MLB stars to play in new Dubai-based professional baseball league

29 of the first 32 picks played in Major League Baseball, including former All-Stars Bartolo Colon and Robinson Cano

By Team KT

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Kash Shaikh (third from right), Chairman, CEO, and Majority Owner, Baseball United, with draft picks of Team Wolves — Supplied photo
Kash Shaikh (third from right), Chairman, CEO, and Majority Owner, Baseball United, with draft picks of Team Wolves — Supplied photo

Published: Wed 25 Oct 2023, 1:33 PM

Dubai-based Baseball United announced the official results of the league’s first-ever Player Draft. Eighty players were selected, with twenty picks for each of the league’s founding franchises – the Mumbai Cobras, the 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.


Selections 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 total 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.

Houston, Texas (USA) 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, Baseball United.

“But yesterday’s 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 team with six prospects from the Indian subcontinent and GCC region are 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 24th and 25th at Dubai International Stadium. Tickets are on sale now via Baseball United’s website or through the league’s ticket partner, Platinumlist.


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