USA Baseball Reveals 2023 Award Winners

Trea Turner and Tyler Early earn Richard W. “Dick” Case Award honors

CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today revealed its annual organizational award winners, recognizing the top athletes, coaches, performances, and staff from its 2023 national teams and development programs. For the first time in the organization’s history, two athletes–Trea Turner (WBC) and Tyler Early (12U)–were honored with the Richard W. “Dick” Case Award, recognizing the athlete of the year.

Additionally, after leading Team USA to a silver medal at the 2023 World Baseball Classic, Mark DeRosa earned Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year honors. Charlie Condon’s walk-off single for the Collegiate National Team secured the International Performance of the Year, while Alex Hugo was named the Sportswoman of the Year for the second time in her career.

Thanks to a gold-medal run at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-12 Baseball World Cup, the 12U National Team was awarded Team of the Year honors for the second consecutive season. Veronica Alvarez received the “Doc” Counsilman Science Award, while Rick Eckstein earned Coach Educator of the Year honors.

Dylan Crews (Golden Spikes Award), Josie Harding (Service Provider of the Year), Mike Kinkade (Volunteer Coach of the Year), and Rob Shabansky (Developmental Coach of the Year) round out the 2023 award winners.

“It is a great privilege to reward our stellar athletes, coaches, and staff for their incredible achievements in 2023,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s Executive Director and CEO. “We had another strong year in 2023, adding two more gold medals and a World Baseball Classic medal to our ledger. Before we turn our focus to continuing our international success in 2024, it is important for us to look back and recognize all of the individuals who contributed to another great year for USA Baseball.”

The complete list of the 2023 USA Baseball organizational award winners is as follows:

  • Richard W. “Dick” Case Award: Trea Turner (World Baseball Classic Team) & Tyler Early (12U National Team)
  • Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year: Mark DeRosa (World Baseball Classic Team)
  • Sportswoman of the Year: Alex Hugo (Women’s National Team)
  • International Performance of the Year: Charlie Condon (Collegiate National Team)
  • Team of the Year: 12U National Team (World Cup)
  • Developmental Coach of the Year: Rob Shabansky (15U National Team)
  • Volunteer Coach of the Year: Mike Kinkade
  • Coach Educator of the Year: Rick Eckstein
  • “Doc” Councilman Science Award: Veronica Alvarez (Women’s National Team)
  • Service Provider of the Year: Josie Harding
  • Golden Spikes Award: Dylan Crews (Louisiana State University)

For the first time in the organization’s history, two players earned the Richard W. “Dick” Case Player of the Year Award in 2023. Trea Turner led the U.S. offense at the World Baseball Classic all tournament long in March, batting .391 with a tournament-most five home runs to go along with 11 RBIs. Turner, who was named to the WBC All-Tournament Team, hit four home runs over the tournament’s final three games to help Team USA secure a silver medal. The first of Turner’s crucial blasts came in the quarterfinal round against Venezuela, when the U.S. shortstop crushed a go-ahead grand slam in the top of the eighth to lift the stars and stripes to the semifinals. Turner then hit two more home runs against Cuba to clinch the United States’ spot in the WBC Championship, becoming the first player in the tournament’s history to drive in four or more runs in consecutive games. He continued his tear in the title game, socking his fifth homer­ to tie for the most all-time in a single WBC. Overall, Turner’s five homers and 11 RBIs put him at the top of the Team USA World Baseball Classic record book in both categories.

Tyler Early played a key role in helping the 12U National Team win two gold medals in 2023 to earn Richard W. “Dick” Case Player of the Year Award honors. Playing in all 18 games for Team USA at the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup and World Cup Qualifier, the two-way star batted .442 with 10 home runs and 25 RBIs while going 4-0 and posting a 2.68 ERA with 26 strikeouts on the mound. Early etched his name in the record books on three separate occasions in 2023, setting the program record for walks in a game (4), walks in a tournament (17), and strikeouts in a game (9). The Louisiana native cranked six homers in a five-game span in the Qualifier, also earning wins in a 25-24 thriller against Venezuela and a 10-0 shutout over Mexico to be named to the All-Tournament Team. At the World Cup, Early blasted four home runs, pitched five strong innings against Korea in a key Opening Round matchup, and earned the win in the gold medal game victory over Chinese Taipei. He captured the World Cup’s Most Valuable Player Award and secured a spot on the All-World Team.

