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Wallace, Jones to appear in Futures Game

Wallace, Jones to play in Futures Game

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Two of the Cardinals' most exciting prospects will get quite an exciting opportunity next month.

Outfielder Daryl Jones and third baseman Brett Wallace will appear for the U.S. Team in the Futures Game -- the annual exhibition of some of baseball's top prospects. And they'll do so at Busch Stadium, the ballpark they hope they'll soon call home. Topping it off, their manager will be Ozzie Smith, one of the great Cardinals of all time.

Managing the other side will be current Redbirds third-base coach Jose Oquendo, but the World team is not currently scheduled to have any members of the St. Louis organization on its active roster.

The 11th annual XM All-Star Futures Game, pitting the best Minor League prospects from the United States against the best from the rest of the World, will be held at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on All-Star Sunday, July 12, at 1 p.m. CT. MLB.com will provide complete coverage before, during and after the game, which can be seen live on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on Gameday.

Daryl Jones, OF, Double-A Springfield (U.S. Team)
Jones is a perfect example of why teams draft raw, high-upside high school kids even though so many of them never pan out. Because when it does all click, you've got yourself an exciting baseball player.

Thursday marks Jones' 22nd birthday, and he's having an excellent year at Double-A Springfield. He started his pro career somewhat slowly after being a third-round pick in 2005, but the organization always had confidence. In '08, Jones began to reward that faith.

He batted .326 with a .406 on-base percentage and a .476 slugging percentage at high Class A Palm Beach, and followed it up with a .290/.409/.500 line after being promoted to Springfield. He also stole 24 bases in 30 tries. The overall season earned him Player of the Year honors in the Cardinals' system.

Jones' power has dipped a bit in his return to Springfield, but he's still hitting for a decent average, getting on base and stealing some bases. A left-handed hitter, he has more upside as an all-around player than nearly any other hitter in the system.

Brett Wallace, 3B, Triple-A Memphis (U.S. Team)
It's fair to say that Wallace has been a fast riser. Less than a year after signing a professional contract, he's already at Triple-A.

His first exposure to the Minors' top level has been a bit rocky, but it's the first time he's really had a hard time in pro ball. Wallace is batting .259 with a .311 on-base percentage and a .356 slugging percentage at Memphis after raking at every previous level. He hit .281/.403/.438 at Springfield at the start of this season, earning a promotion.

Wallace was the Cardinals' top Draft pick out of Arizona State last June. He reported briefly to low Class A Quad Cities, but abused the Midwest League in his short time there. Promoted to Springfield, he fared even better in the Texas League in his first look and went on to have a big campaign in the Arizona Fall League.

His defense remains a question, as not everyone is convinced he'll stick at third base. But Wallace is a legitimate bat, the best hitter in the St. Louis system.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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