Tag Archive | "USA Baseball"

USA advances to semifinals of World Baseball Classic


Team USA advances to the semifinals with a 6-3 defeat of the defending champion Dominican Republic. It was an instant classic, and the first time the USA has beaten the DR in the World Baseball Classic.

It didn’t start well for Team USA falling behind 2-0 after an inning of play. Brandon Crawford didn’t help the American effort throwing a ball away in the first allowing 1 of the runs scored to be unearned. USA starter Danny Duffy pitched well despite giving up 6 hits in 4.0 innings of work. In the 2nd inning Duffy allowed a lead off single from Gregory Polanco. Then Welington Castillo doubled putting runners at 2nd and 3rd with no outs. Duffy, though, would work his way out of it without giving up a run. That was a huge boost for Team USA.

In the next half inning the USA would tie the game. The first run came around after Giancarlo Stanton singled to start the inning. With Stanton running, Johnathan Lucroy singled up the middle putting runners at the corners. Ian Kinsler would knock in the first run with a ground out, then two batters later Christian Yelich doubled in the gap to bring Kinsler around from first to tie the game.

But the big blow came an inning later. In what is clearly one of the hardest balls hit in recent memory, Giancarlo Stanton hit a 2-run laser of a home run to left giving the USA a 4-2 lead. And something you have to see.

But that may not have been the play of the game. Up 4-2 in the bottom of the 7th, Manny Machado led off for the Dominican Republic. He hit a blast to center field that was about to cut the lead in half, until the new Captain America Adam Jones made one of the most spectacular catches. Again, it is something you have to see.

Jones timed it perfectly and robbed a ball that was going a few rows deep. The next batter, Robinson Cano, did hit a solo home run that cut the lead to 4-3. Without Jones’ catch the game would have been tied.

The USA extended its lead in the 8th on a 2-run double by Andrew McCutchen, which is a player that the Americans really need to get going at the plate. His double really sealed the game for the USA.

Notable Performances:

Sam Dyson pitched 1.2 innings in relief shutting down the DR bats at a key time in the game.

Gregory Polanco quietly went 3-for-4 with a double.

Dellin Betances was unhittable once again. He pitched an inning in relief striking out 2.

Jumbo Diaz also struck out 2 in an inning of work.

Full Box Score

The USA will now face off with Japan in one semifinal game on Tuesday. The other semifinal match up will be the Netherlands and Puerto Rico on Monday. The winners will face each other for the 2017 World Baseball Classic Championship on Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

USA advances semifinals

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WBC: USA comes up short; Puerto Rico advances to semifinals


An late rally was not enough to overcome a huge error for Team USA as Puerto Rico advances to semifinals of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Puerto Rico is looking to do one better than its runner-up finish in the 2013 WBC, and now they have their chance.

Team USA and Marcus Stroman came out as flat as you could in the bottom of the 1st inning. At the same time, Puerto Rico came out rolling. Six straight singles to start the game led to a 4-0 lead after an inning. Angel Pagan, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina, and Javier Baez all singled to start the game. Eddie Rosario drove in the 4th run of the game with a sacrifice fly that turned into a double play. Molina over slide the bag at 3rd base and Nolan Arenado held the tag completing the double play which was huge in getting the USA out of the jam.

In the top of the 2nd the USA came right back. Arenado led off the inning with a double and was driven home almost immediately on a RBI single by Eric Hosmer. After a walk, Seth Lugo would pitch his way out of the inning with a double play ground ball helping his cause.

Stroman really settled down after the first inning. He didn’t give up another hit until Puerto Rico came through with 2 infield singles in the bottom of the 5th which prompted Jim Leyland to pull Stroman after 4.2 innings of work. Mychal Givens came into relieve Stroman and got out of the inning getting Molina to fly out.

Buster Posey cut the lead to 2 with a solo blast in the top of the 5th inning. The lead was cut further in the 6th on a Captain America, sorry Adam Jones, solo shot making it 4-3.

It got a bit more exciting in the 6th inning. Andrew Miller was called on to relieve Givens with no outs and 2 runners on. And Miller finally looked like Miller getting the first 2 hitters to strike out. Then with runners at 2nd and 3rd after a double steal, Miller got Angel Pagan to ground to 3rd base. Arenado made a great stop on a bad hop, but then threw the ball away allowing 2 runs to score for Puerto Rico.

The USA rallied in the top of the 9th. Arenado led off with a walk and was followed by an Eric Hosmer single. That brought up Buster Posey, who already homered, as the tying run. Edwin Diaz would get Posey swinging on a 3-2 count, but he wasn’t out of the inning. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch with Paul Goldschmidt at the plate. Diaz then sent Goldschmidt down swinging, and Brandon Crawford represented Team USA’s last hope. Crawford came up huge with a 2-run triple just beating the throw at 3rd.

Replay showed Crawford was out at third, but with no replay it was up to Josh Harrison to try and tie it up for Team USA. But Diaz got Harrison swinging to end the inning and put Puerto Rico in the semifinals.

With the win Puerto Rico earns a trip to Los Angeles. Team USA will have to defeat defending champion Dominican Republic on Saturday for a trip to L.A.

Full Box Score

Puerto Rico advances to semifinals

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Tiebreaker Rules at World Baseball Classic make for exciting times


Excitement is still alive thanks to the tiebreaker rules at the World Baseball Classic.

In Pool F in San Diego, everyone is still alive for a semifinal birth in Los Angeles.

Current Pool F Standings:

  1. United States 1-0
  2. Puerto Rico 1-0
  3. Dominican Republic 1-1
  4. Venezuela 0-2

Even without a win so far Venezuela is still alive, although they need a lot more help than others. There are 3 games remaining in the round robin pool play.

Remaining Schedule Pool F:

Friday March 17th 10 PM EDT
USA vs Puerto Rico

Saturday Marth 18th 3:30 PM EDT
Puerto Rico vs Venezula

Saturday March 19th 10 PM EST
USA vs Dominican Republic

Sunday March 20th 6 PM EDT
*Tiebreaker Game
*if necessary

Now I know just looking at this does not give you a clear picture of what might and can happen over the next 2 days of play. But thanks to Michael Liu and Twitter (follow him @liuchiahow), he has come up with this great little chart on what could happen. Of course this does not go into the tiebreaker rules of runs allowed, blah, blah, blah. But it is a little too early to get into all of that. Just look at what happened to Mexico when you do that prematurely.

So no matter what happens over the next 2 days of play, it is going to be exciting just like the rest of this WBC. You can catch all the action on MLB Network, MLB.tv, or ESPN Deportes. These last 2 days of Pool F are going to be exciting ones that I wouldn’t want to miss if I were you.

tiebreaker rules World Baseball Classic

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WBC: USA defeats Venezuela using a pair of homers in the 8th inning


In a match up full of MLB All-Stars using a 3-run 8th inning to mount a comeback in yet one more exciting game during the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Team USA defeats Venezuela

Felix Hernandez did just what everyone thought he would do. He shut down the USA bats for 5.0 innings of shutout ball. He gave up just 3 hits while striking out 3. In the bottom of the 3rd, the USA loaded the bases with just 1 out. Up to bat was Adam Jones (the new Captain America?). Hernandez fooled Jones on a 2-2 count  getting him to reach for a pitch and ground weakly to second baseman Jose Altuve who was quick to turn the double play ending the inning. The other four innings pitched by Hernandez went 1-2-3.

