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AWARD: WBN’s International Player of the Week

 Julian Guilarte  |    May 2nd, 2024 10:39am EDT

World Baseball Network’s Julian Guilarte searches every international league for the standout player each week. The inaugural winner of WBN’s International Player of the Week award is Jonathan Saavedra, designated hitter for the Federales de Chiriqui.

Saavedra had one home run, three hits, and four RBIs in the 6-3 victory against Colon in game seven of La Series Final del 81 Senior National Championship at Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City.

Federales de Chiriquí was down 3-0 after the top of the first inning. Saavedra, the lefty power hitter, stepped in the box with a runner on first base and hit an opposite-field home run to cut the deficit to 3-2.

In the eighth, Saavedra came up in another big spot, with the bases loaded and Federales de Chiriqui holding a 4-3 lead. He delivered again with a two-run single up the middle, giving Federales de Chiriqui two important insurance runs and increasing the lead to 6-3.

Saavedra told Team RPC Deportes reporters after the game, “Thanks to the fans who came to support us, to the family… and we must give them the merits. They never gave up, but we didn’t give up, and we won title number 17.”

Saavedra had an outstanding series, with two home runs, 11 RBI, and nine hits across the seven games. His batting average was over .400, and he walked six times.

Saavadera played five games with the Kansas City Royals in the Arizona Fall League in 2005.

Former MLB outfielder Carlos Lee, a Panama native, is the manager of Federales de Chiriqui. Lee was a three-time MLB All-Star and won two Silver Slugger awards. He spent most of his 14-year career with the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros.

Liga Professional de Beisbol de Panama consists of three teams and was founded in 1946. Federales de Chiriqui won their second straight league championship. They represented Panama in the 2024 Caribbean Series at loanDepot Park in Miami and won the third-place game 5-4 against the Curacao Suns.

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Julian Guilarte