1997 World Junior Rosters & Futures

MLB: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

Seven-time All-Star Matt Holiday played for Team USA (courtesy USA Today).

The 1997 World Junior Baseball Championships were held in Moncton.  That means this tournament was played 20 years ago!

I went over the rosters of all the teams that participated in the tournament to determine how far each player advanced in their baseball careers.  A few players would go on to play in the major leagues.  Others would play in the minors, independent leagues, foreign leagues or college.  The team listed is the one at the highest level the player played at.  When he played for more than one team at a particular level the team he played the most games with is listed.

As a general rule, when determining the highest level it went something like this: MLB – MiBL (which of course is divided into many levels) – independent leagues – foreign leagues – national teams – college – amateur leagues.  This way each player who played Minor League Baseball (aka Organized Baseball) is noted.  If a player played independent ball in North America this is also noted.  There were times when I could find evidence that a player played for the senior national team but not a professional club.  These players are noted with Team So & So.  I also made note when a player was active during the 2016 baseball season.  If included in the roster info, I also included the position(s) each player played at the 1997 World Juniors.

Some of the rosters a preliminary and others are final rosters.  So it is possible some players are listed that didn’t compete in the tournament while others who did are not listed.  The rosters came from the Baseball Canada site (archived from the Web Archive).  The future info mostly came from Baseball Reference, including the BR Bullpen.  There was one player whose information I found via their LinkedIn page!  Got to love the internet.

Australia

The 1997 Australian Junior team featured one future Major Leaguer and a handful that would play in the minors with MLB organizations.

Player Pos Future
Jeremy Bakker OF
Toby Barnett C Phillies (Gulf Coast)
Jason Blejwas P Dodgers (drafted)
Rohan Brasher SS Melbourne (ABL)
Haydn Chinn 2B Kalamazoo (Frontier)
Patrick Dawes P
Bradley Drain P Everett (Northwest)
Stephen Evans P
Daniel Flynn P
Anthony Hayes 2B
Tristen McDonald C Melbourne (ABL)
Cheyne Murphy IF-OF
Mark Saunderson C Yankess (signee)
Owen Smyth 3B Brisbane (ABL)
Phil Stockman P Atlanta Braves
Brendon Thomas P
Dane Tomaszewski 1B Great Falls (Pioneer)
Rodney Van Buizen SS Jacksonville (Southern)

Brazil

From what I can tell, no member of the Brazilian team would play for a Major League organization.  A few however, would spent time in Japan.  Judging from the names of the players, many have Japanese ancestry.

Player Pos Future
Cesar Massafumi Kameoka IF Team Brazil
Daniel Yuiti Matsumoto P Yakult (Japan)
Decio Ono P
Ricardo Hideki Shimanoe C
Thiago Tsujiguchi OF
Elanderson Naoki Izumi P
Elson Massaghi Nishimura Junior IF Team Brazil
Henrique Yoshio Sato OF
Lucas Saito IF
Marcio Andre Eiiti Yagui C
Marcos Tatsuo Yamamoto P
Reinaldo Tsuguio Sato IF Yakult (Japan)
Rodrigo Suzuki P
Rodrigo Watanabe Miyamoto P Yakult (Japan minors)
Thiago Norio Zandonai Kussano IF
Valter Tetsu Matumoto OF
Vitor Ricardo Higuchi OF Team Brazil
Ricardo Teruo Imamura P Team Brazil

Canada

Team Canada would only produce one Major Leaguer (Eric Cyr, who played only briefly).  But many team members would go on to play in the minors, including one Maritimer (David Detienne).  Others were drafted but didn’t play professionally.

Player Pos Future
Shawn Anderson SS/2B
Eric Cyr P San Diego Padres
Lee Delfino SS/2B Dunedin (Florida State)
David Detienne 3B Norfolk (International)
Brad Drew P Braves (drafted)
Charles Dubuc P Expos (Gulf Coast)
Dustin Emberley P Orioles (drafted)
Mike Eskildsen 3B/1B Rangers (drafted)
Matt Huntingford Of Hagerstown (South Atlantic)
Trent Kitsch C/1B/Of London (Frontier)
Reggie Laplante P Greensboro (South Atlantic)
Jason Mandryk P Orioles (drafted)
Craig Mosher P London (Frontier)
Jason Rich C Kelowna (CBL)
Lee Smith Of Mayville State College
Shane Sowden P Central Missouri State
Martin Tanguay 2B/SS Sherbrooke (LBMQ)
Doug Vandecaveye 1B/3B  Dodgers (drafted)

Chinese Taipei (Taiwan)

The team from Taiwan would produce at least two Major Leaguers.  This was a difficult team to trace as many Chinese names are similar and/or get lost in translation.  In others words, errors and/or likely exist in this list.

