USA Baseball Announces 18U Trials Roster

Following the completion of the Tournament of Stars, USA Baseball announced its 44-player roster for the 18-and-under National Team Trials that will then be winnowed down to a final 20-man roster for international play.

The roster will reconvene in Houston from August 23-29 for the team trials before traveling to the 18U COPABE Pan American Championship in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico that will be played from September 5-14.

The 18U team won Gold Medals in consecutive seasons in 2012 and 2013 for the first time since 1988-1989.

34 of the 108 players (31 percent) at the 2014 Tournament of Stars were announced as part of the trials roster. Another 10 players are part of the trials through the 2013 17U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) and 2013 17U National Team Development Program. The roster has nine alternatives.

The team will be led by Grand Canyon University head coach, Andy Stankiewicz, who served as the assistant coach on the 2012 Collegiate National Team that won bronze at the Haarlem Honkbal Week tournament in the Netherlands. The three assistant coaches are Jayson King, Jamey Shouppe and Burt Call. King has been the head coach at Franklin Pearce for 14 seasons. Shouppe is the head coach at Florida A&M and will serves as the team’s pitching coach. Call has been the head coach at Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) for 11 seasons, winning the National High School Invitational in 2012 and 2013 and the 2013 Boras Classic. Newly hired 18U National Team director Shaun Cole will oversee the team.

Here is the trials roster with a thumbnail sketch of the player. Those who did not play at the Tournament of Stars and were selected through other events received an asterisk (*). Members of the 2014 class received the designation of (+).

Kolby Allard, lhp, San Clemente HS, South Coast, Calif.

The 6-foot, 170 pound Allard showed well in Cary in striking out nine hitters in 4 2/3 innings. His fastball touched 93 and largely pitched at 90-91 from a fairly easy delivery. He pitched off his fastball in his first outing and his breaking ball flashed plus potential in his second outing.

Luken Baker, rhp, Oak Ridge HS, Conroe, Texas

Baker looks like a Texan with a big, strong and durable build at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds. He ran his heavy fastball up to 93 on the mound and sat in the low 90s with sink and groundball potential. The Texas Christian commit offers a changeup and breaking ball in the low 80s.

Austin Bergner, ss/ rhp, West Orange HS, Winter Garden, Fla.

Bergner offers two-way potential as a shortstop and pitcher who sat in the low 90s on the mound. He has good defensive actions and plus arm at shortstop with feel for the bat. Bergner is an athletic strike thrower with a three-pitch mix.

Chris Betts, c, Wilson HS, Long Beach, Calif.

Betts is one of the top high school catchers in the class. Betts’ best tools are his plus throwing arm behind the plate and lefthanded power, which shows above-average potential and Betts hit a home run in game action. He has a strong, husky build at 6-foot-1, 215 pounds. Betts has some swing and miss to his game with six strikeouts in 16 plate appearances and is a well below-average runner.

Kale Breaux, lhp, Sulphur (La.) HS

The 6-foot, 170 pound Breaux is a strike-thrower with pitchability. His fastball largely sat 84-86 in his first inning and 82-83 towards the end of his first outing in Cary with a fairly easy delivery and high three-quarters arm slot. He shows feel for a 73-74 mph changeup with potential and mixing in a high 60s breaking ball.

Noah Burkholder, rhp/of, Crown Point (Ind.) HS*

The 6-foot-7, 190-pound Burkholder has a large frame and projectable build. The Louisville commit’s fastball was up to 91 mph last fall.

Beau Burrows, rhp, Weatherford (Texas) HS

Burrows has a quick arm and can run his fastball up to 96 from a high arm slot and can sit 93-95 in short spurts. He shows feel for a changeup with fade and flashes a downer curveball. The Texas A&M commit showed the ability to retain his velocity from short turnarounds, touching 95 on Sunday, the fourth time he has pitched in the last 10 days.

Daz Cameron, of, Eagle's Landing Christian Academy, McDonough, Ga.

The righthanded-hitting Cameron is among the best high school position players in the class. He has plus bat speed and showed feel for the barrel, producing one of the hardest hit balls of the event and lining a few others shots at TOS. He is a plus runner who moves easily in center field and his speed made an impact on the bases in Cary.

Trenton Clark, of, Richland HS, North Richland Hills, Texas

The lefhanded-hitting Clark was a spark plug who got on base consistently at the top of the Stripes lineup at TOS. He is a plus runner in the 60 and out of the box who has natural feel for the game and a strong athletic build at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds. Clark has strike zone discipline and feel for the barrel, while flashing home run power to his pull side in batting practice. His arm is at least average and provides him the defensive versatility to play all three outfield spots.

