Several of the top high school players in the Class of 2010—as well as the top college player available, CC of Southern Nevada’s Bryce Harper—will try to help USA Baseball’s 18-and-under squad win a gold medal at the age group’s Pan American Junior Championships. The entire event will be played with wood bats, as opposed to metal bats as has been the case in the past.
The 18U roster has 20 players on it and was selected after a six-day trials period this week in Cary, N.C., and ended a process that began at the Tournament of Stars in June. The team will work out with exhibitions against local junior-college teams before heading to Venezuela on Sept. 24. The tournament concludes Oct. 4, and Team USA has never won gold in the Pan Ams. Garye LeFevers, a veteran of USA Baseball national teams, will serve as head coach.
Harper, a catcher who left Las Vegas High two years early to enroll in junior college and be eligible for the 2010 draft, is one of seven alumni from last year’s 16U national team. That team won gold at the Pan Am 16U Youth championships, and Harper was the tournament MVP. The other alumni include Cody Buckel (Royal HS, Simi Valley, Calif.); Nick Delmonico and Philip Pfeifer (both Farragut HS, Knoxville, Tenn.); Connor Mason (homeschooled, Suwanee, Ga.); Ladson Montgomery (Creekside HS, Jacksonville, Fla.); and Tony Wolters (Rancho Buena Vista HS, Vista, Calif.).
Joining them on the roster are the top-rated pitcher and position player on BA’s current prep draft class of 2010: righthander Jameson Taillon (The Woodlands, Texas, HS) and shortstop Manny Machado (Brito Prep, Miami). Other highly-regarded players on the 18U roster include righthander Karsten Whitson (Chipley, Fla., HS), ranked No. 3 overall on our Top 25; infielder Nick Castellanos (Archbishop McCarthy HS, SW Ranches, Fla.), ranked No. 8 overall; righthander Kevin Gausman (Grandview Aurora HS, Centennial, Colo.), ranked No. 9 overall; shortstop Garin Cecchini (Barbe HS, Lake Charles, La.), ranked No. 13 overall, outfielder Brian Ragira (Martin HS, Arlington, Texas), ranked No. 16 and righthander A.J. Vanegas (Redwood Christian HS, Alameda, Calif.), ranked No. 20.
The rest of the roster includes: infielder/outfielder Sean Coyle (Germantown Academy, Chalfont, Pa.); outfielder/lefthander Cory Hahn (Mater Dei HS, Corona, Calif.); middle infielder Kavin Keyes (Alta HS, Sandy, Utah); and lefthanders Robby Ray (Brentwood, Tenn., HS) and Kyle Ryan (Auburndale, Fla., HS).
Baseball America’s Conor Glassey attended part of the trials (along with 30 of his closest scouting friends) and shot this video of Harper and Machado. And Nathan Rode produced this video of Harper this summer, speaking with Clay Counsil (of Josh Hamilton BP fame) during the Tournament of Stars.
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