Several former Mudcats players including Francisco Lindor (PUR), Miguel Cabrera (VEZ), Didi Gregorius (NED) and former Manager Edwin Rodriguez (PUR) have led the way for their respective home countries in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Manager Edwin Rodriguez (Puerto Rico)
Former Mudcats Manager Edwin Rodriguez is back at the helm of team Puerto Rico for the 2017 World Baseball Classic and has led his club to an incredible 6-0 start. Team Puerto Rico currently leads (as of March 18) all WBC teams in team batting average (.330) and runs scored (51). They are also second in team earned run average (2.25). Rodriguez also managed Puerto Rico to the finals and a runner-up finish in 2013.
Rodriguez managed the Mudcats in 2012 and led them to a 63-77 record. His lone season as skipper of the Mudcats came during Carolina's first year as an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians and their first season in the Carolina League. Rodriguez previously managed the Florida Marlins in parts of the 2010 and 2011 seasons before managing the Mudcats in 2012. He also served as hitting coach of the Mudcats during the 2004 season while Carolina was the Double-A affiliate of the Marlins.
Francisco Lindor (Puerto Rico): .389/.455/.722, 5 G, 7-for-18, 6 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB 0 SO
Former Mudcats shortstop Francisco Lindor is in his first World Baseball Classic and has hit safely four straight WBC games (7-for-16 in his last four) with team Puerto Rico this year. Lindor homered twice and went 3-for-5 with three runs and three RBIs in his second game on March 11 while helping to lead Puerto Rico to a 9-4 victory versus Mexico. Lindor also went 2-for-4 with a run and one RBI versus Italy in a 9-3 Puerto Rico victory on March 12.
Lindor hit .306/.373/.410 with 100 hits including 19 doubles, six triples, one home run, 27 RBIs and a team high 20 stolen bases over 83 games with the Mudcats in 2013. The then 19 year-old Lindor was both a mid-season and post-season Carolina League All-Star for the Mudcats in 2013. He also represented the Indians and Mudcats in the 2013 MLB Futures game.
Miguel Cabrera (Venezuela): .190/.320/.333, 6 G, 4-for-21, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 4 SO
Miguel Cabrera is in his fourth straight World Baseball Classic and has played in 23 WBC games (2nd most all-time) for Venezuela. Cabrera started his 2017 WBC campaign with a hit in each of his first four games and was batting .190/.320/.333 through March 16. His biggest hit of the 2017 tournament was a game tying solo home run that sparked a three-run ninth inning rally for team Venezuela against Italy on March 13. Cabrera's home run tied the game at 2-2 and helped Venezuela stave off elimination as they went to defeat Italy 4-3 and move on to the second round. Cabrera has also driven at least one run in four straight games for Venezuela in this year's tournament.
Cabrera, the 2012 Triple Crown Award winner and two-time American League MVP, began the 2003 season with the Mudcats before going up to the bigs later that same year. He hit .365/.429/.609 with 10 home runs and 97 hits over 69 games with the Mudcats in 2003. He then finished that same season batting .268/.325/.468 with 84 hits in 87 MLB games with the 2003 World Series champion Marlins.
Didi Gregorius (Netherlands): .348/.385/.652, 6 G, 8-for-23, 5 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB
Didi Gregorius is in his first World Baseball Classic for team Netherlands. He is currently second among all WBC players in RBI with eight so far over six games. Gregorius drove in three runs and was 3-for-4 with three doubles on March 8 versus Chinese Taipei and 2-for-3 with three runs and five RBIs on March 13 versus Israel. His five RBI day versus Israel also included a mammoth three-run home run in the fourth that put the Netherlands up 10-0.
Gregorius played for the Mudcats during the club's final season as a Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Gregorius was promoted in late July from Advanced-A Bakersfield in 2011 and played in 38 games with the Mudcats where he totaled 40 hits, including six doubles, three triples and two home runs. He hit .312/.392/.704 during his time with the Mudcats.