It took an error on Rougned Odor, playing out of position at third, for the USA to break through. A Jonathan Lucroy sacrifice fly cut the lead in half at 2-1.

A half inning earlier Odor gave Venezuela a 2-0 lead on a solo home run to right.

But the USA took over in the bottom of the 8th inning. Leading off the inning for Team USA was once again Adam Jones. This time he wasn’t fooled by a pitch and on a 2-2 pitch he tied the game up with a home run to left center. But they weren’t done.

Christian Yelich singled up the middle. Then with one out Eric Hosmer blasted one into the stands in right center field giving the USA a 4-2 lead.

Notable Performers:

Getting his first WBC start, Alex Bregman picked up a pair of hits and a walk in 4 plate appearances.

Ian Kinsler went 2-for-5 in the lead off spot for Team USA.

Drew Smyly pitched 4.2 innings getting the start for Team USA. He gave up 1 unearned run on 3 hits while striking out 8.

Pat Neshek picked up the win with a scoreless inning of relief while Luke Gregerson picked up the save.

Pool F Standings from San Diego:

  1. United States 1-0
  2. Puerto Rico 1-0
  3. Dominican Republic 0-1
  4. Venezuela 0-1

USA defeats Venezuela

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How have our World Baseball Classic predictions been so far?


Back just before the start of the tournament, we made 2017 World Baseball Classic predictions. Today we want to take a look at how those are going and perhaps make some updates on Round 2.

Pool A

We predicted the Netherlands and South Korea would make it out of Pool A. We were half wrong. We expected South Korea to have a better showing, like most everyone else. We did say that Israel would come close to advancing, but I don’t think anyone saw them going 3-0. My feeling was they would come close to beating South Korea and be outs away from advancing. Turns out they would best South Korea and win the whole pool.

Pool B

I think this was the easiest pool to predict. We predicted this right down to the records for all teams. Japan and Cuba advanced. Australia missed out on Round 2 by a single run losing to Cuba 4-3.

Pool C

We got the top 2 right, but did not see Colombia putting up such a great fight. They nearly beat the USA in the first game, beat Canada, and then came inches away from defeating the Dominican Republic. We thought Canada would get by Colombia, but they did not. Canada was rather disappointing in the 2017 WBC and now will have to qualify for the 2021 edition.

Pool D

It almost came down to exactly how we thought it might. We predicted it would be Puerto Rico (although at 2-1 not 3-0) and Venezuela making it to Round 2. We also thought that this would be the pool that would need to play the tiebreaker game, check. This was perhaps the most exciting round, which says a lot with how exciting this tournament has been.

We are sticking to the rest of our predictions. So far we predicted 7 of the 8 in Round 2, and we are sticking to our predictions of the semifinals consisting of USA, Dominican Republic, Japan, Netherlands. That is going out on a limb saying that Puerto Rico will not advance since they have been one of the hottest teams.

It has been a fun WBC so far with so many exciting games and plays, and I have the feeling it will only get better from here on out.

World Baseball Classic predictions

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WBC: Dominican Republic shocks USA with 7 run rally


There was no joy in Miami as the mighty Miller gave up a 3-run blast to Nelson Cruz and the Dominican Republic shocks USA. Well no joy unless you are rooting for the Dominican Republic, who so far look like the best team in the tournament with all due respect to Japan.

USA 5, Dominican Republic 7

Team USA gave up a 5 run lead after 5.5 innings of play. The USA jumped on the board with a pair of runs in the 3rd inning with the first run coming on an error by Dominican centerfielder Sterling Marte, with an assist from Nelson Cruz who almost collided with Marte on a fly ball from Adam Jones. Instead the ball fell scoring Ian Kinsler. Jones would score the 2nd run on a Christian Yelich sacrifice fly.

An inning later Brandon Crawford singled sharply to center to score Paul Goldschmidt. Then a few innings later Team USA would score two more as Giancarlo Stanton and Crawford both picked up RBI doubles. Then the offense sputtered.

Manny Machado got the scoring started for the Dominican in the 6th inning. He hit an absolute blast to left off of Tanner Roark. The home run was estimated at 435 feet with an exit velocity of 109.4 mph, which means it was absolutely crushed.

The big blow came in the bottom of the 8th. On an 0-2 pitch, Nelson Cruz crushed an Andrew Miller slider, that didn’t slide far enough, into the left field stands for a 3-run home run putting the Dominican on top 6-5. Two batters later Sterling Marte would take Miller deep with an opposite field shot finishing off Team USA 7-5.

Both Tanner Roark and Andrew Miller did not pitch up to snuff. USA manager Jim Leyland was a little hesitant to pull Roark which would come back to bite him as he gave up 3 runs in 1.1 innings pitched. Miller had a terrible night giving up 4 runs on 3 hits in just 0.2 innings.

On the flip side, the Dominican bullpen shutdown the USA bats for the final 3 innings not allowing a hit. Hansel Robles, Jesus Colome (W, 1-0), and Jeurys Familia (S, 1) finished the game off allowing just a single walk.

The win puts the Dominican in Round 2, and makes the USA/Canada match up a must win to advance for Team USA.

Full Box Score

WBC Pool C Standings:

  1. Dominican Republic 2-0
  2. Colombia 1-1
  3. USA 1-1
  4. Canada 0-2

Dominican Republic shocks USA

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WBC Pool C: Team USA with Walk-Off Win


The Dominican Republic pounds Canada; Team USA walk-off win.

Pool C in Miami, Florida began on Thursday in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Participating in the pool will be the USA, Canada, Dominican Republic, and Colombia. The Dominican Republic is the defending WBC champion after going undefeated in 2013.

Canada 2, Dominican Republic 9

The Dominican got the pool off with a bang and a huge 9-2 win over Canada. The bats really came alive early for the defending champs, which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the pool With 4 runs in the 2nd inning, everything after that was just gravy. Right fielder Jose Bautista hit a 3-run home run in the 6th inning giving the Dominican an 8-2 lead.

Welington Castillo got the big bats going with a 2-run shot in the 2nd inning making it 3-0. The Dominican would pound out 15 total hits, including 5 for extra bases. Bautista finished 3-for-4 with 4 RBI. Jose Reyes set the table from the lead off spot going 3-for-5 with a double, stolen base, and 2 runs scored.

As good as the bats looked for the Dominican, the arms were just as overwhelming. Carlos Martinez started and went 4.0 innings giving up just a single unearned run. After that it was a steady stream of great arms from the bullpen that shut down Team Canada.

