So, the Olympic roster has been announced. There are many familiar Bus League names on the list, but USA Baseball presents them in a very clinical way, as if these were guys they just found on the street with no other attachment to baseball. In fact, a player is one of four things on this roster: infielder, outfielder, catcher, or pitcher.
So, I’m going to re-announce the roster with all of the spaces colored in:
Brett Anderson, LHP, Midland Rockhounds (AA Texas League) – Oakland As
Jake Arrieta, RHP, Frederick Keys (Advanced A Carolina League) – Baltimore Orioles
Brian Barden, SS, Memphis Redbirds (AAA Pacific Coast League) – St. Louis Cardinals
Matthew Brown, 3B, Salt Lake Bees (AAA Pacific Coast League) – Anaheim Angels
Trevor Cahill, RHP, Midland Rock Hounds (AA Texas League) – Oakland As
Jason Donald, SS, Reading Phillies (AA Eastern League) – Philadelphia Phillies
Geno Espineli, LHP, Fresno Grizzlies (AAA Pacific Coast League) – San Francisco Giants
Dexter Fowler, CF, Tulsa Drillers (AA Texas League) – Colorado Rockies
John Gall, OF, Albuquerque Isotopes (AAA Pacific Coast League) – Florida Marlins
Mike Hessman, 3B, Toledo Mudhens (AAA International League) – Detroit Tigers
Kevin Jepsen, RHP, Salt Lake Bees (AAA Pacific Coast League) – Anaheim Angels
Brandon Knight, RHP, New Orleans Zephyrs (AAA Pacific Coast League) – New York Mets
Mike Koplove, RHP, Las Vegas 51s (AAA Pacific Coast League) – L.A. Dodgers
Matt LaPorta, OF, Akron Aeros (AA Eastern League) – Cleveland Indians
Lou Marson, C, Reading Phillies (AA Eastern League) – Philadelphia Phillies
Blaine Neal, RHP, Toledo Mudhens (AAA International League) – Detroit Tigers
Colby Rasmus, LF, Memphis Redbirds (AAA Pacific Coast League) – St. Louis Cardinals
Clayton Richard, LHP, Charlotte Knights (AAA International League) – Chicago White Sox
Jeff Stevens, RHP, Buffalo Bisons (AAA International League) – Cleveland Indians
Stephen Strasburg, RHP, San Diego State Aztecs
Taylor Teagarden, C, Oklahoma RedHawks (AAA International League) – Texas Rangers
Terry Tiffee, OF, Las Vegas 51s (AAA Pacific Coast League) – L.A. Dodgers
Casey Weathers, RHP, Tulsa Drillers (AA Texas League) – Colorado Rockies
Two big surprises here. First, Stephen Strasburg, the lone college player to make the squad, did so on the strength of a 23-strikeout performance on April 11th of this year. Second, Geno Espineli does not look like a member of Tony Soprano’s crew. Perhaps his middle name – Macalalag – would have tipped me off, had I known it in advance.
Another thing that jumps out at me on first perusal is a utility-minded approach to the infield positions. I see two guys who are used to playing 3B in the minors, and two who generally play shortstop. We know that Matt LaPorta, listed here as an outfielder, also plays a great deal of first base, so that may be part of the answer. Otherwise, it looks like some tweaks and adjustments will have to be made in a short amount of time.
So there you have them, folks. Your Team USA, drawn almost exclusively from the Bus Leagues. Good luck in Beijing, gentlemen!