With the Fourth of July and America’s 245th birthday rapidly approaching, Team USA revealed its 24-person Olympic roster today. Overtime Heroics presents an overview of the gold medal hopefuls in one convenient place for your reading pleasure.
Team USA International History
The United States Baseball Team has arguably underperformed when considering America’s population and foundational role in baseball’s development.
America is the reigning World Baseball Classic champion, having won the 2017 edition after failing to capture the title in the previous three iterations. And this minimal success rate comes despite the eligibility of Major League Baseball players to participate.
Before the WBC, two tournaments held major international status: the Olympics and the World Cup. Neither featured active major leaguers. Baseball has been played at the Olympic medal level five times, and the United States won gold on only one of those occasions. In the now discontinued World Cup, the United States featured an even worse rate of (un)success. Over the course of 39 cups, the United States won only four times.
Team USA Qualifying
The Americas Qualifying Event took place in late May and early June 2021 (more than a year delayed due to the global pandemic). The United States went four and one in the first round and followed up by sweeping the three game super round to advance to Tokyo.
Individual leaders included Luke Williams with eight hits and six runs (second-most in both categories in the qualifier), Mark Kolozsvary with a .588 on-base and 1.000 slugging percentage (fourth), Matthew Liberatore with 9.2 innings pitched (third), and Joe Ryan with ten strikeouts (third).
Team USA Olympic Roster
With higher stakes on the line, the Olympic roster differs from the Qualifying version. Unfortunately, Rob Manfred and Tony Clark did not approve of Major League participation. The silver-lining is that this arrangement could set up a Miracle-like scenario of a scrappy underdog team taking down squads that feature (mostly) the best that favorites Japan, South Korea, and Cuba have to offer. Of course, the more likely outcome is just silver or below.
Players are listed with their current professional club and major league experience, as applicable. The Portland Sea Dogs and Durham Bulls both lead in representation, with two players each.
Team USA Infield
- Nick Allen, Midland RockHounds
- Eddy Alvarez, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (with a cup of coffee in Miami)
- Triston Casas, Portland Sea Dogs
- Todd Frazier, Sussex County Miners (with a respectable big league career, two-time MLB All-Star)
- Jamie Westbrook, Nashville Sounds
Team USA Outfield
- Tyler Austin, Yokohama BayStars (with a few major league campaigns)
- Eric Filia, Tacoma Rainiers
- Patrick Kivlehan, El Paso Chihuahuas (with a few big-league stints)
- Bubba Starling, Omaha Storm Chasers (with two cups of big-league coffee)
- Jack Lopez, Portland Sea Dogs
Team USA Catchers
- Tim Federowicz, Oklahoma City Dodgers (with a handful of sporadic major league appearances)
- Mark Kolozsvary, Chattanooga Lookouts
Team USA Pitching
- Shane Baz, Durham Bulls
- Anthony Carter, Saltillo Serape Wearers
- Brandon Dickson, Memphis Redbirds (with two cups of big league coffee)
- Anthony Gose, Columbus Clippers (with a five year major league stint)
- Edwin Jackson, no current professional club (lengthy big league career with a no-hitter)
- Scott Kazmir, Sacramento River Cats (lengthy major league stints)
- Nick Martinez, Fukuoka Hawks (with a respectable four year big league run)
- Scott McGough, Tokyo Swallows (with a cup of big league coffee)
- David Robertson, no current professional club (with a very respectable closer career in the majors)
- Joe Ryan, Durham Bulls
- Ryder Ryan, Round Rock Express
- Simeon Woods-Richardson, New Hampshire Fisher Cats
The United States will begin its Olympic quest at Yokohama Stadium starting on July 30 against Israel and July 31 versus South Korea. Each team is guaranteed at least one more game, with five teams advancing to a double-elimination round. Finally, two teams will face off in a bronze medal game and the top two in the gold medal game.
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Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images