Full Box Score

Colombia 2, USA 3 (10)

Team USA needed an extra frame to hold off Colombia in its first game of the tournament. Chris Archer got the start for the USA and pitched great. He tossed 4.0 scoreless innings. He didn’t give up a hit or a walk and struck out 3. Tyler Clippard picked up the win in relief, but the biggest problem, other than the cold bats, for Team USA was that they used 6 relief pitchers and now they have to bounce back to face the defending champs.

Both teams combined for only 11 total hits. Adam Jones and Ian Kinsler both had 2 hits for Team USA, but Jones would be the hero in the 10th inning with an RBI single to finish off Colombia.

Colombia played really well in the game. Jose Quintana pitched great going 5.2 innings. He gave up just 1 run on 1 hit, and he struck out 4. Guillermo Moscoso took the loss in relief.

Full Box Score

Colombia 4, Canada 1

With the loss Canada is all but eliminated after starting off 0-2. Colombia got a good start from Julio Teheran who went 5.0 innings allowing just 1 run on 2 hits. Yohan Pino pitched great in relief as well going 3.0 scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit.

The Canada bats were cold once again. The team combined for just 5 hits, 2 of which came from Freddie Freeman. He also had the lone RBI for Team Canada.

Colombia now has a must win game coming up against the defending champion Dominican Republic on Sunday. Canada will finish up with Team USA on Sunday evening. While Canada might not advance, they could get hot and ruin any plans the USA has to make it to Round 2.

Full Box Score

Pool C Standings:

  1. Dominican Republic 1-0
  2. USA 1-0
  3. Colombia 1-1
  4. Canada 0-2

Team USA Walk-Off Win

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2017 World Baseball Classic Predictions


Predictions are usually not right, but they are fun and thus we are going to do some 2017 World Baseball Classic Predictions.

I’ve done predictions for many years, and very rarely do they come to fruition. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that they are fun to do and fun to talk about. So with that, I am going to go through each pool and predict what will happen. A lot of this is based on rosters, but not all of it. Some of it is just a gut feel which may help others to see why I am doing what I am doing. I do not think everyone will agree with me either. Of course, that is half the fun. So here we go.

Pool A

Pool A will consist of the following teams: South Korea (host), Chinese Taipei, Netherlands, and Israel.

My Standings:

  1. Netherlands 3-0 (50:1 odds)
  2. South Korea 2-1 (15:1 odds)
  3. Israel 1-2 (200:1 odds)
  4. Chinese Taipei 0-3 (120:1 odds)

I am probably following most predictions in that the two teams I see advancing are South Korea and the Netherlands. However, I am going to predict a few things that others may not like. First, I see the Netherlands winning this pool. I think this comes down to Game 3 on Tuesday March 7th between these two clubs, and I feel that the Dutch will outscore Korea in a shootout. The other “out on a limb” prediction I am going to make is that Israel beats Chinese Taipei, and I think they come within a few innings of advancing but fall to South Korea in their match up. They are one team that will be overlooked and under appreciated, and that is why I think they make a run. I think they will come out and shock South Korea by nearly beating them in Game 1 of pool play.

Pool B

Pool B consists of Japan (host), Cuba, China, and Australia.

  1. Japan 3-0 (3:1 odds)
  2. Cuba 2-1 (12:1 odds)
  3. Australia 1-2 (200:1 odds)
  4. China 0-3 (200:1 odds)

In Tokyo I feel Japan will dominate only having a contest with Cuba. They are the class of Pool B and a title contender. The rest of the field I think will be fun and interesting to watch. Japan is one of the favorites (3rd best odds according to Vegas Insider) with Cuba not being too far behind. I think 3rd place comes down to Australia vs China and fear that is really all they are playing for. Australia could make a run with a shock against Cuba, but I don’t see that happening. China is really the unknown here, but don’t look for them to finish higher than third.

Pool C 

Pool C consists of United States (host), Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Canada.

  1. Dominican Republic 3-0 (5:2 odds)
  2. United States 2-1 (11:5 odds)
  3. Canada 1-2 (60:1 odds)
  4. Colombia 0-3 (120:1 odds)

This is one pool I am really excited to see. The USA is favored by many to win the whole thing. I am not convinced. I think they struggle to make it out of pool play just getting past both Canada and Colombia. I see the Dominican to dominate the pool and win easily against all three opponents.

Pool D

Pool D consists of Mexico (host), Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Italy.

  1. Puerto Rico 2-1 (10:1 odds)
  2. Venezuela 2-1 (6:1 odds)
  3. Mexico 1-2 (40:1 odds)
  4. Italy 1-2 (120:1 odds)

This might be the most wide open pool. It is the only one where I am going to predict the host country doesn’t make it out of the round. I think it all comes down to the final game between Mexico and Venezuela, and I am going with Venezuela. I think Italy will shock a team (perhaps Mexico) and create havoc in the pool play, and don’t look for anyone here to go undefeated. It is going to be a wide open pool. This also might be the only pool where the first round tiebreaker game is needed, although I could see it possibly used in Pool C as well.

Round 2

Pool E in Tokyo, Japan will consist of Cuba, Netherlands, Japan (host), and South Korea.

This pool will be a great one to watch. I see Japan and the Netherlands coming out of it to advance to the semifinal round. This will be a hotly contested round, but I see it going down in the following fashion:

  1. Japan 2-1
  2. Netherlands 2-1
  3. Cuba 1-2
  4. South Korea 1-2

Pool F in San Diego will consist of USA, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico.

A lot of people are high on Puerto Rico, and rightfully so. However, I think this is where they fail to advance. There will be a lot of talent here and this will come down to the final games in the pool, and very well might need a tiebreaker game for a team to advance.

  1. Dominican Republic 2-1
  2. USA 2-1
  3. Puerto Rico 2-1
  4. Venezuela 0-3

Finals 

The Finals will take place in Los Angeles. And while I think we will see a new team garner a medal, I do not think we have a team win its first championship. Instead, I think we have a match up of the only two winners so far in Japan and the Dominican Republic.

Semifinals:

Dominican Republic 5,  Netherlands 2

Japan 3, USA 1

Championship

Japan 3, Dominican Republic 2 (11 Innings)

So there you have it. I am calling for an extra inning championship game where Japan reclaims its title. The Vegas favorite is the USA, but I see them coming up short in their quest for the title.

Now don’t get me wrong, I will be pulling for the USA in any game they play. At the same time I will be pulling for teams like Italy, Israel, and Australia to win since it will only help those countries going forward. I would love to see one of them advance to Round 2, but I just do not see it happening just yet. Italy advanced in 2013, but I feel their pool this go around will be stronger. But it is not out of the realm of possibility.

I’d love to hear what you think and who you think will win it all.

2017 World Baseball Classic Predictions

 

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Team USA 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster Announced


Team USA 2017 World Baseball Classic roster was announced today, and it looks good at first glance. The team that manager Jim Leyland will be leading this go around will feature a lot of great young talent from the big leagues.

Catchers

Former NL MVP Buster Posey leads the catching crew this year, but he is paired up with two other strong guys behind the plate. This will be a key position because not only will they be looked to for some offensive punch, but they will be looked upon to lead this talented but young and diverse pitching staff. Joining Posey will be Jonathan Lucroy, who played in 2013, although sparingly. A.J. Ellis will be the eldest statesman behind the plate.

