The World Baseball Classic is taking place from March 7th to the 21st this year. Phillies fans are looking forward to watching it because many of the team’s beloved players have an active role on different rosters.
Catcher JT Realmuto, Outfielder Kyle Schwarber, and Shortstop Trea Turner are on the roster for Team USA this year. Unfortunately, previously committed Bryce Harper will not be able to play in the WBC as he is recovering from surgery. Team USA will greatly benefit from having these three key Phillies players on the team for the tournament. JT Realmuto-rated the number 1 catcher in baseball according to MLB Network-leads the MLB with an average pop time of 1.82. Realmuto contributes to the Phillies lineup as a successful hitter as well. A great performance is expected from Realmuto throughout the tournament. Team USA is also hoping Kyle Schwarber will be able to add to their batting success. Schwarber had a total of 46 home runs, leading the National League for the 2022 season. Additionally, many Phillies fans are looking forward to seeing the number 1 rated shortstop, Trea Turner, in action. This will be a chance to see what he may add to the lineup in the regular season this year. Turner is a 5-tool player and should be able to display this not only to his Philadelphia teammates and fans but to Team USA as they compete this March.
Ranger Suarez and Jose Alvarado, both left-handed pitchers, will be on the roster for Team Venezuela. Suarez and Alvarado both played an essential roles in the Philadelphia Phillies postseason run, and may be able to give the same kind of effort to their team in the WBC.
Phillies backup catcher Garrett Stubbs will be a part of Team Israel. Stubbs should be able to offer a lot to his team having an average of 1.91 pop time, which rated him 7th among all catchers in the MLB.
Starting pitcher Taijuan Walker will play for Team Mexico and relief pitcher Gregory Soto for the Dominican Republic. This will be a good opportunity to watch these stars play in pressured game settings where the Phillies can see what they may be able to contribute during the 2023 season.
The fans are not the only ones looking forward to the World Baseball Classic. Phillies Manager, Rob Thompson, is happy with eight of his players participating in it. “In a way, I kind of like it because it gets those guys geared up in spring training a little bit quicker,” Thomson said. “It gets them into a competitive atmosphere a little bit earlier. And in a lot of ways, it helps guys.” Kyle Schwarber and JT Realmuto both expressed excitement as well. “You’re playing playoff-type games before you even play your first game of the regular season,” Schwarber said during media availability Monday. “These are going to be playoff-like at-bats. I think it can definitely be helpful.” Realmuto said, “Obviously those games in spring training can drag out a little bit, so for us to be able to get away and still be getting ready for the season, but also go and play these games that means so much for us and for our countries, I think that was pretty appealing to a lot of guys.” As long as they can stay healthy, playing in this tournament will give a lot of the players a competitive edge as they enter the new season.