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Ronald Acuna Jr., Yadier Molina Highlight MLB Team Taking on Japanese All-Stars

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 29, 2018

Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. (13) runs to first after hitting a grand-slam homer against Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler during the second inning in Game 3 of MLB baseball's National League Division Series, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)
John Amis/Associated Press

Major League Baseball has released the roster for its series against Japanese All-Stars on Nov. 9-15, according to Greg Johns of MLB.com, and Atlanta Braves phenom Ronald Acuna Jr., St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and Philadelphia Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins highlight the list:

Greg Johns @GregJohnsMLB

Full roster announced for MLB team traveling to Japan to face Japanese All-Star squad on Nov. 9-15. In addition to Mitch Haniger, MLB team will also include Erasmo Ramirez and hitting coach Edgar Martinez from the Mariners. https://t.co/sQDaTlY5gS

Acuna, 20, is the biggest star on the list after a superb rookie season that saw him hit .293 with 26 homers, 64 RBI, 78 runs and 16 stolen bases.

The ageless Molina, meanwhile, hit .261 with 20 dingers and 74 RBI. Even at 36, the nine-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion remains productive.

Then there is Hoskins, who proved his 2017 breakout wasn't a fluke by bashing 34 home runs with 96 RBI. Power won't be an issue for the MLB roster with nine hitters who smacked 20 or more home runs this year; Carlos Santana, Mitch Haniger, Juan Soto, Kike Hernandez, Eugenio Suarez and J.T. Realmuto join the aforementioned three players as sluggers on the squad.

The pitching staff is a bigger question mark, however, with Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda arguably serving as the team's ace.

The MLB stars will be managed by Miami Marlins skipper Don Mattingly.

Samurai Japan, meanwhile, will feature Chunichi Dragons pitcher Yu Sato and SoftBank Hawks outfielder Seiji Uebayashi.

Per the Japan Times: "The six-game series starts on Nov. 9 with three games at Tokyo Dome, one at Hiroshima's Mazda Stadium on Nov. 13 and the final two at Nagoya Dome over the following two days."

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