There will be a strong Yankee presence at the 2017 World Baseball Classic. There will be 10 players from all levels of the Yankees organization participating in the tournament in March.
Yankee fans will recognize Dellin Betances and Luis Severino on the defending champion Dominican Republic team.
Severino is in the Designated Pitcher Pool, which means there is a chance he may not appear in the tournament at all. The Designated Pitcher Pools give each country a pool of up to 10 pitchers that can be swapped out between rounds. One or two can be active for each round and if a pitcher is replaced, he is ineligible for the remainder of the tournament.
Betances is from New York and both the United States and the Dominican Republic wanted him on their respective teams. Betances wound up choosing the Dominican Republic because his family is from there and he wants to make them proud.
The two other Yankees that are most recognizable are Tyler Clippard and Didi Gregorius. Clippard is the lone Yankee representative on the USA team and he joins a rather stacked bullpen for the tournament. Didi Gregorius will be representing the Netherlands and joins a crop of other talented shortstops like Xander Bogaerts and Andrelton Simmons.
Two other members of the 40-man roster who will be appearing in the tournament are right-handed reliever Giovanny Gallegos and left-handed reliever Tommy Layne. Gallegos will be representing Mexico and the young reliever will be trying to earn a spot in the Yankees bullpen this spring. Yankee fans will recognize Tommy Layne’s name, as he pitched in 29 games for the team in 2016. He will be representing Italy and like Gallegos, will be looking to find a spot in the bullpen for the 2017 season.
Richard Bleier was on the Yankees 40-man roster, but was recently designated for assignment in order to make room on the roster for the newly signed Chris Carter. If Bleier clears waivers he can remain with the Yankees as a non-roster invitee. He pitched very well for the Yankees in his 23 games in 2016 and he will be representing Israel in the tournament. Like Severino, Bleier is in the Designated Pitcher Pool.
There are another three players participating for the Yankees. Kellin Deglan, a former highly regarded prospect for the Texas Rangers will be representing Canada. The young catcher was drafted 22nd overall in the 2010 MLB Draft right out of high school and has not developed as the Rangers had hoped. He was signed by the Yankees as a non-roster invitee and hopes to get his career back on track in the minors this year. Next is minor league outfielder Tito Polo. He was one of the players to be named later in the Ivan Nova deal with the Pirates last season. Polo was one of the Pirates top 30 prospects and had a strong season at Low-A and High-A in 2016. He will be representing Colombia.
The last representative of the Yankees appearing in the 2017 World Baseball Classic is Donovan Solano. Yankee fans will recognize Solano as he played in nine games with the team in 2016. He is a non-roster invitee and is seemingly little more than veteran depth for the team. Solano is an extreme long shot to make the team with guys like Ruben Tejada, Ronald Torreyes and Rob Refsnyder competing for a bench spot. Solano, like Polo, will be representing Colombia.
The World Baseball Classic takes place March 6-22. Be sure to watch all the talent the Yankees will display in this year’s tournament.