About 5 minutes reading time.

Cuban National Baseball Commission Technical Director Confirms MLB-Born Cuban Players Not On 40-Man Rosters Can Participate In November WBSC Premier12 Event

 Matt Tallarini  |    Apr 4th, 2024 10:00pm EDT

Manager Armando Johnson looks on prior to the World Baseball Classic Pool A game between Italy and Cuba at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium on March 09, 2023, in Taichung, Taiwan. (Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images)

Miguel Rodriguez of Pelota Cubana USA reported on April 4 that the Cuban National Baseball Commission Technical Director, Humberto Guevara, confirmed that Cuban-born players in Major League Baseball organizations who are off 40-man rosters in the minor leagues can participate in November at the World Baseball Softball Confederation Premier12 event.

The Premier 12 tournament will be held from November 10-24, 2024.

Rodriguez reported that Guevara appeared as a guest on April 2 on the Bola Viva program hosted by Carlos Hernandez on Cubavisión Internacional and offered some advances regarding the logistics of building the official roster for the Cuban national team before the start of the Premier 12 event.

With 174 Cuban-born minor league players on MLB teams’ official rosters, the Federación Cubana de Béisbol y Softball can evaluate all the players not on the 40-man rosters of the 30 franchises.

There are 46 Cuban-born MLB players from Havana, Cuba, the most by any major city on the island: Matanzas and Ciego De Avila are second at 17, followed by Villa Clara at 13, Sancti Spiritus at 12, Pinar del Rio at 10, Granma at nine, Mayabeque and Camaguey at eight, Isla De La Juventud at six, Holguin, Artemisa, and Santiago De Cuba at five, Guantanamo at two, and Las Tunas at one out of all 30 MLB organizations.

The Federación Cubana de Béisbol y Softball has had previous discussions with the head officials of the Cuban National Baseball Commission about the logistics for players that are on the 40-man rosters of all 30 teams from MLB that are eligible to be with the Cuban national team for the Premier12 during the midst of Cuba participating at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games in San Salvador, El Salvador, the 2023 Caribbean Cup in Fajardo and Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, and the 2023 PanAmerican Games in Santiago, Chile, which were held after the 2023 WBC.

The WBSC has always stated in its rulebook that non-40-man roster players of 30 MLB organizations are eligible to play in the Premier12, WBC, and Olympics.

Cuba has not brought players listed on MLB official rosters to international senior events since the U.S. trade embargo began in 1960 under the Fidel Castro administration.

The Federación Cubana de Béisbol y Softball, the Cuban National Baseball Commission, and Instituto Nacional de Deportes, Educación Fisica y Recreación is the country’s governing body of the sport.

This will be the second international event that Cuba could bring players that are listed on MLB rosters, just like in the 2023 World Baseball Classic roster with Andy Ibáñez, Miguel Romero, Luis Robert Jr, Roenis Elias, and Yoan Moncada that helped the nation reach the semifinals and lost 14-2 to the United States at loanDepot Park in Miami. All the players on the Cuban national team roster received $25,000 from the WBSC, MLB, and World Baseball Classic Inc.

The total amount paid to the 19 federations was $12.9 million, including an extra $1 million to Japan, the fifth World Baseball Classic champion. The FCB would have been paid $1.5 million for reaching the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic.

The 19 national baseball federations and the players for all 20 teams received final payments from the WBSC, MLB, and WBC Inc. on July 7, 2023, for their results in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

The Premier12 event will also include a list of winnings and placement finishing payments for all 12 participating nations, which the WBSC will distribute.

Cuba is ranked No. 8 in the World Baseball Rankings from the World Baseball Softball Confederation.

The 2024 Premier12 event will occur after the 2024 seasons in Major League Baseball, Liga Mexicana de Beisbol, Nippon Professional Baseball, the Korean Baseball Organization, and the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan.

The 2024 Premier12 was scheduled for 2023 but was moved to 2024 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The World Baseball Classic was also rescheduled from 2021 to 2023.

Japan is ranked No. 1 in the World Baseball Rankings from the WBSC, followed by No. 2 Mexico, No. 3 United States, No. 4 South Korea, No. 5 Chinese Taipei, No. 6 Venezuela, No. 7 Netherlands, No. 9 Dominican Republic, No. 10 Panama, No. 11 Australia, and No. 12 Panama. These are the 11 nations participating in the Premier 12 tournament.

Group B will be played at the Nagoya Dome in Nagoya, Japan, and the Taipei Dome in Taipei City, Taiwan, from Nov. 14-18. The Super Round, featuring the top two teams from each group, will be played at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan from Nov. 21-23, with the medal games to follow at the Tokyo Dome on Nov. 24.

Group A will include Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. Group B will feature Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Chinese Taipei, and the U.S.

The WBSC has not announced the game start times for the Premier12 tournament.