The Futures Game, which is in its 13th year, is all about showcasing the top prospects in the Minor Leagues, so Szczur’s selection for the U.S team is not altogether surprising.
Szczur, a baseball and football standout at Villanova, was selected in the fifth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. He started his professional career with a 21-game hit streak, batting .347 with 10 doubles, 10 RBIs and a .414 on-base percentage over 25 games split among the Arizona Rookie League, Low Single-A Boise and Single-A Peoria.
So far this year, Szczur is hitting .327 with five home runs, 12 doubles and 24 RBIs in 51 games for Peoria. He is one of five outfielders on the U.S. Team’s roster.
You’ll recall that the Cubs paid Szczur, 21, handsomely to give up professional football aspirations before this season, so his success is certainly welcome. I would be surprised if he’s not in High A later this year.
And don’t let the fact that Szczur is the Cubs’ only selection get you down: there are only 50 total spots between the U.S. team and the World team, so a number of organizations have just one representative. Trey McNutt probably would have been the Cubs’ most likely other choice (or Brett Jackson), but he’s been battling a rib injury.
The Futures Game will air at 5pm CST on ESPN2 on Sunday, July 10.