Photo: Former Cuban National Baseball Team stars Yuli Gurriel (Astros) and Yasiel Puig (Dodgers).
HOUSTON/LOS ANGELES – Almost half the players (23) on MLB World Series 2017 rosters have represented their National Teams in WBSC-sanctioned international competitions like the Olympics, Premier12, World Baseball Classic and the U-18 Baseball World Cup.
In total, National Team alumni from seven countries — Cuba, Dominican Republic, Japan, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela — are on World Series rosters.
The player on World Series roster with the most international experience is Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel. He got started representing Cuba at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in 2002 and went on playing in two Olympic Games (2004 in Athens, gold medal, 2008 in Bejing, silver medal), three World Baseball Classics (2006, 2009, 2013), five Baseball World Cups (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011), 3 Intercontinental Cups (2002, 2006, 2010). His last appearance with Cuba in a major international event was at the WBSC Premier12 in 2015.
— ⚾ WBSC (@WBSC) November 5, 2015
The Astros, who are led by AJ Hinch (1996 U.S. Olympic Baseball Team) have 9 players who represented USA Baseball National Teams. Pitcher Like Gregerson played in the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classic. Catcher Brian McCann was on the 2009 World Baseball Classic roster. Infielder Alex Bregman also played in the World Baseball Classic (2017) but this came after representing his Country at the U-16 (2010), U-18 (2011) and Collegiate level (2013, 2014). Also catcher Evan Gattis played (2002) for U-16 Team USA, while pitcher Lance Mc Cullers was on the U-18 National Team in 2010. Center fielder George Springer played in 2010 for the Collegiate National Team, while backup catcher Max Stassi played for both the U-16 (2006, 2007) and U-18 (2008, IBAF World Cup in Edmonton, Canada) National Team. Last but not least, star pitcher Justin Verlander represented USA in 2003 at the Collegiate Level.
Pitcher Francisco Liriano represented the Dominican Republic in 2006 World Baseball Classic.
Designated Hitter Carlos Beltran was on Puerto Rico’s World Baseball Classic roster in 2006 and 2009. Rising stars Jose Altuve (second baseman, played for Venezuela) and Carlos Correa (shortstop, played for Puerto Rico) were marquee players of the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Yu Darvish starred at the 2004 U-18 Baseball World Cup and faced Gurriel in the 2008 Olympics. He played for Samurai Japan at the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He pitched in the final coming from the bullpen. He first blew a save opportunity, but ended up earning the win.
Righthander Kenta Maeda starred during the 2013 World Baseball Classic, making the All-Tournament team. He helped lead Samurai Japan to the WBSC Premier12 2015 bronze as he posted a stellar outing in the quarter-final against Puerto Rico.
Center fielder Yasiel Puig represented Cuba during the 2008 U-18 World Cup and he made the All-World Team.
Closer Kenley Jansen played in the 2009 World Baseball Classic for The Kingdom of the Netherlands as a catcher and 2017 edition as a pitcher
The Dodgers roster features also five USA Baseball Alumni. Veteran infielder Chase Utley was on the 2006 World Baseball Classic team. Backup catcher Yasmani Grandal played for the Collegiate National Team in 2009. Infielder Logan Forsythe was on the same team in 2007.
Star pitcher Clayton Kershaw played for the U.S. U-18 National Team in 2005 and shortstop Corey Seager was on the U-16 National Team in 2010.
— ⚾ WBSC (@WBSC) October 19, 2017