Wil Myers might be the best hitting prospect in baseball at the moment, so he doesnt get nervous for many games.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
But that wasnt the case Sunday when Myers, the Royals top outfield prospect, admitted to battling a swarm of butterflies during the All-Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium.
Taking the field in front of an announced crowd of 40,095, Myers received standing ovations when he was introduced and again before his first at-bat.
And the cheers kept coming for Myers, who leads the minors with 27 home runs this season, and his U.S. Futures teammates in a 17-5 win against the World Futures.
I was really excited by the turnout today, but I was also really nervous, Myers said. I was nervous for my first time in the field and for that first at-bat, especially with the standing ovation I received.
The last time Myers, who started the season at Class AA Northwest Arkansas, remembers having in-game jitters was roughly a month ago facing Roy Oswalt, a former Astros ace and three-time All-Star, who was making a minor-league start against the Class AAA Omaha Storm Chasers.
Myers clubbed a grand slam in that at-bat and gave his future hometown fans plenty to cheer for Sunday, going two for four with three RBIs.
Its huge to be able to play here and have that experience, Myers said. I feel like I wont be as nervous when it comes. Its going to be really cool to be out here.
Myers played four innings in right field before moving to center field for the last five innings.
Playing the ball in the upper deck was tough to get used to, but if Im here long term its something Ill adjust to, Myers said of picking up the ball against the crowd. There were a lot of Kansas City fans at FanFest the last two days, and they said they were excited for me to get here. Im looking forward to it.
As for Sundays game, the World Futures team slugged two home runs and pulled out to a 4-0 lead midway through the third inning, but once the U.S. Futures team got warmed up, it turned into the most lopsided game in the exhibitions 14-year history.
The U.S. Futures erased a 4-0 deficit with a four-run third inning, took the lead with two runs in the fourth inning and blew the game open with a nine-run sixth inning.
I wanted us to step on their throat and we did, said George Brett, the U.S. Futures manager and Hall of Fame third baseman.
The previous record for runs in a game came in a 9-1 U.S. victory two years ago in Anaheim, and only three of the previous 13 Futures Games featured more than nine combined runs.
Rangers farmhand Jurickson Profar opened the scoring with a one-out, first-inning solo shot into the right-field corner against Jake Odorizzi, who is the Royals top pitching prospect at Class AAA Omaha.
But Myers got Odorizzi, who allowed one hit and struck out a batter in his one inning, off the hook when his third-inning RBI ground-out to second tied the game at 4-4.
The U.S. Futures took the lead an inning later on a two-run double by Tommy Joseph, a catching prospect in the Giants organization and then put it out of reach in the sixth.
Myers had a sacrifice fly during the nine-run onslaught, which featured a two-run double by Manny Machado (Orioles) and RBI doubles from Mike Olt (Rangers) and Rob Brantly (Tigers).
Another Detroit farmhand, Nick Castellanos, cracked a three-run home run to center, capping the outburst and winning MVP honors.
Myers, who batted third, added an RBI single and scored a run in the seventh inning.
In his first at-bat at Kauffman Stadium in the first inning, Myers nearly beat out a bouncer to third base but was retired.
Yordano Ventura, a Royals farmhand with Class A Wilmington, started for the World Team. He hit triple digits on the radar gun three times during a perfect first inning, which featured three ground-outs.
For Myers and Odorizzi, the hardest part of the day was packing up and leaving the Royals locker room after the game though both are likely to return before the season ends.
We want to stay pretty bad, Myers said. It was definitely cool to play here for the home crowd. I dont want to leave.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.