CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today announced that 21-year Major League Baseball veteran LaTroy Hawkins will serve as the pitching coach for the 2023 18U National Team. Hawkins will lead the pitching staff at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup in Tainan, Taiwan, from September 1-10.
Hawkins joins his former Minnesota Twins teammate Michael Cuddyer on the 2023 coaching staff after Cuddyer was named 18U National Team Manager last week. Hawkins, who pitched for Team USA in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, will make his national team coaching debut for the stars and stripes this summer.
“We are extremely excited to add LaTroy to our coaching staff as pitching coach,” said 18U National Team Director Brett Curll. “LaTroy is extremely passionate about coaching the next generation of ballplayers and will be a great role model for not just the pitchers but our entire team in 2023. His wealth of knowledge and vast baseball experience will truly elevate our coaching staff as we aim to defend our world title.”
“As a player, I was fortunate enough to pitch for Team USA in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, and I’m thrilled to continue this incredible journey with USA Baseball and the next generation of players,” said Hawkins. “It’s always been a dream of mine to wear the stars and stripes, and to suit up alongside my former teammate and close friend Michael Cuddyer makes this new role and new opportunity even more special."
Drafted in the seventh round of the 1991 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins, Hawkins made his big-league debut with the Club in 1995 to kick off his 21-year career that included stretches with 11 different teams. He began his career as a starting pitcher and made 98 starts over his first five seasons in Minnesota before moving into the bullpen in 2000. That season, the Indiana native posted a 3.39 ERA in 66 games with 14 saves before leading the team with a career-high 28 saves in 2001. Hawkins assumed set-up role duties in his final two seasons with the Twins in 2002 and 2003, posting a 15-3 record to go along with a 2.00 ERA in 157.2 innings pitched.
After nine years in Minnesota, Hawkins would play for 10 different Clubs over the next 12 seasons. His first stint after leaving the Twins was with the Chicago Cubs, where he registered 25 saves in 2004. In 2005, he was traded to the San Francisco Giants and then spent the 2006 season with the Baltimore Orioles before putting together a strong three-year stretch from 2007-2009, where he posted a sub-4.00 ERA in each of those seasons. That stretch included a trip to the World Series with the Colorado Rockies and time spent with the New York Yankees and Houston Astros.
After two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers–highlighted by a 2.42 ERA in 2011–he spent the 2012 season as a part of the Los Angeles Angels’ bullpen and then played for the New York Mets in 2013, where he compiled a 2.93 ERA in 72 appearances. The following year, he returned to the Rockies and recorded 23 saves before being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays during his final professional season in 2015. He wrapped up his career by posting a 2.76 ERA in 18 appearances with Toronto.
Hawkins is one of 13 relievers in baseball history to record at least one save against all 30 teams and currently ranks 10th on baseball’s all-time games played list for a reliever with 1,042. In addition to his MLB career, Hawkins also played for Team USA in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He appeared in four games for the stars and stripes in the tournament, going 1-0 out of the bullpen.
Since retirement, Hawkins has remained involved with baseball, specifically with diversity-focused amateur development events. He has been a long-time coach at several events hosted by MLB and USA Baseball, including the Breakthrough Series, DREAM Series, and the Hank Aaron Invitational. Hawkins also served as a pitching coach at the 2022 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League and hosts the USA Baseball Introduction to Pitch Smart course.
Hawkins was inducted into the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in January 2018 and currently works as a special assistant in the baseball operations department for the Twins. In that role, he contributes to the amateur scouting process, developing organizational pitching philosophies, and preparing trade deadline meetings. Additionally, Hawkins occasionally serves as an analyst for Twins television broadcasts on Bally Sports North.
USA Baseball announced last week that Cuddyer will serve as manager for Team USA at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup. Cuddyer is making his USA Baseball managerial debut, bringing with him experience from a 15-year big-league career that included two All-Star Game appearances and a Silver Slugger Award.
The 2023 PDP League will once again serve as the primary identification event for the 18U National Team Training Camp. The PDP League is an invitation-based development and assessment opportunity for high school players eligible for the following year’s MLB Draft. It provides athletes with an unprecedented amateur experience, including competitive gameplay, player development sessions, educational seminars, and other programming to prepare players for a professional baseball career. The 2023 PDP League will take place from June 26-July 3 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.
The 18U National Team program owns nine world championships and 15 overall gold medals, most recently winning gold at both the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup and the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier in 2022. Overall, the U.S. has earned 27 medals in WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup play, the most of any nation.
The remainder of the 18U National Team coaching staff, along with the 2023 schedule, will be announced later.