Player Pos Future
Huang, Wei-Lin C
Huang, Long-Yi OF La New Bears (Taiwan)
Lin, Tai-Ching OF
Wang, Shih-Hua IF Sinon Bulls (Taiwan)
Chu, Chun-Ting P
Wang, Yi-Min IF Whales (Taiwan)
Wang, Chien-Ming P New York Yankees (active)
Wu, Jui-Shen IF
Hung, Wei-Chieh IF
Chen, Chih-Cheng P
Chi, Chun-Lin OF Taiwan League (active)
Teng, Shih-Yang IF
Tsao, Chin-Hui IF (P) Colorado Rockies (active)
Wan, Chang-Hsien OF
Chen, Yuan-Chia P Cobras (Taiwan)
Chen, Ko-Fan C
Yu, Hsien-Ming P Sinon Bulls (Taiwan)
Hsu, Yu-Wei P

Cuba

Not surprisingly, most Cubans stayed on the island for their “professional” careers.  From my count, only one player would defect (reaching only A level ball) and another received permission to play in Japan.  Like the Chinese names, Latin names can be confusing so errors/oversights may exist here as well.

Player  Future
Yosbany Peraza Marin  –  Pinar del Rio (Cuba)
Calmiche Veloz Chis
Yoen Carlos Pedroso Broc  Las Tunas (Cuba)
Reymier Hernandez Pena
Eliacer Valera Hernandez  Sancti Spiritus (Cuba)
Josue Cabrera Quesada  Cuban League
Michel Enrique Tamayo  Isla de Juventud (Cuba)
Rudit Reyes Erice
Luis Nave Gonzalez  Santiago de Cuba
Serguey Perez Guillen  Industriales (Cuba)
Michel Rodriguez Cesar  Metropolitanos (Cuba)
Carlos Ramos Sobrino  Visalia (California)
Norberto Gonzalez Miranda  Cienfuegoes (Cuba)
Maels Rodriguez Corrales  Sancti Spiritus (Cuba)
Reymier Hernandez Valdes
Alberto Castro Lopez  Granma (Cuba)
Carlos Marifio Infanti
Reylandi Lopez Dulcet
Frederik Cepeda Cruz  Yomiuri (Japan)
Luis Fenales Jimenez
Andy Fache Hernandez  Sancti Spiritus (Cuba)?
Richar Delgado
Leobel Cardoso Serva
Mijail Gonzalez Torres  Metropolitanos (Cuba)

Czech Republic

The Czechs I was able to trace all stayed close to home, either going to Germany or staying in the Czech Republic.  Only a handful of Czech raised players have signed with Major League organizations over the years, none reaching MLB.

Player Future
Martin Cuta Technika Brno (Czech)
Ales Keprta Hornets (Germany)
Michal Koci Technica Brno (Czech)
Martin Vach
Michal Gil
Martin Pipa
Marek Scerba
Zdenek Votava Arrows Ostrava (Czech)
Jan Homolka Team Czech Republic
Michal Muller Krc Altron (Czech)
Tomas Kajml
Michal Lisko Ostrava Arrows (Czech)
Jan Chudoba Czech League
Jan Stehlik
Petr Stylarek
Martin Vesely Draci Brno (Czech)
Tomas Zahradnik Czech League
Jiri Senk
Lukas Macek
Christopher Gonda

Korea (South)

The South Koreans would produce two future Major Leaguers, but most would stay in Korea for their professional baseball careers.  This was another country were the names were at least somewhat confusing.  So errors/oversights may exist.

