Breakdown and Analysis Of Team USA's Roster For The Tokyo Olympics
USA Baseball announced its 24-man roster for the Tokyo Olympics on Friday. The roster includes many of the same players that played for Team USA during Olympic qualifying, with a few notable changes.
Lefthander Scott Kazmir, righthanders Scott McGough and Nick Martinez, outfielders Tyler Austin and Patrick Kivlehan and infielder Jamie Westbrook are among the veteran additions to the roster. Righthanders Shane Baz and Ryder Ryan, outfielder Bubba Starling and infielder Jack Lopez are among the prospect additions to the roster.
Outfielders Jarren Duran and Luke Williams were two of Team USA’s top performers during Olympic qualifying but will not be going to Tokyo. Williams was called up by the Phillies earlier this month and Duran is in Triple-A and on the verge of a callup to the Red Sox. Lefthander Matthew Liberatore, who started Team USA’s opening game of the qualifier and the must-win finale, is also on the verge of a callup in Triple-A and is not on the Olympics roster. Veterans Matt Kemp, Homer Bailey, Jon Jay and Logan Forsythe are among the other omissions after largely ceding playing time to younger players during qualifying.
Only players who are not on 40-man rosters are eligible for the Olympics, and teams must grant permission for their players to participate.
Here is the full breakdown and analysis of the roster Team USA is sending to the Olympics.
Nick Allen, SS, Athletics – Allen served as Team USA’s starting shortstop during qualifying and made numerous dazzling plays in the field to live up to his reputation as a future Gold Glove winner. He is batting .333/.389/.494 for Double-A Midland and is the A’s No. 6 prospect.
Eddy Alvarez, 2B, Marlins – Alvarez took over as Team USA’s starting second baseman during qualifying and will fill the same role in Tokyo. A silver medalist in speed skating at the 2014 Winter Olympics, he is just the 11th American to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics and the first to play baseball. He made his major league debut with the Marlins last year and is currently batting .250/.430/.317 for Triple-A Jacksonville.
Tyler Austin, OF, Yokohama (NPB) – Austin spent parts of four seasons in the majors before playing abroad in Japan the last two years. He is batting .348/.447/.662 with 17 home runs and 44 RBIs in 57 games for Yokohama this season. In addition to his righthanded power, his knowledge of Japanese pitchers will be one of his greatest contributions for Team USA.
Shane Baz, RHP, Rays – Baz is the No. 55 prospect on the BA Top 100 and is arguably Team USA’s top addition from qualifying. The high-octane righthander is 3-4, 2.12 with 69 strikeouts and only five walks in 46.2 innings this year between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham. He will be part of Team USA's starting rotation and will play a significant role in determining the team's success.
Anthony Carter, RHP, Saltillo (Mexican League) – Carter was part of Team USA’s dominant bullpen during qualifying as a middle-innings option. The well-traveled righthander spent parts of seven seasons in the minors, pitched a year in Japan, spent another year in indy ball and has been in the Mexican League since 2018. He has a 1.50 ERA in 12 appearances for Saltillo this season.
Triston Casas, 1B, Red Sox – Casas is the top prospect in the Red Sox’s system and No. 24 overall on the BA Top 100. He served as Team USA’s starting first baseman during qualifying and hit .400 while showing a precocious mix of power and patience. He will once again man first base for Team USA in Tokyo.
Brandon Dickson, RHP, Cardinals – Dickson briefly pitched in the majors for the Cardinals in 2011-12 before spending the 2013-2020 seasons in Japan. He pitched well in relief for Team USA during qualifying and was re-signed by the Cardinals shortly after. He will remain part of Team USA’s bullpen mix, likely in middle relief.
Tim Federowicz, C, Dodgers – The eight-year big league veteran served as Team USA’s backup catcher during qualifying and will resume the same role in Tokyo. He remains a stout defender and veteran presence who can help guide Team USA’s pitchers along against veteran hitters throughout the tournament. He remains a light hitter, however, and is currently batting .172 with two home runs for Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Eric Filia, OF, Mariners – Filia served as Team USA’s starting right fielder and cleanup hitter throughout qualifying and hit .313/.389/.563, including hitting the go-ahead home run in Team USA’s Olympic berth-clinching win against Venezuela. He is batting just .205/.368/.207 for Triple-A Tacoma, but he showed he can provide patience and power from the left side during qualifying.
Todd Frazier, 3B, Free agent – The 11-year big league veteran was Team USA’s starting third baseman and No. 3 hitter during qualifying and was one of its best players. He hit .400/.474/.933 to lead the team with a 1.407 OPS and tied for the team lead in home runs and total bases. Frazier also served as a de facto team leader and will be one of Team USA’s key players both on and off the field in Tokyo.
