BOSTON -- Big spenders, the Red Sox are also a pioneering organization when it comes to their farm system. From Jonathan Papelbon to Jacoby Ellsbury, to even Adrian Gonzalez, whom the team would not have been able to acquire without strong prospects, Boston's Minor Leagues have been plenty fruitful.
At this year's XM All-Star Futures Game, set for 6 p.m. ET on July 10 at Chase Field in Arizona, two Red Sox farmhands have been selected to play on the big stage against Minor League Baseball's top talents. Double-A Portland teammates Will Middlebrooks, a 22-year-old third baseman, and 23-year-old outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang have been named to the game, the former as a part of the United States Team, the latter with the World Team.
Chiang, a left-handed batter who hails from Taiwan, is hitting .307 with 11 home runs and 41 RBIs this season, his second at Portland. He has a .360 on-base percentage and a .620 slugging percentage in 192 at-bats, and he's already matched his home run total from last season.
Boston signed Chiang in October 2005 as a non-drafted free agent.
Middlebrooks, a fifth-round Draft choice in 2007, is a Texas product who's hitting .294 with eight home runs and 32 RBIs in 201 at-bats. This is his first year at Portland, and he's posted a .335 on-base percentage and .478 slugging percentage.
Major League Baseball, along with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, MLB.com, Baseball America, USA Baseball and the 30 Major League Baseball clubs, selected the 25-man rosters for each club. Each organization is represented, and the World Team features players from 12 countries and territories. Players from all full-season Minor Leagues were eligible to participate.
Gonzalez, Clay Buchholz and Kevin Youkilis were all named to a Futures Game roster before they were named to a Major League All-Star Game roster.
The XM All-Star Futures Game is a part of Taco Bell All-Star Sunday and takes place on the first of three days of All-Star events at Chase Field, culminating with the 82nd All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 12. The Futures Game can be watched on ESPN2, ESPN2 HD and MLB.TV, and XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage on MLB Network Radio XM 89.
MLB.com will provide complete coverage before, during and after the game, and you can keep up to date by following @MLBFutures on Twitter. Fans can join the Futures Game conversation by tagging tweets with #mlbfutures.
Evan Drellich is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.