Bobby Witt Jr. and Brady Singer will get a chance to represent the United States of America at the World Baseball Classic next month. The two were part of the Team USA roster that was unveiled today in anticipation of the tournament that begins March 7. The US roster is star-studded with hitters like Pete Alonso, Nolan Arenado, Mookie Betts, Paul Goldschmidt, Mike Trout, and Trea Turner, and pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Adam Waingwright, and Lance Lynn.
They won’t be the only Royals participating in the tournament however. Salvador Perez will be catching for Team Venezuela for the third time in the WBC with pitchers Carlos Hernández, Max Castillo, and Angel Zerpa all on the roster. The team will also feature José Altuve, Eugenio Suarez, Miguel Cabrera, and Ronald Acuña Jr.
Salvy won’t be the only Royals catcher. MJ Melendez will represent Puerto Rico, where his dad Mervyl Melendez was originally born. Former Royals Martín Maldonado, Emmanuel Rivera, and Jorge López are also on the Team Puerto Rico roster with stars like Francisco Lindor, Enrique Hernández, and Marcus Stroman.
It’s fitting that “Italian Nightmare” Vinnie Pasquantino will play for Team Italy, where he’ll be joined by Royals infielder Nicky Lopez.
MLB Players from Cuba will be allowed to represent Team Cuba this time in the World Baseball Classic, allowing stars like Yoán Moncada, Luis Robert, Yoenis Cespedes, and Royals pitcher Ronald Bolaños to participate.
Team Dominican Republic may have one of the most stacked clubs, boasting hitters like Wander Franco, Rafael Devers, Manny Machado, Jeremy Pena, and Juan Soto, and a pitching staff that features reigning Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara, Luis Garcia, and former Royals pitcher Johnny Cueto.
This year, 20 teams will participate in the tournament, split into four pools of five teams each. The top two teams will advance to a single-elimination eight-team tournament with a championship game on March 21 in Miami.
Pool A - Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Italy, Netherlands, Panama
Pool B - Australia, China, Czech Republic, Japan, South Korea
Pool C - Canada, Colombia, Great Britain, Mexico, United States
Pool D - Dominican Republic, Israel, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Venezuela
The Royals will play an exhibition game agains Team Great Britain on March 9 as a tune up. Players participating in the WBC will report to spring training a few days earlier than other players.