The KC Royals will be well represented in the World Baseball Classic, the 20-country international tournament that opens at four sites early next month.
All team rosters were officially announced Thursday and 11 Royals are scattered among them. Unsurprisingly leading the Kansas City contingent are seven-time All-Star catcher Salvador Perez, who'll play for Venezuela, and shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., who landed on defending champion Team USA.
Pitcher Brady Singer joins Witt on Team USA, while hurlers Carlos Hernandez, Angel Zerpa, and Max Castillo will be pitching to Perez on the Venezuelan club.
First baseman-DH Vinnie Pasquantino and infielder Nicky Lopez will represent Italy, catcher-outfielder MJ Melendez is on Puerto Rico's team, pitcher Ronald Bolanos is on Team Cuba, and infielder Robbie Glendinning, who signed with the organization in early 2022 and spent last season at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, will play for Australia. Bolanos and Glendinning are the only KC representatives not on the Royals' 40-man roster.
How did so many KC Royals earn spots on so many different WBC rosters?
Citizenship is just one way to qualify for a given country's WBC team. Unique rules also allow a player to play for a country they were born in or are a legal permanent resident of, at least one parent is, or a deceased parent was, a citizen of that country, the player could, if he applied in that country, satisfy its citizenship or passport requirements, or one of his parents was born in the country. Also eligible to play for a country are players who were on a former WBC qualifier or tournament roster.
What format will the 11 KC Royals be playing in when the tournament begins?
The tournament, rich with top major league stars, starts March 7 when Cuba plays the Kingdom of the Netherlands to begin double-elimination pool play. The rest of the tournament schedule and coverage details are here. The two top countries in each of four pools move on to an eight-team, single-elimination format that will determine the 2023 champion, with the title game set for March 21 in Miami.
The United States is the top-ranked team in Pool C and will be joined at Phoenix's Chase Field (home of the Arizona Diamondbacks) by Mexico, Colombia, Canada and Great Britain. Other pools with rankings and sites are here.
Interestingly, the Royals are scheduled to take on Team Great Britain in a March 9 exhibition game at KC's Surprise, Arizona, spring training headquarters.
Several Royals are playing in the World Baseball Classic.