When You Strike Out Juan Soto, Julio Rodriguez, and Rafael Devers, You Get Signed by an MLB Team
So far, the 2023 World Baseball Classic has been absolutely awesome. The atmosphere has been incredible. We’ve had surprise performances, a couple of stunning upsets, some familiar MLB stars shining, and more. Basically, it’s been everything we could’ve hoped for (and then some).
But for one player, Duque Hebbert, something magical may have happened.
Although his team, Nicaragua, fell to the uber-talented (and pre-tournament favorite) Dominican Republic squad on Monday, the 21-year-old righty turned some heads.
In case you missed it, let me set the stage: Hebbert entered in the ninth inning to face the top of the Dominican lineup. Then? He struck out Juan Soto (swinging). He struck out Julio Rodriguez (swinging). And after giving up a double to Manny Machado, he struck out Rafael Devers (swinging) to end the inning.
That’s a former batting champion, the reigning AL Rookie of the Year, and a two-time All Star. And it wasn’t just that he struck them out, he struck them out with some downright FILTH. And all swinging!
Hebbert has never played baseball in the United States. He doesn’t have overwhelming stuff. At 5’10 and slight of frame he threw changeups in the mid-80’s, but that was good enough to strike out three of the best hitters in the world.
Who knows how Hebbert would fare over a bigger sample size against good hitters in the US, but he’ll apparently get the chance. The Nicaraguan national team announced on Twitter that Hebbert is signing with the Detroit Tigers.
It’s hard not to root for a guy who came from out of nowhere to try and make it to the Major Leagues. Even if he doesn’t, Duque Hebbert will have a story he can tell for the rest of his life!