Team USA announced the first 13 players invited to this summer's college national team trials. The list includes Texas sophomore outfielder Drew Stubbs, who played on last summer's World University Championship gold medal team.
He joins eight other sophomores, including two of nation's ERA leaders in righthanders Dallas Buck of Oregon State and Max Scherzer of Missouri and a pair of the country's best hitters in outfielders John Jay of Miami and Shane Robinson of Florida State.
Two-way performers Joe Savery of Rice and Matt Wieters of Georgia Tech highlight the four freshmen invitees.
USA Baseball plans to announce more invitees at the end of May, and 36 players will participate in the June 27-30 trials at North Carolina State. The 2005 team will not play for a major championship, instead facing two international opponents in Durham, N.C., while also making five-game trips to Japan and Taiwan. The 2001 team was also a developmental one, with nine freshmen making that roster and four of them returning for the 2002 team.
Eric Campbell, USA Baseball national teams director, said that's a ratio he and 2005 coach Steve Smith (Baylor) might aim for this year, though they want to pick the best overall players for the 20-man roster to be set on July 1.
"We're not going to force it," Campbell said. "Here's one way of thinking about it: We've got to go to Cuba in 2006 for the FISU Championship, but I really think the national team needs to have the type of program that can win all four of our series (this summer).
"Whatever freshmen make it naturally--based on performance in college season and at the trails--whatever that number is, that's got to be the carry over. It we force too many freshmen and have a bad season, that's going to do more harm to the national team program. If we force a freshman on who turns into a role player, it'd probably be better for him to go play a full-time role in the Cape and then come back the next year after another college season."
UC Santa Barbara shortstop Chris Valaika and North Carolina righthander Daniel Bard both played for Team USA as freshmen last year, but won't participate this year. Valaika tore his anterior cruciate ligament in March, and Bard will head to the Cape Cod League this summer, as will his classmate Andrew Miller.
San Diego sophomore lefthander Nate Boman received an invitation, but surgery to repair a slightly torn labrum in his right shoulder will force him to miss the trials.