Sebastian Elizalde has been added to the Mexico roster for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. This was first reported by Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The now 25-year-old Mexican outfielder originally signed with the Cincinnati Reds as 21-year-old in May of 2013. He didn’t play that season after having to undergo Tommy John surgery. In 2014 he made his organizational debut, splitting time between Low-A Dayton and Advanced-A Bakersfield. Between the two stops he hit .289/.380/.479 with 29 doubles and 16 home runs. The next season he returned to the Advanced-A level, but this time it was the opposite environment. The Reds switched affiliates, going from the incredibly hitter friendly Cal League in Bakersfield to the incredibly pitcher friendly Florida State League in Daytona. Unsurprisingly, his offense went backwards as he hit .253/.310/.397 on the year.

Last season he was promoted to Double-A Pensacola. That’s where he’d spend his entire year. His offense improved some, but it also changed. He hit .297/.324/.387 on the season for the Blue Wahoos. The average was up, but the power was down. The then 24-year-old went to a much more contact oriented approach. He cut his strikeout rate from 20.4% in 2015 to 13.9% in 2016. That also led to fewer walks as a result.

Sebastian Elizalde can play both left field and right field. He also has some experience at first base. For Team Mexico he provides some defensive options. Elizalde will be replacing Khris Davis on the roster. He will join outfielders Jose Aguilar, Efren Navarro, Chris Roberson and Alex Verdugo on the roster. It’s highly unlikely he will see any time at first base, which is locked down by Adrian Gonzalez.

The Reds invited Sebastian Elizalde to big league camp. He’s not on the 40-man roster, and he was a long shot to make the club out of spring training. Getting time playing for his country in the World Baseball Classic seems like a good choice for him. If he were truly competing for a spot on the Reds, maybe it wouldn’t be beneficial to leave camp – as some other players around Major League Baseball have done. For Elizalde, it probably seems like a very easy decision to put on the Mexico jersey this March.

11 Responses

  1. Simon Cowell

    Either MLB or MLB need to adjust their schedules so as not to provide conflicts with one another. Either that or find a way to incorporate it into the MLB rigorous schedule. It absolutely should not be happening at the time when players are coming back from a long break and just preparing for the MLB season.
    My thoughts are start the WBC one week after the World Series.
    In the next few years WBC will begin to dominate. Particularly with Mandred’s quest for rule changes leading to a players revolt and or strike.

    • Doug Gray

      The WBC is an MLB event. If the players are on strike, they won’t be playing in the WBC.

      • Simon Cowell

        Well lo and behold I did not know that. Well then why do they start up and overlap with MLB? Why not postpone MLB training camps until it is over? Still seems like a conflict of interest.

      • MK

        They have adjusted schedules by opening Spring Training camps a week or so early to give the players participating a better opportunity to be prepared. They have said no to the end of the season as they do not want to over tax the players exhausted by a full season, especially pitchers.

  2. Daytonian

    Good move all around. I was surprised that Elizalde was not on Mexico’s roster when it was initially announced. His bat appears to be far from Major League ready. The disappearance of the power that he showed early in his career is troubling. Still, he’s a prime candidate for the WBC. Let’s hope to hear a ton of good news about him.

  3. Steve

    It’s an honor anytime you can represent your country. Good luck to Sebastian! Hope it leads to a successful year in Louisville.

  4. Krozley

    Adrian Gonzalez has shut down swinging a bat for a couple weeks due to tennis elbow, so Elizalde may get some 1B opportunities.

    • Doug Gray

      I hadn’t seen that. I heard him on the radio last week talking about Team Mexico – he didn’t mention any issues. Must be something that popped up, or that he was simply dealing with but it wasn’t as bad at the time.

  5. cinvenfan

    It is very unfortunate that baseball hasn’t found a way to make WBC work. Take my country Venezuela for example: Only Felix Hernandez has been cleared to pitch for our team. That means we are very short handed – no pun intended!- on the pitching side as the U.S. team probably is too (except the Asian teams).
    I know some people don´t care much for this event. For me it is a great opportunity to watch the best of the best around the world while rooting for your country which is just as exciting as the Soccer World Cup for those who love sports at its purest form. Not for the paycheck but for pride, glory or whatever you will.

    • Doug Gray

      I think this whole thing has several layers, when compared to something like the World Cup.

      First, the World Cup goes back far enough to where it’s got tradition. It goes back to a time long before soccer players were paid, or at least paid real amounts of money. If the World Cup were to have been started ten years ago, I wonder if the best players in the world would risk injury and all of that money involved for their actual team that’s writing them checks for $10-250M over the course of their contract.

      Second, and I will admit I’m not a big soccer guy – I was Team USA, but that’s it. I’ve never watched more than five minutes of a non Team USA or non World Cup soccer match in my life, but I think that, generally speaking, pitchers specifically, are at more risk for a serious injury that could take them out for a long period of time, or even ruin their career, than a soccer injury that’s even remotely likely to happen. A soccer player, for example, blows a knee. Usually guys can come back from that in a year and be back to what they once were – at least today. Maybe not 20+ years ago, but today? I don’t think that’s an outrageous statement in 99% of the cases. A pitcher blows a shoulder, we are talking about what, a 20% rate of “full recovery”? And it’s probably going to cost them more than a year before they even return at all. Blowing an elbow is going to cost them at least a year, and while the odds are better than a shoulder of a return to normal, it’s still lower than recovering from a blown out knee.

      It’s an interesting situation.

  6. Jami Sanderson

    Elizalde is a great player, and a nice guy. ¡Viva México! Good Luck Sebastian.