Anthony Gose, LHP, Indians – The former big league outfielder-turned-pitcher features some of the top velocity on Team USA. His fastball sat 98-99 mph in relief from the left side during qualifying, although his control was inconsistent. He is 3-1, 5.82 with 24 strikeouts and 20 walks in 17 innings for Triple-A Columbus this year. If he can stay in the strike zone, Gose’s fastball will be a weapon against Japanese and Korean players who rarely see that velocity.
Edwin Jackson, RHP, Free agent – The 17-year veteran pitched in relief for Team USA during qualifying and showed he can still run his fastball into the low 90s and pitch effectively. He can either pitch multiple innings in long relief or serve as a setup man for closer David Robertson.
Scott Kazmir, LHP, Giants – The 13-year veteran made three appearances for the Giants this year and is currently at Triple-A Sacramento, where he’s gone 2-0, 2.66 in five appearances (four starts). The 37-year-old is set to serve as a fill-in starter for Team USA and may also pitch in relief.
Top 10 Prospects At The Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Here is a look at the top 10 prospects in the Olympics, developed in consultation with domestic and international scouts employed by MLB teams.
Patrick Kivlehan, OF, Padres – The power-hitting outfielder has spent parts of four seasons in the major leagues, including appearing in five games for the Padres this year. He is currently batting .285/.341/.606 with 14 home runs and 41 RBIs in 41 games for Triple-A El Paso and is an option to play both corner outfield positions.
Mark Kolozsvary, C, Reds: Kolozsvary had his coming out party during qualifying, beating out veterans Matt Wieters and Tim Federowicz to become Team USA’s starting catcher and starring on both sides of the ball. He hit .417/.588/1.000, tied Todd Frazier for the team lead in home runs and provided a major spark for the team at the bottom of the order. Defensively, he earned plaudits for his ability to guide both young and veteran pitchers through a lineup as well as his blocking and receiving skills. He is currently batting .269/.364/.484 for Double-A Chattanooga.
Jack Lopez, UTIL, Red Sox: The Puerto Rico native has spent the last nine seasons in the minors and long drawn praise for his ability to be an above-average defender at multiple positions on the field. He can capably play shortstop, second base and third base and has experience in left and center field as well. Lopez’s defensive versatility is his best asset to Team USA. He’s never been much of a hitter, although he’s off to a great start this year batting .348/.385/.477 through 38 games with Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester.
Nick Martinez, RHP, Softbank (NPB): The former Rangers righthander has spent the past four seasons in Japan and has gone 5-2, 2.14 as a starter for Softbank this season. He will work as a starter for Team USA and will bring valuable knowledge of, and experience against, Japanese hitters.
Scott McGough, RHP, Yakult (NPB) – McGough briefly pitched for the Marlins in 2015 and has spent the last three seasons pitching in Japan, including serving this year as Yakult’s closer. He has a 1.82 ERA with 15 saves for the Swallows this year and will join Team USA’s bullpen as a potential late-inning option.
David Robertson, RHP, Free agent – The 12-year-veteran was Team USA’s closer during qualifying and is set to serve the same role in Tokyo. He was 2-for-2 in save opportunities during the qualifier and showed he can still run his fastball into the low 90s despite being two years removed from his last official game.
Joe Ryan, RHP, Rays – Ryan is one of the top pitching prospects in a loaded Rays system and struck out 10 batters in 4.2 innings in his only start during qualifying, although he ran into trouble in the fifth inning and couldn’t get out of it. Ryan’s fastball is a swing-and-miss pitch with late movement that gives batters fits, and he will remain in Team USA’s rotation in Tokyo.
Ryder Ryan, RHP, Rangers – The hard-throwing Ryan is an addition to Team USA's bullpen and has some of the best velocity on the team with fastball that has reached 98 mph, although he has a history of control issues. He has a 3.72 ERA with 22 strikeouts and 13 walks in 19.1 innings for Triple-A Round Rock this year.
Bubba Starling, OF, Royals – Starling is an addition to Team USA’s roster and has a chance to be its starting center fielder with Jarren Duran not participating. The celebrated 2011 first-rounder has hit only .204 in parts of two major league seasons but is having a solid season at Triple-A Omaha this year, batting .271/.323/.612 with seven home runs in 24 games.
Jamie Westbrook, 2B/LF, Brewers – An eight-year minor league veteran, Westbrook provides additional versatility for Team USA with the ability to play second base, third base, left field and right field. He’s mostly known for his glove, but he has hit .327/.398/.481 in 44 games between Double-A Biloxi and Triple-A Nashville this season.
Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP, Blue Jays – Woods Richardson is the Blue Jays’ No. 5 prospect and No. 48 overall on the BA Top 100. He was part of Team USA’s starting rotation during qualifying and pitched four strong innings against Puerto Rico before the game was suspended due to rain. He will once again be a part of Team USA’s rotation in Tokyo.