The 2023 World Baseball Classic gives fans of the game the chance to see some names that have previously played in the Majors. Some of those names, for what it’s worth, have become stars outside of the United States. Here’s a look at five former Major Leaguers that made an impact in the 2023 WBC.
Former Mariners outfielder Wladimir Balentien hit just .221 over three MLB seasons, before a lengthy career overseas. Balentin, who has 502 home runs across his 17-year career in the Minors, MLB, and foreign ranks, had himself a strong WBC for The Netherlands. The 38-year-old hit .364/.462/.364 with two walks and four hits.
It might be the last time we Balentien on the world stage, but he did do well for the Dutch in Taiwan.
“The Dark Knight” rose in Taiwan once more. Former MLB All-Star Matt Harvey pitched for Team Italy, which made it into the quarterfinals after going 2-2 in pool play. Harvey pitched in both wins, including on March 12 against the Dutch. The ex-Met went four innings and allowed just one run to earn the win for the Italia. In total, Harvey posted a 1.29 ERA and three strikeouts over seven innings.
The 33-year-old topped out in the low-90s with his fastball, but he mixed it well with his slider to beat hitters. While no one should expect the Harvey of old to come back, a MLB return shouldn’t be ruled out just yet.
Former Nationals pitcher Shairon Martis threw just 116 innings in his MLB career, but he’s been a mainstay for Team Netherlands for years. In the 2023 World Baseball Classic, Martis notched a win and four strikeouts over 3.1 IP in pool play.
The 35-year-old last pitched in the Majors in 2013 with the Minnesota Twins.
Former journeyman infielder Eric Sogard was the lone Major Leaguer on Team Czech Republic. The veteran Major Leaguer did quite well in pool play of the World Baseball Classic. Across four games, Sogard recorded seven base hits for Czech Republic, which tied for second among all players as of March 13.
Sogard hit .438 and recorded an .876 OPS in those four games.
Former Mets infielder and Harvey’s former teammate Ruben Tejada suited up for Team Panama in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. In four games for Panama, Tejada hit .333/.375/.667 with five hits in 15 at-bats. The veteran infielder belted one home run and drove in three runs.