Maddux Conger, rhp, Stephenville HS, Texas

Conger has a strong, athletic build at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. His fastball largely sat in the low 90s and touched 93 with downhill plane from a high three-quarters slot. He offers a breaking ball at 74-78 mph. His control did not show well in Cary, walking four in 2 2/3 innings.

Wyatt Cross, c, Legacy HS, Broomfield, Colo.

Although Cross didn't throw as well at Tournament of Stars as he did at Perfect Game National, he has one of the top catcher’s arms in the class, posting pop times in the low 1.8s and high 1.70s at his best with a quick transfer. The 6-foot-3, 190 pound Cross has a strong build and power to the gaps from the left side of the plate. The North Carolina commit has shown some swing and miss at the plate and is a below-average runner.

Josh Crump, of, Northwestern HS, Rock Hill, S.C. *+

The 5-foot-8, 160-pound Crump is a lefthanded-hitting outfielder who is committed to Coastal Carolina and was not selected in the 2014 draft.

Chris Cullen, c, West Forsyth HS, Cumming, Ga.

Cullen has a big body with present strength and room to get much stronger at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds. The righthanded hitter has a line drive stroke and his remaining strength gains give him power potential. He threw posted a pop time of 1.96 in game action. Cullen posted below-average times out of the box.

Cole Daily, mif/of, Sacred Heart Griffin HS, Springfield, Ill.

Daily was one of the top performers at the plate in Cary with a .467/.556/.600 line in 18 plate appearances. The lefthanded hitter has a line drive stroke with bat control and works inside the ball with up-the-middle hitting tendencies. He played well up the middle and shows quickness and good body control, as well as arm strength.

Chandler Day, rhp, Watkins Memorial HS, Pataskala, Ohio

The long, loose and projectable 6-foot-4, 167-pound Day did not allow an earned run in six innings at the TOS, striking out seven. He threw three shutout innings in the championship game, when he sat 91-92, touching 93 with a quick arm and downhill plane. Both his changeup and curveball show at least average potential, flashing better.

Kyle Dean, of, Poway HS, San Diego

The righthanded-hitting Dean is a corner outfielder with hitting and power potential from a strong, physical build at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. He moves well for his size, posting run times of 4.28 and 4.31 out of the box and 6.75 in the 60. Dean has an average arm.

Joe DeMers, rhp, College Park HS, Pleasant Hill, Calif.

DeMers was the only rising junior on last year’s squad. The husky-bodied DeMers is strong at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds with effort in his delivery. He has pitchability, mixing three pitches well. His fastball sat in the low 90s, touching 93 with sink and groundball potential. Both his changeup and breaking ball flash above-average potential.

Charlie Donovan, mif, Westmont (Ill.) HS

Donovan is a scrappy middle infielder with aptitude for the game and baseball tools. The lefthanded-hitting Donovan has a line-drive oriented stroke with sneaky power and is a plus runner. He played solid defense at shortstop with good body control and at least an average arm.

Bailey Falter, lhp/util, Chino Hills (Calif.) HS*

Falter is a big, lean and projectable lefthander at 6-foot-4, 170 pounds. At an event in January, Falter showed a mid-80s fastball that touched 87 with extension out front. He has feel for a changeup that offers above-average potential and has feel for throwing strikes.

Gray Fenter, rhp/inf, West Memphis (Ark.) HS

Fenter offers two-way ability as a position player who can play on the left side of the infield and pitcher who sat in the low-90s and touched 93 with sink in his Sunday outing. The 19-year-old Fenter has a breaking ball that flashes above-average.

Mitch Hansen, of, Plano (Texas) Senior HS

Hansen is a toolsy outfielder who is a very good athlete as a high school quarterback. The 6-foot-4, 195 pound Hansen has an athletic build with room to get stronger and flashes at least average raw power in batting practice with more to come down the road from a smooth lefthanded stroke. The Stanford commit is a plus runner with an average arm.

Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3b/1b, Concordia Lutheran HS, Tomball, Texas

The son of former big leaguer Charlie Hayes, Ke’Bryan has natural feel for the barrel and for the game. He has an easy, line-drive oriented stroke that can hit to all fields with power potential because of his strong build at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds. The Tennessee commit is a below-average runner who has the arm strength for third base.

Lucas Herbert, c, San Clemente HS, South Coast, Calif.

