The next decade, as far as the Mets are concerned, is looking pretty good when it comes to the trio of top prospects who will be on the field Sunday at Petco Park for the Futures Game, which kicks off Major League Baseball’s All-Star festivities.
Dilson Herrera, who’s penciled in at second base for next season in Flushing, and Amed Rosario — the shortstop potentially on schedule to become his double-play partner as soon as 2018 — will play together on the World team. The third Met, first baseman Dom Smith, is on the opposing U.S. team.
Rosario, oddly enough, was picked to replace the Yankees’ rising star, Jorge Mateo, the speedy shortstop at Class A Tampa. Mateo generated plenty of hype during spring training in his few appearances with the big-league club, but maybe that went to his head. The Yankees suspended Mateo for two weeks on Wednesday for reportedly complaining to team officials about his lack of a promotion. That included pulling him from the Futures Game.
As a result, Gary Sanchez, who already was up briefly with the Yankees this season, is the team’s lone representative. It’s the second time for Sanchez, who was batting .286 with nine homers and 37 RBIs in 56 games for Triple-A Scranton.
The game itself, despite the showcase involving the sport’s next generation of stars, probably is less meaningful than the perks associated with it.
The Mets’ Brandon Nimmo, who made two trips to the Futures Game, first at Citi Field in 2013 and again last season with Michael Conforto in Cincinnati, reflected on the time as a small but tantalizing taste of major-league life.
Nimmo said it was the first time he had a hotel room to himself, along with a spacious locker in a plush clubhouse filled with great food and plenty of other amenities only dreamed about in the minors.
“Seeing all of that, it was more of a motivation to get up here,” Nimmo said Friday at his Citi Field locker. “You realize what a blessing it would be to make it to the major leagues.”
Herrera, 22, has played 49 games for the Mets, divided between the two previous seasons. This season through Friday, he was batting .274 with a .319 on-base percentage, 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 73 games for Triple-A Las Vegas.
Rosario, 20, considered an “untouchable” prospect by the Mets, was promoted last month to Double-A Binghamton, where he had a slash line of .424/.462/.610 in his first 16 games.
Smith, the Mets’ 11th overall pick in the 2013 draft, was hitting .277 with a .340 on-base percentage, 10 homers and 59 RBIs in 83 games for Double-A Binghamton through Friday.