21 All-Stars, 4 MVPs headline star-studded Team USA roster
The most star-studded United States roster in the history of the World Baseball Classic is now official.
Team USA’s 30-man roster, which will be managed by Mark DeRosa and captained by Mike Trout, features 21 All-Stars, including four MVPs in Trout, Mookie Betts, Paul Goldschmidt and Clayton Kershaw. The final rosters for the entire 20-team field were announced on Thursday evening on MLB Network.
It was Team USA’s championship in the 2017 WBC -- after the first three installments of the event were won by Japan (twice) and the Dominican Republic -- that inspired increased interest among some of the game’s luminaries. Trout, for one, watched the 2017 event with regret after turning down the opportunity to play, so he wasn’t going to miss it this time. And his participation created a domino effect with other big names.
“The whole reason I signed up: trying to win this thing,” Trout said. “There is nothing else. Anything else is a failure.”
Here is a position-by-position breakdown of Team USA. Within each position, players are listed in alphabetical order, with any affiliation to an MLB organization noted in parentheses.
Catchers: Kyle Higashioka (Yankees), J.T. Realmuto (Phillies), Will Smith (Dodgers)
Realmuto, a three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, fronts this backstop group. All three are first-time participants in the WBC.
Infielders: Pete Alonso (Mets), Tim Anderson (White Sox), Nolan Arenado (Cardinals), Paul Goldschmidt (Cardinals), Trea Turner (Phillies), Bobby Witt Jr. (Royals)
Arenado and Goldschmidt are back for more after anchoring the infield for the 2017 championship team, and they are joined by a dynamic group that features a two-time Home Run Derby champ in Alonso, batting champs in Anderson and Turner and one of the most exciting young talents in the sport in Witt.
Outfielders: Mookie Betts (Dodgers), Jeff McNeil (Mets), Cedric Mullins (Orioles), Kyle Schwarber (Phillies), Mike Trout (Angels), Kyle Tucker (Astros)
Though Bryce Harper’s elbow surgery prevents him from honoring his commitment to Team USA, the outfield group nevertheless features two of the absolute biggest stars in the sport in Trout and Betts, along with reigning NL home run champ Schwarber and three other All-Stars (McNeil is listed as a left fielder on the roster but is also capable of helping in the infield).
Pitchers: Jason Adam (Rays), Daniel Bard (Rockies), David Bednar (Pirates), Nestor Cortes^ (Yankees), Kendall Graveman (White Sox), Merrill Kelly (D-backs), Clayton Kershaw^ (Dodgers), Lance Lynn (White Sox), Miles Mikolas (Cardinals), Adam Ottavino (Mets), Ryan Pressly (Astros), Brooks Raley^ (Mets), Brady Singer (Royals), Adam Wainwright (Cardinals), Devin Williams (Brewers)
^ denotes left-handed pitcher
Kershaw -- a nine-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young winner, MVP and likely future Hall of Famer -- is a first-time WBC participant. He’s joined by a cast of arms with a wide assortment of experience, from more recent big league breakout types like Singer, Williams and Bednar to the established likes of Lynn and Wainwright. None of these pitchers were on the 2017 roster.