Eight Former C's To Play In World Baseball Classic
VANCOUVER, BC – Major League Baseball and the World Baseball Classic announced the rosters for all 20 teams on Thursday in anticipation of the global tournament’s return next month. Eight former Canadians – Damiano Palmegiani (Canada), Otto Lopez (Canada), Spencer Horwitz (Israel), Jake Fishman (Israel), Jose Espada (Puerto Rico), Luis
VANCOUVER, BC – Major League Baseball and the World Baseball Classic announced the rosters for all 20 teams on Thursday in anticipation of the global tournament’s return next month. Eight former Canadians – Damiano Palmegiani (Canada), Otto Lopez (Canada), Spencer Horwitz (Israel), Jake Fishman (Israel), Jose Espada (Puerto Rico), Luis Quinones (Puerto Rico), Marcus Stroman (Puerto Rico), Josh Palacios (The Netherlands), and Chavez Young (Great Britain) – will participate in the three-round international showcase that begins with pool play on March 8 and culminates with the championship game on March 21 at Miami’s LoanDepot Park.
Eligibility for the tournament is based on six criteria, of which each player must meet at least one to join that team’s roster:
- The player is a citizen of the Federation Team's country or territory.
- The player is currently a permanent legal resident of the Federation Team's country or territory.
- The player was born in the Federation Team's country or territory.
- The player has one parent who is/was a citizen of the Federation Team's country or territory.
- The player has one parent who was born in the Federation Team's country or territory
- The player presents evidence that, even if he has not been granted citizenship or been issued a passport, the player would be granted citizenship or a passport in due course under the laws of the Federation Team's country or territory had the player applied for such citizenship or passport.
Palmegiani, 23, made headlines in 2022 with a breakout campaign in his first full season as a pro. The Surrey, BC native began the year with Single-A Dunedin, where he slashed .256/.351/.508 with 14 doubles, a triple and 11 home runs while driving in 37 runs over 56 games before he was promoted to Vancouver on June 21. He announced his arrival in the Northwest League with a home run in his C’s debut and went on to reach base in 17 consecutive games to start his High-A career. Palmegiani – who was born in Venezuela to an Italian father, moved to Canada when he was five then attended college in the United States – was named team co-MVP and honored as an MiLB.com Organization All-Star for the Blue Jays while cementing himself as a Vancouver fan favorite. He was ranked by MLB.com as Toronto’s #27 prospect at the end of last season.
Lopez, 24, proved his value as an MLB-ready talent last season when he slashed .297/.378/.415 for Triple-A Buffalo then got six hits in eight big league games in September. The Dominican-born, Canadian-raised outfielder was a Northwest League Postseason All-Star for the C’s in 2018 when he logged 52 hits in 51 games. Lopez was recently ranked by MLB.com as the #18 Blue Jays prospect.
Horwitz, 25, exploded onto the prospect scene after his historic 2021 season with the C’s. The former 24th round pick out of Radford posted an impressive .290/.401/.445 slash line with 113 hits – including 28 doubles and 10 homers – 65 runs scored, 62 RBI and more walks (70) than strikeouts (66) in 105 games played. Last season, Horwitz split his time between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo; his successes had him ranked by MLB.com as Toronto’s #13 prospect at the end of 2022.
Fishman, 28, pitched for the C’s in 2017 and posted a 1.17 ERA in 23.0 relief innings. He was claimed off waivers by Miami in 2020 and made his big league debut for the Marlins on July 31 last year. The Sharon, MA native was recently signed to a minor league contract with the Oakland A’s and is a non-roster invitee this spring. As a member of the Jewish faith, he, like Horwitz, is eligible to play for Team Israel because Israel offers citizenship to all persons of the faith.
Espada, 25, spent two seasons as part of the Canadians pitching staff and logged the bulk of his 108 combined innings with the C's as a starter. Between 2017 and 2018, the Ponce, Puerto Rico native commanded the zone with 121 strikeouts to 41 walks. Espada was claimed off waivers by the Red Sox at the end of 2019 and posted a career-low 3.09 ERA in 43.2 innings working primarily in relief. After electing free agency after the 2021 season, he signed with the Padres and was with their High-A affiliate in 2022.
Quinones, 25, pitched for Vancouver over parts of two seasons, most recently in 2021 when he logged a 3.00 ERA in 39.0 innings across nine starts. A product of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, the right-hander spent last year with Double-A New Hampshire and had flashes of brilliance in his first season in the upper Minors.
Stroman, 31, made his professional debut with the C’s all the way back in 2012, when he was drafted 22nd overall out of Duke and went 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in seven relief outings before he was bumped up to Double-A. The right-hander made his big league debut in 2014 and spent six seasons with the Blue Jays before he was traded to the New York Mets. Stroman signed as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs before the 2022 season and is eligible to play for Team Puerto Rico thanks to his maternal line.
Palacios, 27, was Toronto’s sixth round pick in 2016 out of Auburn then joined the C’s that year after making his pro debut with Bluefield. The effervescent outfielder slashed .355/.437/.473 in 28 Northwest League games and finished the season with Low-A Lansing. Palacios – who was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY but has family ties in the Caribbean, which makes him eligible to play for The Netherlands – steadily ascended through Toronto’s ranks before debuting with the Blue Jays in 2021. Injuries plagued the rest of his Jays tenure and he was designated for assignment in 2022 before he was claimed off waivers by Washington. He had a productive season for Triple-A Rochester before the second waiver claim of his career sent him to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Young, 25, only appeared in five games for the C’s in 2017 after spending the bulk of that year with Bluefield. He broke out in 2018 for Low-A Lansing when he posted a career-best slash line of .285/.363/.445 and continued his ascent through Toronto’s system, reaching Triple-A for the first time in 2022. The Freeport, Bahamas native was traded to Pittsburgh on January 10 this year.