Having stars of the caliber of Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Manny Machado, Juan Soto, Sandy Alcántara, Julio Rodríguez, Framber Valdez or Wander Franco on the same team ensures a great show on the field, but baseball is “unpredictable” and sometimes the ninths considered weak knock down the strong ones.
These are some of the players that will be part of the team that the Dominican Republic will send to the World Baseball Classic to search for a second title in this fifth version, to be held from March 8 to 21 in Japan, Taiwan and the United States, current champion.
“We are working hard to form the best possible team, we believe that if things work out as we hope we can reach the finals, we are going to fight to get the crown,” the president of the Dominican Baseball Federation, Juan Núñez, told EFE.
Alcántara, unanimous winner of the National League Cy Young in the 2022 season, made public his request to throw the first game of the Dominican team that will be against Venezuela on March 11. Israel, Nicaragua and Puerto Rico complete the D bracket of the competition, which will bring together 20 teams divided into four groups.
Dominicans, who they won the 2013 World Classic undefeated guided by Robinson Canóthey will have the advantage -like their teammates- that they will always play in Miami, Florida.
“Certainly, playing permanently in the same place gives players and the rest of the team more peace of mind; let’s hope that this is a point in our favor, but baseball is an unpredictable sport, not always the best team wins,” he reasoned. Nunez Nepomuceno.
designated hitter Nelson Cruz is the general manager of the teamwhile the leader is Rodney Linares, both without previous experience in their respective roles.
“Our general manager, in addition to being a star player in the Major Leagues, has a great leadership among Dominican players and we see with joy that no player called refused to appear in the preliminary squad of 50 players. We are going to have good results with the favor of God,” Núñez added.
His expectations have solid foundations, since the Most Valuable Player of the most recent World Series, shortstop Jeremy Peña, outfielders Teóscar Hernández and Eloy Jiménez, as well as infielder Ketel Marte and the Robinson Canó himself, although he is no longer the star player of years ago.
The outfielder Starling Marte has conditioned his participation to the complete recovery of his health, after undergoing surgery to repair an injury to an abdominal muscle.
As is to be expected, Dominican Republic starts as one of the favorites for the titlealong with the United States, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Cuba and Japan, winner of the first two versions (2006 and 2009).
The Dominicans implemented their law in 2013 and the Americans won the title in 2017. The pandemic forced the fifth world confrontation to be postponed until 2023.
Minor categories and women’s baseball
The World Classic is not the only goal of the Dominican Baseball Federation for next year, as it seeks to continue strengthening the minor categories, from 5-6 years old.
This includes the sub’8, sub’12 and sub’14 categories, in addition to celebrating the first sub’15 championship, where the players with the best projection of being signed for professionalism will participate.
“We will also continue to encourage women’s baseball, with which we have been successful at the international level and preparations continue for the Summer League, which we will celebrate together with the Dominican Professional Baseball League,” added Núñez.
Baseball is the sporting passion par excellence of Dominicans, who these days enjoy the semifinal series of the professional championship. The tournament champion will play the Caribbean Series in Venezuela next February.
The Dominican Republic is on the “ball”, as baseball is popularly known in the country, because after the Caribbean Series the World Classic will begin, followed by the American Major League season, where Dominican players are “a class apart”. .