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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Dubai: Baseball United has announced the official rosters for the league’s inaugural event — next month’s All-Star Showcase in Dubai.
Forty-four players — 22 on each team — will participate in the two-game series between the East All-Stars and West All-Stars. The event will be held on Nov. 24 at 25 at Dubai International Stadium.
“We are honored to bring many of our best players to Dubai for our first-ever professional games,” said Kash Shaikh, chairman, CEO and majority owner of Baseball United. “Our All-Stars come from 16 different countries and have played at the highest levels of professional baseball. This is truly something the region has never seen. Our fans will get to witness history. It’s the perfect way to launch our league.”
Seventy-five percent of Baseball United’s All-Stars have played Major League Baseball, with others competing in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball Organization and various international leagues and tournaments.
Baseball United East All-Stars
The Baseball United East All-Stars are led by Bartolo Colon, a four-time MLB All-Star and the winningest Latin American-born pitcher in the competition’s history. Colon, who was selected 16th overall by the Karachi Monarchs in Baseball United’s inaugural draft, will be the East team’s starting pitcher on Nov. 24. When he takes the field in Dubai, he will become one of the oldest professional players in history, having turned 50 earlier this year.
The East team’s starting infield has a total of 32 years of MLB playing experience, with players from the Dominican Republic, the US, Curacao, and Venezuela.
The group includes:
First baseman, Jefry Marte, who hit 15 home runs in 88 games for the Los Angeles Angels in 2016, and 24 home runs in Japan’s Nippon League in 2021. Marte was selected 20th overall in Baseball United’s recent draft by the Karachi Monarchs.
Second baseman, Shed Long, who was drafted out of high school by the Cincinnati Reds in 2013 and played for the Seattle Mariners as recently as 2021. Long was selected 19th overall by the Mumbai Cobras in Baseball United’s draft.
Shortstop, Andrelton Simmons, who played 11 years in the MLB and won four Gold Glove awards — two each with the Atlanta Braves and the Angels. Simmons was selected in the first round — eighth overall — in the draft by the Mumbai Cobras.
Third baseman, Pablo Sandoval, who played 14 years in the MLB and won three World Series Championships, a World Series MVP, and reached two MLB All-Star games. Sandoval had over 1,000 hits and 150 home runs during his MLB career. He was the first selection by the Falcons — one of two UAE-based Baseball United franchises — and the fourth overall pick in the draft.
The East team’s outfield is comprised of a trio of former MLB players, including:
Former MLB first-round draft pick, Dwight Smith Jr., who batted .331 with 22 home runs in the Atlantic League (Independent) this year.
Smith Jr. was selected 17th overall by Baseball United’s Wolves franchise.
Former Detroit Tigers and current Canadian National Team member, Jacob Robson, who was drafted 22nd overall by the Cobras.
Former Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels prospect, Dillon Thomas, who most recently played for the Guerreros de Oaxaca of the Mexican League. Thomas was chosen 11th overall by the Falcons in the Baseball United draft.
The starting catcher for the East All-Stars is seven-year MLB veteran and Venezuelan star, Hector Sanchez. Sanchez was selected 30th overall by the Karachi Monarchs.
Retired 15-year MLB veteran, Dennis Cook, who will manage the Baseball United East All-Stars, along with co-manager, Miguel Tejada. Tejada was a six-time MLB All-Star and former American League MVP.
Baseball United West All-Stars
The Baseball United West All-Stars are captained by eight-time MLB All-Star second baseman, Robinson Cano.
Cano won a World Series Championship with the New York Yankees in 2009, and a World Baseball Classic Championship with the Dominican Republic in 2013 at which he was named MVP. Cano, who is also a co-owner of Baseball United, was selected sixth overall in the Baseball United draft by the Wolves.
Former MLB All-Star, Jair Jurrjens, will be the starting pitcher for the West All-Stars on opening night. Jurrjens, who posted double-digit wins three times for the Atlanta Braves from 2008 to 2011, was selected 10th overall by the Wolves in the Baseball United draft.
The rest of the starting infield for the Baseball United West All-Stars includes:
First baseman, Alex Liddi, who played for the Seattle Mariners from 2011 through 2013, and for the Chinatrust Brothers of the Chinese Professional Baseball League in 2019. He is the first player born and raised in Italy to play in the MLB and the CPBL. Liddi was selected fifth overall by the Falcons in the draft.
Shortstop, Didi Gregorius, who played 11 years in the MLB, most notably with the New York Yankees, where he hit 20 or more home runs in three straight seasons from 2016 to 2018. Gregorius was the top pick by the Wolves franchise, and third player chosen overall in the draft.
Third baseman, Brandon Laird, who played in the MLB as well as the NPB, including five years where he hit over 30 home runs for the Nippon-Ham Fighters and the Chiba Lotte Marines. Laird was selected with the 40th overall pick by the Cobras.
The starting catcher for the West All-Stars is five-year MLB veteran Wilin Rosario, who had back-to-back 20-plus home run campaigns with the Colorado Rockies in 2012 and 2013. Rosario also had back-to-back 30-plus home run seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization with the Hanwha Eagles. Rosario was the 24th overall pick in the draft by the Wolves.
Long-time MLB coaching veteran, John McLaren, will manage the Baseball United West All-Stars, along with co-manager, Chris Sabo. Sabo was a three-time MLB All-Star, World Series Champion, and is a member of the Cincinnati Reds’ Hall of Fame.
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