Infielders

This is the group that really excites me when I look at the group as a whole. Led by some established stars like Paul Goldschmidt and Ian Kinsler the infield features some of the great young talent in the game from the USA. Nolan Arenado to me will be one to watch. The 25-year old is one that will show off his power and defense, but he will have big shoes to fill since David Wright really led the offense for Team USA in 2013 from the third base spot.

Another exciting player to watch from the infield will be Alex Bregman. He is a huge young talent, but with the breakdown of the roster it will interesting to see just how much playing time he will see.

Outfielders

This is an exciting group as well. Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones, and Christian Yelich will be the guys patrolling the outfield for Team USA. Stanton and Jones both played in 2013, but neither was a huge impact for Team USA although they had good tournaments in different areas. Yelich might not be a name that many outside of Miami know, but the Marlins outfielder will show his talent come March. He can hit, hit for power, and can play multiple positions including centerfield if necessary.

Pitchers

The pitching staff will include some of the best young arms in the game with a mix of veterans. Chris Archer is one to watch for me. The young hard throwing righty could be a force to reckon with if he shows up sharp. The back end of the bullpen will be a strong point for Team USA as well with the likes of Sam Dyson, Luke Gregerson, Andrew Miller, and David Robertson. Miller has already said he wants to be available for the entire tournament. Each team will have a pool of pitchers that they can choose from for each round which is why you will see so many names.

Team USA 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster:

Pitchers:

Catchers:

Infielders:

Outfielders:

Manager:

USA 2017 World Baseball Classic roster

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2017 National High School Invitational Teams Announced


The teams for the 2017 National High School Invitational have been announced. The annual tournament will be in its 6th season this year when the teams converge on Carey, North Carolina and the USA Baseball National Training Complex. The tournament will take place from March 29-April 1.

Back again from last year will be the 2016 NHSI champion Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, CA). Several other schools are back for a second time, but none other has won a title.

Florida and California are the most represented states with the two combining for half the field. Illinois has its first ever contestant in the tournament with the invitation of Brother Rice High School out of Chicago.

The schedule for the 2017 edition of the tournament will be released February 21 as part of a pre-event video series that can be found at USABaseball.com.

2017 National High School Invitational Participants:
American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.)
Archbishop McCarthy High School (Southwest Ranches, Fla.)
Arlington High School (Arlington, Tenn.)
Brother Rice High School (Chicago, Ill.)
Canterbury School (Fort Meyers, Fla.)
Cullman High School (Cullman, Ala.)
Dana Hills High School (Dana Point, Calif.)
Hamilton High School (Chandler, Ariz.)
Hough High School (Cornelius, N.C.)
Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Malvern Preparatory School (Malvern, Pa.)
Merritt Island High School (Merritt Island, Fla.)
Orange Lutheran High School (Orange, Calif.)
Rocky Mountain High School (Fort Collins, Colo.)
South Hills High School (West Covina, Calif.)
Winder-Barrow High School (Winder, Ga.)

2017 National High School Invitational

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Three More Players Confirmed for Team USA


Three more players have been announced to pitch for Team USA in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. The Colorado Rockies Jake McGee has been confirmed to play alongside teammate Nolan Arenado.

The 30-year old lefty had 15 saves in 19 attempts a year ago for the Rockies. He wound up moving out of the closer’s spot after a few rough outings and stint on the disabled list.

Joining McGee on the Team USA pitching staff will be Chicago White Sox closer David Robertson. Last season the 31-year old hurler saved 37 games in 44 attempts. That was the third straight year he had 30+ saves in a season.

And finally Giancarlo Stanton has been confirmed to play for Team USA. This will be the second time Stanton will suit up for Team USA in the WBC. He was apart of the team in 2013 as well.

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2017 World Baseball Classic Pool C & D Preview


Yesterday we took a look at Pools A & B for the 2017 World Baseball Classic and how each team has fared in the past. Today we will take a look at Pools C & D and look at how each team got here and how they have fared in the first three installments of the WBC.

Pool C

Canada is back for its fourth time in the WBC, yet they have surprisingly never made it out of Round 1. They came really close in the first tournament after finishing pool play 2-1 with a victory over the United States losing out on a tiebreaker to the US.

The Dominican Republic is back to defend its title from 2013. After starting off with a spot in the semifinal in the initial WBC, 2009 was a disappointing tournament as they did not make it out of Round 1. However, it was quite the bounce back as the Dominican ran through the 2013 tourney undefeated to take the title.

Colombia is making its first appearance in the WBC after defeating Panama in a qualifier last year to advance. Colombia failed to qualify in 2013 losing to Panama and Brazil in the qualifier. They got a little revenge this go around keeping Panama from advancing. They are one of two teams making their first appearance.

The United States is making its fourth appearance in the WBC. A fourth place finish in 2009 is the best the USA has done so far. The no. 2 World Ranked team has failed to make it out of Round 2 two of the three times, but they look to change that this year. There has been a lot of debate on players playing or not playing, and I look forward to more of that discussion later this year when the final team is announced.

Pool D

Mexico is back again for fourth time, but this time they had to come through a qualifier to pick up their spot. Twice Mexico has made Round 2, but not since 2009. They absolutely rolled through the qualifier outscoring their opponents 25-2. Look for them to once again advance to Round 2 where anything can happen.

Italy is back after a great run in 2013. This is their fourth appearance, but they are still looking for their first medal. Italy defeated both Mexico and Canada to advance in 2013. Their path this time goes through three Latin American teams, but I like their chances.

Venezuela is back for the fourth straight time. In 2009, they finished third defeating the USA in the semifinal. However, after that great run in ’09 they did not advance out of Round 1 in 2013 losing to both the Dominican and Puerto Rico. This might be the most wide open pool.

Puerto Rico is back again after a strong 2013 WBC finishing second to the Dominican. Each time they have made it to at least Round 2, and they stand poised to make another run at that as well. This will be another interesting roster to see once it is finalized.

There are at least three teams in each pool that stand a strong chance to advance to Round 2 which makes this tournament very exciting. I am looking forward to some upsets and surprise teams, but we will get into more of that once the rosters are announced.

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Alex Bregman to Play for Team USA in 2017 World Baseball Classic


One exciting development for Team USA at the 2017 World Baseball Classic is the announcement by young budding superstar Alex Bregman that he will play.

Bregman made his Major League debut this summer with the Houston Astros. The budding star out of LSU got off to an ice cold start for the Astros before heating up and putting in a fine rookie campaign. In 49 games Bregman hit .264 with 8 home runs and 34 RBI. Not bad after starting off 1-for-32 to begin his career.

Bregman has the tools to be a stellar corner infielder, if that is in fact where he stays during his tenure in Houston. The Astros made Alex the no. 2 overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft just behind fellow budding infield star Dansby Swanson.

