The Toronto Blue Jays have several players on their roster who could participate in the World Baseball Classic, scheduled to get underway in March 2023.
It was announced last week that the international tournament would make a comeback after the previous installment of the series was played in 2017.
The Jays have become known for their inclusivity and feature players from seven different countries. They could be well-represented at the popular event next Spring.
Blue Jays: Team USA
The United States won the 2017 WBC and will be among the favourites to win it again next year. The Blue Jays have a few players that could be on the team.
Bo Bichette has established himself as one of the best young shortstops in the game and will be in the mix, provided he wants to and is able to play. Other prominent American-born shortstops include Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson, Corey Seager, and 2017 WBC member Brandon Crawford.
Matt Chapman is regarded as one of the best defensive third basemen around. Over the last season and a half, he’s struggled to shine as brightly offensively. The last time the WBC took place, Chapman was gearing up for his rookie season. This time, he’s much more well-known. Still, Team USA may decide to bring back the old guard of Nolan Arenado and Alex Bregman.
One player that has a great chance of making the roster is outfielder George Springer. The outfielders selected in 2017 were Adam Jones, Andrew McCutchen, Giancarlo Stanton, and Christian Yelich. Jones is out of MLB, McCutchen is in his twilight years, and Yelich has been a shell of himself since 2019. Stanton is still strong, but if Springer has the will, he’ll be part of a dangerous USA team.
J.A. Happ and Marcus Stroman were part of the 2017 team, and the Jays could also have a couple of arms on the American roster next year. Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman will get some serious consideration. So too, could Ross Stripling, and Adam Cimber.
Blue Jays: Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is one of the proudest baseball nations on Earth, and the Jays have plenty of representation.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will almost certainly be on the team and will likely be the primary first baseman. The D.R. team is known for having one of the most entertaining and fun teams and nobody has more fun playing baseball than Vladdy.
Santiago Espinal does not have the same kind of start power that Guerrero Jr. does. He has a growing reputation as a slick-fielding infielder and a developing power stroke with the bat but it will be tough to crack a deep roster that the Dominican has.
Teoscar Hernández could find himself on a start-studded Dominican team but could also find himself passed over in favour of younger stars like Ronald Acuña Jr. or Julio Rodriguez.
Blue Jays: Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Mexico
When the season started, Gabriel Moreno was the Blue Jays’ top prospect, and Max Castillo was an unknown to many fans. Now, thanks to a bevy of injuries, both players are key contributors on the big league team. Their ascension could also earn them a spot on what should be a competitive Venezuelan team next year.
The island of Puerto Rico has long been a major MLB-producing factory of prestigious talent. Despite being in the middle of a fairly disappointing season, it would be shocking if Jose Berrios wasn’t on team Puerto Rico.
In addition to being a breakout star and All-Star starter, Alejandro Kirk is also one of the best Mexican-born players to debut in recent years. Although Mexico is not known as a baseball power, Kirk, Isaac Paredes, and Julio Urias form an impressive trio.
Blue Jays: Canada
How cool would it be for Canadian baseball fans to see Jordan Romano don the Team Canada jersey and lock down a big win? Unfortunately, he has already stated that he would play for Team Italy next year, holding his alliance with the team that let him join the 2017 squad.
There’s also the virtually non-existent chance that Guerrero Jr., born in Montreal, suits up for Canada. There’s no way. Right?