It should not come as much of a surprise, but Red Sox top prospects Triston Casas and Jarren Duran were both named to USA Baseball’s Olympic qualifying roster on Sunday.
Team USA’s roster, which is comprised of 26 players, consists of 14 pitchers and 12 position players, with Casas being one of six outfielders and Duran being one of four outfielders on the squad.
The United States will open group play of the Baseball Americas Qualifier against Nicaragua in Port St. Lucie, Fla. on Monday before facing off against the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico the next two days.
The top two teams from each of the two groups participating will advance to the Super Round and play two games against one another. The team with the best record (including in group play) following the Super Round will be declared the winner of the tournament and join the likes of Israel, Japan, Korea, and Mexico as teams who have already qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer.
The second- and third-place teams, meanwhile, will compete in another tournament in Mexico in late June to determine who will get the final Olympic qualifying spot.
This latest installment of Team USA is led by longtime big-league manager Mike Scioscia, who has Red Sox minor-league outfield and baserunning coach Darren Fenster on his staff as the third-base coach.
When speaking with Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser during Team USA’s training camp last week, Scioscia described just how thoroughly impressed he has been with Duran.
“Looking at video ever since he was selected for our club, you just see the talent jump off the screen,” Scioscia said. “Seeing him in person, his first step is incredible everywhere, whether he’s trying to steal a base or he’s in center field. He’s a five-tool player. When you call a guy a five-tool player you’re saying that he’s special. He’s in an elite group. I think that Jarren has that that skill set that can make him an impact player very quickly in the major-leagues.”
Duran, 24, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 4 prospect in Boston’s farm system and the No. 90 prospect in all of baseball.
The left-handed-hitting outfielder had been hitting .278/.366/.625 to go along with four doubles, seven home runs, 12 RBI, 14 runs scored, 10 walks, 21 strikeouts, and four stolen bases through 18 games played (82 plate appearances) for Triple-A Worcester prior to heading down to Florida to join Team USA.
“Having USA across my chest, I don’t know if anything ever compares to that,” Duran told The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams via text message. “I feel honored to represent this great country, and having the Red Sox back me up on that means a lot. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity and I will forever be grateful to the Red Sox for letting me have this opportunity.”
Casas, on the other hand, is the top prospect in the Sox’ farm system and the 39th-ranked prospect in all of baseball, per Baseball America.
The 21-year-old first baseman is currently slashing an impressive .328/.400/.552 with four home runs and 16 RBI across 17 games (75 plate appearances) with Double-A Portland.
(Picture of Triston Casas: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)