USA Baseball Announces 2017 Tournament of Stars Coaching Staff

June 22, 2017

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced the task force and coaching staffs that will lead 80 of the nation's best 18-and-under players in the 2017 Tournament of Stars presented by Major League Baseball on Thursday. The staff, which is made up former professional players, respected collegiate and high school coaches and Major League scouts, will guide and evaluate this year's athletes in the event at the National Training Complex June 26-July 1.

Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) will stream the bronze and gold medal games live on and on Saturday, July 1.

The coaching staff and task force will assist the 18U National Team coaching staff in identifying athletes to be invited to the USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials, which will be held August 19-24 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Andy Stankiewicz will lead the 18U National Team for the second time in his career. In his first stint as manager, he led the 18U team to a gold medal in the 2014 COPABE Pan Am "AAA" Championships in La Paz, Mexico.

Joining Stankiewicz on the 2017 18U National Team staff will be Rusty Filter (Stanford University), Bill Mosiello (TCU) and Gregg Ritchie (George Washington University).

This year's Tournament of Stars participants will be divided into four teams of 20 players (Brave, Free, Pride and United), and each team staff will be comprised of a manager, assistant coach and pitching coach.

Atlanta Braves' Special Assistant to Baseball Operations, and 19-year MLB veteran, Fred McGriff, will lead the Brave team. McGriff will be joined by assistant coach Chris Carter and pitching coach Robert Woodard.

Former Clemson University head coach Jack Leggett will manage the Free team. Five-time MLB All-Star Todd Helton will join him as an assistant coach and Scott Bankhead will round out the team's staff as the pitching coach.

Royce Clayton, who played on the 18U National Team in 1987 and serves as the head coach at Oaks Christian School (Westlake, Calif.), will lead the Pride team. Mark Ross and Steve Stone will serve on the Pride staff as pitching and assistant coaches, respectively.

Finally, former Tulane head coach and 2009 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team manager, Rick Jones, will guide the United team as the manager. He will be joined on staff by pitching coach Willie Banks and assistant coach Jesse Cassard.

In addition to the national team and Tournament of Stars coaching staffs, there will be a five-person task force and two rovers that will help oversee the event. Ryan Schmidt will lead the task force, with Wes Theriot, DeAndre Asbury-Heath, Daniel Coles and Taylor Black joining him. Joe Barbera and Ricky Meinhold will serve as the position and pitching rovers, respectively, assisting the task force and staff with evaluating and identifying players for consideration.

The Tournament of Stars is made up of 80 of the best baseball players in the country that are international age-eligible (Born January 1, 1999 or 2000) for 18U National Team consideration. The event serves as the primary pool of talent from which USA Baseball will select its team to compete in the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 World Cup in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. The World Cup will be played from September 1-10.

Team USA is the three-time defending World Cup champion and will look to become the second country to win four-straight gold medals in the tournament.

The complete list of Tournament of Stars staff and task force and their bios are as follows:

Name, Coaching Position
DeAndre Asbury-Heath, Task Force
Scott Bankhead, Free Pitching Coach
Willy Banks, United Pitching Coach
Joe Barbera, Position Rover
Taylor Black, Task Force
Chris Carter, Brave Assistant Coach
Jesse Cassard, United Assistant Coach
Royce Clayton, Pride Manager
Daniel Coles, Task Force
Todd Helton, Free Assistant Coach
Rick Jones, United Manager
Jack Leggett, Free Manager
Fred McGriff, Brave Manager
Ricky Meinhold, Pitching Rover
Mark Ross, Pride Pitching Coach
Ryan Schmidt, Task Force
Steve Stone, Pride Assistant Coach
Wes Theriot, Task Force
Robert Woodard, Brave Pitching Coach

DeAndre Asbury-Heath will make his USA Baseball debut as a task force member at the 2017 Tournament of Stars. He was drafted out of Brookland-Cayce High School (Cayce, S.C.) in the 15th round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, spending four years in the Cardinals' system from 2013-2016.

Scott Bankhead is the owner of the North Carolina Baseball Academy and is no stranger to suiting up for Team USA. He served as an 18U National Team Trials coach in 2016 and was a member of the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Team. Bankhead was the 16th overall pick in the 1984 MLB Draft out of the University of North Carolina and he spent ten seasons in the Major Leagues, pitching for the Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. He finished his professional career with a 4.18 ERA over 901.0 innings.

Willy Banks is currently a private instructor and played for the red, white and blue in 1986 as a member of the 18U National Team. Following his time with USA Baseball, Banks was selected 3rd overall by the Minnesota Twins in the 1987 MLB Draft. He spent nine years in the Major Leagues with seven different clubs, earning a 4.75 ERA in that time.

Joe Barbera started his scouting career with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011 where he worked for three years before moving to the Seattle Mariners. In 2016, Barbera moved from Seattle to the Philadelphia, where he is currently a part-time scout for the Phillies.

Taylor Black is an assistant coach at North Carolina State University. He is returning to the Tournament of Stars task force in 2017 after first serving in this role for the 2016 tournament. Before he started coaching, Black played collegiately at the University of Kentucky and professionally in the minor leagues until 2013.

