The World Baseball Classic is an event that is growing in stature. Team Puerto Rico is likely to have one of the stronger teams, even with Carlos Correa deciding not to participate.
This year’s version of the event will be the fifth championship and the first since 2017 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Puerto Rico finished second in both 2013 and 2017.
Here’s look at Team Puerto Rico’s roster for the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
Jose De Leon
Edwin O Diaz
Duane Underwood Jr.
The 29-year-old Lindor may be the most important player on Team Puerto Rico. In addition to being one of the best shortstops in the National League, he is a highly spirited player who always has a smile on his face. Look for Lindor to serve as the player who rallies the team with his hitting, fielding and infectious attitude.
Lindor is preparing for his third season with the Mets after playing the first six years of his career with Cleveland. Lindor was a 4-time representative on the American League All-Star team
The shortstop slashed .270/.339/.449 last season while hammering 26 home runs and driving in a career-high 107 runs.
Lindor’s best season came in 2018 when he slashed .277/.352/.519 while pounding 38 home runs and driving in 92 runs.
Vazquez is one of the most dependable defensive catchers in baseball, and he will be playing for the Minnesota Twins in 2023.
Vazquez had an eight-year run with the Boston Red Sox before he was traded at last-year’s deadline to the Houston Astros. While contributing in a reserve role, he helped the team gain a World Series championship over the Philadelphia Phillies.
He was the starting catcher for the Red Sox when they won the 2018 World Series title over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Vazquez is a masterful handler of pitchers, and he has become a solid clutch hitter. While he has not been a power hitter for the majority of his career, he belted 23 home runs and drove in 72 runs in 2019.
Why is Carlos Correa not on Puerto Rico’s World Baseball Classic roster?
Given what happened with Carlos Correa in free agency, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that he opted against playing in this tournament, though that was not the reason given for his decision to sit out.
If you somehow forgot, Correa came to agreements with not one but two teams that ultimately fizzled out, with the final decision ultimately resulting in a return to the Minnesota Twins. Correa first agreed to a contract with the San Francisco Giants, but a medical issue arose during his physical. The former Houston Astros star then moved on to the New York Mets and agreed to a deal with them, but the same medical issue popped up again.
Correa then wound up returning to the Twins and is working to make sure this medical issue doesn’t hurt his career moving forward, even changing things up with how he approaches his health
However, the reason Correa gave for missing the World Baseball Classic was because of the expected birth of his second child. Perhaps he would have sat out anyway for health reasons, but the official reason was so he could be with his wife when she gives birth.