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Spring Training: International Players to Watch in Major League Baseball’s National League West  

 Leif Skodnick  |    Feb 26th, 2024 6:13pm EST

Pitcher Woo Suk Go of Korea throws in the eighth inning during the World Baseball Classic exhibition game between Korea and Orix Buffaloes at Kyocera Dome Osaka on March 6, 2023 in Osaka, Japan. Go is in Major League Baseball with the San Diego Padres in 2024. (Photo by Kenta Harada/Getty Images)

By Conor Liguori  
World Baseball Network  

Spring training is underway, and in every Major League camp, players from around the world are trying to make their mark.  

Here are two international players from each National League West team to watch out for during spring training in Major League Baseball. 

Los Angeles Dodgers (2023 Record: 100-62, 1st in NL West)  

Miguel Vargas, 2B, 1B, OF, Cuba – Vargas’s talent may be overlooked on a team full of superstars like Shohei Ohtani, Freddie Freeman, and Mookie Betts. He has a great eye at the plate, walking in 12.5% of his 304 plate appearances last season, but held a batting average of just .195. Like any young player in the Dodgers organization, his progress this season may depend on the playing time he receives with Triple-A Oklahoma City rather than in the big leagues. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) 

Nabil Crismatt, RHP, Colombia – Crismatt joins the Dodgers in spring training as a non-roster invitee after signing a minor league deal with the club in December. Los Angeles is loaded with pitching talent in both the starting rotation and the bullpen, so Crismatt will have to perform well on the mound this spring to crack the Opening Day roster. He appeared in just one game for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2023 but posted a 2.94 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 67.1 innings in 2022 for the San Diego Padres. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images) 

Arizona Diamondbacks (2023 Record: 84-78, 2nd in NL West)  

Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Venezuela – Rodriguez is coming off the best season of his MLB career with the Detroit Tigers in 2023. He declined a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers to finish his contract with Detroit, where he posted a 3.30 ERA and was in  American League Cy Young discussions leading up to the All-Star break. Rodriguez relies on his four-seam fastball and cutter, which helped him induce a 48.2 percent ground ball rate with the Boston Red Sox in 2019. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) 

Ketel Marte, 2B, SS, CF, Dominican Republic – The switch-hitter is a significant reason why the Diamondbacks made a miraculous run to the World Series for the first time since 2001. Marte finished the 2023 season with 25 home runs, 82 RBI, and a 128 OPS+, indicating he was 28 percent better than the league average hitter. According to Baseball Savant, he’s versatile defensively but ranked in the 29th percentile for arm strength, which could be better for a part-time center fielder. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images) 

San Diego Padres (2023 Record: 82-80, 3rd in NL West)  

Woo-Suk Go, RHP, South Korea – Go had been one of the best relievers in the Korean Baseball Organization for the LG Twins before he transitioned to Major League Baseball this winter. He was among the hardest-throwing pitchers in the KBO, with an average fastball velocity of 95 mph. The Padres have added a few impact relievers this offseason, such as Wandy Peralta and Yuki Matsui from Japan, so Go may be a long relief candidate for the Friars. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Jurickson Profar, LF, 2B, Curacao – Profar’s play in the 2023 Caribbean Series for the underdogs from Curacao seems to have helped him land a big-league contract with San Diego, where he played 14 games in 2023. Once a top prospect for the Texas Rangers, Profar never lived up to extraordinarily high expectations but has hit 87 home runs in his career with a below-average .706 OPS. He will compete with Jose Azocar and non-roster invite Oscar Mercado, among others, for consistent at-bats in spring training. (Photo by Luis Gutierrez/Norte Photo/Getty Images) 

San Francisco Giants (2023 Record: 79-83, 4th in NL West)  

Jung Hoo Lee, OF, Japan – Lee was a popular name on the free agent market this winter and was the 2022 KBO Most Valuable Player for the Kiwoom Heroes. A fractured ankle limited him to 86 games last year, where he hit .318 with 45 RBI. Lee hit a career-high 23 home runs in 2022, but he might project more as a contact hitter in the pitcher-friendly Oracle Park, the Giants’ home stadium. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Marco Luciano, SS, Dominican Republic – Luciano has some big shoes to fill this season, replacing two-time All-Star Brandon Crawford, who was the Giants shortstop the last 13 years. Just 22 years old, Luciano played 14 games with San Francisco last year and recorded a .641 OPS in 45 plate appearances. He struck out in 17 of those plate appearances, but he is the likely choice at shortstop for manager Bob Melvin. (Photo by Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/Getty Images) 

Colorado Rockies (2023 Record: 59-103, 5th in NL West)  

Justin Lawrence, RHP, Panama – Miraculously, Lawrence can throw his sinker at an average velocity of 95.4 mph from a low arm slot and compliments it with a nasty sweeper. Due to his funky mechanics, Lawrence can lose command often, but still managed to record 78 strikeouts in 75 innings last season. Once again, Lawrence and right-handed reliever Daniel Bard are candidates to be the closing pitchers for Colorado this season. (Photo by Kyle Cooper/Colorado Rockies/Getty Images) 

Elias Diaz, C, Venezuela – The 2023 All-Star Game Most Valuable Player hit only 14 home runs in 2023, but he may be due for a breakout season in 2024. As always, the high altitude in Colorado helps the ball sail out of the park, and Diaz possesses enough power to lead to a couple of extra flyouts that could turn into long balls. Per Baseball Savant, he does not grade as an impressive defensive catcher, finishing 2023 in the 7th percentile in pitch framing. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)