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WBC Preview: former Diamondbacks at the WBC (Part 2)

Yes, it is the final article in this series.

Jean Segura (2) throws to first after fielding a Gregor Blanco infield ball in the fourth inning as the San Francisco Giants played the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 Photo By Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

In our first article we had a brief introduction on the World Baseball Classic and we took a look at Group A. In our second article we discussed Group B and, logically, in our third article we reviewed Group C that will play its games in Phoenix. Group D was subject in our fourth article. In the fifth article of WBC previews we took a look at the 13 confirmed Diamondbacks to play in the tournament. Our sixth article was our first part on former Diamondbacks, and this seventh and final article should have been released right after that, but I forgot about it (yikes!).

So last, but not least, the final former Diamondbacks to participate in the WBC, that, as you might know by now, will start this March 7 with the first game in Group A.

Andy Yerzy (Canada)

Ontario native Andy Yerzy is eligible to play for Israel as well, but has in the past played for different national youth teams of Canada, so his decision to play for the maple leaf is surely a no-brainer.

Andy Yerzy was until very recently a Diamondback. He was drafted out of a Toronto High School and decided to forego his commitment to Notre Dame. Yerzy was a rather high pick, being selected in the second round by the Diamondbacks in the rather disastrous 2016 Diamondbacks’ draft class, and was given a $1,214,100 bonus.

He spent the first two years in the Rookie leagues and then continued his cold weather quest in Hillsboro and Kane County. Some lofty strikeout rates and rather underwhelming batting skills were compensated by a healthy walk rate, but not enough to impress in Amarillo in 2021 and 2022. Never much of a prospect, nor a catching wizard, he also played a decent amount of 1B, but at the end of the 2022 season was let go by the Diamondbacks, still just 23 years of age.

He is currently looking to get a new contract somewhere and you’d say the WBC would be a great stage for that, but just a couple of days ago it was announced he decided to withdraw from Team Canada. No reasons for that were released. We still decided to include him in this list, because the text was already written, although he will obviously not play.

Trayce Thompson (Great Britain)

Trayce Thompson, the brother of basketball star Klay, came up through the Chicago White Sox system, the club that selected him in the second round of the 2009 MLB amateur draft. Despite strikeout-percentages close to 30% he made it to the MLB in 2015 and surprisingly enjoyed two good months, keeping the strikeouts below 20% and helped by a joyful BABIP.

He ended up in Los Angeles as part of a 3-team trade involving Todd Frazier, but couldn’t keep the trend going and ended up club hopping via waivers and cash for player trades until he joined the Diamondbacks at the beginning of the 2020 season.

He actually had a terrific Spring Training, slashing .346/.452/.923, was at the alternate site but didn’t get to make his debut in Sedona red. At the beginning of the 2021 season he was once again in Arizona, but soon traded to the Chicago Cubs.

There he had a great finale of the 2021 season in the MLB and ended up signing with the Padres for the 2022 season. Via the Tigers he’d finally play for the Dodgers where he had a good run, once again inflated by a huge .374 BABIP, and accompanied by the big strikeout percentage. This year he is supposed to be the short side of a platoon in left field with David Peralta, but not before playing for Great Britain, the team he will represent because of his Bahamian father.

Alex Cintrón (Puerto Rico)

Former Diamondback Alex Cintrón joins Puerto Rico as a coach. The former shortstop was a 1997 draft pick, 36th round, and made his MLB debut just 4 years later at 22 years of age. He had some good plate discipline although he didn’t draw many walks and had to thrive on his hitting skills. Those were good in 2003 when he hit .317/.359/.489 in 117 games, stats he would never achieve again. In 2006 he was traded to the Chicago White Sox but would make his final appearance in 2010 for the Nationals, ending his MLB career with a -2.2 bWAR.

Henry Ramos (Puerto Rico)

Henry Ramos was a late minor league signing, by the end of May, and enjoyed a terrific season in Reno, which eventually earned him a call-up to the Diamondbacks. That would be his MLB debut, at 29 years of age, and after a good start, the good vibe would soon ebb away, and Ramos finished the season with a .555 OPS before getting outrighted.