This is Chris Carter's second year as a coach at the Tournament of Stars, as he served in the same role in 2016. He was also an assistant coach for the 17U National Team Development Program (NTDP) last year. Carter is the athletic director at Woodmont High School in Piedmont, South Carolina, and held the same position at nearby Easley High School from 2009-2013. Carter was a catcher at Clemson University in the 1990s and formerly served as the head baseball coach at Easley and Byrnes high schools from 1998-2008, prior to transitioning into an administrative role.

Jesse Cassard also served on the task force at the 2016 Tournament of Stars. He is currently the athletic director for Zachary Community Schools outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Cassard, who played at McNeese University from 2000-2001, has served as the head baseball coach at Zachary High School since the 2007 season, leading the Broncos to three consecutive state titles from 2007-2009.

Royce Clayton's first experience with USA Baseball came in 1987 when he played for the 18U National Team. He played for 17 years from 1991-2007 in the Major Leagues after being selected in the first round of the MLB draft by the San Francisco Giants in 1988. He currently serves as the head coach at Oaks Christian School (Westlake, Calif.).

Daniel Coles is currently an area scout of the New York Mets. Prior to his time with the Mets, Coles spent eight seasons coaching at Pinecrest High School (Southern Pines, N.C.) where he helped lead the Patriots to Conference Tournament Championships in 2010, 2011 and 2016.

Todd Helton played collegiately at the University of Tennessee before he was selected with the 8th overall pick in the 1995 MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies. In his 17 years playing in the Major Leagues with the Rockies, Helton was a five-time All-Star, won three Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers and finished with a .316 career batting average. Following his professional career, he returned to Tennessee as the Director of Player Development for the Volunteers. He also played for the red, white and blue during his college career, appearing on the Collegiate National Team in 1993.

Former Tulane head coach Rick Jones will also join the coaching ranks at the Tournament of Stars this year. Jones spent 21 years at the helm of the Green Wave program, where he tallied a 814-439-2 coaching record. His teams appeared in 12 NCAA Regionals, three Super Regionals and made it to the College World Series twice. He was also a part of three different Team USA coaching staffs. He managed the 2009 Collegiate National Team, was an assistant coach on the 1989 USA Baseball Presidential Cup staff and served as a member of the 1990 USA Baseball National Team coaching staff. Earlier this year, Jones was inducted in to the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame.

Jack Leggett served as Clemson University's head coach for 22 seasons. In that time he led the Tigers to 955 victories, 21 NCAA Tournament appearances and six College World Series berths. Clemson was the seventh-winningest program in the nation during his time as head coach, while his six trips to Omaha tied for ninth most in the nation during his tenure. Leggett was a three-time ACC Coach of the Year recipient and was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame in 2014.

A five-time All-Star, Fred McGriff played 19 seasons in MLB from 1986-2004. He spent five of those seasons with the Atlanta Braves, where he helped the team to a World Series Championship in 1995. He also won three Silver Slugger Awards throughout his time in the big leagues and finished his career with 493 home runs. Following his playing career, he returned to Atlanta where the Braves hired him as a Special Assistant to Baseball Operations in 2015.

Ricky Meinhold is a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals. Meinhold was a pitching coach at Lindenwood University and Coker College from 2011-2013, prior to joining the Cardinals organization. He pitched collegiately at Drury University and went on to play for an affiliate of the San Diego Padres, becoming the first pitcher in Drury program history to play professional baseball.

Currently a scout for the Houston Astros, Mark Ross played in the Major Leagues for six years with the Astros, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Toronto Blue Jays. He finished his professional career with a 3.83 ERA. Prior to his time in MLB, Ross played at Texas A&M and was a member of the 1978 USA Baseball National Team team that won a silver medal at the XXIV Baseball World Cup.

Ryan Schmidt is the head coach at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas and was named Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Coach of the Year while at Pratt Community College in 2012. Schmidt, who pitched at Kansas University from 1999-2000, has also coached at Barton Community College. 2017 marks Schmidt's third year on the Tournament of Stars task force.

Steve Stone returns to the Tournament of Stars coaching ranks in 2017 after coaching in the event last year. He is in his 18th year as the head baseball coach at Hebron High School in Carrollton, Texas. In total, Stone has 22 years of coaching experience, previously spending time at Rider and Euless Trinity high schools. He is a former standout catcher at Texas Christian University, where he was named team MVP in 1988.

Wes Theriot is a hitting instructor in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Theriot played collegiately at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Southeastern Louisiana University, and served as a player representative for Beverly Hill Sports. He is the brother of former MLB veteran infielder Ryan Theriot. 2017 is the second consecutive year he has served as a task force member at the Tournament of Stars.

Robert Woodard finished his first year as the pitching coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) after serving as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Virginia Tech. Prior to joining the Hokies staff in 2013, Woodard coached at UNC, his alma mater, and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Woodard is the Tar Heels' all-time winningest pitcher with a record of 34-5 and spent three years in the San Diego Padres' farm system after being selected in the 20th round of the 2007 MLB Draft. The Charlotte, N.C., native has also coached for the Orleans Cardinals of the Cape Cod League. In 2016, Woodard made his Tournament of Stars debut as a pitching rover at the event, and he also served as a coach at the 2016 17U National Team Development Program (NTDP).


