The World Baseball Classic represents a unique dichotomy. On one hand, it allows players from obscure baseball federations, such as Pakistan and Israel, to compete against MLB's leading men. On the other hand, it provides a forum for countries with rich baseball backgrounds, like Japan and Puerto Rico, to put
The World Baseball Classic represents a unique dichotomy. On one hand, it allows players from obscure baseball federations, such as Pakistan and Israel, to compete against MLB's leading men. On the other hand, it provides a forum for countries with rich baseball backgrounds, like Japan and Puerto Rico, to put forth a team full of world beaters.
This year, after all was said and done, 12 players from six of the tournament's 16 teams distinguished themselves as the best of the best. And now, with the MLB All-Star Game in sight, let's look back upon the 2017 WBC All-Tournament Team, which includes a who's who of past and future All-Stars:
C: Yadier Molina (STL), Team Puerto Rico
Molina represented the National League in seven straight Midsummer Classics from 2009-15 and his country in all four WBCs to date. He smacked a pair of WBC homers this March before starting his 14th MLB season.
1B: Eric Hosmer (KC), Team USA
A first-time All-Star in 2016 -- not to mention the game's MVP -- Hosmer came through in the clutch for Team USA with a game-winning homer against Venezuela in the second round.
2B: Javier Baez (CHC), Team Puerto Rico
One of five All-WBC Team honorees to represent Puerto Rico, the dynamic Baez scored four runs and knocked in five more for the runners-up. Surprisingly, the infielder won a World Series ring before he ever earned an All-Star nod -- he debuted in August 2014 and played only the final 28 games of the 2015 season before recording his first full campaign last year -- but he's still just 24 and is poised to reach his first Midsummer Classic this year.
3B: Carlos Correa (HOU), Team Puerto Rico
Correa, who cites his participation in the Classic as "the proudest moment of my baseball career," moved to third to accommodate Lindor for the tourney and didn't miss a beat, crushing three longballs. With his first All-Star Game selection on the line, though, he was outpacing Lindor by several hundred thousand votes heading into the final weekend.
SS: Francisco Lindor (CLE), Team Puerto Rico
Lindor homered twice in his team's second game and reached base at a .419 clip for the tournament. The reigning American League champion played in both his first All-Star Game and World Series in 2016, and he is likely to be in Miami at least as a reserve for the Junior Circuit.
OF: Wladimir Balentien, Team Netherlands
The Curacao native, who played 170 Major League games from 2007-09, boasted a Classic-best four home runs in just 26 at-bats.
OF: Gregory Polanco (PIT), Team D.R.
The outfielder ranked second only to Balentien in batting average for the duration of the tournament with a .579 mark.
OF: Christian Yelich (MIA), Team USA
Yelich, who played in his home park in the first round of the 2017 WBC, smacked four doubles and finished with a .310 average and .375 OBP, ranking third among Team USA's regulars in both categories. The NL outfield is deep, but Yelich will represent the hometown Marlins at least as an All-Star Ambassador.
DH: Carlos Beltran (HOU), Team Puerto Rico
Like Molina, Beltran is another WBC regular and perennial All-Star. He batted .435 in the tournament before celebrating his 40th birthday.
P: Marcus Stroman (TOR), Team USA
Stroman was named the 2017 World Baseball Classic MVP after he earned the win in Team USA's title clincher, and he's built upon that performance, making a case for a spot on the AL All-Star team with solid first-half numbers. Japan's Kodai Senga and Israel's Josh Zeid (MiLB) also garnered pitching commendations for their work throughout the Classic.
This article appears in the 2017 MLB Official All-Star Game Program. Read more features on allstargame.com.
Allison Duffy-Davis is a contributing editor to MLB.com.