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A Way-Too-Early Look At Potential WBSC Premier12 Rosters: Mexico, Venezuela, and Panama

 Conor Liguori  |    Mar 18th, 2024 8:44am EDT

Roberto Osuna of the Houston Astros pitches in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees during Game Six of the League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 19, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

The 2024 Premier12 tournament will feature the top 12 nations in the World Baseball Softball Confederation’s World Baseball Rankings from Nov. 10-24, 2024.

The 12 nations competing are No. 1 Japan, No. 2 Mexico, No. 3 United States, No. 4 Korea, No. 5 Chinese Taipei, No. 6 Venezuela, No. 7 Netherlands, No. 8 Cuba, No. 9 Dominican Republic, No. 10 Panama, No. 11 Australia, and No. 12 Puerto Rico.

Let’s examine potential players in this year’s Premier12 for Mexico, Venezuela, and Panama.

No. 2 Mexico


Victor Arano of the Washington Nationals throws a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on August 7, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Nationals 13-1. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Victor Arano, RHP, Free Agent – Arano has not pitched in Major League Baseball since 2022 with the Washington Nationals and missed the 2023 season after shoulder surgery. He is a free agent but could be valuable out of Mexico’s bullpen, as he struck out 9.4 hitters per nine innings in 43 games for Washington in 2022.

Roberto Osuna, RHP, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks – Osuna, once a dominant closer for the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays, led the American League in saves in 2019 with 38. An elbow injury in 2020 ended his season with the Astros, and he has not pitched in MLB since. In 2023, Osuna posted a 0.92 ERA in 49 innings for the Hawks in NPB.


Mexico’s Alexis Wilson swings during the Caribbean Series baseball game between Puerto Rico and Mexico at LoanDepot Park in Miami, Florida, on February 2, 2024. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Alexis Wilson, C, Tigres de Quintana Roo – Wilson has experience in international tournaments, playing for Mexico in the 2023 World Baseball Classic and the 2024 Caribbean Series. He hit five home runs with 30 RBI in 2023 for the Tigres de Quintana Roo and signed as an international free agent with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2014.

Infielders – Potential infielders for Mexico include second baseman Irving Lopez, shortstop Luis Cruz, third baseman Ramiro Peña, and first baseman Japhet Amador.

Lopez and Peña played for the Naranjeros de Hermosillo in the 2024 Caribbean Series, and Luis Cruz has 195 games of MLB experience.

Amador, 37, has hit 434 home runs in his 17-year professional baseball career in Mexico, Japan, and minor league baseball in the United States.

Outfielders – Potential outfielders for Mexico include Isidro Pina, Miguel Guzman, and Jorge Flores.

Pina has only hit two home runs in his 15-year professional baseball career, but can also be utilized as a catcher for Mexico, making him a valuable asset.

Guzman played for the Pericos de Puebla during the 2023 LMB season and posted a .802 OPS in 70 games.

Flores was on Mexico’s 2019 Premier12 roster, can also play shortstop and second base, and may make the roster due to his speed on the base paths, swiping 181 bases in his 12-year professional baseball career.

No. 6 Venezuela


Jhoulys Chacin of the Colorado Rockies pitches in the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds during game two of a doubleheader at Great American Ball Park on September 04, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP, Saraperos de Saltillo – Chacin has 14 years of Major League Baseball experience, mainly with the Colorado Rockies, and could be the savvy veteran on Venezuela’s pitching staff. He signed a contract with the Saraperos de Saltillo of Liga Mexicana de Béisbol on Feb. 25.

Anthony Vizcaya, RHP, Navegantes del Magallanes – Vizcaya was crowned a champion with the Tiburones de La Guaira of Venezuela at the 2024 Caribbean Series. He allowed no earned runs and struck out five in six outings.


