By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Great Britain will be appearing in their first World Baseball Classic, and manager Drew Spencer will have a big task, as they will play in Pool C from March 11-15 at Chase Field in Phoenix and will face the United States, Canada, Mexico and Colombia in pool play.
The British Baseball Federation is the national governing body for British Baseball. Great Britain is one of the five teams from the World Baseball Softball Confederation Europe sector to be in the 20-team field of the World Baseball Classic. Israel, Italy, Czech Republic and the Netherlands are the other four. Great Britain is currently ranked 22nd in the World Baseball Rankings.
The Brits will have a mix of players drawn from the high minor leagues, major leaguers, independent league players, collegiate players, international league players, and professional free agents in the tournament. Great Britain was the first team to qualify for the 2023 World Baseball Classic, beating Spain 10-9 in Regensburg, Germany, in September, when Alex Crosby hit a game-winning sacrifice fly to left field in the bottom of the 10th inning after to send Matt Koperniak home with the game-winning run.
Great Britain will carry players from the Bahamas and other British territories, as well as players that hold British citizenship in the World Baseball Classic. Bahamian players such a Chavez Young, D’Shawn Knowles, and Lucius Fox will be key players for Great Britain during the World Baseball Classic.
Starting catcher Harry Ford, who plays in the Seattle Mariners organization, will have a huge role for Great Britain during the tournament. Ford played well during the qualifiers of the World Baseball Classic, hitting three home runs and batting .455 to help Great Britain qualify.
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Trayce Thompson, the brother of NBA superstar Klay Thompson, will also play for Great Britain in the World Baseball Classic. Last season was Thompson’s sixth season as a major leaguer, split between the San Diego Padres and Dodgers. Thompson played in 80 games with 255 plate appearances and recorded 56 hits, 13 home runs, and 41 RBI. On January 13, 2023 Thompson agreed to a one-year, $1.45 million contract with the Dodgers and avoided salary arbitration.
Great Britain will have to shock the baseball world on all levels to have a chance to get to Miami for the single-elimination quarterfinals. Great Britain will play their first game of the World Baseball Classic against defending 2017 World Champion United States at 9 p.m. EST at Chase Field in Phoenix on FOX.
Great Britain Roster for the 2023 World Baseball Classic
CFA – denotes Current Free Agent
Donovan Benoit (Cincinnati Reds)
Malik Binns (Philadelphia Phillies)
Richard Brereton (CFA)
Daniel Cooper (CFA)
Jake Esch (CFA)
Chavez Fernander (Detroit Tigers)
Ian Gibaut (Cincinnati Reds)
Gunnar Groen (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Joseph King (St. Louis Cardinals)
Ryan Long (Baltimore Orioles)
McKenzie Mills (Tigres de Quintana Roo)
Akeel Morris (Long Island Ducks)
Branden Noriega (Chicago Cubs)
Cam Opp (New York Mets)
Michael Petersen (Colorado Rockies)
Chris Reed (CFA)
Michael Roth (CFA)
Andre Scrubb (CFA)
Jack Seppings (Brown University)
Matteo Sollecito (CFA)
Graham Spraker (Tampa Bay Rays)
Tahnaj Thomas (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Tyler Viza (CFA)
Alex Webb (CFA)
Vance Worley (Kane County Cougars)
Ural Forbes (CFA)
Harry Ford (Seattle Mariners)
Alex Crosby (Southern Maryland Blue Crabs)
Lucius Fox (Washington Nationals)
B. J. Murray (Chicago Cubs)
Darnell Sweeney (CFA)
Nick Ward (Washington Wild Things)
Justin Wylie (New Jersey Jackals)
Chavez Young (Pittsburgh Pirates)
D’Shawn Knowles (Los Angeles Angels)
Matt Koperniak (St. Louis Cardinals)
Anfernee Seymour (Long Island Ducks)
Trayce Thompson (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Head coach – Drew Spencer
Bench coach – Antoan Richardson
Hitting Coach – Jonathon Cramman
Pitching Coach – Zach Graefser
First Base Coach – Albert Cartwright
Third Base Coach – TS Reed
Bullpen Coach – Conor Brooks