Phillies Should Bring Back the Phils “Futures Series”

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Sep 12, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro (38) singles in his major league debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Pirates, 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 12, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro (38) singles in his major league debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Pirates, 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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Last spring, the Phillies held a “Futures Series” to promote their young prospects. There is no indication that they will this year, but it should return.

When the Phillies announced their spring training schedule earlier this month, there was no indication about if they would continue their “Futures Series”, featuring the major-league team squaring up against a squad of minor-league prospects. The teams played two games, one at Double-A Reading’s FirstEnergy Stadium and one at Citizens Bank Park. I attended the game in Philadelphia and thoroughly enjoyed it, and I wish the club would bring it back for 2017.

Last season, the Futures team featured numerous top 100 prospects, including shortstop J.P. Crawford, outfielder Nick Williams, pitcher Jake Thompson, and catcher Andrew Knapp. A hypothetical 2017 team would still feature many of the same prospects, as well as some new ones that are moved up the minor-league ladder in 2016.

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Despite the games being between major and minor-leaguers, they could still be quite competitive. While the first game was lopsided as the big-leaguers thrived in the smaller FirstEnergy stadium, the second game was quite the nail-biter.

In the second game, the two teams traded runs in the first two innings as the second inning ended with a 3-3 tie. Home runs from Williams and Rhys Hoskins gave the prospects a 5-3 lead as the game headed into the final frame.

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The major-league squad rallied to tie and eventually win the game in the ninth as they won by a 6-5 score. Being in the stands, I was thoroughly entertained by the action on the field.

Following your team’s farm system has become an essential part of fandom in recent seasons. Nearly every website publishes prospect rankings of some form. Games like the “Futures Series” allow fans to get a glimpse of the prospects they otherwise wouldn’t be able to see. 20,181 people attended the game at Citizens Bank Park; a market clearly exists for this series.

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Sadly, it doesn’t look like the Phils will be able to fit even one Futures Game between their spring training finale on Friday, March 31 and Monday, April 3. I will miss it, and I hope the team decides to bring it back in 2018.

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