AFL Rising Stars Game previews future
Baseball's best prospects on display in Saturday's contest
The Arizona Fall League may want to look into getting someone like Fleischmann's to sponsor its annual Rising Stars Game, showcasing the top prospects the league has to offer. That way, they could change the name to the Fast-Rising Stars Game.
Of the 50 players on the 2009 Rising Stars rosters, more than half -- 28 to be precise -- played in the big leagues this past season, and not just for cups of coffee. The National League Rookie of the Year vote should be dotted with Rising Stars '09 alumni. Buster Posey, Starlin Castro, Jose Tabata, Ike Davis and Mike Leake all were Rising Stars just one year ago.
This year's version of the Rising Stars Game, edition No. 5, will take place this Saturday, Nov. 6, at 6 p.m. Arizona time (6:06 first pitch) at Surprise Stadium. And if last year's game is any indication, any baseball fan worth his or her salt will either head to Arizona or tune in to find out what the big leagues will look like in 2011.
For the second straight year, the game will be streamed on MLB.com and shown on MLB Network. Anyone watching will see at least one Major League prospect and many former first-round picks -- from all 30 big league organizations. The teams will be split into the two AFL divisions -- East and West. Tickets for the game are just $6 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and youth (17 and under). They will be available at the Surprise Stadium box office beginning at 5 p.m. It's open seating, so it's first-come, first-served in terms of where a fan catches all of the action.
That's not the only thing Rising Stars fans can get. The AFL will kick off a 14-day auction of items from 18 players, including 12 first-rounders, on Saturday evening. Game-used and signed jerseys, caps and lineup cards will abound, highlighted by a host of Bryce Harper memorabilia from his unofficial pro debut in the AFL. Fans of the 2010 No. 1 overall pick can bid on the lineup card, cap, bases and balls from his first game in the league. Harper signed most of the items, including second base (his first hit was a double). He's joined in the auction by other top prospects like Dustin Ackley, Eric Hosmer and fellow 2010 first-rounder Zack Cox.
Simply go to MLB Auction and look for the MLB Arizona Fall League Top Prospects Auction starting Saturday at 9 p.m. ET in conjunction with the start of the Rising Stars Game on MLB.com and MLB Network.