USA Baseball names WBSC Premier 12 roster
Brewers' Phillips and Mets' Cecchini headline squad that will compete in Taiwan
USA Baseball named its team for next month's WBSC Premier 12 Tournament, and it's highlighted by a pair of prospects -- Milwaukee's Brett Phillips and Gavin Cecchini of the Mets -- who rank among the best in baseball.
Phillips, MLBPipeline.com's No. 32 overall prospect, and Cecchini, who is No. 90 on the list, will suit up for the U.S. team next month, from Nov. 9-21, in the World Baseball Softball Confederation's inaugural tournament in Taipei, Taiwan.
The 27-man roster is comprised of players who are not on a Major League team's 40-man roster and features players from 14 different organizations. The team will be managed by former Mets skipper Willie Randolph, who will be joined on the coaching staff by pitching coach Rick Peterson, hitting coach Ernie Young and assistant coaches Anthony Sanders, Roly De Armas and Ed Blankmeyer. Randolph also served as assistant coach with the United States' 2013 World Baseball Classic team.
Five players from the Philadelphia Phillies' farm system were named to the team, while the Mets have four players on the squad and the Royals have three. The D-backs, Red Sox, White Sox and Rockies each have two players on the team, with the remaining players coming from six other big league organizations and the KT Wiz in the Korean Baseball Organization.
Phillips, who was traded to the Brewers at the Trade Deadline as part of the Carlos Gomez deal, proved that his breakthrough 2014 campaign was no fluke, hitting .309/.374/.527 with 16 home runs, 34 doubles, 14 triples and 77 RBI in 120 games between Class A Advanced Lancaster, Double-A Corpus Christi and Double-A Biloxi in 2015. The 21-year-old outfielder also scored 104 runs and stole 17 bases.
Ranked as Milwaukee's No. 2 prospect, Phillips owns a career .295/.370/.487 batting line in four seasons. The 2012 sixth-rounder currently is playing for the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League.
Cecchini, the Mets' No. 4 prospect, had his stock take off this season thanks to a strong showing in Double-A. After appearing in one regular-season game with Double-A Binghamton in 2014, the 21-year-old shortstop posted a career-best .317/.377/.442 batting line with 139 hits, 37 extra-base hits and 51 RBIs in 109 games for the B-Mets.
Like Phillips, Cecchini is currently playing in the Arizona Fall League, for the Salt River Rafters. He previously played for USA Baseball's 18U team before being selected by the Mets with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2012 Draft.
D-backs No. 18 prospect Jake Barrett is also on the U.S. roster, giving the club an experienced late-inning arm. Splitting the season between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno, the 24-year-old right-hander saved 15 games in 20 chances and struck out 51 batters in 53 innings (47 appearances). Selected in the third round of the 2012 Draft out of Arizona State, Barrett has 78 saves, a 3.36 ERA and 182 strikeouts in 185 career innings. He previously played for the 2008 18U squad and participated in the 2015 Pan American Games.
The U.S.'s Premier 12 team will take on Canada in a three-game exhibition series in Phoenix, Ariz., from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3, before leaving for Taipei. They begin pool play on Nov. 10 with a contest against the Dominican Republic at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium.
In addition to Canada and the Dominican Republic, the U.S. will be joined in the tournament by Cuba, Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Chinese Taipei, Japan, the Netherlands and Venezuela.
Jake Barrett, RHP, D-backs
Dan Black, INF, KT Wiz (Korea Baseball Organization)
Gavin Cecchini, INF, Mets
John Church, RHP, Mets
Casey Coleman, RHP, Royals
Joey Denato, LHP, Phillies
Brett Eibner, OF, Royals
Dana Eveland, LHP, Orioles
Cody Forsythe, LHP, Phillies
Jarrett Grube, RHP, Indians
Aaron Laffey, LHP, Rockies
Kyle Martin, INF, Phillies
Jacob May, OF, White Sox
Matt McBride, OF, Rockies
Parker Morin, C, Royals
Tyler Pastornicky, INF, Phillies
Brett Phillips, OF, Brewers
Dan Rohlfing, C, Mets
Cody Satterwhite, RHP, Mets
Joe Sclafani, UTL, Astros
Zack Segovia, RHP, Padres
Seth Simmons, RHP, D-backs
Elliot Soto, UTL, Marlins
Zeke Spruill, RHP, Red Sox
Anthony Vazquez, LHP, Phillies
JB Wendelken, RHP, White Sox
Aaron Wilkerson, RHP, Red Sox
Willie Randolph, Manager
Rick Peterson, Pitching Coach, Baltimore Orioles
Ernie Young, Hitting Coach
Anthony Sanders, Assistant Coach, Colorado Rockies
Roly De Armas, Assistant Coach, Philadelphia Phillies
Ed Blankmeyer, Assistant Coach, St. John's University