The Baltimore Orioles will have five players from the projected 25-man roster that will represent their respective countries in the World Baseball Classic.
The powerful second baseman Jonathan Schoop will represent the Netherlands. The newly-signed catcher Welington Castillo and the Orioles’ stalwart third baseman Manny Machado will play for the Dominican Republic. Lastly, team captain center fielder Adam Jones and pitcher Mychal Givens will play for the United States of America.
Machado will play shortstop in the WBC and manager Buck Showalter wants him to be prepared for it.
“Buck came up to us and set up a nice little program of what games we want to play in and what games we want to play before,” Machado said to ESPN. “You also don’t want to go in and play too many games early on and get tired. I know we’re going to play quite a few games in the Classic.”
Schoop believes that the WBC will bring the attention of scouts to the players of Curacao. He explains that island, which is a constituent country of the Netherlands, has a great deal of talent that is often overlooked.
Baltimore will also have a number of other pitchers within the organization pitch in the World Baseball Classic. Some are even fighting for positions with the Major League club.
In addition, Schoop’s older brother, Sharlon (29) will play alongside his brother for the Dutch National team. The elder Schoop batted .226/.297/.334 with five home runs and 29 RBI between Triple-A Norfolk and Double-A Bowie in 2016. Left-handed pitcher Alex Wells may pitch for Australia’s national squad. Last season, Wells had a 4-5 record with a 2.15 ERA in 13 starts in Aberdeen.
As for those possible Major Leaguers, Vidal Nuno will pitch for Mexico and he is fighting for a roster spot with Baltimore. Nuno went 1-1 with a 3.53 ERA in 55 appearances. Richard Bleier, who is a former Yankee, will pitch for Israel. In 23 appearances with New York last season, Bleier pitched to a 1.96 ERA.
It will be interesting to see how Baltimore’s representatives do in the World Baseball Classic.