Nationals open 2022 season with 2nd most MLB international players – NBC4 Washington

Nats open season with 2nd most international players in MLB originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

More than a quarter of players signed up for Major League Baseball to start the 2022 season were born outside the United States with the Nationals among the top-heavy teams internationally, MLB said in a news release Thursday.

Washington enters the year with 15 international players from six different countries between their opening roster and their injured lists. Only the Houston Astros (16) have more.

President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo spearheaded the overhaul of the Nationals’ international pipeline throughout his tenure, working with assistant general manager Johnny DiPuglia to revive a part of their once organization. embroiled in controversy. Their biggest accomplishments include Dominican outfielders Juan Soto and Victor Robles with Joan Adon (also of the Dominican Republic) who made the starting rotation out of camp this spring.

“Mike and Johnny DiPuglia, they’re doing a great job on scouting and scouting internationally,” manager Davey Martinez said Friday. “We try to have the best players. That’s what it’s all about and for me it doesn’t matter where they come from. It really isn’t, but it’s nice. I’ll tell you one thing, I’m really brushing up on my Spanish.

Countries represented on the nationals roster include Venezuela (six players), Dominican Republic (five), Cuba (one), Panama (one), Mexico (one) and the Bahamas (one). Nine signed with the club in free agency, two arrived in trades, three joined as amateur free agents and infielder Lucius Fox was selected on waivers this offseason.

Their diverse backgrounds created a unique clubhouse, which Martinez says showed strong chemistry early on.

“Some of these older Latin guys have taken on some of these young Latin guys and really helped them get through it because it’s hard,” Martinez said. “The culture is different here [in the U.S.] and some of these guys [are] first time in the major leagues full time. First day open, I heard Nelly say to Adon and those guys, “Hey, take a look.” Enjoy it. It doesn’t happen every day and let’s have fun. It was good to see that. »

Latin American veterans such as Nelson Cruz and Aníbal Sánchez took on leadership roles with a national team that shifted its focus to youth development. Sánchez saw division at some clubs where the majority of players were from similar backgrounds, so he tried to help bridge the bond between teammates who speak different languages.

“For me it’s trying to help everyone because not many teams have so many Latin players, but in the end I think we have to understand that we have to play for a team,” Sánchez said. “When we have a lot of people from the same place or something like that, it’s sometimes very difficult to concentrate. But in the end, if you share this link, it’s really great to play together. So, for me, I wish everyone understood that if we stick together, we can have so much fun outside.

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