Bregman has some international experience having played with the National Team at the 2014 Haarlem Baseball Week where he helped the USA take the gold medal. He was named MVP of the tournament.

In a Tweet two days ago, Bregman told the world how he is excited to represent his country once again.

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South Korea Climbs to No.3 in Baseball World Rankings


South Korea has climbed to the no. 3 spot in the WBSC Baseball World Rankings, its highest ranking ever moving passed Chinese Taipei. The top two spots remain the same with Japan leading the way once again, while the United States continues to be a strong no. 2.

South Korea’s climb moves them even closer to the United States in the second spot. Japan still commands a strong lead over the pack. Rounding out the top 5 are Chinese Taipei and Cuba.

The top representative from Europe comes in at no. 9 with the Netherlands, followed closely by Italy at no. 10.

Men’s Baseball Final 2016 World Rankings Top 10:

1. Japan
2. USA
3. South Korea
4. Chinese Taipei
5. Cuba
6. Mexico
7. Venezuela
8. Canada
9. Netherlands
10. Italy

Complete World Rankings

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High School: San Clemente Wins NHSI


CARY, North Carolina – The National High School Invitational was this past week at the National Training Complex. The tournament, in its fourth year, featured some of the best high school teams from all over the country.

This year the tournament featured schools from Texas, Florida, California, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Washington, and North Carolina. The first three years of the tournament the title went to a California school twice (2013 and 2012 – Mater Dei) and a Florida school (2014 – Orlando’s First Academy).

After a one year hiatus, the championship is back in California.

San Clemente defeated College Park 8-3 in the championship game on Saturday bring the title back to the state where Mater Dei held it for two straight years.

The tournament featured some of the top ranked high school teams in the country by MaxPreps including No. 6 ranked San Clemente. Also ranked were No. 5 College Station (TX), No. 4 Mosley (FL), and No. 25 Puyallup (WA). These rankings were from 3/23 and are likely to change after the tournament.

For video recaps and other news and notes from the tournament, visit USABaseball.com.

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Groups Unveiled for the U12 Baseball World Cup


The World Baseball Softball Confederation announced the groups for the upcoming U12 Baseball World Cup to take place in Taiwan later this summer. Twelve teams will compete for the title that the US will defend after winning the 2013 edition of the tournament in Taiwan.

The top four nations will compete in the event with the top two, Japan and the USA, competing in the same group for the first stage.

Group A
1. Cuba (World No. 3)
2. Chinese Taipei (No. 4)
3. South Korea (No. 8)
4. Venezuela (No. 10)
5. Brazil (No. 15)
6. Russia (No. 32)

Group B
1. Japan (No. 1)
2. USA (No. 2; Defending U12 World Champions)
3. Mexico (No. 12)
4. Australia (No. 14)
5. Nicaragua (No. 16)
6. France (No. 27)

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USA Baseball to Host Cuba in Friendship Series


Press Release USA Baseball

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation announced on Wednesday that the two international baseball powers will continue their home-and-home international friendship series in the U.S. this July. 2015 will mark the fourth consecutive year the two countries have met on the baseball diamond for a five-game series. The U.S. hosted in 2013, while Cuba hosted the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team in 2012 and 2014.

Co-hosted by the Charlotte Knights and the Durham Bulls, the 2015 series will be contested entirely in the state of North Carolina. The two nations will open and close the series at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., on July 1 and 6, while the Durham Bulls will host games on July 2 and 3 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, and the Charlotte Knights will host play on the Fourth of July at BB&T Ballpark in uptown Charlotte.

“It is a thrill to bring the Cuban National Team to North Carolina for five competitive, entertaining games in Cary, Durham and Charlotte, this summer,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO. “Building on the success of the first three years of this renewed friendship series should make for an incredible experience for the players, coaches, fans and the international baseball community.”

After a 16-year hiatus, USA and Cuba resumed a yearly international friendship series on the baseball field in 2012 with the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team traveling to Havana for an intense five-game series that saw the host nation score a 3-2 series victory. In 2013 (in the U.S.) and 2014 (in Cuba), the host nations dominated play with five-game sweeps. In three years of renewed rivalry, Cuba leads the series 8-7.

“It’s exciting to be entering the fourth consecutive year of international friendship series between these two historic baseball countries,” said World Baseball Softball Confederation Ambassador, Antonio Castro. “The games in Cuba in 2014 were an incredibly positive experience for the players and fans, and we look forward to the same kind of atmosphere this year in the United States.”

The USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., which opened in 2007, has been a friendly home to the Collegiate National Team program. The Collegiate National Team sports a 16-1-1 all-time record at the NTC, including a 3-2 victory in its only previous match up against Cuba in Cary.

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park has also been good to the Collegiate National Team. Since opening in 1995, and becoming an unofficial yearly home to the team in 2003, the Collegiate National Team has posted a 44-7 record in 51 contests there. The Collegiate National Team and Cuba have met once before at the DBAP, with Team USA winning the final game of the 2013 series, 5-3, in front of a joyous hometown crowd.

July 4, 2015 will mark the first game USA Baseball has played in the Charlotte Knights new home, BB&T Ballpark. Opened prior to the 2014 season, the Collegiate National Team was scheduled to play the Chinese Taipei National Team in the ballpark last July, but inclement weather forced a postponement and the game was ultimately made up in Durham. USA and Cuba did meet at the Knight’s previous home, Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, S.C., in August of 1988, with the Red, White and Blue winning both contests.

Since USA Baseball began keeping official records following the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, the Collegiate National Team is 35-65 in 100 meetings with the Cuban National Team; however, Team USA holds a 22-20 advantage in games hosted in the U.S., most recently winning all five games of the 2013 international friendship series.

The 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will be managed by St. John’s University skipper, Ed Blankmeyer. The remainder of the coaching staff and players invited to the Collegiate National Team and Collegiate National Team Training Camp will be announced throughout the spring.

For more information on the Collegiate National Team, please visit USABaseball.com.

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USAB, MLB announce International Prospect Series


Press Release USA Baseball

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball and Major League Baseball announced the creation of the International Prospect Series in a joint announcement on Thursday. The inaugural event, which will be held March 27 and 28 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex, is expected to feature high school-aged athletes from Aruba, Colombia, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Panama and Venezuela, against two North Carolina high school baseball teams.

“Major League Baseball is proud to stand alongside USA Baseball on the launch of the International Prospect Series,” said Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. “In the years ahead, our global game will aim to develop more players – at all levels and from all communities. This event promises to be a strong showcase of amateur talent in a format that can help advance the careers of many players.”

The two-day event will include games between the International All-Star Prospects and two local North Carolina high schools, South Caldwell High School and Providence High School. The International All-Star Prospects roster, which will be comprised largely of July 2, 2015 free agent-eligible international athletes, is selected by personnel from Major League Baseball.

“Continuing to grow the game globally has always been important to USA Baseball, and partnering with Major League Baseball on the International Prospect Series is another opportunity to continue that drive,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO. “It is also exciting to shine the spotlight on our local community and the great baseball hosted in Cary, North Carolina, each year. We look forward to two competitive days of baseball at the National Training Complex.”

