A Look at Team Israel for the 2023 World Baseball Classic

Team Israel is back in the World Baseball Classic, and will once again feature roster that does include a number of current Major Leaguers, as well as several Minor Leaguers and a retired infielder in ex-Twins third baseman Danny Valencia. Let’s take a closer look at Team Israel for the 2023 WBC.

Related: A Look at Team Venezuela in the 2023 World Baseball Classic


Team Israel will have a number of former and current MLB pitchers on its pitching staff, a group comprised mostly of Jewish-American ballplayers. This staff does include Orioles starter Dean Kremer, who flashed improved command last season and owned a very solid 3.23 ERA for Baltimore last season. Guardians pitching prospect Josh Wolf is another option as a starter. However, the former second-round pick hasn’t had much success in the Minors thus far. Across 99.1 career MiLB innings, Wolf owns a 5.26 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP.

The Israel national team bullpen should be a strength come March, as it is deeper as compared to some of the oother nations participating in the event. MLB veterans Richard Bleier and Adam Kolarek will be joined by Rockies RHP Jake Bird, Angels RHP Zack Weiss, and former Cub and Met Robert Stock. Bird and Weiss both saw time in the Majors last season, while Stock spent time up in the bigs in 2021.

Position Players

Israel is set to trot out an experienced outfield, led by Alex Dickerson and Joc Pederson. Pederson is coming off a fantastic season in San Francisco, one that saw the 30-year-old hit .274/.353/.521 with 23 home runs and 70 RBIs. Free agent Alex Dickerson saw just 36 plate appearances with the Braves last season, but could look to use this WBC as an audition should the veteran outfielder not sign between now and March. Dickerson did hit double digits in home runs in 2020 & 2021.

Prospect watchers should also keep an eye out on two notable names on Team Israel’s roster, in Athletics infielder Zack Gelof and Cubs 1B/DH Matt Mervis. Gelof is one of Oakland’s best position prospects, and is on the precipice of knocking on the door to enter the Majors. Last season, Gelof hit .270/.352/.463 over 96 MiLB games last season, with 18 home runs and 37 extra base hits. As for Mervis, the Cubs prospect broke out in 2022. The Duke product — who we ranked as one of our 10 fantasy hitting prospects to watch in 2023 — hit 36 home runs and batted .309 over 137 games last season, before shining in the Arizona Fall League in October & November.

In a group alongside Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic, it won’t be easy for Israel to advance past Pool D. But if Team Israel wants any chance, it’s going to need its pitching staff — which does include MLB talent — to come through.

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