Venezuela catcher Wilson Ramos swings the bat and misses during the Caribbean Series semifinal baseball game between Curacao and Venezuela at LoanDepot Park in Miami, Florida, on February 8, 2024. (Photo by Chandan Khanna / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Wilson Ramos, C, Toros de Tijuana – Like Vizcaya, Ramos played for Venezuela in the 2024 Caribbean Series, and his age is not becoming a significant factor. The 36-year-old hit .310 in seven games and was one of the veteran leaders on the championship squad.

Infielders – Potential infielders for Venezuela include second baseman Rougned Odor, shortstop Freddy Galvis, third baseman Marwin Gonzalez, and first baseman Pablo Sandoval.

All four infielders are veterans of Major League Baseball and still play professional baseball outside the United States.

Odor has hit 178 home runs in his MLB career and will play for the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball in 2024.

Galvis recently signed with the Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos in LMB and has a strong glove at shortstop.

Gonzalez was once one of the best utilitymen in MLB with the Houston Astros and could continue in that role for Venezuela in the Premier12.

Sandoval is attempting one final MLB comeback on a minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants and was selected by the Abu Dhabi Falcons in the first-ever Baseball United draft.

Outfielders – Potential outfielders for Venezuela include Alexi Amarista, Rafael Ortega, and Oswaldo Arcia.

Amarista was the leadoff hitter for the Tiburones de La Guaira in the 2024 Caribbean Series and hit an impressive .370 with three RBI.

Ortega signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox in January and can play all three outfield positions for Venezuela.

Oswaldo Arcia is a lesser-known name to MLB fans, but he once hit 20 home runs in 103 games in 2014 for the Minnesota Twins.

No. 10 Panama


Paolo Espino, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays – Espino, 37, is in spring training on a minor league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. He is trying to make the MLB opening day roster as a long reliever. Panama could use him and his multiple off-speed pitches as a starter or bullpen arm in the Premier12.

Javy Guerra, RHP, Hanshin Tigers – Guerra began his MLB career as an infielder but converted to a pitcher in 2019 while in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. He’s had mixed results as a pitcher, posting a 6.43 ERA in 61 MLB games, and played for Panama in the 2023 World Baseball Classic qualifiers.


Erasmo Caballero, C, Federales de Chiriqui – Caballero was the third-string catcher for the Federales de Chiriqui in the 2024 Caribbean Series. He’d be unlikely to beat out Christian Bethancourt or Ivan Herrera for the starting job in the Premier12, but Bethancourt and Herrera will be on MLB 40-man rosters come tournament time. Caballero hit .188 in 18 plate appearances in the 2023 Caribbean Series and appeared in just one game in the 2024 Caribbean Series in Miami, Florida.

Infielders – Potential Panama infielders include shortstop Ruben Tejada, third baseman Johan Camargo, second baseman Jonathan Arauz, and first baseman Jean Arnaez.

Ruben Tejada and Camargo were regulars in Panama’s starting lineup in the 2024 Caribbean Series. They are former MLB players who are slick with the glove and do not strike out often.

Arauz was the primary utility man for the Boston Red Sox from 2020-22 and hit four home runs with 18 RBI in 59 games.

Arnaez has played three seasons in minor league baseball in the Toronto Blue Jays organization and has yet to hit a home run in 73 games, which is concerning for a first baseman. Still, he played for the Federales de Chiriqui in the Caribbean Series and gained much-needed professional baseball experience.

Outfielders – Potential Panama outfielders include Allen Cordoba, Ricardo Cespedes, and Jhonny Santos. All three players were on Panama’s 2024 Caribbean Series roster.

Cordoba played one year of MLB with the San Diego Padres in 2017 and hit .314 with five RBI in eight games for the Federales de Chiriqui in the Caribbean Series.

Cespedes spent the 2023-24 Liga Profesional de Beisbol season for the Caimanes de Barranquilla and hit .281 with 19 RBI and 10 stolen bases, bringing potential speed to the Premier12 for Panama.

Santos has represented Panama in the last three Caribbean Series and had his best tournament this year in Miami, Florida, hitting two home runs with a 1.144 OPS in 30 plate appearances.