Player Pos Future
Min Kyu, Kim P
Yong Jong, Jeon P
Jae Hyun, Kim P
Sang Hoon, Han P Hanwha (Korea)
Jung Kil, Ma P Hanwha (Korea)
Hyung Chul, Lee P
Jin Soo, Kim C Doosan (Korea)
Jae Yoon, Hyun C Lions (Korea)
Hee Seop, Choi IF Los Angeles Dodgers
Ki Yeon, Kim IF
Won Kook, Song IF
Hyun Gon, Lee IF Tigers (Korea)
Nam Ki, Min IF
Sung Hyun, Choi IF
Joong Keun, Bong OF Atlanta Braves (active)
Ki Bum, Park OF
Chi Yong, An OF LG Twins (Korea)
Jin Young, Lee OF Wyverns (Korea)

Netherlands

The Dutch would produce a few minor leaguers but no Major Leaguers.  Unlike most Dutch teams, all players appear to be from Europe.  Most Dutch teams, at least at the senior level, contain many players from the Dutch Caribbean (namely Aruba and Curacao).

Player Pos Future
Jeroen Bakker P RCH (Dutch)
Michael Benner C Dutch Nationals
Quincey Bernardus OF Dutch League
Dave Hazel OF EHS (Dutch)
Sidney de Jong C Amsterdam (Dutch)
Robbert Keetelaar P
Erik Lindeman P PSV (Dutch)
Martijn Nijhoff P Neptunus (Dutch)
Tim van Pareren IF Vermont (NYPL)
Patrick Raimond IF
Eric de Rijcke P Sparta (Dutch)
Danny Rombley IF Harrisburg (Eastern) (active)
Vince Rooi OF Harrisburg (Eastern) (active)
Raban Schalm P Amsterdam (Dutch)
Erik Sodekamp P Pioniers (Dutch)
Alfred Stakelborough IF
Patrick Verbij IF
Niels Zuiderduyn IF

Russia

Believe it or not, the Dodgers would sign two players off this team.  One would play briefly in the farm system.  The rest of the players would stay in Russia.

Player Future
Artemi Artamonov Team Russia
Roman Bessonov Dodgers (signee)
Alexei Boikov
Ivan Bokine
Oleg Borovikov Spartak (Russia)
Stanislav Chevelev Spartak (Russia)
Alexei Chirokii
Serguei Karagodine
Alexandre Kartsev
Igor Lioultchak
Iouri Perepelitsa Team Russia
Valeri Platonov Balashikha (Russia)
Viktor Riabov
Andrei Sazonov Team Russia
Oleg Semenov Team Russia
Serguei Soloviev Team Russia
Alexandre Toropov Great Falls (Pioneer)
Roman Zelenski

United States

Not surprisingly, Team USA would produce the most Major Leaguers (nine).  Ever player on this roster would at least be drafted by a MLB organization, many of which would play Minor League Baseball.

Player Pos Future
Seth Davidson INF New Britain (Eastern)
Jerry Laird C/OF Texas Rangers (active)
Manny Crespo OF Sarasota (Florida State)
Koyle Hill INF Chicago Cubs
Trent Pratt C Reading (Eastern)
Josh McKinley INF Harrisburg (Eastern)
Cory Vance P Colorado Rockies
Michael Cuddyer INF/P Minnesota Twins
J.D. Closser C/OF Colorado Rockies
Paul French P Anaheim(drafted)
Matt Holliday P/OF St. Louis Cardinals (active)
Jason Hubbard P/OF Cincinnati (drafted)
Chad Cislak P Burlington (Appy)
Will Rosellini P Missoula (Pioneer)
Matt Riley P Baltimore Orioles
Mike Smalley P Myrtle Beach (Carolina)
Rick Ankiel P/1B St. Louis Cardinals
Austin Kearns P/1B Cincinnati Reds

Venezuela

Venezuela would only produce two minor leaguers in this tournament.  The effect of MLB teams signing Latin prospects at age 16 is really felt by their national teams at the junior level.  Due to Latin naming customs (mother’s maiden name is often included) it was difficult to trace some players.  Especially in cases where there were many players with similar names.  Again, I will give the disclaimer that errors/oversights may exist.

Player Pos Future
Manuel Alvarez P
Edgar Betancourt P
Armando Camacaro C Buffalo (International)
Osmar Castillo IF Sarasota (Florida State)
Alejandro Chacin OF
Jesus Diaz OF
Luis Marquez P
Luis Medina P
Luis Moncada IF
Willy Montero IF
Richard Montiel OF Puerto Cruz (Spain)
Herbert Pirela IF-OF
Luis Redondo P
Osjun Rivas IF
Will Torres P
Luis Torres C
Luis Vasquez P
Cesar Yepez OF
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