On Saturday, following the conclusion of the 2019 18U National Team Trials, USA Baseball announced the final 20-man roster for their 2019 18U National Team. Among those who made the final cut are four participants in the upcoming 2019 New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series powered by Program 15 International Week, which will be held at historic Fenway Park.
RHP Mick Abel (Gunderson), UTL/RHP Nolan McLean (Dirtbags), C Drew Romo (Scorpions) and C Tyler Soderstrom (NorCal) will all be a part of the team that will head to Gijang, South Korea from August 30 to September 8 to compete in the WBSC Baseball World Cup.
Max Carlson (Blizzard), Peter Halpin (BPA), Mac Guscette (Florida Burn) and Dylan Crews (Scorpions) were also a part of the 48-man 18U Trials roster.
Abel, who was named to his third straight International Week roster and had been earning accolades with the Future Stars Series far before other national events caught on, is the most seasoned participant at Program 15 events. He first dazzled at the inaugural series of national tournaments as a member of 503 Baseball, which led to his first invite to International Week in Sugar Land, where he threw well despite being the youngest player on either roster. Abel really made his mark at last year’s event at Camelback Ranch, however, where he struck out five and recorded the save in the event-clinching Game 3. He is regarded by many as the top prep pitcher in the upcoming 2020 MLB Draft, and is currently committed to Oregon State.
As a member of Dirtbags Baseball, McLean made waves as a true two-way talent at the most recent 2020 grad class tournament in Cypress, Texas and touched 96 miles per hour to earn the highest velocity from the mound at the event. Uncommitted as of mid-August, McLean has been a very quick riser in the 2020 MLB Draft rankings, and was recently listed by Baseball America as one of the top-50 high school prospects in the country.
Romo stood out as a member of Scorpions Baseball Club at the 2020 grad class tournament, with both his ability to switch-hit and his elite-level defense behind the plate garnering plenty of well-deserved attention. Romo is committed to Louisiana State University, and is nearly universally ranked as the top prep catcher in the upcoming 2020 MLB Draft.
Soderstrom, who, like Abel, was on the Future Stars Series radar very early in his development, will be making his inaugural appearance at a Program 15 event at 2019 International Week, and performed well at the 18U Trials to earn his spot on the 18U National Team, hitting .273 with a run scored, an RBI and a walk in the five-game series. The UCLA commit will represent Northern California Director program NorCal Baseball in joining Abel, Crews and Romo as members of the National Team in Boston.
According to USA Baseball, “the 2019 18U National Team will begin training in Fullerton, California, from August 18-21 before traveling to Taichung, Taiwan, to continue training with three friendlies against Chinese Taipei from August 24-27. Team USA will then open play in the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup against South Africa on Friday, August 30, at 6 a.m. ET in Gijang, South Korea.”