The event runs simultaneously with the USA Baseball National High School Invitational, which brings together 16 of the top high school baseball programs in the U.S. each March. The two events represent a major opportunity to the amateur scouting community as the top U.S. and international high school players will be competing in one location.

The schedule for the 2015 International Prospect Series is as follows:

Thursday, March 26

International All-Star Prospects pro-style workout
USA Baseball National Training Complex, Cary, N.C.

Friday, March 27

International All-Star Prospects vs. South Caldwell High School
USA Baseball National Training Complex, Cary N.C.

Saturday, March 28

International All-Star Prospects vs. Providence High School
USA Baseball National Training Complex, Cary N.C.

For more information on the International Prospect Series, please visit the event page HERE.

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USA Baseball Unveils 2015 50-Player Golden Spikes Watch List


Press Release by USA Baseball

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball released its 50-player preseason USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list on Tuesday, beginning the organization’s journey to naming the top amateur baseball player in the country in a trophy presentation on Tuesday, June 23 in Los Angeles. Sponsored by Major League Baseball, and presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, 2015 marks the 38th year of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award.

The preseason watch list features 50 of the nation’s top amateur players, and will be a “rolling” list until May 22 — when the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists are announced — ensuring that athletes can play themselves into consideration for the award throughout the collegiate and high school seasons.

“It is hard to believe that we will be presenting the Golden Spikes Award for the 38th time this June,” said USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO, Paul Seiler. “2015 looks to be another outstanding year for amateur baseball and we can’t wait to follow the competition across all levels of the game this season.”

Six players on the watch list have previously been named semifinalists for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award in their careers. Nathan Kirby (LHP, junior, Virginia), Michael Murray (RHP, junior, Florida Gulf Coast) and DJ Stewart (OF, junior, Florida State) were all semifinalists for the award in 2014, while David Berg (RHP, senior, UCLA), Alex Bregman (SS, junior, LSU) and Thomas Eshelman (RHP, junior, Cal State Fullerton) earned the recognition in the 2013 season.

Players on the list represent 17 different collegiate athletic conferences, led by Southeastern Conference with 12 players named to the watch list. The Atlantic Coast Conference has 10 athletes on the list, while the Pac 12 has eight. 2014 NCAA Division I national champion, Vanderbilt, leads all institutions with three players on the preseason watch list, while Cal State Fullerton, Florida, Miami (Fla.), TCU, UCLA and Virginia all placed a pair of athletes on the list.

Also appearing on the list are three non-NCAA Division I athletes. Phil Bickford (RHP, sophomore, College of Southern Nevada) is the lone junior college representative after winning the Robert A. McNeese Award in the Cape Code League last summer. Two-time Division III national player and pitcher of the year, Chris Haddeland (RHP, senior, Linfield), returns to the watch list after receiving consideration for the Golden Spikes Award late into the 2014 season. Brendan Rodgers (SS, senior, Lake Mary (Fla.) HS) is the only high school athlete on the preseason watch list. Bryce Harper (2010) and Alex Fernandez (1990) are the only two non-NCAA Division I winners of the award.

On April 9, USA Baseball will release its 60-man midseason watch list, shaped by the Golden Spikes Award committee. On May 22, USA Baseball will announce the semifinalists for the 2015 Golden Spikes Award. The semifinalists list will be sent to a voting body consisting of past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of the media that follow the amateur game closely, select professional baseball personnel, current USA Baseball staff and the 37 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters.

Fan voting will once again be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2015. Friday, May 22, marks the day when amateur baseball fans across the country will be able to vote for their favorite semifinalists at GoldenSpikesAward.com. As part of this selection process, all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list. On Tuesday, June 3, USA Baseball will announce the finalists, and voting will once again commence that same day.

The 2015 Golden Spikes Award winner will be named on Tuesday, June 23, at a presentation in Los Angeles. The finalists and their families will be honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Dinner that evening at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.

Last year, University of Kentucky’s two-way star, A.J. Reed, took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that includes Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009) and Buster Posey (2008).

The anticipated timeline for the 2015 Golden Spikes Award announcements is:

  • Tuesday, February 10: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 50-man preseason watch list
  • Thursday, April 9: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 60-man midseason watch list
  • Thursday, May 7: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 30-man preliminary list
  • Friday, May 22: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists, voting begins
  • Friday, May 29: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists voting ends
  • Tuesday, June 3: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists, voting begins
  • Friday, June 12: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists voting ends
  • Tuesday, June 23: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award trophy presentation

A complete list of the 50-player USA Baseball preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list is as follows:

Name, Position, Class, School, Conference
David Berg, RHP, Senior, UCLA, Pac 12
Phil Bickford, RHP, Sophomore, CC of Southern Nevada, Scenic West (JC)
Alex Bregman, SS, Junior, LSU, SEC
Walker Buehler, RHP, Junior, Vanderbilt, SEC
Austin Byler, 3B, Senior, Nevada, Mountain West
Shaun Chase, C, Senior, Oregon, Pac 12
Zack Collins, C, Sophomore, Miami, ACC
Wil Crowe, RHP, Sophomore, South Carolina, SEC
Tyler Davis, RHP, Senior, Washington, Pac 12
Steven Duggar, OF, Junior, Clemson, ACC
Thomas Eshelman, RHP, Junior, Cal State Fullerton, Big West
Riley Ferrell, RHP, Junior, TCU, Big 12
Blake Fox, LHP, Junior, Rice, C-USA
Carson Fulmer, RHP, Junior, Vanderbilt, SEC
Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Junior, Louisville, ACC
Justin Garza, RHP, Junior, Cal State Fullerton, Big West
Eric Gutierrez, 1B, Junior, Texas Tech, Big 12
Chris Haddeland, RHP, Senior, Linfield, Northwest Athletic (DIII)
Ian Happ, OF, Junior, Cincinnati, American Athletic
Tyler Jay, LHP, Junior, Illinois, Big 10
Casey Jones, OF, Senior, Elon, CAA
James Kaprielian, RHP, Junior, UCLA, Pac 12
Nathan Kirby, LHP, Junior, Virginia, ACC
Jake Lemoine, RHP, Junior, Houston, American Athletic
Brett Lilek, LHP, Junior, Arizona State, Pac 12
Richie Martin, SS, Junior, Florida, SEC
Tate Matheny, OF, Junior, Missouri State, Missouri Valley
Michael Matuella, RHP, Junior, Duke, ACC
Andrew Moore, RHP, Junior, Oregon State, Pac 12
Preston Morrison, RHP, Senior, TCU, Big 12
Michael Murray, RHP, Junior, Florida Gulf Coast, Atlantic Sun
Sheldon Neuse, 3B, Sophomore, Oklahoma, Big 12
Kevin Newman, SS, Junior, Arizona, Pac 12
Connor Panas, 3B, Senior, Canisius, MAAC
Cal Quantrill, RHP, Sophomore, Stanford, Pac 12
Brendan Rodgers, SS, Senior (High School), Lake Mary (Fla.), High School
Chris Shaw, OF, Junior, Boston College, ACC
Logan Shore, RHP, Sophomore, Florida, SEC
DJ Stewart, OF, Junior, Florida State, ACC
Christin Stewart, OF, Junior, Tennessee, SEC
Andrew Suarez, LHP, RS-Junior, Miami, ACC
Dansby Swanson, SS, Junior, Vanderbilt, SEC
Keegan Thompson, RHP, Sophomore, Auburn, SEC
Trent Thornton, RHP, Junior, North Carolina, ACC
Blake Trahan, SS, Junior, Louisiana-Lafayette, Sun Belt
Christian Trent, LHP, Junior, Ole Miss, SEC
Robert Tyler, RHP, Sophomore, Georgia, SEC
Brandon Waddell, LHP, Junior, Virginia, ACC
Colin Welmon, RHP, Senior, Loyola Marymount, West Coast
Mikey White, SS, Junior, Alabama, SEC

