Team USA Olympic Capsules




IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Four Olympians who will be at the forefront of Team USA's attempt for Olympic gold.

JAKE ARRIETA RHP
High Class A Frederick (Orioles)
Born: March 6, 1986. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 225. Drafted: Texas Christian, 2007 (5th round).
After the combination of a disappointing junior season at Texas Christian and high bonus demands dropped Arrieta in the 2007 draft, the Orioles grabbed the righthander in the fifth round and paid him $1 million to sign. With good size and a power arm, Arrieta has blown his low- to mid-90s heater by Carolina League hitters all year, averaging more than a strikeout per inning despite battling back and oblique injuries earlier in the season. His fastball sits in the low-90s as a starter, but in one-inning spurts at the Carolina League all-star game and the Futures Game, Arrieta has sat as high as 95-96 mph. He backs up the fastball with a hard slider, a changeup and an occasional curveball. "I'd consider myself a power pitcher," Arrieta said. "I try to own the inner half of the plate as much as I can, which really keeps the hitters on their heels a little bit, knowing that I will pitch inside a lot." His command still needs improvement.
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H BB SO AVG
6 5 3.06 19 19 0 0 106 77 48 112 .203
DAVEY JOHNSON SAYS: "He has good movement and a hard breaking ball. He went right at them (in the Futures Game) and it looked pretty easy. He will probably pitch in game four or game five."

JASON DONALD
SS
Double-A Reading (Phillies)
Born: Sept. 4, 1984. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 190. Drafted: Arizona, 2006 (3rd round).
An outstanding season at the plate has made Donald one of the top shortstop prospects in the minor leagues. With a good approach and a knack for squaring up balls, Donald has a line-drive stroke and the ability to hit to all fields. A .292/.381/.440 career hitter entering the season, Donald has surpassed those numbers this year, maintaining his high on-base percentage and improving his slugging. "When I found out that I made it I was pretty excited," Donald said. "I probably screamed a couple times—well I didn't scream, but the pitch in my voice got a little louder. I was thrilled just because, to represent your country, there's no greater honor. It hasn't really sank in yet." Some scouts think he may end up moving from short to second base due to his limited range and first-step quickness.
AVG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
.304 322 51 98 17 3 14 53 36 74 9 .380 .506
DAVEY JOHNSON SAYS: "A great-looking shortshop. Great hands, good arm and his offensive (abilities) are outstanding. I like his makeup. He was way up on our list to begin with and once I got the chance to get to know him a little bit, I liked him even better."

STEPHEN STRASBURG RHP
San Diego State
Born: July 20, 1988. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 215.
Strasburg is the only amateur on an Olympic team of professionals. He's already donned the Team USA uniform this summer, starring for the college national team. He was 3-0, 1.33 over 27 innings this summer, striking out 40. He made news with a 23-strikeout effort in a complete-game one-hit shutout of Utah in April. "I was kind of surprised because my velocity was where it usually was the first four or five innings, then I started to get tired," he said. "I was like 97-99 (mph) the first two, then I went down to like 95-96 the next six. The seventh through ninth I was like 93-95." Strasburg went 8-3, 1.57 overall for San Diego State this spring, with 133 strikeouts and just 16 walks in 97 innings, and established himself as the favorite to be taken No. 1 overall in the 2009 draft. Strasburg also hits his spots with his slider and changeup. Team USA manager Davey Johnson said Strasburg is "one of my starters."
DAVEY JOHNSON SAYS: "He's a power pitcher, in the high 90s and throws strikes. That is kind of a rarity for even Triple-A guys. Here's a guy who pounds the strike zone awfully good, and he was lights-out in the (Haarlem Honkbal) tournament.

TAYLOR TEAGARDEN C
Triple-A Oklahoma (Rangers)
Born: Dec. 21, 1983. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 200. Drafted: Texas, 2005 (3rd round).
Known as a defensive stalwart coming out of Texas, Teagarden has made some slight tweaks to his hitting mechanics and stance to become a threat at the plate as well. "A lot of things before the swing even happens," Teagarden said. "A lot of guys have good swings but it's the preparation before they swing, getting to see the ball early and things like that, that really helped me make good decisions. I've been working hard on that and it's definitely helped me a lot." While Teagarden's offense has regressed from the .310/.426/.586 line he put up last year, he still shows a sound approach and developing power. But it's still his defense that stands out, as Teagarden records excellent pop times of 1.9 that he complements with a cannon arm.
AVG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
.220 223 29 49 6 3 8 21 35 72 1 .333 .381
DAVEY JOHNSON SAYS: "If you saw the Futures Game, he threw out (a runner) on a breaking ball on a 3-2 pitch with a lefthanded hitter up. He threw a strike on the runner's side of the bag. He's a guy that can shut down the running game.

