22/03/2020 - 26/03/2020

@wbsc   **Event postponed until further notice.  

Hosted by:   USA

2020 Baseball Americas Qualifier - Official Payoff

Bautista, Franco ready to play for Dominican Republic in Olympic Baseball qualifier

Bautista, Franco ready to play for Dominican Republic in Olympic Baseball qualifier
04/03/2020
More big name players and top prospects are looking to help their country qualify for the Olympics, and the Dominican Republic has some of the best players in baseball.

The Dominican Republic National Team is looking to load up on talent for the upcoming Americas Olympic qualifier. Reports have circulated that the Dominican Republic roster will include former big-league slugger (and potential reliever) Jose Bautista and the player considered to be the top prospect in Major League Baseball (MLB), switch-hitting shortstop Wander Franco.

Bautista (pictured above; Dailyhive.com) will be 40 in October. He boasts a 15-year career in MLB, spending his prime years with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Bautista hasn't played an MLB game since 2018, but according to MLB.com's Jon Morosi, he's ready to make his comeback later this month, representing the Dominican Republic at the WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad Tokyo 2020.

Bautista has 344 career home runs. He is expected to play first base for the Dominican National Team but wants to contribute also as a relief pitcher.

ESPN's Jeff Passan noted that one source said Bautista can throw his fastball at 94 miles per hour and that his slider has a notable movement.

Passan also broke the news that the number one prospect in baseball, Wander Franco, will also be suiting up to help his country qualify for the Olympics. Born in 2001, the nephew of former big leaguers Willy and Erick Aybar, Franco played 52 games at Class A advanced for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2019.

The Dominican National Team for the Olympic Qualifier will likely be a mix of veterans and prospects, following the recent announcement that players on MLB 40-man rosters are on the table.