Baltimore Orioles

Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander plans to play for Venezuela in World Baseball Classic

The offseason outlook for Anthony Santander this year is different. He normally gives himself a month to recover at the end of the season to get healthy after a grueling 162-game schedule. But with the World Baseball Classic in March, Santander plans to shorten that rest period down to a week to 10 days.

The Orioles outfielder, who is coming off a career year, plans to compete for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.


“It means a lot,” Santander told The Baltimore Sun. “To have the Venezuelan name on your chest, it’s amazing. That’s a tournament we play with a lot of energy and we try to take that win for the whole country, and it’s happening for our people.”

Santander isn’t the lone Orioles player to compete in the World Baseball Classic, which begins March 8 and finishes March 21 with the championship game at LoanDepot Park in Miami. Right-hander Dillon Tate and center fielder Cedric Mullins will compete for Team USA, and right-hander Dean Kremer is playing for Team Israel.

Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander, right, who is coming off a career year, plans to compete for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.

Kremer could face his Baltimore teammate in the early rounds, with Venezuela and Israel joining Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and an undetermined qualifier team in Pool D. The first round will also take place in Miami, where Santander lives in the offseason.

Santander thought the opportunity to represent Venezuela was approaching after his 2022 season. The 27-year-old switch hitter batted .240 but led the Orioles with a career-high 33 home runs and 89 RBIs. His strikeout rate dropped to 18.9% and his walk rate rose to a career-high 8.5%.

That reinforced his power numbers, particularly in clutch moments. Santander’s 120 weighted runs created plus — where 100 is league average — was behind only catcher Adley Rutschman for best on the team.

Santander credits his improved strike zone discipline and his offseason workout regimen, which included a focus on building strength in his toes, for his breakout season. It helped him avoid major injuries, too, keeping him on the field for 152 games.

And now he’ll be on the field for Venezuela, joining some of MLB’s biggest names, such as Miguel Cabrera and José Altuve.