Posted in N. America, News, CollegeComments (0)

Japan Replaces USA in 2015 World Port Tournament


Team USA has pulled out of the biannual World Port Tournament for 2015. Due to a full schedule Team USA has decided it will not participate. Japan will replace them in Rotterdam for the biannual event.

The four other teams participating will be the host Netherlands, Curacao, Cuba, and Chinese Taipei. The 2015 tournament will take place in Rotterdam from June 18-26.

This will be only Japan’s third time in the tournament that has been dominated by Cuba over the years. However, the hosts have won two of the last three events including 2013.

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USA Baseball Forms Golden Spikes Award Committee


Press Release USA Baseball

13-man selection committee will be responsible for identifying candidates for the nation’s premier amateur baseball award

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball announced today the formation of the Golden Spikes Award committee that will select the watch lists and semifinalists for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the top amateur baseball player in the U.S.

“As the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award continues to grow, it is important to have the top voices in the game assist in the process of honoring amateur athletes,” said Cody Wilcoxson, USA Baseball’s director of communications, who oversees the Golden Spikes Award for the organization. “The committee members are all dedicated to their coverage and support of the amateur game, and their presence on the committee continues to make the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award the preeminent amateur honor.”

In aggregate, the committee members have more than 250 years of playing, coaching, scouting and reporting experience in amateur baseball. The group includes six former NCAA college baseball players, three of which played in the College World Series, and two committee members that coached teams to the College World Series.

The committee is responsible for selecting the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list, the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list, the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award preliminary list and the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists.

Once the committee selects the semifinalists for the award, USA Baseball will have its Golden Spikes Award voting committee, comprised of past USA Baseball national team coaches and media, USA Baseball’s board of directors, members of the media that closely follow the amateur game, select professional baseball personnel, and past winners of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, representing a group of more than 200 voters in total, vote for the finalists and, eventually, the winner of the prestigious award.

Fan voting will once again be a part of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award in 2015. Beginning with the semifinalists on May 22, amateur baseball fans all across the country are encouraged to vote for their favorite candidate on GoldenSpikesAward.com. As part of this selection process all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list of names. On Tuesday, June 2, USA Baseball will announce the finalists, and voting will once again commence that same day.

Since 2013, the presentation of the award is held each summer in Los Angeles is partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation. The finalists for the award and their families are honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Dinner following the presentation of the trophy.

The members of the Golden Spikes Award committee are:

  • Jim Callis, senior writer for MLB.com, draft and prospect expert who has been covering the amateur baseball landscape since 1988
  • Eric Campbell, USA Baseball’s general manager of national teams, former head coach at the U.S. Air Force Academy has selected national team athletes for USA Baseball since 2000
  • Shaun Cole, USA Baseball’s director of the 18U National Team, responsible for the selection of the USA Baseball 18U National Team after five seasons as pitching coach at the University of Arizona, a 2012 NCAA national champion
  • Justin Dedeaux, Rod Dedeaux Foundation board of directors, former coach and player at the University of Southern California, a 1963 NCAA national champion
  • Aaron Fitt, editor and national writer for D1Baseball.com, has covered the college baseball beat since 2004
  • Nick Herfordt, Division II, Division III and NAIA correspondent for Perfect Game USA, founder of College Baseball Lineup and the Tino Martinez Division II Player of the Year Award
  • Tim Kay, USA Baseball’s director of video scouting, provides scouting analysis for national team selection after previously working in advanced scouting for the Washington Nationals
  • John Manuel, editor-in-chief for Baseball America, has covered all levels of baseball for the publication since 1996
  • Jonathan Mayo, senior writer for MLB.com, has served as a draft and prospect expert for MLB.com since 1999
  • Ben McDonald, winner of the 1989 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, college baseball hall of fame class of 2008, currently serves as color analyst for ESPN college baseball broadcasts
  • Kyle Peterson, baseball analyst for ESPN, has covered college based since 2003, recognized as the 1995 and 1997 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, played in two College World Series at Stanford
  • Nathan Rode, national supervisor for Prep Baseball Report, has covered high school baseball and the MLB First-Year Player Draft since 2007
  • Kendall Rogers, national writer and editor for D1Baseball.com, has covered college baseball since 2000

The anticipated timeline for the committee’s announcements is:

  • Tuesday, February 10: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 50-man preseason watch list
  • Thursday, April 9: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 60-man midseason watch list
  • Thursday, May 7: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 30-man preliminary list
  • Friday, May 22: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists, voting begins
  • Friday, May 29: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists voting ends
  • Tuesday, June 3: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists, voting begins
  • Friday, June 12: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists voting ends
  • Tuesday, June 23: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award trophy presentation

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USA Baseball: 18U National Team Staff Named


Press Release USA Baseball

David Eckstein joins Greg Moore and Eric Kibler in assisting manager, Glenn Cecchini

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball named its 2015 18U National Team coaching staff Thursday, led by Barbe (La.) High School head coach, Glenn Cecchini. Cecchini, a veteran of Team USA identification events, has worked the 18U National Team Trials each of the past two seasons.

“The 2015 18U National Team is in great hands heading into the World Cup,” said USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO, Paul Seiler. “Our 18U director, Shaun Cole, has assembled an impressive staff of coaches with experience with our organization and a pedigree of success with a World Series MVP, a successful division I head coach and two nationally recognized high school coaches.”

Cecchini led Lake Charles, La.’s Barbe High School to the 2014 Baseball America national championship after posting a 39-2 record and winning the Louisiana 5A state championship for the seventh time. Both of Cecchini’s sons, Garin and Gavin, won gold medals as players with the 18U National Team in 2009 and 2011, respectively.

Cecchini will be joined in the dugout by assistant coaches, David Eckstein and Eric Kibler, as well as pitching coach, Greg Moore, and certified athletic trainer, Josh Cohen.

David Eckstein, the 2006 World Series MVP with the St. Louis Cardinals, joins the 18U National Team staff after serving in various roles with USA Baseball over the last few years. A 10-year veteran and two-time MLB All-Star, Eckstein has worked with the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars and the USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials since 2012.

