MLB fans will be excited to know baseball will return to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan this year, for the first time since 2008.
The U.S. team recently punched its ticket by winning a North and South American qualifying tournament, joining four other nations (Japan, Israel, Mexico, and South Korea) as teams who have qualified.
Baseball is returning to the Olympic program this summer for the first time since 2008. pic.twitter.com/iK9UdheLlk
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) June 6, 2021
One more spot is up for grabs and will be claimed later this month.
To state the obvious, the timing of the Summer Olympics prevents active MLB players from participating, however, the U.S. roster is filled with former MLB players and current minor league players.
Here are a few worth noting.
3. Todd Frazier – IF
Todd Frazier had a very decent MLB career.
He was a journeyman, playing for six total teams.
Most recently, he appeared in 13 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season before being released.
Frazier’s first seven MLB seasons were solid before he ultimately regressed in his later years.
Over those seven years, Frazier batted .245 with a .779 OPS while averaging 25 home runs a season.
He was named an All-Star twice in that span.
Over his final four years, however, Frazier struggled to a .228 average and .712 OPS while hitting for power at a less frequent clip.
2. David Robertson – RP
David Robertson had a very fulfilling MLB career.
He spent nine of his 12 seasons with the New York Yankees where he accomplished the ultimate goal of winning a World Series in 2009.
Robertson was a key part of that run, pitching to a 3.30 ERA out of the bullpen that year.
The righty posted a career 2.90 ERA, 2.84 FIP, and 1.15 WHIP.
His most impressive campaign came in 2011.
That year, Robertson managed a ridiculous 1.08 ERA and struck out 100 batters over 66.2 innings.
He finished 11th in Cy Young voting, 22nd in MVP voting, and was named an All-Star.
1. Matt Kemp – OF
Of all the players on the U.S. roster, Matt Kemp had the best MLB career.
The outfielder played 15 big-league seasons with five different teams and totaled a .284 average, .821 OPS, and 121 OPS+.
Kemp was named an All-Star three times, a Gold Glover twice, and a Silver Slugger twice.
His best season came in 2011 with the Los Angeles Dodgers when he batted .324 with a .986 OPS and led the league in runs batted in (126), home runs (39), runs (115), OPS+ (172), and total bases (353).
Kemp accumulated 5.9 WAR that year and finished second in the MVP race.
The last time we saw Kemp in a Major League uniform was in 2020 when he appeared in 43 games for the Colorado Rockies.
Kemp’s numbers that year were underwhelming—he batted .239 with a .745 OPS.
Honorable Mention: Homer Bailey – SP
Homer Bailey had a 14-year MLB career and pitched for four MLB teams.
He spent the majority of his career with the Cincinnati Reds, where he stayed for 12 seasons.
Bailey finished his career with a 4.56 ERA and 1.37 WHIP, two very average marks.
Bailey was never named an All-Star nor did he ever receive votes in any of the major award races, but the righty did throw no-hitters in consecutive seasons in 2012-13.
— MLB Vault (@MLBVault) May 8, 2021
Bailey’s best years came between 2012-2014, when he maintained a 3.61 ERA, 3.71 FIP, and 1.19 WHIP over 88 starts in that span.