Cole, Hultzen to face off in Rising Stars Game
Top two 2011 Draftees meet in first of three AFL tilts on Network
You no longer need a plane ticket or a place to stay in Arizona to watch the game's top prospects face off in the Arizona Fall League.
Gather around the TV set, and you can see them pitted against each other.
On Saturday night at 8 ET, this year's No. 1 and 2 overall Draft picks -- 21-one-year-old hurlers Gerrit Cole (Pirates) and Danny Hultzen (Mariners) square off in the AFL's sixth annual Rising Stars Game, one of three events to be telecast on MLB Network in November.
Broadcasters Paul Severino and Dave Valle will also call the United Concordia Dental Military Appreciation Game on Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. ET and the AFL Championship Game on Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. ET.
Though the fall league is widely thought of as "finishing school" for the game's best prospects, both Cole and Hultzen made their pro debuts in the desert in October.
In four AFL outings -- after agreeing to receive an $8 million bonus 15 minutes before the Aug. 15 signing deadline -- Cole has compiled a 2-0 record and an even 3.00 ERA. The three-year standout at UCLA has fanned 12 batters in his 12 innings of work for the East Division's Mesa Solar Sox, while walking just three.
|RF - Robbie Grossman (PIT)||1||CF - Kevin Mattison (FLA)|
|CF - Mike Trout (LAA)||2||SS - Nick Franklin (SEA)|
|SS - Junior Lake (CHC)||3||RF - Wil Myers (KC)|
|3B - Nolan Arenado (COL)||4||3B - Mike Olt (TEX)|
|DH - Bryce Harper (WAS)||5||DH - Michael Choice (OAK)|
|C - Derek Norris (WAS)||6||1B - Joe Terdoslavich (ATL0|
|1B - Ben Paulsen (COL)||7||LF - Jaff Decker (SD)|
|2B - Brian Dozier (MIN)||8||C - Christian Bethancourt (ATL)|
|LF - Tim Wheeler (COL)||9||2B - Christian Colon (KC)|
|P - Gerrit Cole (PIT)||P - Danny Hultzen (SEA)|
Cole's fastball reached 100 mph on the radar gun in his debut on Oct. 14.
As a member of the West division Peoria Javelinas, Hultzen has been even more impressive. The University of Virginia product is 1-0 with a 1.62 ERA in five starts in the hitters' haven that is the AFL. He has fanned 12 in 16 2/3 innings while allowing 13 hits and four walks for a 1.02 WHIP.
"He's unbelievable," top A's prospect Grant Green, whose Phoenix Desert Dogs have faced Hultzen twice, told MLB.com. "As good as advertised. Sneaky quick fastball, and his changeup is disgusting. It just falls off the table like he's pulling a string off it."
The remaining roster spots for the Rising Stars Game, selected by Major League Baseball and the AFL's front offices, are chocked full of top prospects, including Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Nationals outfield phenom Bryce Harper, who rank first and second on MLB.com's Top 50 Prospects list.
Other top prospects selected to participate include: Royals No. 1 prospect and No. 15 overall, Wil Myers; Mariners No. 3 prospect and No. 23 overall, Nick Franklin; Orioles No. 2, Xavier Avery; Blue Jays No. 2, Anthony Gose; Royals No. 4, Christian Colon; Angels No. 3, Jean Segura; A's No. 3, Michael Choice; Rangers No. 7, Mike Olt; Braves No. 4, Christian Bethancourt; Marlins No. 4, Kyle Skipworth; Cubs Nos. 3 and 4, Chris Carpenter and Trey McNutt; Reds No. 6, Brad Boxberger; Brewers 2011 first-round pick, Jed Bradley; D-backs Nos. 9 and 10, Charles Brewer and Ryan Wheeler; Rockies Nos. 4 and 8, Nolan Arenado and Tim Wheeler; Padres Nos. 4 and 5, Jedd Gyorko and Jaff Decker; and Giants 2011 first-round pick Joe Panik.
Andrew Pentis is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.