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Team USA Uses Big First Inning To Best Canada

November 18, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Team USA  3 0 0 2 0 1 0 1 1 8 8 3
Canada 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 3 1
Win: V. Mederos Loss: C. Sparks 
Box Score | Play-by-play

MIAMI, Fla. - The 18U National Team jumped out to an early lead that it would not relinquish as it bested Canada, 8-3, in the fourth game of National Team Training on Saturday, November 17, at the Ballpark of Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Florida.

For the second straight game, Team USA's offense got off to a fast start scoring three runs in the first inning to set the tone. Pete Crow-Armstrong (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) led the game off by getting hit by a pitch before eventually crossing the plate on a wild pitch for the team's first run of the game. Yohandy Morales (Miami, Fla.) then singled through the left side as Riley Greene (Oviedo, Fla.) crossed the plate to put the U.S. ahead 2-0. Tyler Callihan (Mobile, Ala.) scored Team USA's third and final run of the inning after touching home as Ethan Hearn (Neptune Beach, Fla.) grounded out to second base.

After a scoreless second inning from Team USA, Canada responded by scoring two runs after loading the bases with no outs to cut the lead to just one. With the score at 3-2 in favor of the U.S., both teams failed to bring home a run in the third.

Hearn sparked the stars and stripes in the fourth inning with a leadoff walk, before advancing to second on a wild pitch. After a groundout that advanced him to third, Hearn scored on a triple by Austin Hendrick (Oakdale, Pa.) that hit off the wall in right field. Hendrick scored on a sacrifice fly by Carter Young (Selah, Wash) to make the score 5-2.

Canada would score its final run of the game in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 5-3. That score didn't last long however, as Anthony Volpe (Watchung, N.J.) singled to center field in the bottom of the sixth and after advancing to second, stole third base. He would then score on an error for the lone run to push the lead to three runs.

In the eighth, Drew Romo (The Woodlands, Texas) scored on the squad's second sacrifice fly of the game. Greene finished the scoring for Team USA with his first home run of training, a deep shot over the wall in right field. The dinger marked the team's second home run of the week.

Greene led the squad with two hits and two runs scored on the day as six different players recorded an RBI. Victor Mederos (Miami, Fla.) earned the win after pitching four innings, while only allowing one hit and punching out three batters.

Up next, the team will take on the University of Florida at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida, on Sunday, November 18. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m. ET.

Follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and visit for the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

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Nine Hits Lead Team USA Past STU

November 17, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Team USA  1 0 1 5 0 0 0 1 0 8 12 3
Nova Southeastern 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 5 1
Win: R. Hawks Loss: M. Ornelas 
Box Score | Play-by-play

MIAMI, Fla. - The 18U National Team used nine hits, including the team's first home run of training, to score seven runs and best St. Thomas University 7-4. The win marked the squad's third of training on Friday, November 16, at Paul Demie Mainieri Field in Miami Gardens, Florida.

The stars and stripes wasted no time jumping out to an early lead as Dylan Crews (Longwood, Fla.) walked before Bobby Witt Jr. (Colleyville, Texas) blasted a home run that hit off of the scoreboard in left-center field.

Not to be outdone, the Bobcats hit a two-run shot of their own to tie the game in the bottom of the first inning. Once again, the teams traded a pair of runs in the second inning after Corbin Carroll (Seattle, Wash.) scored on a wild pitch before STU scored on a single up the middle to even the score at three all.

After a scoreless third for both teams, the U.S. took a lead that they would not relinquish in the fourth when Pete Crow-Armstrong (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) scored on a sacrifice fly to right field to give Team USA the 4-3 lead.

In the fifth, Witt Jr. and Tyler Callihan (Neptune Beach, Fla.) began the inning with singles. With one out in the inning, Crow-Armstrong added another RBI to his resume when he punched a single into right field to score Witt Jr. Yohandy Morales (Miami, Fla.) scored on a wild pitch in the seventh to add to the lead.

STU scored in the eighth to cut the score to 6-4 before Logan Tanner (Lucedale, Miss.) scored in the ninth on a bases-loaded double play. With the game at 7-4, the team relied on Callihan to close the game and he did just that, collecting a 1-2-3 inning to earn the save.

Four players led the way for the U.S. with two hits apiece. Four players also notched an RBI to lead the team. Relief pitcher Sammy Faltine (Richmond, Texas) earned the win while punching out five batters in three innings.

Up next, the team will take on Canada at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Saturday, November 17. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. ET.