Herbert played well in game action defensively and with his bat. He did not strike out in 12 plate appearances and the ball jumps off his bat, hitting a pull side home run in game action. His arm can post pop times in the high 1.8 range during warmups and has posted pop times of 1.91 and 1.93 in game action. He is a below-average runner.

Justin Hooper, lhp, De La Salle, Concord, Calif. *

Hooper has a big, projectable build at 6-foot-6, 220-pounds and was up to 93 last summer at the Area Code Games and touched 95 this spring. His top secondary offering is a curveball with two-plane break.

Jonathan India, inf, American Heritage HS, Delray Beach, Fla.

India has drawn comparisons to Avery Romero as a Florida high school infielder with natural hitting ability from the right side of the plate, feel for the game and a physical lower half. India is an advanced hitter with a line-drive oriented stroke and drove a home run in game action at TOS. He has athletic defensive actions, at least an average arm and shows aptitude on the body control play in front of him, though some evaluators believe his lower half is best suited at second base in the long term. He is an average runner in the 60.

Peter Lambert, rhp, San Dimas (Calif.) HS

Lambert has an athletic, lean and projectable build at 6-foot-2, 180 pounds. He turned in a very impressive first two innings of his first outing in Cary before getting hit in his third inning. Lambert has a loose, quick arm and the ball jumps out of his hand on a downhill plane from a high three-quarters arm slot, sitting 90-91 while touching 92 at his best. Although his curveball didn't play at this level consistently, it flashed above-average potential. He did not walk a hitter in five innings.

Xavier Legrant, inf, Berry Academy of Tech, Charlotte, N.C.

Legrant was one of the hitting standouts in Cary, making consistent hard contact to all fields. The athletic Legrant is an above-average runner who drove the ball to the gaps with good bat speed and a solid approach from the right side of the plate. He played well defensively at second base, making a highlight reel play on a diving stop up the middle.

Deacon Liput, mif, Oviedo (Fla.) HS

The hard-nosed Liput put together a string of tough at-bats in Cary and showed contact ability with only one strikeout in 16 plate appearances. The lefthanded hitter has a deep, squatty stance and can drive the ball to opposite field and up the middle. He has a strong build at 5-foot-11, 180 pounds and is a plus runner.

Nick Madrigal, mif, Elk Grove (Calif.) HS

Madrigal is a contact-oriented righthanded hitter who did not strike out in Cary, producing tough at-bats. He has feel for the barrel and can hit to all fields. The 5-foot-7, 145-pound Madrigal is a scrappy player who plays hard and offers plus speed. Madrigal shows very quick hands at shortstop, as well as s quick transfer that helps his arm play up. He is an advanced defender who cuts down ground at shortstop and puts himself in advantageous throwing positions.

Matthew McGarry, rhp, Menlo HS, Atherton, Calif.

The loose, athletic McGarry has a quick arm and sat 90-92, touching 94 in first outing with the ability to leverage his fastball downhill and produce glove-side run. His fastball fell into the high-80s during his second outing. He offers a four-pitch mix with feel for his changeup and a curveball that flashes shape and depth. McGarry walked five in six innings.

Cole McKay, rhp, Smithson Valley HS, Spring Branch, Texas

McKay has the potential to be one of the top prep arms in the class. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound McKay has a strong pitchers’ build and feel for three pitches. His fastball has been up to 94 with downhill plane, offering a changeup that has above-average potential with considerable tumble and breaking ball that shows at least average potential, flashing better.

Kyle Molnar, rhp/of,  Aliso Niguel HS, Aliso Viejo, Calif. *

Molnar is an athletic strike thrower with feel for pitching and mixing three pitches. His fastball sat 91-93 last week with varied life to both sides of the plate and a changeup that showed above-average potential with considerable tumble. His breaking ball also flashes above-average.

Ryan Mountcastle, inf, Hagerty HS, Oviedo, Fla.

Mountcastle offers defensive versatility and contact ability at the plate with a loose, athletic build at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds with room to get stronger. Mountcastle played all over the infield, getting time at shortstop, third base and first, though he arm is likely to push him off shortstop at the next level. The Central Florida commit made consistent contact to all fields in Cary, producing numerous line drives. His additional strength gains give him power potential and he ran the 60-yard dash in 6.86 and 6.95.

Ethan Paul, mif, Newport HS, Bellevue, Wash.

Paul is a strong, compact 5-foot-10, 180-pound lefthanded-hitting middle infielder with a line-drive oriented stroke. Although the Vanderbilt commit is an average runner in the 60 (6.99 and 7.09) his speed plays better out of the box due to his quickness.

