All-Stars On The Dominican Republic’s World Baseball Classic Squad
Major League All-Stars on Dominican Republic World Baseball Classic Roster
No other foreign country has produced more Major League Baseball talent than the Dominican Republic. Over 550 players in the history of MLB have come from the Dominican, with Venezuela the next closest at just 286. The country has produced Hall of Famers like Juan Marichal, Cy Young winners like Pedro Martinez, MVPs like Sammy Sosa and Albert Pujols and a countless number of All-Stars. Currently, there are 127 Dominican players on active MLB rosters or minor league affiliates. There is not doubt that the Dominican is the “Island of Baseball.”
Despite the country's rich baseball history, it has been unable to capture one of the first two World Baseball Classic titles. The country was eliminated by Cuba in the semi-finals of the 2006 tournament and was then unable to get out of the first round in the 2009 tournament, losing twice to the Netherlands in two of the biggest upsets in baseball history. Those losses, combined with the country's failure to advance past the first round of the 2011 International Baseball Federation Baseball World Cup has left the country with a 13 ranking worldwide.
In an attempt to raise their IBAF ranking and display why so much MLB talent comes from the Dominican, the country will once again try to call itself the best in the world. It has put together another impressive collection of All-Stars for the 2013 edition of it's World Baseball Classic roster, ready to show the world that their losses in 2006 and 2009 were nothing more than flukes.
An All-Star during each of the past three seasons for the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers, Adrian Beltre will man the hot corner for the Dominican Republic. Not only does he bring his slick fielding to the position (four career Gold Gloves including one in each of the past two seasons), he also carries a big stick. He's won three Silver Slugger awards in his career and has driven in over 100 runs four times, including the past three seasons.
The 2012 All-Star Game MVP, Melky Cabrera has seen his career rise to levels no one could've predicted. After primarily being a fourth outfielder for the New York Yankees from 2006-2009 and struggling in his only year with the Atlanta Braves in 2010, Cabrera had a career year with the Kansas City Royals in 2011, hitting at a .305 clip while belting 18 homeruns, driving in 87 runs, stealing 20 bases and scoring 102 runs. Last season, he was leading the National League with a .346 average before he was suspended for the remainder of the season after testing positive for PEDs.
Arguably the best hitter currently from the Dominican, there is no arguing Robinson Cano is the best second baseman in baseball. The four-time All-Star has hit over .300 six times in his eight year career and has won four Silver Slugger awards. On top of getting it done offensively, he also brings it with the glove, evidenced by winning two Gold Gloves during the past three seasons
Despite having issues staying healthy during his career, Nelson Cruz has had no problems displaying his raw power. The 2009 All-Star has hit no less than 22 homeruns in each of the past four seasons.
When motivated, Hanley Ramirez is one of baseball's true five-tool talents. The three-time All-Star and 2006 Rookie of the Year can hit for average (four .300 seasons including a batting title in 2009), hit for power (five 20 homerun seasons), has speed (over 20 stolen bases every year since 2006) and his canon arm allows him to play two positions (shortstop and third base).
Arguably the fastest man in all of baseball, four-time All-Star Jose Reyes provides the Dominican with speed and hitting from the leadoff spot. He has amassed double-digit stolen base totals every year of his career (including league leading totals from 2005-2007) and is a career .291 hitter (including winning a batting title in 2011).
An All-Star for the first time in 2012, Fernando Rodney will be counted on to close games for the Dominican. The fireballer has four seasons with double-digit save totals. He is coming off his best season in 2012, when he allowed just five earned runs the entire season, allowing him to compile a minuscule 0.60 ERA and 48 saves for the Tampa Bay Rays.
A six-time All-Star and the 2002 American League MVP, Miguel Tejada will make his return to the majors with the Kansas City Royals in 2013 after a year away from the game. In his prime, "Miggy" was one of baseball's top run producers, driving in over 100 runs six times and amassing double digit homerun totals from 2000-2010.
A 2008 All-Star for the Cincinnati Reds, Edinson has struggled thru three consecutive injury plagued seasons. He was finally able to make a full 32 starts last season for the San Diego Padres, going 11-11 and posting a 4.14 ERA, his second best seasonal total in his eight year career.