photo: World Baseball Classic 2021 Pool 1 Qualifiers (MLB Network)
The St. Louis Cardinals will have representation for Pool 1 of the 2021 World Baseball Classic Qualifier with rosters having been announced on Thursday.
Minor league infielders Liam Sabino and Brendan Donovan have been named to the 28-man rosters of Brazil and Germany, respectively.
Pool 1 of the WBC Qualifier will be played March 13-18 in Tucson, AZ.
The connection to Brazil for Sabino, 23, is through his mother, Fabiana Benitez, a native of the South American country. Sabino was selected by the Cardinals in the 35th round of the 2018 draft and made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals that summer.
Sabino finished with a .259/.346/.437 slash line in 42 games between GCL and short-season Johnson City.
The former Pitt standout returned to the Appalachian League in 2019, where he posted a .282 average and OPS’d .857 through 51 games. Sabino collected 19 extra-base hits (11 doubles, two triples and six homers) while driving in 33 runs for Johnson City.
Sabino concluded his first full season with the Cardinals organization with a cup of coffee at Low-A (short-season) State College. He is on track to open 2020 at Low-A Peoria.
Donovan, 23, was originally born in Wurzburg, Germany. The Cardinals selected him in the seventh-round of the 2018 draft but his professional debut was cut short due to a wrist injury.
The former South Alabama star opened his first full season at Peoria in 2019 and made up for lost time. Donovan slashed .266/.377/.405 through 113 games. He also showed considerable power, smacking 26 doubles, three triples and eight homers while producing 53 RBIs. Donovan was given a final weekend cameo with Triple-A Memphis
Donovan is a player to keep an eye on if he is able to sustain his production as he moves up to higher levels. He should open 2020 at either High-A Palm Beach or Double-A Springfield.
The fifth installment of the World Baseball Classic, which will be played March 9-23, 2021, will be hosted at venues in Taiwan, Japan, Phoenix and Miami. Marlins Park will host the championship round.
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