Sebastian Elizalde has been added to the Mexico roster for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. This was first reported by Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The now 25-year-old Mexican outfielder originally signed with the Cincinnati Reds as 21-year-old in May of 2013. He didn’t play that season after having to undergo Tommy John surgery. In 2014 he made his organizational debut, splitting time between Low-A Dayton and Advanced-A Bakersfield. Between the two stops he hit .289/.380/.479 with 29 doubles and 16 home runs. The next season he returned to the Advanced-A level, but this time it was the opposite environment. The Reds switched affiliates, going from the incredibly hitter friendly Cal League in Bakersfield to the incredibly pitcher friendly Florida State League in Daytona. Unsurprisingly, his offense went backwards as he hit .253/.310/.397 on the year.

Last season he was promoted to Double-A Pensacola. That’s where he’d spend his entire year. His offense improved some, but it also changed. He hit .297/.324/.387 on the season for the Blue Wahoos. The average was up, but the power was down. The then 24-year-old went to a much more contact oriented approach. He cut his strikeout rate from 20.4% in 2015 to 13.9% in 2016. That also led to fewer walks as a result.

Sebastian Elizalde can play both left field and right field. He also has some experience at first base. For Team Mexico he provides some defensive options. Elizalde will be replacing Khris Davis on the roster. He will join outfielders Jose Aguilar, Efren Navarro, Chris Roberson and Alex Verdugo on the roster. It’s highly unlikely he will see any time at first base, which is locked down by Adrian Gonzalez.

The Reds invited Sebastian Elizalde to big league camp. He’s not on the 40-man roster, and he was a long shot to make the club out of spring training. Getting time playing for his country in the World Baseball Classic seems like a good choice for him. If he were truly competing for a spot on the Reds, maybe it wouldn’t be beneficial to leave camp – as some other players around Major League Baseball have done. For Elizalde, it probably seems like a very easy decision to put on the Mexico jersey this March.

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