BRANDON GUSTAFSON

Mariners’ Ford and Clase thrilled to be at Futures Game together

Jul 8, 2023, 2:30 PM | Updated: 2:42 pm

Seattle Mariners Harry Ford Jonatan Clase...

Top Seattle Mariners prospects Jonatan Clase (left) and Harry Ford (right) before the 2023 MLB Futures Game on July 8, 2023. (Photo by SeattleSports.com's Brandon Gustafson)

(Photo by SeattleSports.com's Brandon Gustafson)

The future of Major League Baseball is on full display at T-Mobile Park, and the Seattle Mariners are a big part of that.

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Two of the Mariners’ top prospects – catcher Harry Ford and outfielder Jonatan Clase – are representing the organization in the annual Futures Game, where the game’s top prospects are showcased each summer during All-Star Week festivities.

Ford, Seattle’s top-rated prospect and No. 27 overall on MLB Pipeline, is the American League’s starting catcher and will hit cleanup against the National League. Clase, the M’s No. 11 prospect, per Pipeline, is leading off for the AL.

Playing in the Futures Game is a big deal for prospects, and Ford made that clear ahead of Saturday’s game.

“The first day here today has been an absolute dream,” he told reporters. “I’ve met so many guys who I’ve watched my whole life and just being around these guys and getting to know them, getting to play with them today, it’s baseball heaven. It’s really awesome.”

Ford has been to T-Mobile Park a few times before this weekend, the last of which was catching the M’s take on the Washington Nationals last month.

It’s a little different this time, huh?

“I didn’t have the attention last time, so this is cool,” he said with a laugh.

For Ford, he’s already gotten a lot of attention throughout a very busy year of baseball.

Prior to starting the season in High-A Everett – where he’s slashing .246/.407/.397 with eight home runs and 40 RBIs – Ford played for Great Britain in the World Baseball Classic, where he was the team’s best player.

“It was cool being able to know that I competed and did well against the best players in the game and felt myself stick in and be comfortable there, so I really learned a lot about myself and what I’m capable of doing,” Ford said of the WBC.

Now, he’s going against other top players at the Futures Game, which was a goal of his thanks to another M’s prospect.

“I didn’t really think about it until spring training when Emerson (Hancock) told me about it,” Ford said. “I was just talking to him and asking him what kind of goals he had and stuff and he told me, ‘The Futures Game is in Seattle this year. That should be one of your main goals.’ … I thought about it from then on of just wanting to make this game and it’s awesome that it happened.”

What makes Saturday even more special for both Ford and Clase is the two are tight friends – and former roommates – who’ve played together for a long time in the Mariners organization until recently, when Clase was promoted to Double-A Arkansas.

“We talked about this all the time like how it’d be crazy if both of us made it and could do that together,” Ford said. “… It’s been great seeing him flourish and doing great and us just doing it together.”

Clase later told reporters through a translator that, “(Ford is) my American friend, so I’m really excited to be here with him.”

More Seattle Mariners Observations

• Batting practice is always a place where guys can showcase their stuff, and Clase certainly made the most of his pregame swings.

The 5-foot-9 outfielder has typically been known for his blazing speed and ability to make contact, but power has become part of his game, too.

After hitting just four total home runs in his first two pro seasons, Clase hit 13 last year in 107 games. This year, the switch-hitter already has 17.

Clase blasted multiple home runs from the right side of the plate during BP, including one tape-measure blast up in the left field bleachers. The homer landed in one of the top four rows.

• The coaching staffs for the AL and NL squads is loaded with former Mariners stars, including being managed by Harold Reynolds and Raul Ibanez. But “The Kid” Ken Griffey Jr. made a guest appearance during batting practice, chatting up many former players including Jay Buhner, Mike Cameron and Randy Winn.

• Non-Mariners, but former All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday was on the field for batting practice as his son, Jackson, is the No. 1 prospect in baseball as a member of the Orioles. The younger Holliday was the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft.

Seattle All-Star Game Guide: Rosters, details on marquee events

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