Follow @USABaseball18Uon Twitter and visit USABaseball.comfor the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

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Five Run Fourth Propels Team USA Over NSU

November 16, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Team USA  1 0 1 5 0 0 0 1 0 8 12 3
Nova Southeastern 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 5 1
Win: R. Hawks Loss: M. Ornelas 
Box Score | Play-by-play

MIAMI, Fla. - After falling behind early, the 18U National Team used a five-run fourth inning to top Nova Southeastern University 8-3 as the squad continued training on Thursday, November 15, at NSU in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Both teams got off to fast starts with both teams pushing runners across in the first inning. Team USA jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead after Bobby Witt Jr. (Colleyville, Texas) singled through the left side of the infield, scoring C.J. Abrams (Alphretta, Ga.) scored from second.

However, NSU responded quickly as the Sharks used two USA errors to score two runs in the bottom half of the first. Facing a one-run deficit for the second game in a row, the stars and stripes responded to tie the game in the third inning. Corbin Carroll (Seattle, Wash.) singled through the right side to allow Abrams to score his second run and tie the game.

The squad kept the bats hot in the next inning, adding five runs on four hits. Riley Greene (Oviedo, Fla.) punched a ball through the right side of the infield as Abrams tallied his third run of the game. On the very next pitch, Dylan Crews (Longwood, Fla.) scored on a wild pitch to push the U.S. lead to 5-2. Two more singles by Witt Jr. and Carroll plated two more runs to push the lead to 7-2.

The Sharks added a run in the seventh but the stars and stripes responded once again as Yohandy Morales (Miami, Fla.) doubled down the left field line to score Drew Romo (The Woodlands, Texas).

Ryan Cornelio (Monument, Colo.) entered the game in the eighth inning to close it out, fanning five batters, including all three in the ninth inning to secure Team USA's 8-3 win.

Abrams led the way with three hits and three runs on the day, as Greene, Witt Jr., and Carroll added two RBI a piece in the game. Starting pitcher Brennan Malone (Matthews, N.C.) earned the win while punching out six batters in four innings.

Up next, the team will take on St. Thomas University on Friday, November 16, at Paul Demie Mainieri Field in Miami Gardens, Florida. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. ET.

Follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter for the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

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Sport Dev

USA Baseball Launches Pure Baseball

Pure Baseball is a zero-tolerance policy regarding abuse that ensures the well-being of athletes
November 15, 2018

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball today announced the launch of Pure Baseball. Pure Baseball is the organization's zero-tolerance policy regarding abuse - inclusive of emotional, physical and sexual misconduct - within the sport of baseball across the United States to ensure the overall well-being of its minor athletes. 

Pursuant to the guidelines presented in Senate Bill 534 (SB 534) and in cooperation with the U.S. Center for SafeSport, the Pure Baseball initiative and its numerous resources will impact USA Baseball, its national team athletes and event participants, in addition to its national member organizations, local affiliate organizations and all other unaffiliated baseball organizations in the amateur baseball landscape.

"The launch of Pure Baseball is a significant venture by USA Baseball to provide a safe, competitive environment for all athletes playing baseball in the United States," said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. "There is nothing more important than the safety of our minor athletes and we are committed to doing our part to protect the future athletes and fans of our game."

Pure Baseball is comprised of four components: reporting, background checks, education and training, and minor athlete safety policies. The policies and procedures created by USA Baseball as part of this program model those set forth by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, and also contain supplementary guidelines to further safeguard minor athletes and their interactions with adults, and account for baseball-specific situations that may occur.

In a concerted effort to protect all minor athletes playing baseball in leagues and events across the country, USA Baseball has made all Pure Baseball resources available for consumption on and In doing so, the organization has mitigated the procedural impact on amateur baseball organizations set forth by the requirements of SB 534. Organizations large and small are now able to fulfill all background checks, education and training, and reporting requirements through USA Baseball even if their organization cannot support the bandwidth and infrastructure needed for compliance. 

"It is our duty as the National Governing Body of baseball for the United States to provide the resources to those who need them," continued Seiler. "In order to achieve this, USA Baseball is proud to provide the tools needed to fulfill the requirements set forth by Senate Bill 534 to our constituents so that we can collectively protect our athletes from abuse."

Two abuse awareness courses hosted by two-time World Series champion David Ross have been launched on USA Baseball's education platform to accompany the launch of this initiative.  Abuse Awareness for Adults and Abuse Awareness for Minors satisfy the education and training requirements set forth by SB 534 for the entirety of the amateur baseball community. 

In addition, as part of the Pure Baseball launch, USA Baseball and USA Softball have partnered together in order to protect all male and female athletes who share the love of bat-and-ball sports. Both national governing bodies will independently manage the reporting of abuse in its respective sport; however, they will cooperatively publish and enforce a list of adult individuals who are suspended or banned from participation in baseball and softball in the United States. 

"USA Softball is honored to join forces with USA Baseball in our commitment to athlete safety," said Craig Cress, Executive Director at USA Softball. "Our national governing bodies have been diligent in our individual efforts to protect our athletes and I am hopeful that together we will reach new heights in this endeavor." 

Lastly, in an effort to diminish the exposure of minor athletes to dangerous individuals, SB 534 requires that all adults working with minor athletes undergo a background check. In accordance with that, as part of the Pure Baseball program, all individuals working within the amateur baseball landscape are able to submit a background check application at through USA Baseball's service provider, JD Palatine. 

