Two-Time MLB All-Star Michael Cuddyer Named 18U National Team Manager

Fifteen-year MLB vet making managerial debut after playing and coaching for Team USA

CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today named two-time MLB All-Star Michael Cuddyer the manager of the 2023 18U National Team. Cuddyer will guide the stars and stripes as they look to defend their world championship at the 2023 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup in Tainan, Taiwan, from September 1-10.

It will be Cuddyer’s first time serving as manager for Team USA after the 15-year MLB vet played for the 18U National Team in 1996 and 1997 and was an assistant coach for the 2021 squad. He will become just the second alumnus to play for and manage the 18U National Team, joining Jason Hisey, who played for the U.S. in 1987 before managing the team in 2006.

“We are thrilled to welcome Michael Cuddyer back to Team USA to be our manager in 2023,” said 18U National Team Program Director Brett Curll. “As someone who has played and coached for the U.S., Michael realizes the importance of representing our country in international play. His experience as a standout player in amateur baseball will be extremely relatable for our players at this point of their careers, and his successful major-league career speaks for itself. We are looking forward to beginning the process of defending our world championship with Michael leading the charge.”

“Any time you have an opportunity to don the stars and stripes is extremely special,” said Cuddyer. “In 1996, the 18U National Team was the first time I was able to come to the realization that I could play with the best players in the world. I am beyond grateful to be able to share in the journey of this year’s team members on our quest to defend the gold medal.”

Before beginning his big-league career, Cuddyer was one of the top players in amateur baseball. The Norfolk, Virginia, native played for the 18U National Team in 1996 and 1997, each time serving as a powerful force in the U.S. lineup. In 1996, Cuddyer batted .367 with five RBIs on a roster that featured seven future big leaguers, including Rick Ankiel and Josh Bard. Cuddyer then posted a .397 average with an .853 slugging percentage while leading the U.S. in home runs (7) and RBIs (26) at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1997. That same year, Cuddyer was named Virginia State Player of the Year, Gatorade Virginia Baseball Player of the Year, and a USA Today All-Star.

After being selected as the ninth overall pick of the 1997 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins, Cuddyer made his major league debut with the Club in 2001. He got his first extended playing time in the big leagues in 2004 when he played in 115 games and clubbed 12 homers while driving in 45 runs. He would then go on to play over 120 games in six of his next seven seasons in Minnesota as a power bat in the lineup and a steady glove in both the infield and outfield. Cuddyer hit 24 homers and drove in 109 runs in 2006, and–after an injury-shortened 2008–batted .276 with a career-high 32 home runs and 94 RBIs in 2009.

Cuddyer cranked 20 homers and drove in 70 runs to make his first All-Star Game in his final season in Minnesota in 2011. After signing with the Colorado Rockies in 2012, Cuddyer returned to the Midsummer Classic amidst a career-best season in 2013. That year, he rode a 27-game hitting streak en route to a .331 batting average, winning the National League Batting Title and earning the NL Silver Slugger Award. In Cuddyer’s final season in 2015, he reached the World Series for the first time in his career with the New York Mets.

Since retiring from his playing career, Cuddyer has been involved with USA Baseball in multiple capacities. He made his coaching debut with the 18U National Team in 2021, serving as an assistant coach when Team USA beat Canada in a seven-game friendship series. He also held the role of hitting coordinator at the 2021 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League and was a coach at the 2022 18U National Team Training Camp. In addition, Cuddyer has contributed to the USA Baseball Develops blog, creating “Cuddyer’s Corner,” a series of online videos covering various topics surrounding the game to help young athletes grow both on and off the field. He also hosted a USA Baseball Homegrown Clinic in 2022 in Chesapeake, Virginia, an event designed to introduce kids to the fundamentals of baseball and softball in a fun, non-competitive, community-based environment.

The 2023 PDP League will again serve as the primary identification event for 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 additional 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 boasts 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 at a later date.