Beltran, Romano among six Lugnuts in WBC
03/13/2017 10:59 AM ET
The 2017 World Baseball Classic features six players who came through Lansing, ranging from 1996 to 2016, each on a different team. Those players:
- Jordan Romano, Team Italy: A breakout star in the 2016 Lugnuts rotation, the 23-year-old Romano played for the Canadian Junior National Team in 2010, but switched to Italy this year. As Romano told Alexis Brudnicki, writing for Baseball America, "My dad was actually born in Italy, and my grandparents are from Italy, and my aunts. My dad came over when he was five, as well as my grandparents, 45 years ago probably. So half my family's Italian, so strong Italian heritage." (Note: Italy's coaching staff included former Lugnuts manager Sal Fasano.) Romano picked up the win in Italy's stirring 10-9 comeback win against Mexico. The losing pitcher in that game was...
- Roberto Osuna, Team Mexico: Osuna debuted in the Lugnuts' starting rotation at the age of 18 in 2013. Now 22 years old, the right-hander has posted 56 combined saves and a 2.63 ERA over the last two years for the Blue Jays. One of his biggest joys of the WBC, blown save/loss notwithstanding: His twin younger brothers were able to watch him pitch in Jalisco.
- Dalton Pompey, Team Canada: A member of the 2012-2013 Nuts, Pony Pompey served as the Canadian leadoff hitter in two games before departing following a stolen base in which his head snapped against the dirt, causing dizziness and a potential concussion.
- Marcus Stroman, Team USA: Yes, Stroman wore the white, red and black for only one game back in 2015, a rehab start against Great Lakes, but that's good enough for us. The 25-year-old looked every bit an ace in 4 2/3 scoreless innings against defending champion Dominican Republic. (The DR then rallied for seven unanswered runs against the American bullpen, spoiling Stroman's stint in a dramatic 7-5 comeback win.)
- Robinson Chirinos, Team Venezuela: Chirinos spent two seasons as an infielder in Lansing, 2003 -- in which he turned an unassisted triple play -- and 2004, persevering his way to the Major Leagues as a catcher full seven years later. (Imagine if a 2017 Lugnut had to wait until 2024 to reach MLB.) Since then, though, he's spent parts of the last four years with the Texas Rangers, and joined Venezuela as the backup catcher for Kansas City Royals standout Salvador Perez.
- Carlos Beltran, Team Puerto Rico: End at the beginning. A teenage Beltran was in the first Lansing Lugnuts starting lineup in 1996. Over two decades later, his decorated Major League career may be nearing its twilight, with 2,617 career hits, 421 career home runs, nine All-Star nods and three Gold Gloves on his resume. Also, he's gone blond.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.