Visit or email for more information on the Pure Baseball initiative and its minor athlete safety policies. To meet the requirements of SB 534 by submitting a background check application, to report abuse, to check the suspended and banned individual list, or to complete the abuse awareness courses, visit

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Team USA Opens National Team Training With Win

November 15, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Team USA  0 1 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 5 7 1
Miami Dade 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 6 0
Win: M. Abel Loss: B. Baker Save: T. Manning
Box Score | Play-by-play

MIAMI, FLA. - The 18U National Team used a four-run seventh inning to top Miami Dade College 5-2 as the squad opened National Team Training on Wednesday, November 14, at Miami Dade College - Kendall in Miami, Florida.

After a scoreless first inning for both teams, the U.S. opened the scoring in the top of the second. Anthony Volpe (Watchung, N.J.) bunted down the third base line to score Bobby Witt Jr. (Colleyville, Texas), who came all the way from second to give the stars and stripes the 1-0 advantage.

Team USA's starting pitcher, Avery Short (Indianapolis, Ind.), stayed solid for three shutout innings, striking out five, while only giving up three hits to the Sharks in the first four innings.

However, the Sharks added two runs in the top of the sixth inning to take a late 2-1 edge in the game. After a walk and a strikeout from pitcher Mick Abel (Portland, Ore.), the Sharks singled down the right field line, putting runners at the corners with one out. The tying run would cross the plate on a wild pitch, before a single down the left field line brought home the runner from second to give the Sharks the lead heading into the top of the seventh.

In the top half of the seventh, with the U.S. down one, CJ Abrams (Alpharetta, Ga.) singled up the middle before Dylan Crews (Longwood, Fla.) and Tyler Callihan (Neptune Beach, Fla.) drew walks to load the bases with just one out in the inning. Riley Greene (Oviedo, Fla.) then came up huge, driving a ball down the left field line to clear the bases and give Team USA the 5-2 lead.

After that, the squad never looked back, allowing just one hit for the remainder of the game. Greene led the stars and stripes with three hits and one RBI. Abel earned the win, pitching three innings and allowing three hits.

Up next, the team will take on Nova Southeastern University on Thursday, November 15, at the NSU Baseball Complex in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. ET.

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MLB and USA Baseball Create "PDP League" to Bolster High School Baseball Pipeline Ahead of 2020 MLB Draft

Expansion of the Existing Prospect Development Pipeline/Will Serve As the Premier Development Experience for 80 Top High School Prospects
November 13, 2018

Durham, N.C. - Major League Baseball and USA Baseball today announced the new "Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League," a premier development and showcase experience for dozens of high school baseball prospects based in the United States. The PDP League, which will be held from mid-June through early-July at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., is an invitation-based development opportunity for approximately 80 of the top high school baseball players ahead of the 2020 MLB Draft. It will include competitive game play, practice & training sessions with MLB Club representatives serving as on-field coaches, and evaluation using modern technologies tailoring individualized development curriculums for each player. The PDP League will serve as a primary identification opportunity for the USA Baseball 18U National Team, slated to compete in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup in Busan, South Korea. Additionally, the League will serve as a feeder for a new All-Star Week showcase game for the best high school baseball players, designed in a similar style to the existing SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

 "We are thrilled to join USA Baseball in announcing the PDP League, which is the newest initiative in our ongoing commitment to improving the amateur levels of our game and connecting the next generation of stars to Major League Baseball," said Morgan Sword, MLB's Senior Vice President, League Economics & Operations. "The PDP League will provide these players, the majority of whom will be in consideration for the following year's MLB Draft, with the most dynamic, development-focused experience available to high school baseball athletes. Uniquely, the PDP League will also offer players the opportunity to prepare for life beyond baseball by prioritizing leadership and character development as well as personal health and well-being."

"The creation of the PDP League signifies a new, groundbreaking opportunity to cultivate excellence amongst athletes both on and off the field," said Rick Riccobono, USA Baseball's Chief Development Officer. "The development of the next generation of collegiate and professional stars has long been a core mission of USA Baseball, and we are proud to reinforce this commitment with the creation of this innovative program with the support of Major League Baseball and its Clubs. The PDP League will have an immediate and positive impact on the amateur landscape while fostering the continued success of Team USA on the international stage."

The 80 participants of the 2019 PDP League, all of whom will be invited by Major League Baseball, MLB Clubs and USA Baseball, will be broken down into four teams of about 20 players. Most of the on-field activity, including competitive play and training, will take place at the IMG Academy. The teams also will have an opportunity to play at Tropicana Field, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays.

A percentage of the highest performing players from the PDP League will be considered for additional premier opportunities. These include events connected to MLB All-Star Week, such as the new high school showcase game as well as the High School Home Run Derby, an annual national home run hitting contest held at the All-Star host ballpark. Four of the eight participants in the 2017 All-Star High School Home Run Derby were selected in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft.

USA Baseball also will utilize the PDP League as the primary identification event for the USA Baseball 18U National Team. Approximately 40 players will be invited from the PDP League to attend the 2019 18U National Team Trials, which will be conducted in late August in Los Angeles. From there, the final 20-man national team roster will be selected for team training in Asia, followed by the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Busan, South Korea in early September. The 2019 18U Team will be managed by long time Clemson University head coach Jack Leggett.

