Baltimore Orioles OF Anthony Santander has gotten off to a hot start in the World Baseball Classic
With the World Baseball Classic in full swing, four countries have already clinched a berth into the tournament beginning on Wednesday and teams from two other pools battle it out in an attempt to win the classic for their country.
Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander has emerged as one of the stars of Team Venezuela as he hit a home run in each of the teams' first two wins. Of course, Orioles fans are well aware of the strength and power that Santander possesses, but his success on the world stage has introduced him to an international audience.
With the Orioles, Santander has succeeded as a power hitter and serviceable defensive player in the right field. Injuries over the past few seasons have limited his mobility and athleticism. The emergence of young outfield prospects means that Anthony likely needs a strong season in 2023 to remain with the Orioles long-term.
Last season, he led the Orioles with 33 home runs and has shown power from both sides of the plate. He hit 22 of his 33 homers as a lefty and both of his WBC home runs have come from that side of the plate. Defensively, Santander struggled last year to the tune of a -11.6 defensive value according to FanGraphs. This occurred in large part due to a lingering foot injury that limited his mobility in the outfield and made him a defensive liability next to Cedric Mullins.
Another promising aspect of Santander's WBC performance has been an increase in outfield mobility. He made one athletic diving catch in Venezuela's first win against the Dominican Republic. The lingering foot injury from last season has seemed to subside which is a promising sign for the Orioles. For the Orioles to earn their first Postseason berth since 2016, they will want to see Anthony continue to show off his power and defensive potential.
How other Baltimore Orioles are doing in the WBC
Elsewhere in the WBC, Dean Kremer and Cedric Mullins each put up impressive performances for their respective national teams. Kremer pitched four scoreless innings with four strikeouts and one walk in Israel's win over Nicaragua in Pool D play. Dean is in consideration to start on Opening Day for the O's after an impressive 2022 campaign and his impressive performance on the international stage could boost his odds.
Mullins hit an RBI triple in Team USA's monster first inning against Canada on Monday in his first start of the classic. Cedric hit the triple off of Canadian right-handed pitcher RJ Freure and showed off his elite speed in the hit. The triple was screamed over the head of Canada's right fielder giving the United States a 6-0 lead as Trea Turner scored from first. He finished the game 1-for-3 in the United States' run-rule 7-inning win.
Between Anthony Santander, Dean Kremer, and Cedric Mullins, Orioles players have fared impressively in the World Baseball Classic and will look to continue these impressive outings over this next week and into the regular season.