Pro baseball league in the Middle East holds first-ever draft featuring multiple ex-Blue Jays

Houston Astros v Toronto Blue Jays
Houston Astros v Toronto Blue Jays / Tom Szczerbowski/GettyImages

As Major League Baseball's postseason marches on in the United States, there is another fast-growing league in the Middle East that you're going to want to follow along with. The league is named Baseball United, and is the first-ever professional baseball league in the Middle East and South Asia.

As of right now there are four teams in the league; the Mumbai Cobras, Karachi Monarchs, Dubai Wolves and Abu Dhabi Falcons.

The league has extensive ties with Major League Baseball; as Mariano Rivera, Barry Larkin, Elvis Andrus, Chris Sabo, Adrián Beltré, Miguel Tejada, Robinson Cano, Ryan Howard, Bartolo Colon, Robinson Chirinos, Félix Hernández and Nick Swisher are all involved as either managers, general managers or parts of the ownership group.

On Monday, the league held its inaugural draft and the list of players being selected will bring some major nostalgia to fans of the game.

Former Blue Jays players include Dwight Smith Jr. and Zac Rosscup, both of whom spent time in the big leagues with the club. Multiple players whose stints in the organization never made it past the minor leagues including Tiago da Silva, Connor Panas and Alberto Mineo.

Smith, now 30-years of age, was drafted by the Blue Jays in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft. He didn't make his big league debut until 2017 at the age of 24, and once he did he only appeared in 47 games for the Jays. Along the way, he hit two home runs and drove in nine runs, hitting .293 with a 126 OPS+.

Now, he will join the Wolves alongside names like Robinson Cano, Jair Jurrjens, Hernán Perez, Brian Schlitter and Wilin Rosario.

Da Silva, 38, made a total of 12 appearances in the Jays system all the way back in 2015. Since then, he has bounced around all over the Mexican Leagues and most recently made 13 starts for the Generales de Duragno, posting a 4.50 ERA in 68 innings.

Panas, a 30-year-old first baseman and corner outfielder, spent a few years in the Blue Jays system after being selected in the ninth round of the 2015 draft. The Toronto native spent this past season in Indy Ball, playing for the Lincoln Saltdogs, where he hit 22 home runs in 87 games.

Rosscup, 35, has 120 big league appearances under his belt spanning from 2013 to 2021. His Blue Jays career consisted of two outings in 2019 when he allowed three earned runs on four hits in just a total of one inning on the mound. He played for the Spire City Ghost Hounds last year, making 22 appearances with 10.7 K/9.

Then there's Mineo, a 29-year-old catcher and first baseman. He spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons in the Blue Jays organization, but he wasn't able to hit enough to keep a job. He is coming off of a three-year stint for the Parma Clima, a team in Italy. Historically, he has been a high-contact, low-power bat.

Other notable names that will serve as throwbacks for baseball fans include Carlos Martinez, Rusney Castillo, Didi Gregorius, Pablo Sandoval, Andrelton Simmons and Bartolo Colon.

As of right now, the first public event for Baseball United will take place Nov. 24 and 25 in Dubai. It is a showcase where fans can check out a two-game series featuring the league's best players.