By Benjamin Upson
The Futures League is back in full swing for the 2022 season! There is a lot to catch up on from the first days of action, so let’s go through the most notable storylines…
There are eight teams that are back in league competition for this season, the same ones that were involved for the 2021 season. Opening weekend has been highlighted by a variety of offensive explosions across multiple teams. With rosters still being finalized, it’s a great opportunity for some of these players to showcase themselves in hopes of a regular lineup spot.
There are two undefeated teams that currently remain in the league. The Brockton Rox have a perfect record of 3-0. It is shaping up to be a summer to remember for this team as notable names Manny Ramirez Jr. (Tallahassee C.C.), D'Angelo Ortiz (Miami Dade C.C.) and Jaden Sheffield (Georgetown) headline a stacked roster. In case you didn’t know already, these are the sons of former MLB greats David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield.
As for the Westfield Starfires, they have been pouring on the offense themselves. Off to a sizzling 4-0 start, the Starfires have recorded 10+ runs in three consecutive games, and 45 runs combined through their first 4 games. They have racked up notable wins in the process, with two against the 2021 defending champion Vermont Lake Monsters and runner-up Pittsfield Suns. While the rosters may change, the value of these early season wins does not.
There have been 13 home runs hit across all games on opening weekend, already leading to a pair of thrilling home run derby finishes on back-to-back game days to begin the season, a feat that the league has never seen in its previous 11-year history. These have both involved Westfield and Brockton.
On opening day, Westfield edged Vermont 2-1 in a derby after making three separate comebacks to simply force the game to extras. Jackson Hornung (Skidmore) is an early player of the week candidate with a .643 average and 10 RBIs racked up in just four games played. He has multiple hits in every game played and has tallied at least 3 RBIs in three out of the four as well.
Then Friday, Brockton defeated New Britain 5-3 in their derby as Ramirez Jr. was just crushing shots, including one off the top of the scoreboard and another pair that likely went beyond 450 feet! Much like Westfield, New Britain fought back twice to stay with Brockton, but was unable to convert on offense when it mattered, stranding 10 runners on base in the game.
On Memorial Day, the league will see all teams in action, with a pair of both day and night games on tap. Pittsfield heads to Worcester, while Westfield travels to Nashua at 1:00pm. In the nightcaps, the Norwich Sea Unicorns hold their home opener against the New Britain Bees. The Vermont Lake Monsters continue their home stand against the Brockton Rox. Both games begin at 6:30pm.
"Around The Diamond" will be returning for the 2022 season throughout the summer where you will be able to find notes and recaps from around the league’s action. As always for the latest scores and stats, visit thefuturesleague.com. If you are looking to live stream games across the league, go to fcblnetwork.com and purchase an all-season pass at one low price of $99.