USA Baseball Finalizes 18U National Team Roster

Team USA to compete in WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Taiwan from September 1-10

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. – USA Baseball today finalized the 20-man roster for the 2023 18U National Team, following the conclusion of the 18U National Team Training Camp in San Juan Capistrano, California. Team USA will now travel to Taipei, Taiwan, to compete in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup from September 1-10.

The United States is the defending champion at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup after winning gold last summer in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida.

“After an extremely competitive Training Camp process, we are excited to move forward with these twenty players,” said manager Michael Cuddyer. “There was no shortage of talent all week long, making this a difficult process for our coaching staff. Now that we have decided on our twenty players, it is time to shift our focus to defending our title next week in Taiwan.”

Nine players on the 2023 roster have previously played for Team USA. A trio of players from last year’s WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier squad return to the 18U National Team, as Matthew Champion (Laguna Niguel, Calif.), Noah Franco (Downey, Calif), and PJ Morlando (Summerville, S.C.) all helped the U.S. win gold last November. In addition, three players from the 2021 15U National Team–Konnor Griffin (Florence, Miss), Ethan Schiefelbein (Corona, Calif.), and Nolan Traeger (Spring, Texas)–will reunite on this year’s roster.

A pair of 2022 15U gold medalists also earned spots on the 2023 18U roster. Coy James (Advance, N.C.), who was named the 2022 WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup Most Valuable Player, joins two-time Team USA alum and fellow gold medalist Jack McKernan (Missouri City, Texas) on this year’s team. Additionally, Bryce Rainer (Simi Valley, Calif.) returns to Team USA after playing for the 12U National Team in 2017.

The 2023 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League featured 17 members of this year’s team. The PDP League, which serves as the primary identification event for the 18U National Team, is an invitation-based development and assessment opportunity for high school players eligible for the following year’s MLB Draft. Since its inception in 2019, it provides athletes with an extraordinary amateur experience, including competitive gameplay, player development sessions, educational seminars, and other programming to prepare players for a professional baseball career.

In addition to the alumni on this year’s roster, 14 members of the squad have previously participated in USA Baseball’s development programs. Three athletes who participated in the 2023 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP)–James, McKernan, and Joey Oakie (Ankeny, Iowa)–earned spots on the final 20-man squad. Eleven members of the 2022 16U/17U NTDP and four players from the 2021 16U/17U NTDP roster were also named to the team. In addition, James and McKernan both participated in the 2021 13U/14U Athlete Development Program (ADP).

Two-time 18U National Team alum and former major leaguer Michael Cuddyer will be at the helm of the U.S. at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, making his international managerial debut. Cuddyer played for the 18U National Team in both 1996 and 1997 before being selected with the ninth overall pick in 1997 and spending 15 years in the big leagues, including two All-Star seasons. 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.

Cuddyer is joined on staff by pitching coach and 21-year big-leaguer LaTroy Hawkins, as well as assistant coaches Butch Chaffin and Jason Maxwell. Hawkins–who appeared in 1,042 games as a relief pitcher in Major League Baseball–is making his first appearance on the 18U National Team staff. Chaffin and Maxwell have been on a combined five national team coaching staffs for USA Baseball.

Team USA is the only nation to have competed in all 30 editions of the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup. The stars and stripes have won 10 world championships, second to only Cuba’s eleven, including five of the last six. Overall, the 18U National Team has earned 15 gold medals, including its most recent title at last fall’s WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier in La Paz and Los Cabos, Mexico.

The U.S. will begin its title defense on September 1 against the Netherlands. First pitch is set for 10:30 a.m. local time/10:30 p.m. ET (Aug. 31). To follow along with the 18U National Team, follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and @USABaseball on Instagram.

The 2023 18U National Team roster is as follows:

2023 18U National Team
(Name; Position; Hometown; School)

  • *^Matthew Champion; RHP; Laguna Niguel, Calif.; Jserra
  • Levi Clark; C; Marietta, Ga.; Walton
  • ^Bryce Clavon; INF/OF; Stockbridge, Ga.; Kell
  • *^Derek Curiel; OF; West Covina, Calif.; Orange Lutheran
  • *^Noah Franco; OF/LHP; Downey, Calif.; IMG Academy
  • Trey Gregory-Alford; RHP; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Coronado
  • *^Konnor Griffin; OF; Florence, Miss.; Jackson Preparatory
  • *^Coy James; INF; Advance, N.C.; Davie County
  • Carter Johnson; INF; Oxford, Ala.; Oxford
  • ^Tegan Kuhns; RHP; Hagerstown, Md.; Gettysburg
  • Burke-Lee Mabeus; C; Henderson, Nev.; Bishop Gorman
  • Manny Marin; INF; Miami, Fla.; Westminster
  • *^Jack McKernan; LHP; Missouri City, Texas; Ridge Point
  • *^PJ Morlando; OF/INF; Summerville, S.C.; Summerville
  • ^Joey Oakie; RHP; Ankeny, Iowa; Ankeny Centennial
  • *^Bryce Rainer; INF/RHP; Simi Valley, Calif. ; Harvard-Westlake
  • *^Ethan Schiefelbein; LHP; Corona, Calif.; Corona
  • ^Levi Sterling; RHP/INF; Los Angeles, Calif.; Notre Dame
  • *^Nolan Traeger; C/OF; Spring, Texas; Concordia Lutheran
  • ^Cooper Williams; LHP; Alvin, Texas; Alvin

*Denotes USA Baseball National Team alum
^Denotes past development program participant