Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Cubs Players In the 2023 World Baseball Classic

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The World Baseball Classic is back for first time since 2017, and so far the Chicago Cubs officially have 12 players participating in the international tournament. The 2023 World Baseball Classic takes place between March 8-21, with games taking place in the United States, Taiwan and Japan.



Here are the 20 countries playing in this year’s WBC broken down by the four groups they are in to begin the competition.

Pool A
Chinese Taipei
Netherlands
Cuba
Italy
Panama

Pool B
Japan
South Korea
Australia
China
Czech Republic

Pool C
United States
Mexico
Colombia
Canada
Great Britain

Pool D
Puerto Rico
Venezuela
Dominican Republic
Israel
Nicaragua

The 12 players currently in the Cubs organization will represent eight different nations in the World Baseball Classic. Out of the dozen participants, three are guaranteed to be on the Opening Day roster for the Cubs in Trey Mancini, Marcus Stroman and Seiya Suzuki, while a few others may also make the team. There are also a couple notable prospects playing in the tournament, with left-handed hitters Matt Mervis and Owen Casissie playing for Israel and Canada, respectively.

Italy and Mexico have the most Cubs players on their teams with three apiece.

Italy
Ben DeLuzio
Trey Mancini
Miles Mastrobuoni

Mexico
Javier Assad
Nick Madrigal
Esteban Quiroz

Canada
Owen Caissie

Colombia
Danis Correa

Cuba
Roenis Elías

Israel
Matt Mervis

Japan
Seiya Suzuki

Puerto Rico
Marcus Stroman

The 2021 World Baseball Classic was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The last time the tournament took place was in 2017, when the United States beat Puerto Rico in the finals. Current Cubs starting pitcher Marcus Stroman was named MVP of the 2017 WBC after pitching six shutout innings and carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning in the USA’s 8-0 win in the championship game.

During the 2022 season, Stroman talked about why he chose to play for Puerto Rico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

Via the Chicago Sun-Times.

But Stroman — whose mom, Adlin Auffant, is Puerto Rican — is eligible to play for two countries. Earlier this week, Stroman announced on Twitter that he was joining Team Puerto Rico for the 2023 WBC.

‘‘I’m big into intuition,’’ said Stroman, who acknowledged there were other factors that he rather would leave unsaid. ‘‘So it just felt right. Felt like I needed to play for Puerto Rico. . . . I’m excited. I’m excited to play for Puerto Rico and represent my mother’s side.’’

‘‘I talked to my mom about it,’’ Stroman said. ‘‘Initially, she was very hesitant, resistant. And then we had another few talks, and she ended up being happy that I was going to go out there and represent her. My mom is [my] heart. So as long as Mom is happy, that’s all that matters, to be honest with you.’’

It’ll be interesting if performances from a few of these guys catapults them onto the Cubs Opening Day roster. Unlike spring training exhibitions, these World Baseball Classic games are more competitive. Maybe Matt Mervis continues to mash and forces the Cubs’ hand. Or how about left-hander Roenis Elías keeps up his great run this winter and is a stud for Cuba and wins a job in the bullpen.

At the very least, Cubs fans will have something else to watch besides Cactus League action in March.

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