WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup alumni display power at MLB, NPB levels

WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup alumni display power at MLB, NPB levels
27/09/2022
USA's Triston Casas was the MVP of the 2017 edition of the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, helping the US win a gold medal before starring for his country at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games where USA won an Olympic silver medal. He is now playing for MLB's Boston Red Sox. Kotaro Kiyomiya helped Japan win bronze at the U-18 World Cup 2017 and earned NPB All-Star Game MVP honours.

Triston Casas and Kotaro Kiyomiya played against each other during the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup 2017. They both played first base, and they both attracted interest from scouts. Since then, their careers have progressed immensely.

Seven teams selected Kiyomiya in the first round of the 2017 Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) Draft. The Hokkado Nippon Ham Fighters earned the right to negotiate.

He made his debut in the 2018 season and has already appeared in 356 NPB games, combining 38 home runs.

Kiyomiya was selected in the 2022 NPB All-Star Game and earned MVP honours as he hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth.

Kiyomiya also represented Japan at the U-18 Baseball World Cup 2015. He played in 2017 as Samurai Japan's captain. Samurai Japan had selected him for the 2019 exhibition games against Mexico, but Kiyomiya had to decline because of injury.

Casas was the MVP of the 2017 edition of the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, helping the US win a gold medal. He was also named WBSC Baseball Player of the Year 2017.

The Boston Red Sox picked Casas during the 2018 Draft. He signed for a bonus exceeding US$ 2.5 million.

After playing 284 Minor League Baseball (MiLB) games, including 81 at the AAA level, from 2018 to August 2022, Casas made his debut in the Major Leagues on 4 September.

He hit his first home run on 6 September against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Casas, who helped the US win a silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, is expected to be an everyday player for the Red Sox in 2023. So far, he went 7-for-52 in 19 games in his first MLB season. Four of the seven hits were home runs.

Casas was voted the best first baseman at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. He had five hits over 19 at-bats, a .263 batting average. Three of those were home runs. He also drove in a team-high eight runs (RBIs). He committed a defensive error in 34 play opportunities.