Some of baseball’s most exciting young talent will be on display at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Five players ranked among MLB.com Top 100 prospects — Alex Reyes (Cardinals/Dominican Republic, No. 6), Jose De Leon (Rays/Puerto Rico, No. 33), Tyler O’Neill (Mariners/Canada, No. 36), Alex Verdugo (Dodgers/Mexico, No. 61), and Jorge Alfaro (Phillies/Colombia, No. 72) have been selected to represent their respective countries in the 16-team tournament that begins March 6.
Tyler O’Neill (Canada) spent all of 2016 with Double-A Jackson, where he helped the Generals win the Southern League championship. In 130 games, the 21-year-old outfielder posted an .882 OPS with 24 homers and 102 RBIs to earn league MVP honors. He ended the year in the Arizona Fall League and batted .292/.395/.486 with three homers and 14 RBIs in 19 games.
Alex Verdugo (Mexico) put up a .273/.336/.407 slash line while establishing career highs with 13 homers and 63 RBIs in 126 games for Double-A Tulsa last season. The 20-year-old outfielder will attend Spring Training with the Dodgers.
Other notable prospects who will be playing in the World Baseball Classic include Padres first baseman Josh Naylor (Canada), Mets infielder Gavin Cecchini (Italy), Royals catcher Meibrys Viloria (Colombia), and Reds right-hander Austin Brice (China).