Former MLB players dominate inaugural draft for Dubai-based Baseball United

Ex-All Stars Bartolo Colon, Robinson Cano, Pablo Sandoval, and Jair Jurrjens among the 80 players drafted by the four franchises

Eight-time MLB All-Star Robinson Cano has been drafted by Wolves for the inaugural Baseball United. Getty
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The Dubai-based Baseball United announced a star-studded lineup of the league’s first-ever Player Draft.

They named 80 players, with twenty picks for each of the league’s four founding franchises – Mumbai Cobras, Karachi Monarchs, and the league’s two UAE-based franchises, the Wolves and Falcons.

The inaugural draft was dominated by former Major League Baseball (MLB) players, with 91 per cent of the first four rounds, and 45 per cent of the overall draft selections, having played at the MLB level.

The draft included former New York Yankees stars Robinson Cano and Didi Gregorius – both drafted by the Wolves – and three-time World Series champion Pablo Sandoval, drafted by the Falcons.

Four-time MLB All-Star Bartolo Colon and four-time Gold Glove winner Andrelton Simmons were also among the top picks.

Of the 80 players drafted, 56 were originally drafted by MLB teams, with others playing in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League (NPB), the Mexican League (LMB), the Dominican Republic Professional Baseball League (LIDOM), and other high-level international leagues.

Texas native Karan Patel was drafted first overall, by the Mumbai Cobras. Patel was originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the seventh round of the 2019 MLB Draft, making him the first player of Indian descent drafted to MLB. His father is from Mumbai.

“Each milestone is important when you’re building something from nothing,” said Kash Shaikh, chairman, CEO, and majority owner of Baseball United.

“The draft is our biggest thus far. Putting players on teams makes everything much more real for everyone involved. We now have 80 high-calibre, professional baseball players to help build the foundation of this league. “There’s a lot of diversity in this group, from age and experience to skillset and nationality.

“We have All-Stars, former top draft picks, and a mix of veterans and younger guys to help carry the game across the world. I’m very happy for all our players, and very grateful to John Miedreich, Eddie Diaz, and our entire baseball operations team for bringing this group together.”

Baseball United’s drafted players come from 25 countries, including 36 from the United States, eight from the Dominican Republic, four from Curacao, and three each from Canada, Italy, and Venezuela.

Forty-four of the drafted players will team with six prospects from the Indian subcontinent and GCC region to compete in Baseball United’s All-Star Showcase next month in Dubai.

The Showcase will feature two teams playing a two-game series on November 24 and 25 at Dubai International Stadium.

Updated: October 26, 2023, 7:16 AM