Jordan Pearce, rhp/if, El Camino HS, Oceanside, Calif. *+

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Pearce has a strong, durable build as a righthander and corner infielder. The Nevada commit who went undrafted in the 2014 draft has a mid-to-high 80s fastball that has touched 90 from a high arm slot. He compliments his fastball with an overhand curveball.

Brandon Perez, inf, Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana, Calif.

Perez is a polished middle infielder who produced with his bat in Cary, hitting .545/.600/.636 in 14 plate appearances. Perez has a line drive stroke from the right side of the plate and struck out once. The 6-foot, 175-pound Perez has a strong, physical build with a fuller lower half and is a below-average runner to first and in the 60. His arm and speed will likely push him off shortstop at the next level.

Reggie Pruitt, of, Kennesaw (Ga.) Mountain HS

Pruitt has a center field profile with plus-plus speed, posting the second-lowest 60-yard dash (6.49) and a run time of 4.05 out of the box. Pruitt made two diving catches in center field and an arm that is at least average. The righthanded hitter has bat speed and sneaky pop to the gaps.

Blake Rutherford, of, Chaminade College Prep, Canoga Park, Calif.

Rutherford is one of two rising juniors who made the trials roster. He is a well-rounded athlete at 6-foot-2, 180 pounds. The lefthanded-hitting Rutherford posted plus run times to first and offers at least an average arm. Rutherford has power to the gaps and showed considerable bat-to-ball skills, striking out only once in 19 plate appearances.

Austin Smith, rhp, Park Vista Community HS, Lake Worth, Fla.

Smith is a big, strong and physical athlete with a great pitcher’s body at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds. He ran his heavy fastball up to 94 with downhill plane and arm-side run, sitting in the low 90s before sitting 88-91 from the stretch. He largely pitched off his fastball, flashing a mid-80s curveball with at least solid potential.

Thomas Szapucki, lhp, Dwyer HS, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Szapucki brandishes a low-90s fastball that touched 93 with sink and arm-side run. His three-quarters arm slot can give same-side hitters a tough look. Szapucki’s breaking ball flashes above-average potential, and he showed good feel for turning over a changeup to righthanded hitters in his second outing of the event. He struck out five in three innings without allowing a walk.

Logan Tolbert, mif, Wren HS, Piedmont, S.C.

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Tolbert has a lean, athletic body with a chance to stay at shortstop, flashing good defensive actions and a loose arm that is at least average and can throw from angles. He is a contact-oriented lefthanded hitter with power to the gaps who made a ton of contact in Cary with a .429/.529/.429 line. The 18-year-old South Carolina commit is a below-average runner.

Kyle Tucker, of, Plant HS, Tampa

Tucker has a well-rounded skillset and the game comes easily to the younger brother of former Gator and Astros farmhand Preston Tucker. The lefthanded hitter did not have his best week in Cary, as he did not get a hit and struck out five times in 14 plate appearances. But some scouts believe he has the potential to become one of the top hitters in the class. Tucker has a broad-shouldered, lanky build at 6-foot-3, 175 pounds with room to get stronger. He ran the 60 in 6.78 and 6.93 seconds.

Bryce Ward, rhp, Jenks (Okla.) HS*+

Ward comes from a powerhouse program in Jenks and has been into the high-80s on the mound. The Kansas State commit went undrafted in the 2014 draft.

Max Wotell, lhp/of, Marvin Ridge HS, Waxhaw, N.C.

Wotell has one of the more unique deliveries in the class. The lefthander stets up on the first base side of the rubber and then walks into the beginning of his leg lift that starts after he ends up on the far third base side of the rubber (a +1 who walks into a -3, in JJ Cooper parlance). His fastball largely sat 88-89, touching 91 with natural life and some downhill plane. He was mostly a two-pitch pitcher with a curveball that showed potential.

John Aiello, inf, Germantown Academy, Fort Washington, Pa.
Drew Finley, rhp, Rancho Bernardo, San Diego
Desmond Lindsay, inf, Out-of-Door Academy, Sarasota, Fla.
Elih Marrero, c, Coral Gables HS, Miami
Wesley Rodriguez, inf/rhp, George Washington HS, Springfield Gardens, N.Y.
Stephen Kolek, rhp, Shepherd (Texas) HS
Cole Ragans, lhp, North Florida Christian, Tallahassee, Fla.
Kyle Robeniol, lhp, Los Osos HS, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
DJ Wilson, of, Canton (Ohio) South HS