OLYMPIC CAPSULES
BRETT ANDERSON LHP
Double-A Midland (Athletics)
Born: Feb. 1, 1988. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 215. Drafted: HS—Stillwater, Okla., 2006 (2nd round).
Anderson has outstanding command and feel for pitching, showing advanced  breaking pitches and a changeup. A thumb injury bothered Anderson, but he otherwise excelled in the California League before his promotion to Double-A.
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H BB SO AVG
11 4 3.62 18 17 0 0 92 80 24 101 .229

BRIAN BARDEN SS/3B
Triple-A Memphis (Cardinals)
Born: April 2, 1981. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 195. Drafted: Oregon State, 2002 (6th round).
Barden played third base at Oregon State but moved to shortstop this year. Barden reached the majors in 2007 and profiles as a utilityman. "He has very good hands," manager Davey Johnson said, "and I can plug him in just about anywhere."
AVG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
.291 375 58 109 20 4 9 35 38 67 3 .358 .437

MATT BROWN 3B
Triple-A Salt Lake (Angels)
Born: Aug. 8, 1982. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 200. Drafted: HS—Coeur d'Alene (Idaho), 2001 (10th round).
Brown has been a force this season for Salt Lake, slugging 20 homers after hitting 19 in each of the past two seasons. He has reached triple digits in strikeouts the last four seasons and he doesn't have much speed.
AVG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
.329 359 71 118 30 4 20 63 28 70 4 .380 .602

TREVOR CAHILL RHP
Double-A Midland (Athletics)
Born: March 1, 1988. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 195. Drafted: HS—Vista, Calif., 2006 (2nd round).
Cahill has the attributes of a frontline starter, working off a sinker with hard downward action and an upper-70s curveball that is a true out pitch. Cahill's athleticism helps him repeat his delivery, all of which leads to a rare confluence of a strikeout pitcher who gets groundballs and minimizes walks.
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H BB SO AVG
9 5 2.76 19 17 0 0 114 68 42 126 .174

JEREMY CUMMINGS RHP
Triple-A Durham (Rays)
Born: Nov. 7, 1976. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 215. Drafted: West Virginia, 1999 (21st round).
After spending his first seven seasons in the Cardinals system, Cummings signed with the Rays in May and has pitched extremely well for Durham, earning a Triple-A all-star berth. He's a sinker-slider pitcher who lacks overpowering stuff but pounds the lower half of the strike zone.
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H BB SO AVG
7 3 2.95 13 13 0 0 76 66 20 63 .232

BRIAN DUENSING LHP
Triple-A Rochester (Twins)
Born: Feb. 22, 1983. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 195. Drafted: Nebraska, 2005 (3rd round).
Duensing started the gold-medal game in Team USA'a victory at the 2007 World Cup,. A Tommy John surgery alumnus, Duensing uses a four-pitch mix when he's at his best, using an 88-91 mph fastball to set up his changeup, curveball and slider.
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H BB SO AVG
5 10 4.18 22 22 0 0 125 131 31 74 .270

DEXTER FOWLER OF
Double-A Tulsa (Rockies)
Born: March 22, 1986. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 175. Drafted: HS—Milton, Ga., 2004 (14th round).
With tremendous athleticism and plus-plus speed, Fowler is above-average in the field and at the plate. Fowler has generated more loft in his swing this year, leading to more power to complement his patient approach and ability to hit to all fields.
AVG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
.328 372 80 122 25 7 9 57 57 77 17 .422 .505

JOHN GALL OF/1B
Triple-A Albuquerque (Marlins)
Born: April 2, 1978. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 195. Drafted: Stanford, 2000 (11th round).
A veteran of USA Baseball, Gall played on the college national team in both 1998 and '99 during his stellar four-year career at Stanford. He's the Cardinal's all-time leader in hits (356), doubles (80) and RBIs (263). Gall lacks premium power but rarely strikes out.
AVG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
.318 343 47 109 28 0 12 73 28 48 8 .371 .504

MIKE HESSMAN 3B
Triple-A Toledo (Tigers)
Born: March 5, 1978. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 235. Drafted: HS—Mater Dei High, Santa Ana, Calif., 1996 (15th round).
A fan favorite in Toledo after winning the International League's MVP, Hessman has clocked 284 homers to become the active minor league leader. An efficient defender at third, Hessman's strikeouts have surpassed 1,600 in more than 1,400 minor league games.
AVG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
.266 354 76 94 17 5 30 63 52 126 3 .368 .596

KEVIN JEPSEN RHP
Triple-A Salt Lake (Angels)
Born: July 26, 1984. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 215. Drafted: HS—Reno, NV, 2002 (2nd round).
It took Jepsen six years to get out of A-ball, as he battled elbow problems (including surgery to remove bone chips) and control issues. Jepsen harnessed his mid-90s fastball and hard slider enough to earn a Texas League all-star selection followed by a trip to Triple-A. He missed the Futures Game with strep throat but still made the Olympic team cut.
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H BB SO AVG
2 3 1.84 36 0 0 13 49 34 28 51 .201

BRANDON KNIGHT RHP
Triple-A New Orleans (Mets)
Born: Oct. 1, 1975. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 190. Drafted: Ventura (Calif.) JC, 1995 (14th round).
Once a top prospect of the Rangers organization, Knight made it to the major leagues for the first time in 2001 with the Yankees. He played three seasons in Japan before returning to the U.S. last year to play in the independent Atlantic League, and he's enjoyed a resurgence this season in the Mets organization, reaching 93-94 mph as a reliever and showing a solid-average curveball.
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H BB SO AVG
5 1 1.60 11 5 0 1 39 23 10 49 .172

