A problem appeared for the Dominican Republic and its manager in the 2023 World Classic
By Jesus Perez Vichot (Chuchi)
Among the fifty players that make up the preliminary list from which the selection that will represent the Dominican Republic in the upcoming World Baseball Classic (WBC) will come from, the inclusion of three stellar shortstops is striking. This is a key position in a baseball team and having more than one star player who can play in it is a guarantee for any manager.
This will be the case of the director of the Dominican national team that will attend the WBC 2023. Ronnie Linares will have a pleasant headache having three of the best shortstops in the Majors today. Both Jeremy Peña and Wander Franco and Willy Adames are more than qualified to take over as shortstop for the Dominican team.
Pain (25 years old) in his first year in the Major Leagues showed that he is fit to participate in any tournament. Even under pressure (in the 2022 MLB Postseason) he can do it like a veteran of his position. He was the Most Valuable Player of the ALCS (vs Yankees) and of the last World Series. In the latter with averages of .400/.423/.600/1.023, a home run and three RBIs, being one of the pillars in the Astros’ victory over the Phillies in that fall classic.
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Frank at just 21 years of age he has been limited by injuries since making his MLB debut in 2021. He has yet to play 90 games in a season. However, the 153 games in which he has seen action in his career have been enough to show all his talent on the field. The Rays have the “Patron” as one of the leaders of the club this year.
adames He is the most experienced of the three. The Brewers player is 27 years old and has five seasons in the Majors. “The Kid” is one of the most powerful shortstops at bat in MLB. He is also a great race tug. He could bring a longer-range offense to the Dominican lineup. In his career, he accumulates 94 home runs and 280 RBIs in 2,064 times at bat.
Defensively all three are excellent guarding shortstop (SS). Pena won the American League Gold Glove Award last year, hitting .963 fielding with 337 assists in 134 games as a SS. Franco in 72 games as SS averaged .980 with 172 assists and Adames posted a .973 fielding average with 334 assists playing in 136 games as a shortstop.
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Offensively, let’s review the numbers these three excellent shortstops put up in the Majors last year:
Times at Bat: Adames (563), Peña (521) and Franco (314).
Runs Scored: Adames (83), Peña (72) and Franco (46).
Hits: Adames (134), Peña (132) and Franco (87).
Doubles: Adames (32), Franco (20) and Peña (20).
Triples: Franco (3), Peña (2) and Adames (0).
Home runs: Adames (31), Peña (22) and Franco (6).
RBI: Adames (98), Peña (63) and Franco (33).
Stolen Bases: Peña (11), Franco (8) and Adames (8).
Bases on Balls: Adames (49), Franco (26) and Peña (22).
Strikeouts: Franco (33), Peña (135) and Adames (166).
Total Bases: Adames (258), Peña (222) and Franco (131).
Batting average: Franco (.277), Peña (.253) and Adames (.238).
OBP: Franco (.329), Adames (.298) and Peña (.289).
SLG: Adames (.458), Pena (.426) and Franco (.417).
OPS: Adames (.757), Franco (.746) and Pena (.715).
Linares can choose to have all three in the final roster that will attend the World Baseball Classic that will begin next March. Although the Dominican team is full of star players and has infielders such as José Ramírez, Manny Machado, Rafael Devers, among others, the presence of Peña, Adames and Franco will provide more depth and security to the team. Well, nothing, it’s a luxury and even healthy to have three extraordinary shortstops on the same team.