil Bickford threw just 90-92 mph, way below what he was as an amateur as a starter and nowhere close to what I expected him to throw in an inning of relief even if he was holding back a little. ... Twins right-hander J.T. Chargois couldn't retire a batter while throwing at 96-97 mph, and he has an ugly short-arm delivery. ... Ryne Stanek was sitting at 99 mph with his heat when he first came in to relieve Chargois, but his fastball got hit, as it's pin-straight and hitters obviously had no trouble seeing it. ... Dom Smith is a prospect I rate highly in general but -- as I wrote two weeks ago -- is someone I didn't think merited a spot in the game; he played great defense at first but took some lackadaisical at-bats and hit only one ball hard in four trips to the plate. ... Hunter Dozier had a hard ground ball hit right at him at third base and just whiffed on it, which I might not have thought much about except that I think there's real reason to think he can't stay at third base. However, he's hitting .341/.392/.550 for Triple-A Omaha right now, and when you hit like that suddenly people stop caring about your defense.