Providing all participating athletes with an environment that prioritizes their health and well-being is one of the founding principles on which the PDP League was created. The League will focus on monitoring overall workload, ensuring the necessary amount of down time and rest, prioritizing recovery management and support, establishing routines for development, and monitoring heat exposure and hydration.

Personal development will be a focus in classroom settings during the League through a variety of important educational seminars applicable to the participants' potential collegiate and professional baseball careers. Classroom lessons will be led by MLB Club, USA Baseball, and other pertinent guest speakers and will include leadership sessions, diversity & inclusion training, proper use and importance of social media, nutritional tips, and more. Content, curriculum and expertise will be borrowed from existing initiatives, including MLB's Rookie Development Program and USA Baseball's National Team Development Program.

Additionally, the participants will have the opportunity to undergo unique athletic assessments, consisting of performance vision screening, swing and ball flight analysis and precise physical testing. These voluntary assessments have already helped establish an official identification and player assessment pathway to Major League Baseball and all 30 MLB Clubs for elite high school age baseball players. In the last two MLB Drafts (2017 & 2018), 212 players who participated in 2017-2018 PDP events were selected.

IMG Academy is one of the world's largest and most advanced multi-sport training and educational institutions. IMG Academy helps countless youth, adult, collegiate and professional athletes reach their full potential in and out of sport by providing world-class teaching and coaching, tailored programs and professional facilities. Based in Bradenton, Florida, IMG Academy also serves as a training and competition venue for amateur and professional teams, a host site for a variety of events, and a hub for sports performance research and innovation. Its nearly 600-acre campus includes a state-of-the-art baseball stadium, five development fields, indoor & outdoor batting cages and 16 practice mounds. It also houses the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, three dormitories, two 10,000 square foot weight rooms and a fieldhouse with professional locker rooms.


MLB and USA Baseball partner on a variety of different initiatives, including the PLAY BALL initiative (, diversity-focused amateur development camps (Breakthrough Series, DREAM Series & Hank Aaron Invitational), Fun At Bat program (, girls baseball initiatives (Trailblazer Series, Girls Baseball Breakthrough Series), Pitch Smart (, Hit and Run Baseball (, and many more. 

In August, MLB and USA Baseball announced "States Play," a new, annual high school baseball tournament to showcase some of the best rising seniors from states that historically produce a high volume of collegiate and professional players. 

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2018 18U National Team Training Begins Wednesday, Nov. 14

November 12, 2018

USA Baseball invites the local and national media to the 2018 USA Baseball 18U National Team Training.

The 18U National Team will compete in six exhibition games from November 14-20 in Florida to prepare for the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships. The 18U National Team Training roster is made up of 27 of the nation's best ballplayers that are international age-eligible for 18U National Team consideration (born in 2000 or later). Following the conclusion of the event on Tuesday, November 20, the 20-man 18U National Team roster will be announced.

  • WHAT: USA Baseball 18U National Team Training
  • WHEN: November 14-20, 2018
  • WHERE: Miami, Fla., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Miami Gardens, Fla., West Palm Beach, Fla., Port Charlotte, Fla.

The 18U National Team program started in 1987 as the USA Baseball Junior National Team competing in the World Youth Baseball Championships. Since then the 18U Team has been a perennial power on the international baseball scene. The team competes in two major events in bi-yearly cycles - the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships and the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup. In 2017, Team USA went undefeated to claim its fourth WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup title in a row and give the program its seventh consecutive gold medal in international competition dating back to 2011. The program has also won five straight COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships titles and will look to add a sixth in 2018.

Credential Application

Members of the media can apply for a credential by visiting the USA Baseball Media Services page on the official website here.

18U Participants in the MLB Draft

Following a season in which the 18U National Team earned its fourth consecutive WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup title, ten members of the 20-man roster were selected in the first round in 2018. Jarred Kelenic (No. 6, New York Mets) was the first selected, followed by Ryan Weathers (No. 7, St. Louis Cardinals), Matt Liberatore (No. 16, Tampa Bay Rays), Brice Turang (No. 21, Milwaukee Brewers), Anthony Seigler (No. 23, New York Yankees), Triston Casas (No. 26, Boston Red Sox), Mason Denaburg (No. 27, Washington Nationals), JT Ginn (No. 30, Los Angeles Dodgers) and Ethan Hankins (No. 35, Cleveland Indians).

From the 18U National Team to the Major Leagues

Forty-six players representing 27 different teams in the Major Leagues have suited up for the red, white and blue as members of the 18U National Team. Notables include Albert Almora Jr. (2010-11), Alex Bregman (2011), Bryce Harper (2009), Clayton Kershaw (2005), Francisco Lindor (2010), Manny Machado (2009), Joe Mauer (1999-2000), Andrew McCutchen (2004), Buster Posey (2004) and 2018 World Series Champion Blake Swihart (2010). For a full list of 18U alums in the majors click here.

