Class of the Classic (Non-MLB Division)

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Let The Classic Games Begin!

Photograph By Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Japanese won it in 2006 and 2009, and celebrated appropriately. Now, the 2013 World Baseball Classic opens this weekend with pool play in Japan and Taiwan. (Team USA, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Mexico and others don't begin play until next weekend.) You know the names of the stars who are expected to be on display as the WBC unfolds -- Ryan Braun, Robinson Cano, Giancarlo Stanton, Anibal Sanchez, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Mauer, Elvis Andrus and many others -- and you'll see plenty of them over the next few weeks. Maybe you aren't as familiar, though, with the players we're featuring here; they're some of the best baseball players in the world but they've never appeared in a major league game. They all figure to be in prominent roles in the WBC.