Six Ballengee clients are representing their countries in the 2017 World Baseball Classic that began in March 2017.

One of the Dodgers’ top prospects, Alex Verdugo spent his age-20 season as one of the youngest players in Double-A Texas League and hit .273 with a career-high 13 home runs and 63 RBIs. He played in the Arizona Fall League and represented Team Mexico in a goodwill exhibition in Japan. Verdugo’s father is Mexican.

Rick van den Hurk returns to the Dutch national team to anchor its starting staff. The 31-year old played 10 seasons for MLB organizations between 2003 and 2012, including stints in the big leagues with the Marlins, Orioles and Pirates. The past four seasons, he has pitched in Asia with the KBO (Samsung Lions) and NPB (Softbank Hawks) and in three of the last four seasons has helped his team win the respective league championship. He pitched for the Netherlands in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Emilio Pagan is a right-handed reliever in the Seattle Mariners organization and will suit up for Team Puerto Rico. He spent 2016 with both Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma, where he posted a combined 2.49 ERA and 10 saves to go along with 84 strikeouts over 65 innings.

27-year old Tim Atherton will bring valuable experience to the Australian team’s starting rotation. He pitched in the Twins and Athletics organization from 2011-2015, compiling 23-14 record with 3.69 ERA in 359 innings. He spent 2016 with the Canberra Cavalry in the Australian Baseball League.

Alex Wilson has been a valuable set-up man in the Detroit Tigers bullpen the past two seasons, compiling a 2.58 ERA in 121 games since a trade from the Boston Red Sox. He is in the designated pitcher pool and will be called upon if Team USA advances to the second round. He will play a valuable role as he has experience in both long relief and short relief, important in the WBC with strict pitch-count restrictions on starting pitchers.

“This is definitely a big honor and a surprising one at that,” said Wilson. “You know, it’s one of those things where you set out goals for yourself and I always hoped I would somehow get a chance to represent my country…it’s a dream come true.”

Kenny Koplove is a prospect in the Philadelphia Phillies organization who is on Team Israel. He was drafted in the 17th round of the 2015 draft. A two-way talent at Duke, Koplove served as both the Blue Devils’ primary closer (setting the program’s single-season record with 11 saves) and starting shortstop in 2015.


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