World Baseball Classic: a bit of MLB in the French team

The World Classic Baseball (WBC) exists since 2006 and is one of the most important international competitions in the discipline. The prestigious Major League Baseball (MLB) being a partner, it allows its players to participate in the event.

The 2017 edition, won by the United States, had thus been disputed by stars such as the Americans Buster Posey, Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen, Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, the Dominicans Adrian Beltre, Robinson Cano, José Bautista or even the Puerto Ricans Yadier Molina, Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltran.

The France team has not yet managed to qualify for the WBC. The Blues are currently in Tucson, Arizona, where they will start a qualifying tournament from Wednesday. Six teams are in contention, and two of them will qualify for the final phase. South Africa, Germany, Brazil, Nicaragua and Pakistan will compete with the French.

Bruce Bochy, coach of the Blues, three times winner of the World Series

Within the tricolor workforce, there will be a bit of MLB. Since December, the France team has been coached by Bruce Bochy, one of the best MLB coaches of the past thirty years. He managed the San Diego Padres (from 1995 to 2006) and the San Francisco Giants (from 2007 to 2019). With the latter, he won the World Series three times, in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Bochy also took the San Diego team to the final in 1998. He was named MLB’s best coach in 1996.

Aged 64, Bruce Bochy was born in France, in Bussac-Forêt, in the department of Charente-Maritime. His father, a soldier in the US Army, was then stationed in the region.

Two players who have had a taste of MLB will also be present in Tucson with the France team. The first is none other than Brett Bochy, the son of the coach of the Blues. The 32-year-old played seven games in two seasons (2014 and 2015) as a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants… coached by his father. He was not credited with any victory. Retired for five years, he agreed to follow his father in the qualifications of the World Baseball Classic.

The other player is Alen Hanson (27), who can play second base or shortstop. Born in the Dominican Republic, from a French father, he wore the colors of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants and Toronto Blue Jays, between 2015 and 2019, for a total of 261 matches and 12 homeruns.

Players must be « eligible » for French nationality

Unlike the European Championship, where players must have the nationality of the team they are playing for, the World Baseball Classic allows the use of so-called « eligible » players, because, in the case of the France team , they have a French parent or one born in France, or because they live in France.

In the ranks of the Blues, there is also the Franco-Cuban Ernesto Wilson Martinez, who plays in the reserve teams of the Milwaukee Brewers, and whose father was a French international, the Franco-Dominican Donato Auguste, who plays in the subsidiaries. of the Chicago Cubs, and the American Jason Alexander, whose mother is French, and who is on the reserve teams of the Los Angeles Angels.

Finally Frédéric Hanvi and Andy Paz, who had signed pro contracts with the Minnesota Twins and the Oakland Athletics – but who have never played in MLB – will also be present at the WBC qualifiers.

The 28 French players selected:

Catchers : Ivan Acuna, Dylan Gleeson, Andy Paz.

first baseman : Ernesto Wilson Martinez.

second baseman : Felix Brown.

Shortstops : Alen Hanson, Frederic Walter.

Third basemen : Alexander Perdomo, Ariel Soriano.

Outfielders : Jacques Boucheron, Frédéric Hanvi, Norbert Jongerius, Maël Zan.

Launchers : Jason Alexander, Lilian Amoros, Donato Auguste, Brett Bochy, Leonel Cespedes, Robyn Clara, Yoimer Camacho, Marc-André Habeck, Yorfrank Lopez, Eric Moore, James Murrey, Rayner Oliveros, Owen Ozanich, Ismail Pontiac, Yoann Vaugelade.

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