MLB talent highlights Netherlands World Baseball Classic pre-selection
The Netherlands, like Cuba, play in the same group A of the tournament
Superstars Xander Bogaerts and Kenley Jansen lead the group, which includes NPB's single-season home run leader Wladimir Balentien.
Manager Hensley Meulens announced a Kingdom of the Netherlands 50-player pre-selection for the World Baseball Classic 2023. The expanded roster includes nine players who are Major League Baseball (MLB) regulars: Xander Bogaerts (shortstop, San Diego Padres), Kenley Jansen (right-handed pitcher, Boston Red Sox), Jurickson Profar (switch-hitting utility, free agent), Jonathan Schoop (infielder, Detroit Tigers), Chadwick Tromp (catcher, Atlanta Braves), Didi Gregorius (shortstop, free agent), Andrelton Simmons (shortstop, free agent), Joshua Palacios (outfielder, Pittsburgh Pirates), Richie Palacios (outfielder, Cleveland Guardians). The Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) single-season home run leader Wladimir Balentien (outfielder, free agent; he hit 60 home runs in 2013 while playing for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows) and former big leaguer Pedro Stroop (right-handed pitcher) also committed to participate.
The pre-selection also includes one of the most touted prospects in Minor League Baseball (MiLB), Ceddane Rafaela (outfielder, Boston Red Sox).
Meulens will also consider the best players of the Dutch Hoofdklasse.
Meulens' coaching staff includes bench coach Andruw Jones, pitching coach Bert Blyleven, hitting coach Tjerk Smeets first base coach Eugene Kingsale, third base coach Ben Thijssen, coach Wim Martinus, bullpen coach Mike Harkey, assistant hitting coach Sharnol Adriana.
World No. 7 the Netherlands will compete from 8 to 13 March in Group A in Taichung, Taiwan. They will face World No. 2 Chinese Taipei, No. 8 Cuba, No. 12 Panama and No. 16 Italy.