Full rosters for the 2017 World Baseball Classic were announced this week, and the Oakland A’s organization has a total of nine players participating. CBS put together a handy list of every country’s roster, which you can see by clicking here. The nine A’s, representing six countries (players in italics are minor leaguers who are not on the A’s 40-man roster):
- Sonny Gray, RHP, USA
- Liam Hendriks, Australia
- John Axford, RHP, Canada
- Santiago Casilla, RHP, Dominican Republic
- Cesar Valdez, RHP, Dominican Republic
- Khris Davis, OF, Mexico
- Jake Sanchez, RHP, Mexico
- Ryan Lavarnway, C, Israel
- Joey Wagman, RHP, Israel
Sonny is listed as part of the “Designated Pitcher Pool” for Team USA, meaning that he won’t be active in the first round of the tournament but will be eligible to join if they advance to the second round. The currently active DPPs on Team USA are Danny Duffy and Tanner Roark, so if Sonny is called on for the second round then he would be replacing one of them. (As I understand it, there are three total rounds: two rounds of pool play and then a third “Championship Round” that consists of semis and finals.)
Given that setup, Sonny seems unlikely to pitch more than one game in the tournament, or maybe two if the USA makes the semis (or even the finals) and gives him the nod. (Note: Team USA has only made the semis once in three editions of the WBC, and never the finals.)
Valdez is also listed as a DPP for the Dominican team, while Hendriks and Wagman are active DPPs for their teams — meaning they will be available in the first round, but could later be removed in place of a new arm (in which case they’d be done for the tourney). The rest of the A’s players are full active roster members. If you’re surprised to see Khris Davis listed for Mexico, then check out this story about his family background (via Jane Lee, MLB.com).
You’re probably familiar with the MLB names on that list (the ones in bold), but a quick word on the others. Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America wrote a wonderful, thorough profile on Jake Sanchez, who transformed himself into a fireballing reliever last year and thrived in Double-A and winter ball. Wagman is a local product from Monte Vista High School in Danville (college at Cal Poly in SLO). Valdez and Lavarnway were minor league free agent signings this winter, and I’ll be profiling each of them before spring training starts.
The demographic of “former A’s reliever” is also well-represented around the world: Abad, Blackley, Breslow, Clippard, Gregerson, Neshek, Venditte, and Ike Davis, plus starters Bartolo Colon and Guillermo Moscoso. Some other names include Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Luke Hughes, and George Kottaras. On a personal note, UC Davis alum Daniel Descalso is playing for Team Italy.
The WBC starts March 6, and Team USA’s first games are March 10-12 against Colombia, Dominican Republic, and Canada, respectively. MLB Network will provide coverage.