Mark DeRosa was named 2023 USA Baseball Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year after he led Team USA to a silver medal at the World Baseball Classic in March. DeRosa’s team went 5-2 in the WBC, reaching the title game for the second consecutive tournament and securing its first silver medal in tournament history. The U.S. led all 20 competing nations in home runs (12), hits (72), and slugging percentage (.553) under DeRosa’s guidance, also ranking in the top three in doubles (13), runs (51), and walks (32). Following a tournament-opening win, the stars and stripes dropped their second contest before rattling off four straight victories to reach the title game against Japan. The U.S. outscored opponents 38-12 during its four-game winning streak, including outputs of 12 runs (vs. Canada) and 14 runs (vs. Cuba). With DeRosa at the helm, Mike Trout and Turner–the Richard W. “Dick” Case Player of the Year–earned spots on the WBC All-Tournament Team.

Appearing on the Women’s National Team for the fourth time in 2023, Alex Hugo had her best performance yet en route to being named the USA Baseball Sportswoman of the Year. Hugo compiled a .714 batting average (10-for-14) with a homer and nine RBIs in five games, reaching base at a .773 clip as Team USA went unbeaten in the WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup Group Stage. The Olathe, Kansas, native was named the Most Outstanding Player of Group A after leading the tournament in numerous statistical categories, including hits (10), doubles (4), on-base percentage (.773), on-base plus slugging percentage (1.987), and runs (13). After opening the tournament with a hit and a run scored against Australia to help pick up a win, Hugo doubled twice in Team USA’s win over Korea, scored four runs in a victory against Canada, crushed a home run to help the U.S. defeat Hong Kong, and went 2-for-2 with two runs scored in a tournament finale win over Mexico. The four-time Team USA alum scored at least once in all five games, including two contests where she crossed home plate four times. This marks the second time Hugo has been named the USA Baseball Sportswoman of the Year after she previously earned the award in 2019.

With the U.S. trailing by a run and down to its final two outs against Chinese Taipei on the Fourth of July, Charlie Condon delivered to earn the International Performance of the Year. After a rain delay forced the final game of the series to be a seven-inning contest, Chinese Taipei rallied for three runs in the top of the sixth and took a one-run lead into the bottom of the seventh. Two straight singles and a passed ball put the tying and winning runs on base for Condon, who came to the plate and snuck a 2-2 pitch through the left side to bring home Seaver King with the winning run as Team USA secured a five-game sweep in the 20th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series.

After winning its second consecutive WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup gold medal, the 12U National Team was named the USA Baseball Team of the Year. The club went to Taiwan in July and posted a 7-2 record en route to securing its fifth world title, the most of any nation in the world at the U-12 level. Needing a win in their Super Round finale to secure a spot in the gold medal game, the stars and stripes stormed past Chinese Taipei to force another meeting with the host nation in the title game, where the U.S. notched a 10-4 victory to win gold. Team USA outscored opponents 120-37 in nine games, leading the tournament in runs, home runs (18), and hits (99). On the mound, the U.S. pitching staff struck out a tournament-most 60 batters in 49 innings pitched. The 12U National Team became the first program to win USA Baseball Team of the Year in consecutive seasons since the 18U National Team won it three times from 2012-2014.

Rob Shabansky managed the 15U National Team and spearheaded its run of dominance at the 2023 International Friendly Series in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to be named Developmental Coach of the Year. Shabansky began the effort in June, scouting players at the National Team Championships in both Arizona and North Carolina. Come September, the seasoned veteran and second-time U.S. manager held his team to a gold standard in its unbeaten run, as the stars and stripes scored 47 runs, maintained a .374 batting average, and posted a 1.16 team ERA over a span of five games. Shabansky brought an abundance of professional playing experience and prior USA Baseball coaching involvement to the table as the former University of Arizona standout and four-year pro ball veteran made his eighth appearance on a Team USA coaching staff in 2023.