His MLB debut earned him a transfer to the KBO KT Wiz though, but his stint in Asia lasted just 18 games where an underwhelming .721 OPS isn’t enough for a foreigner to hold his roster spot.

He is now batting in Spring Training for the Cincinnati Reds, a good team to have a minor league contract with, but knows he won’t get a 40-man roster spot soon, and therefore will try and give it all for Puerto Rico.

Jhoulys Chacín (Venezuela)

You might have a feeling Chacín has been around for ages, which is true, as he made his debut in 2009. He was in Phoenix for just one season, in 2015, when he made 4 starts and actually achieved a pretty decent 3.38 ERA. Could have done more, were it not that he started that season in Cleveland and didn’t land in Arizona until the end of June, making his debut for the Snakes by the end of August.

He had some decent showings for the Padres and Milwaukee in 2017 and 2018 but ever since it has all been rather underwhelming. Last year he made 35 appearances as a reliever for the Rockies, pitching to a 7.61 ERA (!).

He is currently without a team but will take the mound for his home country Venezuela.

Silvino Bracho (Venezuela)

He was in the mix as one of the bullpen names, but when he had no options left and it came to the final battle, UCL made an end to Bracho’s journey in Arizona, which became even more of a struggle during 2020, when COVID made it impossible to make a good rehab. As such, Bracho missed two entire years of competitive pitching.

In 2021 he pitched for the Giants’ AAA team in Sacramento, in 2022 he was with the Red Sox and Braves, pitching a couple of innings in the MLB for the latter.

After wrapping up the WBC with Venezuela, he will try to return to the MLB again in Cincinnati.

Eduardo Escobar (Venezuela)

The third former D-Back on the Venezuelan squad is one of the most popular guys in recent years in Arizona, Eduardo Escobar.

The third baseman was an enjoyable guy for 3 years, who left the desert for Milwaukee in a trade when he was about to wrap up a 3 year/$21MM contract. After the 2021 season he signed a nice 2 yr/$20MM with the New York Mets. Both player and Mets would have probably expected more in 2022 than the .240/.295/.430 line he batted in Flushing.

The pressure is on for Escobar in 2023, not only in New York though, but also as one of the higher profile veterans on a talented Venezuela team.

David Peralta (Venezuela)

Seeing Peralta play in Dodger blue hurts the eye, but in the WBC we can once again cheer for the former franchise face who was a team regular in Arizona for 9 long years. He was serviceable in his final 2022 season in Phoenix and got traded to Tampa Bay for the final months of the season, where he hit a disappointing .652 OPS.

Peralta will probably the Dodgers’ every day starting left fielder when facing a righty, for Venezuela he will be the man in left no matter what.

Joel Payamps (Dominican Republic)

Payamps was a Diamondback for quite some time, having joined the club in 2015 after he was released by the Rockies. He got a quick look in the majors in 2019 and 2020 but was soon DFAd and lost on waivers to the Red Sox. They themselves lost Payamps to the Blue Jays where he actually pitched fine but was designated for assignment anyhow and traded to Kansas City.

There he started the 2022 season, but was eventually put on waivers in August and picked up by the A’s. He had an okay showing for them and at the end of December ended up in a huge three team trade around catcher Sean Murphy that sent him to the Brewers.

Whether he will be on the team there for a long time is a legit question, for the Dominican Republic he will be an important piece out of the bullpen. Payamps is seen as a valuable reliever in his home country where he has pitched quite some seasons for the Estrellas in the Dominican Winter League. Hanging around 40-man rosters has prevented him from pitching at home since 2021, but no way he would pass on the opportunity to represent the Dominican at the WBC.

Jean Segura (Dominican Republic)

The best player on a rather forgotten 2016 Diamondbacks team won’t need an introduction on the AZSnakePit. Segura has actually never repeated the success he had in Arizona, but has been a valuable member on the Mariners’ and Philies’ teams ever since. Injuries have kept him from making an impact in 2021 and 2022 though, which led the Phillies to buy his 2023 club option out. Segura will play for the Marlins in 2023 and 2024 and he won’t have to travel far to play for the Dominican Republic at the WBC as Group D will play its games in Miami as wel.