Countries involved have so much passion for baseball, and the series, this year being contested in the Dominican Republic, also leads the Baseball World into a brand new season.
Independent Baseball fans should find considerable enjoyment since a nice number of its former (and sometimes current) players are getting additional exposure.
While we likely will miss a few players, here are some of the Independent players on the current 28-man rosters with their major league affiliation (if any) in parenthesis.
Dominican: OF Lew Ford, Long Island, Atlantic League.
Mexico: 1B Cyle Hankerd, Amarillo, American Association, and Southern Maryland, Atlantic League.
Puerto Rico: LHP Andrew Barbosa (New York-NL) Long Island; RHP Chris Smith (Toronto) Lake Erie, Traverse City and Washington, Frontier League, and White Sands, Pecos League.
Venezuela: RHP Omar Bencomo, Laredo and Wichita, American Association; RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Victoria, Golden League; RHP Marcus Walden (Minnesota), Lancaster, Atlantic League; OF Jose Martinez (Kansas City major league roster), Rockford, Frontier League; OF Teodoro Martinez, Rockford.
WBC QUALIFIER ALSO HAS INDY STARS
The first of four qualifying tournaments for next year's World Baseball Classic begins February 11 in Australia, and it also will have some Independent players. They include:
Australia: RHP Ryan Searle, Grand Prairie, American Association; C Allan de San Miguel, Southern Maryland, Atlantic League.
Philippines: 1B Angelo Songco (Los Angeles-NL), St. Paul, American Association.
South Africa: SS Anthony Phillips (Los Angeles-NL), St. Paul.
New Zealand rounds out this qualifier with only the championship team advancing to the WBC.
SPRING TRAINING COUNT UP TO 46
Former Atlantic League players Robert Andino of Somerset, an infielder, and LHP Pat Misch of Lancaster are the most recent additions among Independent players who have received invitations to major league spring training camps. Andino signed with Miami after the '15 season while Misch was inked by Milwaukee. We now can identify 46 former Independent players who will be in major league camps. We will post the entire roster before camps open.
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