USA Baseball Coverage

Live stats: StatCrew
Social Media: @USABaseball18U (Twitter) and @USABaseball (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat)
Streaming/TV: None

Participating Players and Schedule

Twenty-seven of the nation's best ballplayers that are international age-eligible for 18U National Team consideration (born in 2000 or later) are participating in the 2018 event. For the full schedule, please visit the 18U National Team page on For the full National Team Training roster, click here.

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Online Education Center Under Construction

November 2, 2018

We apologize for the inconvenience; however, our Online Education Center at is currently under construction.

Check back on Tuesday, November 6, to see our brand new Sport Development website, complete with our usual offering of great FREE content, and some new content and features.

Thanks for your continued investment in Our Pastime's Future.

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Sport Dev

USA Baseball Develops Coaching Manual for High School Baseball Programs

The manual aims to assist coaches in providing a positive, development-based experience to its student-athletes
October 10, 2018

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced on Wednesday the development of its High School Baseball Program Manual. It aims to support the thousands of dedicated high school baseball coaches around the country by providing a positive, development-based experience to its student-athletes.

The manual provides coaches a fundamental framework to build an athlete-focused culture within their programs and is suited for both high schools with longstanding traditions of on-field excellence, as well as for schools and coaches that are building a program from the ground up. Importantly, the manual also provides a clear direction for player growth off the baseball field with respect to personal development and support for its players' participation in multiple sports.

The High School Baseball Program Manual is available to the public at no charge at and on the USA Baseball Online Education Center,

"To the tens of thousands of coaches who support the half a million student-athletes competing at the high school level, thank you. We recognize your selfless commitment to your players, and through works like this manual we aim to support your efforts in enriching your players lives," said Rick Riccobono, USA Baseball's Chief Development Officer. "USA Baseball has never been more committed to the well-being of the high school baseball community. Through this unique resource, coaches old and new will gain insights into how to optimize their high school baseball program. With an athlete-first approach, this manual's teachings will continue to position baseball as an athletic option that supports a comprehensive student-athlete experience within a healthy and positive sporting environment."

This initiative continues USA Baseball's reach into the amateur baseball landscape and specifically reinforces its commitment to the proliferation of prep baseball in the United States. The manual boosts the high school baseball experience and allows for the consistent development for any athlete, regardless of their skill level or the school for which they compete.

Key concepts from the High School Baseball Program Manual include:

- Importance of underscoring academic goals of the athletes and school
- Practice plan directives that enable maximum engagement, movement and physical activity
- Benefits of supporting athlete participation in multiple sports
- Management tools for interpersonal relationships within a baseball program, including conflict resolution techniques
- Keys to building a positive culture that transcends the student-athlete experience
- Best practices concerning a player's health and safety
- Keeping the game of baseball fun

"I think the High School Baseball Program Manual is by far the most comprehensive publication that I have ever seen. The attention to the specific needs of the player from understanding multi-sport athletes to nutrition and rest considerations is spot on. You can sense the intentional compassion in this document. It should be considered mandatory reading for any new baseball coach and a refresher for experienced coaches," said Elliot Hopkins, Director of Sports, Sanctioning and Student Services for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). "This manual along with the many other USA Baseball programs and resources is indicative of the support and commitment by USA Baseball to the interscholastic game. This is a quality manual that will assist anyone who is interested in maximizing practice time and improving their training sessions.

"We are so appreciative of USA Baseball for this work, but more importantly for a wonderful collaborative partnership for over a decade. We both value young people playing baseball and it is always good to share that excitement and drive with a like-minded organization. We are thrilled that they are our national governing body and represents the United States so proudly in international and domestic competitions."

For more information on the High School Baseball Program Manual, and other similar educational resources produced by USA Baseball, such as the Mobile Coach App, Long-Term Athlete Development Plan (LTAD) and others, visit All resources produced by USA Baseball are provided free of charge to the public.

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USA Baseball Announces 2018 National Team Identification Series Selections

A total of 68 athletes were selected for 2019 national team programming from the 2018 NTIS
September 10, 2018

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced on Wednesday the 68 athletes that were selected from the 2018 National Team Identification Series (NTIS) to participate in 2019 national team programming. The tenth-annual NTIS was held at the National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, from August 8-26 and for the tenth year in a row, the selection announcement was made through an online show.

Twenty-seven states and 16 regions from across the U.S. are represented by the 68 athletes chosen and fourteen states boast more than one selection.

Under the direction of USA Baseball task force, the 2018 NTIS featured over 1,200 of the nation's best players competing in 172 games, as well as skill testing and on-field evaluations. Twelve athletes were invited to compete at each of the 2019 12U National Team Trials, the 2019 14U, 16U and 17U National Team Development Programs (NTDP) and the 15U National Team Trials. In addition, eight players from the 17U NTIS were chosen to participate in the 2019 18U National Team selection process.

"Our task force had a difficult job selecting just 68 athletes out of the incredible pool of talent from across the U.S. that participated in this year's NTIS," Senior Director of Baseball Operations, Ashley Bratcher, said. "We are excited about the players chosen from the 2018 event and what they will bring to our 2019 national team programming."

