second stop in the summer showcase circuit following the Perfect Game
National Showcase is a complicated one. USA Baseball’s Tournament
of Stars isn’t a showcase but it really isn’t a tournament
either. It’s a combination event whose primary purpose is to
narrow down the selection process for who will be on the USA National
18U Team that will travel to Mexico the first two weeks of September
for the Pan American Championship.
were some changes to the TOS structure this year that streamlined
things somewhat. There were formally eight “teams” that were
made up of players loosely divided on their affiliation with various
umbrella summer organizations including Connie Mack, American Legion
and RBI. That was eliminated in favor of six teams named after
patriotic themes (Pride, United, Brave) resulting in a reduction of
total players from 144 to 108.
was also an additional workout day added to the schedule at the
beginning of the week prior to the regularly scheduled four days of
games split by a workout day.
the purpose of the TOS is to select a team to represent the country,
we thought that we’d construct the TOS recap in roster format
projecting a potential national team, with comments on other players
USA 18U Team will travel with a 20-player roster. A very key
component to past rosters which is notably missing this year is that
there seem to be fewer two-way players in the 2015 class. In 2013,
for example, Jack Flaherty, Keaton McKinney and Alex Destino all saw
extensive action on both sides of the ball. That situation is more
problematic in 2014.
team below is based heavily on perceptions from the Tournament of Stars only, along
with a long background of observing how USA Baseball constructs
rosters. It is not meant to represent a top prospect list.
Kolby Allard: The California lefty may have emerged as the team’s
potential ace, with two strong outings that were consistent and
Austin Bergner: Bergner is not only the top arm in the 2016 class
but he offers middle infield insurance as well as a rare two-way
player in this group.
Beau Burrows: The West Texas native didn’t seem bothered by the
heat, as his second outing was stronger than his first. He’ll
bring the heat himself with his mid-90s fastball.
Chandler Day: Day showed an impressive three-pitch starter’s
mix, with a slider and changeup that actually graded out higher than
his 89-92 mph fastball.
Joe DeMers: DeMers has a closer’s body and a closer’s
delivery but he stands out for having a starter’s collection of
pitches and the ability to mix them. He’s a veteran of the Gold
Medal winning 2013 team.
Gray Fenter: Fenter would be our choice to fill the Luis Ortiz
(2013) role as the designated closer for the USA team. He has a calm
demeanor on the mound, a 90-93 mph fastball he commands well and a
big low-80s slider for his out pitch.
Ryan Cole McKay: McKay didn’t have quite the same fastball as
he did at the PG National but worked extensively on his off-speed
stuff, with his changeup being an especially effective weapon.
Matthew McGarry: McGarry’s improvement from the PG National to
the TOS was very notable. He dominated in both his outings in Cary
with plus stuff and much better command.
Cole Ragans: Ragans is the perfect pitcher to throw against a
secondary opponent. He’s extremely polished for a 2016 and will
fill up the strike zone with quality stuff. USA Baseball likes
investing in a few underclassmen each year and Ragans and Bergner are
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