Triston Casas named to US Olympic team, Jarren Duran not included
On Friday afternoon, USA Baseball released the final roster for the 2020 Olympics that will be played later this month in Japan. The Red Sox will be sending two representatives to the games with Team USA, first baseman Triston Casas and utility player Jack Lopez. Notably absent from the roster is outfielder Jarren Duran.
Casas is the top-ranked prospect in Boston’s farm system, according to SoxProspects.com. The 2018 first-round pick is hitting .275 with four home runs and 23 RBIs through 36 games in his first season in Double-AA Portland. He started each of the four qualifying games for Team USA, where he went 6-for-15 with three runs driven in.
Lopez is a career minor-leaguer who joined the Red Sox before this season. The 28-year-old has split time between Portland and Triple-AAA Worcester this year, and is hitting a combined .348 in 38 games.
As for Duran, his omission isn’t due to lack of ability. He hit .500 in the qualifying games, and is batting .278 for the WooSox this year. His 15 home runs (in 39 games) is second in all of Triple-AAA. However, the Team USA squad is made up entirely of players who are not on MLB 40-man rosters. As many including baseball insider Keith Law have pointed out, his absence from the Team USA roster could be a sign the Red Sox intend to call him up to the majors in the near future.
Alex Speier of the Boston Globe later added that it was the US Olympic Committee who decided to leave Duran off. According to Speier, the Red Sox were fine with sending him as long as they’d have the ability to call him up, and the logistics of Team USA having to replace him mid-tournament proved to be to daunting.
Baseball will begin at the Olympics on July 28, with a four-day qualifying round. Team USA is in a pool with South Korea and Israel, who they will play in their opener on July 29. Mexico, Japan, and the Dominican Republic make up the remainder of the six team tournament.