The Future Stars Series path for 5 MLB Future Stars Game selections

The roster for the 2023 MLB Future Stars game in Seattle were announced Monday, and include a quintet of players who came through New Balance Future Stars Series events a long the way.

Tyler Soderstrom, C/1B — Oakland Athletics
Oakland’s first-round pick (26) in 2020 has raced through the minors on the strength of his left-handed swing which produces plus power and natural backspin.

Contact consostency is a marker to watch, especially since it appears his chances to catch regularly aren’t great, but the bat holds plenty of value to carry him if he has to move to first base full-time.

There’s a good chance the A’s get Soderstrom some big-league time later this season.

Soderstrom participated in the Nor Cal World Series in 2018 and 2019, and the New Balance Future Stars Series Pro Combine prior to his junior year in high school and displayed his future projection at the plate.

A’s Pre-Season Top 30

Kyren Paris, SS — Los Angeles Angels
Paris was in the 2018 Nor Cal World Series , too, showing Future Stars Series scouts an above-average future hit tool and power, the tools to be a plus glive up the middle, complemented by a strong arm and plus speed.

He struggled to put together statistical performances over onger stretches in pro ball, but is having a breakout in 2023 in the power department having hit 11 homers in 65 games. His career high is the 12 he hit in 2020 over a 105-game stretch split between three levels.

Paris, a second-round pick in 2019, has swiped 20 bags in 21 attempts, too, and his entire professional resume has been put together as one of the youngest players in his league, at leats partially explaining his struggles to hit for average. He’s playing this season nealy three years younger than the average player in the Double-A Southern League, and more than three years the junior of the pitching he’s facing night-in and night-out.

Angels Pre-Season Top 30

Mick Abel, RHP — Philadelphia Phillies
Abel took part in the New Balance Future Stars Series International week just prior to his sophomore year un high school, and then again the following August.

He was then a first-round pick (15) by the Phillies in 2020 and may be within a year of the majors. He’s missed bats at every step of the minors thus far with a mid-90s fastball and two projectable breakers.

In Double-A Reading this season, he’s continued to show the raw stuff that made him a high selection and why his future may be at the front of a rotation.

Here’s Future Stars Series president and former MLB Scout Jeremy Booth on Abel from the 2018 International Week:

No. 2 starter in MLB role. Live-bodied athlete with fast- twitch everything, similar to Kris Benson. Seen him since he was a olt at 15 and it continues to progress the way it should. Natural, easy arm speed. Feel to repeat his delivery at a young age continues to improve. Advanced feel to execute his fastball and protect it with secondary. Changeup will be ahead of the breaking ball for some time as he figures out whether it will be a CB or SL. Has thrown both but SL has emerged as the favorite in development now. Power arm who can move the ball east and west. Advanced instincts for the game and 80 makeup.

Phillies Pre-Season Top 30

Tink Hence, RHP — St. Louis Cardinals
Hence is a terrific athlete with a premium fastball who probably goes in the top half of the round in 2020 if he were 2-3 inches taller or left-handed. The 6-foot-1 right-hander has done nothing but make the Cardinals happy in the three years since.

Hence, now in High-A Peoria at age 20, has posted big strikeout rates and thrown plenty of strikes to start moving quicker through the minors, something he may have done already if the Cardinals weren’t simply being smart with their young arm.

There’s a chance at four big-league pitches with the curveball and changeup carrying the highest ceiling among the secondaries, and a 94-97 mph heater that’s touched 99.

From a timeline perspective, Hence could push his way through sometime in 2024.

Hence took part in three NBFSS events in 2018 and 2019, including 2019 International Week  and the 17U Nationals in 2019, both after getting his name on the books at the Arkansas Sticks Scout Day in November 2018, when he touched 92 mph at just 16 years of age.

Here’s Booth on Hence from that event:

Evaluated both as a pitcher and an Outfielder. Athletic and live with plenty of room to add strength. Will get faster and see his agility improve as he adds strength. Has a H 3/4 slot and creates angle and life. Repeats his delivery and has velocity ceiling. Feel for 3 pitches and all will be plus in the future. CB with depth and tight rotation. Changeup with fade and sell, good arm speed throughout release. already and just getting started. Reminds of Tom Gordon.

Cardinals Pre-Season Top 30

Drew Gilbert, CF — Houston Astros
Easily the Astros No. 1 prospect immediately upon signing, Gilbert, the club’s first-round pick (28) last summer, is a bit of a throwback. His lead tools are contact, speed, and defense, but there’s average or better raw power in there, at least to his pull side, and some of it’s starting to show in Double-A Corpus Christi this season.

There appears to be no concerns over Gilbert’s ability to stick in center, and despite carryong a low average in the Texas League right now he makes a lot of contact and is adept at working counts and drawing walks (16.6% BB).

Gilbert played in the NBFSS National Event in 2017 in Houston, and International Week in 2019 before turning down the Minnesota Twins as a late-round picm in 2019 to go to Tennessee.

He took part as a pitcher and a hitter, touching the low-90s from the mound, but received average or better grades across the board as a position player from Future Stars Series scouts.

Astros Pre-Season Top 30


Jason A. Churchill
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