The 2013 MetLife All-World Baseball Classic Team was announced on Wednesday, with fans around the globe participating in the balloting process for the first time, and not surprisingly, the team is dominated by the country that took the championship on the strength of an unbeaten run.
Five members of the Dominican Republic squad made the team, including second baseman and tournament MVP Robinson Cano (.469, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 25 total bases), first baseman Edwin Encarnacion (.250, 6 RBI), shortstop Jose Reyes (.314, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 7 R), outfielder Nelson Cruz (.303, 6 RBI) and closer Fernando Rodney (7 1/3 innings, 0 R, seven saves).
Three players from Puerto Rico, the tournament's runner-up, were selected: catcher Yadier Molina (.259, 1 SB, 2.88 team ERA), outfielder Angel Pagan (.364, 2 SB, .447 on-base percentage) and pitcher Nelson Figueroa (2 W, 1.80 ERA).
Rounding out the All-World Baseball Classic Team were third baseman David Wright of Team USA (.438, 1 HR, 10 RBI), outfielder Michael Saunders of Canada (.727, 1 HR, 7 RBI), designated hitter Hirokazu Ibata of Japan (.556, 4 RBI, 6 R) and pitcher Kenta Maeda of Japan (15 IP, 1 ER, 0.60 ERA, 18 K).
Fan voting counted for one-third of the total points awarded to each player, with the other two-thirds coming from international broadcast media and international sportswriters. It kicked off another big year of digital voting by Major League Baseball fans, ranging from such MLB.com campaigns as the upcoming All-Star ballot late next month, the All-Star Final Vote, the selection of the World Series MVP and the year-ending Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBYs) Awards.
"You come into this wanting to win the big trophy, and that's what happened," Cano said after receiving his MVP honor. "And without my teammates, this wouldn't have happened. Every time I went [into the clubhouse], there was music, we had our spirits high. You know what? We were blessed by God, and this has been a privilege. It's a [source of] pride to be able to give this back to the D.R. and to my people."
The All-World Baseball Classic team includes 10 active Major Leaguers and two members of Nippon Professional Baseball. The Blue Jays are represented twice (Encarnacion and Reyes), and other MLB clubs with one representative each include the Yankees (Cano), Rangers (Cruz), Rays (Rodney), Cardinals (Molina), Giants (Pagan), D-backs (Figueroa), Mets (Wright) and Mariners (Saunders).
Saunders made the team despite Canada's elimination in the first round in Phoenix, so he had less of a chance than others to distinguish himself. Wright was the only other player on the squad whose country or territory did not make it to the championship round in San Francisco.
Perhaps the most notable absence on the list is the lack of any players from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which advanced to the semifinal round at AT&T Park.
The World Baseball Classic, which is officially sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), was recognized for the first time in 2013 as the official national team World Championship, with the Dominican Republic ultimately crowned not only the 2013 World Baseball Classic Champion but also the IBAF World Champion.