Many Twins fans know Joe Mauer and Glen Perkins will be representing the United States and that Justin Morneau will be showing his Canadian pride in this year’s World Baseball Classic.
What you may not know is that the Twins have 13 total players throughout their organization participating, tied with the Brewers organization for most in the MLB. You might consider counting a 14th, since hall of famer and current TV Broadcaster Bert Blyleven is the pitching coach for the Netherlands.
For Twins fans, this is a chance to see many young prospects play for the first time, and on a big stage. Tournament play started Friday night, and some of these guys have already seen some action. Here’s a breakdown of each Twin playing in the Classic by team:
Australia: James Beresford, IF
Beresford signed with the Twins at the young age of 16 in 2005, before finally making his debut in 2007 playing short stop for the GCL Twins. At 24, Beresford finished last season at Double-A New Britain, where he finished with a .266/.330/.314 splitting time between shortstop and second base. Participating for the 2nd time, Beresford started at shortstop and hit lead-off for Australia in their opening game against Chinese Tapei. He finished 0-4. Also playing for Australia is former Twins infielder, Luke Hughes.
Morneau should be exciting to watch after an incredible start to his Spring with the Twins, batting .471 with 1 HR and a team-leading 8 RBI through 6 games. Morneau is no stranger to the tournament, this will be his 3rd time participating.
Albers was picked up by the Twins in 2008 after being released from the Padres organization. He finished last season 4-3 in New Britain, posting in 3.75 ERA in 19 games. This is Albers first WBC appearance. Notable former Twins with Canada are Jesse Crain and Rene Tosoni.
Dominican Republic: Samuel Deduno, RHP
Deduno made his debut with the Twins last season and is competing for a spot in this year’s rotation. He only made one appearance in the first week of spring training, giving up 1 hit in 1 inning pitched.
Butera joins team Italy for the first time. Butera only had 7 at bats for the Twins last week, but made them count with 3 hits and 2 BB. He will likely serve backup catcher to Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit again this season.
Colabello signed with the Twins after spending 7 years playing independent league baseball. He finished last season at New Britain, posting a .284/.358/.478 with 19 HR. The odds may be slim, but Colabello has a shot to break camp with the Twins. Former Twins utility man Nick Punto is also representing Italy.
Martis, 25, was acquired by the Twins from the Pirates last June. He saw MLB service time with the Nationals in 2008 and 2009, going a combined 10-10 with a 5.33 ERA between the two seasons. He’s no stranger to WBC action, as he pitched a no-hitter in the 2006 WBC against Panama (the game was stopped in the 7th inning due to the mercy rule).
Stuifbergen started with the GCL Twins in 2007 and finished last season in Fort Meyers, posting a 5.09 ERA through 74.1 innings pitched. He has represented the Netherlands in both previous World Baseball Classics.
Both Martis and Stuifbergen saw action in the Netherlands second WBC game against Chinese Tapei early Sunday morning. Stuifbergen started, but did not fare well lasting only 3 innings. He gave up 5 runs on 4 hits. Martis relieved Stuifbergen and pitched a 3.1 scoreless innings, giving up only 3 hits and striking out 2. Loek Van Mil- who was once the tallest man in the Twins organization (and all of baseball) – is also representing the Netherlands.
Berrios was the 32nd pick in the 1st round of the 2012 draft. He really impressed last season with a 1.17 ERA in 30.2 innings pitched and a 14.4 K/9 between the Gulf Coast and Appalachian League. This is Berrios’ 1st appearance in the WBC.
Rosario, originally drafted as an outfielder, was moved the 2B a year ago due to the organization’s outfield depth. Rosario finished last season in Beloit with a .296/.345/.490 line in 95 games and 429 plate appearances. This is Rosario’s 1st WBC appearance as well. Former Twins starting pitcher J.C. Romero is also on Puerto Rico’s roster.
These two local Minnesota boys may not need much of an introduction. Mauer and Perkins are both making their first appearances in the WBC with Team USA. Both players had strong seasons in Minnesota in 2012 and join Team USA after strong starts to their Spring. Mauer finished the week hitting .364 through 5 games. Perkins was dominant as usual, giving up only 3 hits and striking out 5 through 3.1 innings pitched.
Former Twin and CY Young winner RA Dickey is also pitching for the US.
Venezuela: Deolis Guerra, RHP
The only remaining piece in the Johan Santana deal, Guerra spent last season between New Britain and Rochester, posting a 4.11 ERA in 70 innings pitched. Guerra joins Venezuela after a rough start to his Spring, with an 10.80 ERA through 3.1 innings pitched. He is participating in the WBC for the first time. Joining Guerra on the Venezuelan team is former Twins starter Juan Rincon.