Twins players have starred at the World Baseball Classic
Minnesota sent 8 players to the tournament, 7 are on teams that have moved on from pool play
Six teams remain in the World Baseball Classic, down from 20 at the tournament’s start. Japan and Cuba already have punched tickets to the semifinals.
The Minnesota Twins sent eight players to the tournament, and seven are on teams that have moved on from pool play — thanks in part to their performances. Puerto Rico, which has six Twins on its roster, plays Mexico on Friday, while Venezuela, which counts Pablo Lopez as part of its rotation, will take on the United States on Saturday.
Though Puerto Rico has advanced past pool play, Twins shortstop Carlos Correa — who recently returned from paternity leave — does not expect to join the team for the remainder of the tournament.
“The ramp up here might get me three innings the first game and then five and then keep building up,” Correa said Tuesday. “I don’t think I’ll be ready to play nine innings of high-intensity games. That would put my health at risk.”
While Correa won’t be playing, here’s a look at how the Twins players who have been competing have fared in the WBC so far:
Jose De Leon — Puerto Rico
De Leon, a non-roster invite, made WBC history on Monday, throwing 5⅔ perfect innings and matching a WBC record with 10 strikeouts in Puerto Rico’s 10-0 win over Israel. Puerto Rico pitchers did not allow a baserunner but the game was officially considered a combined no-hitter instead of a perfect game because it ended via mercy rule after eight innings.
Edouard Julien — Canada
Canada did not advance but the Twins prospect made a big impression on the international stage. Julien finished pool play with a 1.821 OPS, highest in the tournament, by going a blistering 7 for 13 (.538) with a pair of home runs and a pair of doubles. He reached base in 12 of his 18 plate appearances, finishing the tournament with a .667 OBP.
The Twins optioned Julien to Triple-A on Tuesday, so when he returns to Florida, he will be in minor league camp.
Jorge Lopez — Puerto Rico
Lopez has thrown two scoreless innings for Puerto Rico, including a pivotal seventh inning that included a pair of strikeouts in a big win over the Dominican Republic on Wednesday night. He has not allowed a runner to reach base and could step into a more prominent role after the team’s closer, Mets star Edwin Diaz, was injured during the post-game celebration Wednesday.
Pablo Lopez — Venezuela
Lopez turned in 4⅔ solid innings in Venezuela’s 9-6 win over Puerto Rico last Sunday, his only start of the tournament thus far. The right-hander struck out six and gave up one run — a home run by Eddie Rosario.
Venezuela has not announced its starter for Saturday against the United States, a pivotal win-or-go-home game, though Lopez or former Twin Martin Perez, who started Venezuela’s first game of the tournament, could be in line.
Jovani Moran — Puerto Rico
Moran was credited with the win in Puerto Rico’s 5-2 victory over the Dominican Republic, which sent Puerto Rico on to the quarterfinals. He entered in the second inning and struck out Francisco Mejia. In the top of the third, Puerto Rico pulled ahead with a four-run inning. Moran then allowed a home run to Padres star Juan Soto to lead off the third before striking out Julio Rodriguez to end his day. He also threw a scoreless inning against Venezuela, walking a pair of batters and striking out two.
Emilio Pagan — Puerto Rico
Pagan finished off Puerto Rico’s 9-1 win over Nicaragua last Saturday, throwing a scoreless ninth inning in the win. That is the only appearance he’s made so far in the tournament.
Dereck Rodriguez — Puerto Rico
The Twins minor leaguer has thrown in one game, recording a pair of outs in Puerto Rico’s loss to Venezuela.
Christian Vazquez — Puerto Rico
The Twins catcher hit a solo home run on Wednesday to give Puerto Rico a lead against the Dominican Republic. He also delivered a two-run single in the win over Nicaragua earlier in the tournament. In three games played, Vazquez is 3 for 11 and has posted a .969 OPS, as catcher and designated hitter.
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