Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, a two-time American League batting champion and a 2010 Lexington Legend, and right-handed pitcher Gabe Cramer, who was with the Legends in 2016, are among eight former Legends players who are on rosters for the World Baseball Classic. Rosters were released Wednesday night.
Sixteen teams will compete for the WBC championship. Pool play begins March 6, and the championship game is set for March 22 at Dodger Stadium.
The former Legends on WBC rosters include:
Colombia - Right-handed pitcher Dayan Diaz, who led the Legends with 19 saves in 2012, and pitched in the majors for Cincinnati in 2016; and infielder Mauricio Ramos, who hit nine homers and drove in 54 runs for the Legends in 2014. Ramos played for double-A Northwest Arkansas in 2016.
Israel - Cramer, who was 3-2 with 57 strikeouts in 43 and one-third innings with the Legends in 2016; and left-hander Jake Kalish, who had a 2.38 earned run average in five appearances with the Legends in 2016 before being promoted to advanced-A Wilmington of the Carolina League.
Mexico -Left-handed pitcher Fernando Abad, who has pitched with five major league teams and is currently with the Boston Red Sox. Abad struck out 94 batters in 78 innings with the Legends in 2008.
Puerto Rico - infielder-outfielder Enrique Hernandez, who is currently with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He played in 62 games for the Legends in 2011, with two homers and 17 runs batted in.
Venezuela - Altuve, who batted .308 with 11 homers and 45 runs batted in for the Legends in 2010 and reached the majors the next year; and right-handed pitcher Arcenio Leon, who pitched for Lexington in 2009 and 2010 and had a record of 8-6 in 67 appearances over those two seasons. Leon signed a free agent contract with Detroit Tigers in October of 2016.
"This is a great indicator of the diverse backgrounds of Legends players," said Jesse Scaglion, Legends' director of corporate sales and a follower of the WBC. "Congratulations to all the former Legends who will be in the World Baseball Classic. We enjoyed watching them play for the Legends, and it will be fun to follow their progress."