Cubs players will be representing countries from across the globe when the World Baseball Classic kicks off this spring. Five players on the Cubs 40-man roster and a dozen others in the organization were included on WBC rosters, announced Thursday evening.
Seiya Suzuki and Marcus Stroman – who made early commitments to Japan and Puerto Rico – headline the group.
Outfielder Nelson Velázquez joins Stroman on Team Puerto Rico, a deep squad on the position-player side. Right-hander Javier Assad, one of at least three players in the Cubs organization who drew early interest from Team Mexico, made the roster. Utility man Miles Mastrobuoni, who the Cubs acquired from the Rays in November, is on Team Italy’s roster. Velázquez, Assad and Mastrobuoni all made their MLB debuts last year.
Standout prospects Matt Mervis and Owen Caissie bring their left-handed power bats to Team Israel and Team Canada, respectively.
“There’s guys with a lot of big-league experience coaching and playing,” Mervis said at Cubs Convention last month. “We’re playing against super teams. It’s the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico, and Venezuela and Nicaragua [in Pool D]. Those teams are full of MLB All-Stars, so getting that experience, playing in a big environment like that, and it’s in Miami, so the crowds are going to be loud and excited. So, it was really a no-brainer for me.”
Cubs non-roster spring training invitees on WBC rosters include Roenis Elías (Cuba), Vinny Nittoli (Italy) Ben DeLuzio (Italy), Jared Young (Canada)
Other Cubs minor-leaguers in the WBC include Danis Correa (Colombia), Fabián Pertuz (Colombia), Liam Spence (Australia), Curtis Taylor (Canada), Lars Huijer (Netherlands), BJ Murray (Great Britain), Branden Noriega (Great Britain, designated pitcher pool).
WBC pool play begins March 8, with tournaments played in Miami, Phoenix, Tokyo and Taichung, Taiwan.