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Two prospects to play in Futures Game

Two prospects to play in Futures Game

The XM All-Star Futures Game, always a stage for top talent, will bear extra significance for the Giants this year as two of their brightest prospects have been selected to participate in the showcase.

Pitcher Madison Bumgarner, who's widely believed to be on the fast track to the Major Leagues, and first baseman Angel Villalona, whose skills have been celebrated since the Giants signed him as a 16-year-old, will represent the organization.

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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 11 a.m. PT. 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.

Madison Bumgarner, LHP, Double-A Connecticut (U.S. Team)
Bumgarner, 19, began the season with the Giants' high-Class A affiliate in San Jose and was promoted to Double-A Connecticut once warmer weather hit. Excellence followed him from place to place.

The California League was no match for Bumgarner, who went 3-1 with a 1.48 ERA in five games with San Jose. He struck out 23 and walked just four in 24 1/3 innings. Since advancing to Connecticut, Bumgarner has compiled a 4-1 mark with a 2.13 ERA in his first seven appearances. Control has remained his hallmark, as evidenced by his 33 strikeouts and 10 walks in 38 innings.

San Francisco's No. 1 selection (10th overall) in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, Bumgarner was named the Most Spectacular Pitcher in the Minor Leagues last year for recording the lowest ERA -- 1.46. That complemented his 15-3 record for low-Class A Augusta.

Angel Villalona, 1B, Class A San Jose (World Team)
It was a landmark event when the Giants signed Villalona in August 2006 for a $2.1 million bonus -- the largest they had given any amateur to that point, and the biggest for any international signing since the Dodgers gave Joel Guzman $2.25 million in 2001.

Villalona, a native of La Romana in the Dominican Republic, was viewed as a third baseman at the time. Since then, his traits -- and his build -- have indicated to the Giants that he's more of a fit across the diamond.

Wherever he plays, he's at home in the batter's box.

In his first 62 games with San Jose this season, Villalona hit .287 with nine home runs and 36 RBI. It's a natural progression from last year, when he hit .263 with 17 homers and 64 RBIs for Augusta.

Felipe Alou, the widely respected former big league player and manager who remains a special assistant to general manager Brian Sabean, has compared Villalona to Andres Galarraga, the five-time All-Star who hit 399 home runs in 19 Major League seasons. This will be the second Futures Game for Villalona, who also was on last year's World roster.

Chris Haft 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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