The 2018 USA Baseball National Team Identification Series (NTIS) is the most comprehensive player identification program offered by Team USA. With tryouts in every region of the country, players now have greater access to USA Baseball National Team opportunities than ever before. The program includes six separate age groups - 11U, 13U, 14U, 15U, 15U and 17U.

The 2018 National Team Identification Series selections are as follows:

Name; Position; Hometown

2019 12U National Team Trials Invitees:
(from 11U NTIS)
Anthony Del Angel; OF/IF; Rio Rancho, N.M.
Parker Friend; C/RHP; Germantown, Md.
Gavin Hottle; IF/RHP; Irvine, Calif.
Bryant James; IF/RHP; Herndon, Va.
Elijah McNeal; Dublin, Calif.
Luis Mejia; IF/OF; Phoenix, Ariz.
Owen Robinson; LHP/IF; Greensboro, N.C.
C.J. Sampson; RHP/IF; Magnolia, Texas
Kruz Schoolcraft; IF/LHP; Aloha, Ore.
Jayden Stroman; IF/RHP; Medford, N.Y.
Eli Willits; IF/RHP; Fort Cobb, Okla.
Miles Young; IF; Cypress, Texas

2019 14U National Team Development Program invitees:
(from 13U NTIS)
Kai Caranto; IF/RHP; Castaic, Calif.
Angel Cepeda; OF/IF; Union City, N.J.
Carson Dean; OF/IF; Frisco, Texas
Ian Duarte; OF/RHP; Santa Clarita, Calif.
Terry Dunsford; IF/RHP; Grand Bay, Ala.
Keondre Fields; OF/RHP; Nesbit, Miss.
Gavin Grahovac; C/IF; Orange, Calif.
Houston Hirschkorn; IF/RHP; Kingsburg, Calif.
Andre Modugno; IF/Upper Saddle River, N.J.
Brandon Olivera; RHP; Hialeah, Fla.
Kellon Parnell; OF/IF; Pascagoula, Miss.
Brooks Wright; UT/RHP; Knoxville, Tenn.

2019 15U National Team Trials invitees:
(from 14U NTIS)
Mason Balsis; C; Bristow, Va.
Maxwell Clark; OF; Franklin, Ind.
Tyson Dewall; RHP; Folsom, Calif.
Demitri Diamant; OF/RHP; Las Vegas, Nev.
Termarr Johnson; IF; Atlanta, Ga.
Steven Milam; IF; Las Cruces, N.M.
Louis Rodriguez; RHP; Long Beach, Calif.
Logan Saloman; RHP/IF; Chandler, Ariz.
Christopher Scinta; LHP; Tamarac, Fla.
Tyrus Williams; OF; Oxford, Miss.
Jaxon Willits; IF; Fort Cobb, Okla.
Colton Wombles; C; Salem, Ala.

2019 16U National Team Development Program invitees:
(from 15U NTIS)
Jesse Bullard; IF/RHP; Riverside, Calif.
Korbyn Dickerson; OF/RHP; Jeffersonville, Ind.
Jake Geis; RHP; San Jose, Calif.
Rafael Gross; OF/IF; Pearland, Texas
Trevor Haskins; IF; San Jose, Calif.
David Horn; IF/RHP; Murrieta, Calif.
Kyndon Lovell; LHP; Fort Cobb, Okla.
Jaron Nevarez; LHP/IF; San Ramon, Calif.
Xavier Perez; RHP/OF; Corpus Christi, Texas
William Rogers; C/IF; Shoreview, Minn.
Chase Spencer; IF/RHP; Plano, Texas
Austin Young; RHP; Saint Peters, Mo.

2019 17U National Team Development Program invitees:
(from 16U NTIS)
Jackson Baumeister; C/RHP; Jacksonville, Fla.
Mark Black; C/OF; Pittsburgh, Pa.
Michael Davinni; IF/RHP; Laguna Niguel, Calif.
Kade Grundy; RHP/OF; Somerset, Ky.
Samuel Hunt; C/IF; Minneapolis, Minn.
Joseph Mack; C/IF; Williamsville, N.Y.
Michael Morales; RHP/IF; Enola, Pa.
Joshua Pearson; OF/IF; West Monroe, La.
Joseph Quick; RHP/IF; Lake Jackson, Texas
Kurtis Reid; IF/RHP; Hamilton, Ohio
Nate Savino; LHP/OF; Sterling, Va.
Tyler Wiederstein; RHP/IF; Greensburg, Pa.

2019 18U National Team selection process invitees:
(from 17U NTIS)
Jag Burden; OF/IF; Huntington Beach, Calif.
Colten Keith; IF/RHP; Biloxi, Miss.
Harold Coll; IF; Hyde Park, Mass.
Mac Guscette; C/IF; Nokomis, Fla.
Cayden Wallace; IF; Greenbrier, Ark.
Jonathan Vaughns; IF/RHP; Glendora, Calif.
Alex Urban; OF; Lexington, S.C.
Cameron Brown; RHP/IF; Flower Mound, Texas

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