February 8, 2017
By Scott Barancik, editor
At 6:00pm ET today, Israel released its final, 28-man roster for the World Baseball Classic in South Korea this March.
The list includes a number of players who have never before represented Israel, and a handful who did so both in the 2013 and 2016 WBC qualifiers.
The players are:
- Dylan Axelrod, P (free agent)
- Corey Baker, P (Cardinals/minors)
- Jeremy Bleich, P (free agent)
- Zach Borenstein, OF (Arizona/minors)
- Craig Breslow, P (Twins/minors)
- Danny Burawa, P (free agent)
- Scotty Burcham, IF (Rockies/minors)
- Gabe Cramer, P (Royals/minors)
- Ike Davis, 1B (Dodgers/minors)
- Cody Decker, IF (Brewers/minors)
- Blake Gailen, OF (independent)
- Nate Freiman, 1B (free agent)
- Sam Fuld, OF (free agent)
- Tyler Herron, P (Mets/minors)
- Jake Kalish, P (Royals/minors)
- Alex Katz, P (White Sox/minors)
- Ty Kelly, IF (New York Mets)
- Dean Kremer, P (Dodgers/minors)
- Tyler Krieger, IF (Indians/minors)
- Ryan Lavarnway, C (Athletics/minors)
- Shlomo Lipetz, P (Israel)
- Jason Marquis, P (free agent)
- Mike Meyers, OF (Red Sox/minors)
- Troy Neiman, P (Rockies/minors)
- R.C. Orlan, P (Nationals/minors)
- Nick Rickles, C (Nationals/minors)
- Joey Wagman, P (Athletics/minors)
- Josh Zeid, P (free agent)
All but one of the 28 — Shlomo Lipetz — have at least some minor-league experience, and 11 have played in the Majors. Two key additions are Ty Kelly and Sam Fuld. During the qualifiers in September, Kelly was playing for the New York Mets, while Fuld, then with the Oakland Athletics, was on the disabled list.
A number of top Jewish players that general manager Peter Kurz had hoped to attract turned down the offer, and for a variety of reasons. Key among them were Danny Valencia, Joc Pederson, Ryan Braun, Kevin Pillar and Jon Moscot. Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros and Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers have committed to play for Team USA.
Israel’s first game will take place March 6 against South Korea, followed by games against Chinese Taipei and the Netherlands. If Israel wins that first-round pool, it will be allowed to replace up to two pitchers on its roster. Options include Scott Feldman and Richard Bleier, among others.
Under WBC rules, athletes can play on Team Israel as long as they are eligible for Israeli citizenship. That means having at least one Jewish grandparent or being married to someone Jewish. Almost all the players on Israel’s roster personally identify as Jewish.
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