The World Baseball Classic is an interesting time because players from various parts of the world come together to compete for their countries. While many of these athletes are major league players in the MLB or professional leagues like the Japanese league, a large chunk of them are minor league players.
The Mets have a plethora of their major league talent on the various international teams, but they also have players from their minor league system.
Nineteen-year-old Ruben Tejada is the starting shortstop for Team Panama. In 2007 Tejada hit .324 with 41 RBI, 45 runs, 16 stolen bases, 35 strikeouts, and 38 walks in 67 games between the Venezuelan summer league and the rookie Gulf League.
He was unable to continue that success in 2008 as he struggled throughout the year in the hitter-friendly Florida State League. He only managed a .229 average with 37 RBI and 55 runs. He stuck out 77 times compared to 41 walks and was thrown out stealing five times out of 13 tries, accumulating for only eight stolen bases.
Tejada plays solid defense and has a very good arm, but his bat is very inconsistent.
Shawn Bowman is a third baseman on Team Canada. Bowman, who was once a highly touted prospect, has been healthy recently. Bowman had a career year for the A Capital City Bombers when he was 20 years old, putting up 19 home runs, 69 RBI, and 66 runs while batting .258 in 110 games as he carried his team to an 89-47 record.
Bowman won’t see much time in the World Baseball Classic, but it could be a good opportunity to regain his status as a prospect.
Third baseman/first baseman Stefan Welch will represent Team Australia. Welch is a tall kid with a lot of potential to hit for both power and average. Welch hit .281 with four home runs, eight triples, and 14 doubles in the Appalachian League last season.
I think this World Baseball Classic is especially interesting for minor league players. It gives them a chance to play against major league players and the opportunity to escalate themselves into hopefully becoming major leaguers earlier.