Under Ian Kinsler, Israel Will Battle Top Teams in Pool Play at World Baseball Classic

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

The 2023 World Baseball Classic will be Israel’s second time appearing in the event, after qualifying for the 2017 tournament under manager Jerry Weinstein. Israel will begin the 2023 World Baseball Classic in Miami during Pool D at Loan Depot Park from March 11-15, where they will go up against the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Nicaragua during pool play. Israel won all three games in Pool A of the 2017 World Baseball Classic beating baseball powerhouses South Korea, Chinese Taipei, and the Netherlands to advance to the second pool round. Israel’s Cinderella run came to a close after they lost to Japan in the final game of the second round.  

Israel has built their roster with players that hold an Israeli passport, are eligible to obtain permanent legal residence or citizenship, or has a parent is Israeli in order to play in the World Baseball Classic. 

Israel had two wins during the qualifier for the 2013 tournament, but lost to Spain in the final of the qualifier to fall short the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Israel qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Parma, Italy under manager Eric Holtz at the World Baseball Softball Confederation Europe/Africa Qualifiers in September of 2019 before the Covid-19 Pandemic pushed back the 2020 Summer Olympics.  In the Olympics under Holtz, Israel appeared in the six-team field and won just one game against Mexico at Yokohama Stadium. Israel last played in a senior event in September of 2021 at the European Baseball Championships, which were held in Turin, Italy, where they lost to the Netherlands in the gold medal game.  

Ranked 20th in the world in the World Baseball Softball Confederation’s World Baseball Rankings, Israel is one of five nations representing from the WBSC Europe sector at the 2023 World Baseball Classic. The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Italy and Great Britain are the other four in the 20-nation tournament field.

Israel manager Ian Kinsler, who won a gold medal withTeam USA during the 2017 WBC, will look to field a competitive lineup for his offense along with his pitching staff during the World Baseball Classic. Israel will be competitive with some of the top baseball-playing nations in pool play if their pitching can hold up.  Players such as Joc Pederson, Danny Valencia, rising Cubs prospect Matt Mervis, and Ryan Lavarnway can give Israel offensive depth. 

Israel will begin to train in Jupiter, Fla. on March 6 and will play two exhibition games on March 8 against the Miami Marlins in Jupiter at 6:40 p.m. EST and on March 9 against the Washington Nationals at 6:05 p.m. EST in West Palm Beach. Israel will play their first game of the 2023 World Baseball Classic against Nicaragua on March 12 at Noon EST on Fox Sports 2.  

Israel 2023 World Baseball Classic 
CFA – denotes Current Free Agent 

Pitchers (Team)
Jake Bird (Colorado Rockies)
Richard Bleier (Boston Red Sox)
Daniel Federman (Baltimore Orioles)
Jake Fishman (Oakland Athletics) 
Brandon Gold (CFA) 
Colton Gordon (Houston Astros)
Andrew Gross (Tampa Bay Rays)
Jake Kalish (Los Angeles Angels)
Rob Kaminsky (Colorado Rockies)
Alex Katz (Staten Island FerryHawks)
Adam Kolarek (Oakland Athletics)
Evan Kravetz (Cincinnati Reds)
Dean Kremer (Baltimore Orioles)
Shlomo Lipetz (CFA) 
Jake Miednik (CFA) 
Kyle Molnar (CFA) 
Bubby Rossman (Adelaide Giants)
Jacob Steinmetz (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Robert Stock (Milwaukee Brewers)
Joey Wagman (Bravos de León)
Zack Weiss (Los Angeles Angels)
Josh Wolf (Cleveland Guardians)

Catchers (Team) 
Jakub Goldfarb (Tri-City Valley Cats)
Ryan Lavarnway (Melbourne Aces)
Garrett Stubbs (Philadelphia Phillies)

Infielders (Team)
Zack Gelof (Oakland Athletics)
Spencer Horwitz (Toronto Blue Jays)
Ty Kelly (CFA)
Assaf Lowengart (CFA)
Noah Mendlinger (St. Louis Cardinals) 
Matt Mervis (Chicago Cubs)
Danny Valencia (CFA)
Michael Wielansky  (Southern Maryland Blue Crabs)

Outfielders (Team) 
Alex Dickerson (CFA) 
Joc Pederson (San Francisco Giants)

Coaching Staff
Ian Kinsler – Manager
Brad Ausmus – Bench Coach
Kevin Youkilis – Hitting Coach
Josh Zeid – Pitching Coach
Tyger Pederson – First Base Coach
Blake Gailen – Third Base Coach
Nate Fish -Bullpen Coach

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