Veteran catcher Yadier Molina has formally committed to Team Puerto Rico for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. This is the guy for Puerto Rico, as Yadi has played in all three Classics.
The Molina family are well-known in Puerto Rican baseball, as his father Benjamin Sr. is the all-time hits leader in the country’s baseball league, and his brothers Benji and Jose both had long MLB careers. Yadi just finished his 13th season in the bigs, all with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The 34-year-old catcher has had a long and successful career, collecting a large amount of hardware to look back on when it is all said and done. A seven-time all-star, Yadi has two World Series rings, eight Gold Gloves, four Platinum Gloves, and a Silver Slugger.
Additionally, he owns a silver medal along with the rest of the 2013 Puerto Rico team for their second place finish in the 2013 WBC. He was an All-WBC Team selection that year, his best tournament to date. He has hit .289 in 14 WBC games with 11 hits, three RBI, and three runs, and has been a staple behind the plate and in the middle of the lineup for Team Puerto Rico.
Yadi is the first major leaguer to commit to Puerto Rico after Nolan Arenado chose to represent the United States instead. Team PR has the potential to be a legitimate threat in the 2017 Classic, with stars Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, and Javier Baez showing interest in playing for the team.
Puerto Rico was placed in Pool D for the opening rounds of the tournament where they will face off against Venezuela, Italy, and Mexico. They lost to the Dominican Republic in the championship game in 2013. They will look to make it there once again when they begin play on March 10th against Venezuela.