The 2017 Asia Winter Baseball League is around the corner. The various participants have released their roster: CPBL, NPB, KBO, JABA All-Star and WBSC All-Star. New is this row of participants are the JABA representation and the WBSC representation. In the previous two editions, Europe has sent a team, but as the team got more losses than wins, the WBSC decided to sent a team with mainly Americans and just a few Europeans. JABA is an industrial league in Japan that will send its most talented players. This blog post will focus on the the WBSC All-Star team.
Led by Netherlands national team coach Steve Janssen, the WBSC All-Star roster will have players from 7 different countries. 7 of those players are affiliated with MLB from Marlins, Dodgers, Yankees and Blue Jays minor league system. The USA will be represented by seventeen players, Venezuela by four, the Dominican Republic by two as will the Netherlands. Brazil, Puerto Rico and Spain will be represented by one player each.
Nine of the US players are from independent leagues: Nolan Becker and Brett Lee (Quebec Capitales), Nick Sarianides and Thomas Lawerence jr (Rockland Boulders), Frank Dejiulio Jr (Bridgeport BlueFish), Dimitrios Kourtis (Lincoln SaltDogs), Ryan Kussmaul and Matthew Chavez (Whichita Wingnuts), Anthony Rosselli (Unitica Unicorns).
Evan Greer Beal, Clayton Mortensen, Ryan Newell, Walker Olis (all Miami Marlins), John Murphy (Los Angeles Dodgers), Matthew Dean (Toronto Blue Jays) and Alphonse Bichette jr. (New York Yankees) all play affiliated ball.
US born Joshuah Kimborowicz played in the IBL (Italian Baseball League) for San Marino.
One of the three Dominicans, Leomartires Rodriguez played for Nettuno of the IBL in 2017, but he is representing Spain. The other Dominican, Armando Rodriguez played Venezuelan Winter ball in 2016 and 2017. Gabriel Perez was a pitcher for the Kansas City T-Bones in 2017.
Brazilian player Muriolo Gueva played for the Quebec Capitales in 2017. Puerto Rican Angel Rosa played for the Bridgeport BlueFish in 2017. Vicente Lupo from Venezuela played for Rangers Redipuglia of the Italian Serie B. The other player from Venezuela, Erick Epifano also played in Italy, but in the IBL for San Marino. Just like Erick Epifano, Jose Ferrini was born in Venezuela, but now has an Italian passport and is playing for San Marino as well. The fourth Venezuelan, Nick Benedetto played affiliated ball in 2015 in the Cincinnati Reds organization.
Rudy van Heydoorn and Phildrick Llewellyn represent the Netherlands even though Van Heydoorn is born in the Dominican Republic and Llewellyn is born on Curaçao. Van Heydoorn played for Verona of the Italian Serie A in 2017. Llewellyn last played affiliated ball in 2015 with the Delmarva Shorebirds (Baltimore Orioles). In 2017 he played for the Trinidad Triggers of the Pecos League. Van Heydoorn was the best hitter of his team by far with a batting average of .325 with three doubles and five home runs. Also Phildrick Llewellyn was the best hitter of his team with a batting average of .431 with 15 doubles, 2 triples and 15 home runs.