As a player, Eckstein won two World Series rings while posting a career batting average of .280 in 5,705 big league plate appearances. Playing most of his career at shortstop, Eckstein had a career .982 fielding percentage in more than 10,600 MLB innings.

Eric Kibler has the most USA Baseball experience of the group having been the manager of the 2010 USA Baseball 16U National Team that posted a perfect 9-0 record en route to winning the gold medal at the COPABE Pan American 16U Youth Championships in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico. Kibler also served as an assistant coach on the 2009 16U National Team and worked as the lead field coordinator for the USA Baseball National Team Development Program from 2012 to 2014 – winning the USA Baseball Coach of the Year Award in 2010 and the USA Baseball Developmental Coach of the Year in 2012.

Kibler is the head coach at national power, Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he has led the Huskies to six state championships and 18 regional titles. Under Kibler’s tutelage, Horizon has 28 players drafted by Major League clubs, including three first round selections.

Greg Moore, the head coach at Cal State Northridge, coaches on his first national team staff after assisting with the 2014 USA Baseball Tournament of Stars and the 2014 USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials in Houston.

Moore took the head coaching job at Cal State Northridge following three successful seasons as associate head coach at the University of San Francisco where he was named by Baseball America as one of the Top 10 Assistant Coaches in College Baseball. During his tenure with the Dons, Moore coached three first-round draft picks and eight top-10 round selections.

Moore played collegiately at the University of San Francisco and was named the West Coast Conference All-Academic Team in 2001. As a player, he won the team’s “Most Inspirational” award in back-to-back season and the award now bears his name.

Certified athletic trainer, Josh Cohen, rounds out the on-field staff. In his 10th season as athletic trainer for the Texas A&M Aggies baseball program, Cohen is known for his wealth of baseball-specific and sports medicine knowledge and experience.

The staff will look to defend the 18U National Team’s gold medal from the 2013 WBSC 18U/’AAA’ World Cup, when it competes in the 2015 WBSC 18U/’AAA’ World Cup in Nishinomiya, Japan. The 18U National Team has won gold medals in each of the last four years, including back-to-back World Cups in 2012 and 2013.

For more information on the 18U National Team program, please visit USABaseball.com and follow@USABaseball18U on Twitter.

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USA: Blankmeyer to Manage Collegiate National Team


Press Release USA Baseball

Five-time BIG EAST Coach of the Year will guide team in international play this summer

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DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball officially named St. John’s University head coach, Ed Blankmeyer, as the manager for the 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team on Tuesday. Blankmeyer previously served as an assistant coach on the 2010 Collegiate National Team that posted a 16-3 record and captured the silver medal at the FISU World University Baseball Championships in Tokyo, Japan.

“We are thrilled to have Ed lead the Collegiate National Team program in 2015,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO. “He has Team USA experience in 2010, as well as an impressive resume in two decades at St. John’s, and, most importantly, a passion for coaching student-athletes to succeed.”

The winningest coach in St. John’s baseball history, Blankmeyer is in his 20th season at the helm of the Red Storm baseball program and has posted a 647-405-3 (.615) record. Blankmeyer has guided the Red Storm to three BIG EAST Tournament crowns as well as four BIG EAST regular season titles, and has led the squad to the NCAA Tournament eight times, including one NCAA Super Regional appearance.

“I am extremely honored and excited to be selected to manage the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team,” said Blankmeyer. “We have an outstanding schedule lined up and I am looking forward to both working with and learning from the amazing coaching staff that we have assembled. Above all else, I feel privileged to represent the United States of America.”

Also the winningest coach in the history of BIG EAST play with 287 conference victories, Blankmeyer has earned BIG EAST Coach of the Year honors a conference-record five times and has been named the American Baseball Coaches Association Northeast Region Coach of the Year four times. Blankmeyer, who has guided St. John’s to six 40-win seasons, has had 88 All-BIG EAST selections and has seen 65 of his players drafted and/or signed to professional contracts, including 2014 World Series champion Joe Panik.

In 2010, Blankmeyer assisted University of Utah coach, Bill Kinneberg, with a Collegiate National Team roster that included future Major League players Matt Barnes, Jackie Bradley, Jr., Gerrit Cole, Sonny Gray, Brad Miller and George Springer. The club posted a 16-3 record for the summer, including a five-game sweep of the Korean National Team in a series hosted in the U.S., before falling in a heart-breaking 4-3 extra-inning affair to Cuba in the championship game 2010 FISU World University Baseball Championships.

The complete 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team coaching staff and schedule will be released in announcements later this spring on USABaseball.com.

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USA Baseball Reveals Field for 2015 National High School Invitational


Press Release USA Baseball

The field for the fourth annual USA Baseball National High School Invitational announced

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball announced the 16 teams that will compete in the fourth annual USA Baseball National High School Invitational, held March 25 to 28, at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. The premier event on the high school baseball calendar again features some of the top teams and individual talents from across the nation. Baseball America, the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance and the Town of Cary are partnering with USA Baseball in hosting and presenting the event.

“The National High School Invitation continues to bring together some of the top programs and talents from around the U.S. for a one-of-a-kind high school baseball experience,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO. “In just three years, the NHSI has quickly become the premier event on the high school baseball calendar and we are thrilled to partner with the Town of Cary, the Greater Raleigh Sports and our media partner, Baseball America, on the 2015 edition.”

Local powerhouse, Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, N.C., will serve as the host of the tournament for the first time. The Pride finished 2014 with a 17-6 overall record and advanced to the second round of the NCHSAA 4A state playoffs.

De Soto Central High School (Southaven, Miss.), Loyalsock Township High School (Williamsport, Pa.) and Puyallup High School (Puyallup, Wash.) represent, for the first time ever, the states of Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Washington at the National High School Invitational.

A. Crawford Mosley High School (Lynn Haven, Fla.), St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Trinity Preparatory School (Winter Park, Fla.) will look to bring the trophy back to the Sunshine State after The First Academy (Orlando, Fla.) claimed the NHSI title in 2014.

The state of California will be well-represented again with four schools traveling to Cary: College Park High School (Pleasant Hill, Calif.), Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, Calif.), JSerra Catholic School (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and San Clemente High School (San Clemente, Calif.).

Rounding out the field are a pair of schools from Georgia in Lambert High School (Suwanee, Ga.) and Whitewater High School (Fayetteville, Ga.), as well as representatives from Arizona: Horizon High School (Scottsdale, Ariz.); Tennessee: Farragut High School (Knoxville, Tenn.); and Texas: College Station High School (College Station, Texas).

The NHSI will be a single-elimination championship tournament, with each participating team guaranteed to play four games. An event schedule will be announced as part of an eight-week video series, beginning on January 8, detailing the first round matchups with analysis from USA Baseball’s panel of baseball experts.

For more information on the 2015 National High School Invitational, coaches education and general USA Baseball information, please visit USABaseball.com.

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  • Japan (5%, 4 Votes)
  • Chinese Taipei (1%, 1 Votes)
  • South Korea (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Canada (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 88

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