MIKE KOPLOVE RHP
Triple-A Las Vegas (Dodgers)
Born: Aug. 30, 1976. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 160. Drafted: Delaware, 1998 (29th round).
Koplove doesn't have imposing size but fits into USA Baseball's mold of strike-throwing relievers. With 255 career big league innings, Koplove has played in the majors in each of the last seven seasons and has a 3.82 career ERA as a big leaguer.
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H BB SO AVG
1 1 3.26 37 0 0 9 50 38 16 40 .208

MATT LAPORTA OF/1B
Double-A Akron (Indians)
Born: Jan. 8, 1985. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 210. Drafted: Florida, 2007 (1st round).
The Brewers surprised some people in the scouting community by selecting LaPorta seventh overall in the 2007 draft. After only one pro season, the Brewers used the power-hitting LaPorta as the major trade chip in July to acquire lefthander CC Sabathia from the Indians.
AVG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
.287 331 58 95 23 2 21 72 46 69 2 .393 .559

LOU MARSON C
Double-A Reading (Phillies)
Born: June 26, 1986. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 200. Drafted: HS—Scottsdale, Ariz., 2004 (4th round).
The youngest starting catcher in Double-A, Marson already is one of the best offensive catchers at the level with a line-drive approach and good plate discipline. Marson complements his strong offensive game with above-average defensive skills.
AVG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
.320 297 50 95 18 0 5 46 61 63 3 .435 .431

BLAINE NEAL RHP
Triple-A Toledo (Tigers)
Born: April 6, 1978. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 240. Drafted: HS—Bishop Eustace Prep (Pennsauken, N.J.), 1996 (4th round).
Signed to a contract before this season at an open tryout camp, Neal has flourished with Toledo. Coming up in the Marlins system, Neal ranked in the organization's top 10 prospects from 2001 to 2003, when he had a mid-90s fastball that touched 98 mph and a tight slider. Neal still has strikeout stuff, averaging more than a strikeout per inning.
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H BB SO AVG
1 0 1.31 35 0 0 24 34 28 12 39 .214

JAYSON NIX 2B
Triple-A Colorado Springs (Rockies)
Born: Aug. 26, 1982. B-T: R-R Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 185. Drafted: HS—Midland, Texas, 2001 (1st round supplemental).
Nix struggled to a .125/.234/.161 line this season in the big leagues, but those struggles (in just 56 at-bats) have led Nix to a spot on the Olympic roster. Nix, an above-average defender at second base, was USA Baseball's athlete of the year and the MVP of the World Cup in Taiwan in November 2007.
AVG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
.299 231 54 69 18 2 14 43 23 54 9 .372 .576

NATE SCHIERHOLTZ OF
Triple-A Fresno (Giants)
Born: Feb. 15, 1984. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 215. Drafted: Chabot (Calif.) JC, 2003 (2nd round).
Schierholtz has the tools of a prototypical right fielder, with 30-home run power, a solid contact rate, good range defensively and a cannon for an arm that he's used to rack up 41 assists in six minor league seasons. He provides a crucial lefthanded power bat in a lineup that tilts heavily to the right.
AVG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
.312 314 53 98 19 10 13 60 19 45 9 .358 .561

JEFF STEVENS RHP
Triple-A Buffalo (Indians)
Born: March 28, 1984. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 220. Drafted: Loyola Maramount, 2005 (6th round).
Still just 24, Stevens has strikeout stuff, averaging more than a strikeout per inning this season with Buffalo and for his career. Acquired from the Reds in the Brandon Phillips deal, Stevens has a power slider as well.
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H BB SO AVG
5 3 3.35 33 0 0 6 54 35 24 73 .185

TERRY TIFFEE 3B
Triple-A Las Vegas (Dodgers)
Born: April 21, 1979. B-T: B-R Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 215. Drafted: Pratt (Kan.) JC, 1999, (26th round).
With a favorable home park, Tiffee has put up huge numbers. He ranked second in all of the minors with a .378 batting average; he was leading Triple-A in hits (132) and doubles (36); and his .415 OBP and .567 slugging also ranked among the top 10 in Triple-A. Tiffee has legitimate power from both sides.
AVG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
.384 344 65 132 36 3 8 61 24 37 0 .421 .576

CASEY WEATHERS RHP
Double-A Tulsa (Rockies)
Born: June 10, 1985. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 205. Drafted: Vanderbilt, 2007 (1st round).
Weathers has gone from a junior-college outfielder to a Double-A fireballer in three short years. His arm strength prompted the move to the mound, and he started pumping high-90s fastballs right away, prompting the Rockies to make him the eighth overall pick in 2007. Weathers has had difficulty retiring lefthanded hitters this season (.822 OPS against), but has annihilated righthanded hitters (.529 OPS).
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H BB SO AVG
2 1 2.61 38 0 0 2 38 26 22 44 .193