Mike Kinkade served as hitting coordinator for the 13U/14U Athlete Development Program (ADP), was on staff at the 2023 MLB Draft Combine, and assisted at the Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) Premier Women’s Winter Camp to earn Volunteer Coach of the Year. The 2000 Olympic gold medalist brought his plethora of baseball experience to the ADP, which prepares young players for future success and exposes them to high-level coaching. Bridging the gap between national teams, the ADP prepares athletes for the next steps of their career. Prior to his involvement with the ADP, Kinkade played an instrumental role at the 2023 MLB Draft Combine, as he worked with the nation’s top prospects to showcase their talent and prepare for the MLB Draft. Over the winter, Kinkade served as a coach at the PDP Premier Women’s Winter Camp, an offseason initiative designed to build connections and develop the skills of players across the country.

Coach Educator of the Year Rick Eckstein spent time coaching at the PDP League, the 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP), and the 18U National Team Training Camp in 2023. Eckstein brought professional experience to serve as Team Navy’s manager in the PDP League, a joint program assembled between MLB and USA Baseball to provide high school players eligible for the next year’s draft with a robust amateur experience. Later in the summer at the NTDP, Eckstein managed Team White at the National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina. The veteran major-league hitting coach provided his expertise in what serves as an identification event for the 18U National Team and prepares players by giving them unique on- and off-field experiences, including educational seminars to help prepare for a career in baseball. Eckstein continued to play an integral role with USA Baseball in August, joining the USA Baseball Task Force to scout and assist with the selection of the final 20-man 18U National Team roster. The award marks Eckstein’s second USA Baseball honor; he also earned the “Doc” Counsilman Science Award for his work with the Olympic Team in 2008.

Five-time Team USA alum and three-time Women’s National Team Manager Veronica Alvarez is the 2023 “Doc” Counsilman Science Award recipient. Alvarez’s commitment to the use of scientific data and state-of-the-art technology paid great dividends for Team USA this past summer, as the U.S. went unbeaten over five games at the WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup Group Stage while outscoring opponents 71-2.  Alvarez utilized data provided by PDP Performance Assessments and Rapsodo to assist in selecting the 20-woman Team USA roster, which batted .383 and owned a 0.62 ERA en route to clinching a spot in the World Cup Finals. Additionally, Alvarez helped organize and supported a pitching data seminar with players who attended the PDP Premier Women’s Winter Camp this past January. Alvarez now owns two awards from USA Baseball after she was named the 2019 Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year following a dominant gold-medal run with the Women’s National Team.

Josie Harding, who was named the 2023 Service Provider of the Year, traveled with three national teams this past season, worked multiple USA Baseball events, and exemplified what it means to be a service provider and represent Team USA. In addition to continuing her work as a certified athletic trainer at the National Team Championships in Arizona, Harding worked in the same role at the PDP Premier Women’s Winter Camp in January. Harding then served as the certified athletic trainer at three different national team events, first playing a key role at the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier in Aguascalientes, Mexico, where she helped Team USA win gold and qualify for the 2023 WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup. The accomplished athletic trainer then contributed to the Women’s National Team’s unbeaten run at the WBSC Women’s World Cup Group Stage in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Harding wrapped up her Team USA summer by traveling with the 18U National Team to Taipei, Taiwan, as the U.S. competed in the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup.

Golden Spikes Award winner Dylan Crews was college baseball’s biggest star in 2023, leading LSU to a College World Series title while sitting near the top of the national leaderboard in most offensive categories. The outfielder reached base in all 71 games this past season and led the country in runs scored with 100. Crews owned a .567 on-base percentage, good for second in the nation, while his 110 hits also ranked second and his .426 batting average was third-best in the country. Crews­–who drew a nation-most 71 walks–also had a 26-game hitting streak spanning from February 19 to April 25. Additionally, the junior led many offensive statistical categories in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) en route to earning the conference’s Player of the Year Award for the second consecutive season. He batted .405 with a .545 on-base percentage to rank first in the conference in both categories, also drawing a conference-leading 27 walks in SEC games and tying for the league lead in hits with 45. Crews, who was drafted second overall by the Washington Nationals in the 2023 MLB Draft, was also a finalist for the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) James E. Sullivan Award.