Updated: Jun 29
(Photo Courtesy of USA Baseball)
The 31-man roster for the 2023 US Collegiate National Team was announced Thursday, following five days of training camp that included four intrasquad scrimmages. It emerged from 58 of the country's top non-draft-eligible student athletes who arrived in Cary, NC on June 23. It was then up to USA head coach Larry Lee (Cal Poly) and his staff to narrow those players down to the 31 who will represent the United States over the next few weeks against Chinese Taipei and Japan.
Over four games, the Stars and Stripes squads split the series, but quite a few players impressed who ultimately didn't make the team. Jacob Cozart (NC State) shined for the Stripes with three home runs in the series, but he was left off the final roster despite that glowing performance. Star freshman Ethan Petry (South Carolina) and Cam Cannarella (Clemson) were also surprising cuts. Petry was coming off a three-hit night in the series finale, while Cannarella was on-base all week and hit a home run.
The final roster includes 18 pitchers, 11 position players, and 2 two-way stars. Florida's Jac Caglianone, who did not feature in the scrimmages due to Florida's participation in the College World Series Final, is one of the two position players alongside Stanford's Braden Montgomery. It's unlikely either will see action on the mound, however. Expect to see Caglianone to play first base and Braden Montgomery to roam one of the two corner outfield positions.
There are 24 programs represented, with Florida, Kansas State, Stanford, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wake Forest each having two players on the squad. Only Carter Holton (Vanderbilt) has played for Team USA before.
Most of the roster is comprised of pitchers, which makes sense given that each one of these arms has already thrown a full season of innings for their schools. Trey Yesavage (East Carolina) and Fran Oschell III (Duke) were particularly impressive during the Stars/Stripes series. Yesavage started the opening game for the Stars and threw three innings of one-hit baseball. Oschell, the co-ace of Duke's lethal bullpen, pitched three scoreless innings in the second game while striking out six. Some pitchers will throw more innings than others, but don't expect to see starters throw more than three innings in an outing.
The team is carrying two catchers, but expect Ryan Stafford (Cal Poly) to likely get the nod to start most games. NC State's Cozart was a surprise exclusion after outperforming Malcolm Moore during the week, but ultimately the Stanford freshman made the cut. He featured more during the scrimmages as a 1B/DH, but obviously, Coach Lee liked him enough behind the plate to choose him over the likes of Cozart and TCU's Karson Bowen.
Griff O'Ferrall (Virginia) played shortstop and led off for the Stars all week during scrimmages. Don't be surprised if he's chosen to start at that position in the field and in the lineup. Christian Moore (Tennessee) impressed in training camp with a moonshot in Game 3 and an RBI single in the finale. Seaver King, a former Wingate star who is transferring to Wake Forest for the 2024 season, also impressed at both second base and third. JJ Wetherholt (West Virginia) had a home run in the Stars/Stripes series, but the rest of his performance during the week was forgettable.
The outfield appears to be a little light, with just Jace Laviolette (Texas A&M) and RJ Green Jr. (Cal) listed as the only true outfielders, but Charlie Condon (Georgia) and the previously mentioned Montgomery will feature there as well. RJ Green Jr. was particularly impressive during the scrimmage and was wreaking havoc on the basepaths. He'll be a nightmare of opposing batteries.
Team USA will start competition immediately Friday evening in Cary, NC, against Chinese Taipei. Between June 30 and July 12, the Americans will play five games each against Chinese Taipei and Japan. Team USA has never lost a series to Taipei in 19 meetings, while the United States holds a slim 24-19 series advantage over the Japanese. Games will be played in Cary, Durham, Kannapolis, and Fayetteville, NC as well as Charleston, SC.
RHP Matt Ager (UCSB)
RHP Drew Beam (Tennessee)
RHP Christian Coppola (Rutgers)
RHP Luke Holman (Transfer Portal)
RHP Ryan Johnson (Dallas Baptist)
RHP Michael Massey (Wake Forest)
RHP Xavier Meachem (NC A&T)
RHP Brandon Neely (Florida)
RHP Tyson Neighbors (Kansas State)
RHP Fran Oschell III (Duke)
RHP Kyle Robinson (Texas Tech)
RHP Nicholas Wilson (Southern)
RHP Jay Woolfolk (Virginia)
RHP Trey Yesavage (East Carolina)
LHP Ben Abeldt (TCU)
LHP Carter Holton (Vanderbilt)
LHP Omar Melendez (Alabama State)
LHP Hagen Smith (Arkansas)
Two-Way Players (2)
LHP/1B Jac Caglianone (Florida)
RHP/OF Braden Montgomery (Stanford)
Ryan Stafford (Cal Poly)
Malcolm Moore (Stanford)
1B Charlie Condon (Georgia)
2B Christian Moore (Tennessee)
2B JJ Wetherholt (West Virginia)
IF Duce Gourson (UCLA)
2B/3B Seaver King (Wake Forest)
3B Kaelen Culpepper (Kansas State)
SS Griff O'Ferrall (Virginia)
RJ Green Jr (Cal)
Jace Laviolette (Texas A&M)