Israel 2017 WBC Review

Overview - Israel does not have much of an international history in baseball. They did try to run a professional league with United States financial backing but that fell through. Major league baseball still favors them and selected them for a qualifier in 2012. They won their first two games, including defeating the eventual winner Spain but they lost to Spain in the finals 9-7.

Back to the drawing board and this time Israel went undefeated, beating Great Britain twice and Brazil to qualify for the WBC. This will be their first significant international baseball event.

The rules for the WBC allows you to play for a country if you can obtain a passport from that country. That usually means you were born there or had a mother or father who was born in that country. For Israel you can obtain a passport if you are Jewish. It is an easier standard to meet allowing Israel to stock their roster with Jewish major leaguers.

Current International Ranking - Israel is currently ranked 41st in the international rankings, the lowest of any team who qualified for this event. They will be playing South Korea (3), Taiwan (4) and the Netherlands (9). That will be some tough company to beat.

Roster

Pitchers - Dylan Axelrod, Corey Baker, Jeremy Bleich, Craig Breslow, Danny Burawa, Gabe Cramer, Tyler Herron, Jake Kalish, Alex Katz, Dean Kremer, Shlomo Lipitz, Jason Marquis, Troy Neiman, R.C. Orlan, Joey Wagman (DPP), Josh Zeid

Designated Pitchers Pool - Richard Bleier, Scott Feldman, Jake Fishman, Brad Goldberg, Kenny Koplove, Jared Lakind, Ryan Sherriff, Zack Thornton

Catchers - Ryan Lavarnway, Nick Rickles

Infield - Scott Burcham, Ike Davis, Cody Decker, Nate Freiman, Ty Kelly, Tyler Krieger

Outfield - Zach Borenstein, Sam Fuld, Blake Gailen, Mike Meyers

Strengths - They have a veteran in Jason Marquis who can shut down a team for one game. Some bullpen pieces in Josh Zeid, Craig Breslow and Danny Burawa who can hold teams down in the later innings. It will be interesting to see what Ike Davis has left. He could be another Chris Colabello who led Italy in the last WBC. Nate Freiman is another power bat but too much swing and miss put a dead end to his major league career.

Weakness - Not enough fire power for this division. Overall their pitching and hitting will be weak. They have a number of journeyman minor leaguers such as Zach Borenstein and Sam Fuld trying to lead this offense.

Prospect to Watch - Tyler Krieger was drafted in the fourth round of the 2015 draft by the Cleveland Indians. He had labrum surgery so missed the 2015 season but hit .299 at two levels in the minors (Low A/High A). His one big attribute is his speed.

Expected Finish - If they win a game and do not have to qualify for the 2021 WBC that would be an accomplishment. They will not advance past the first round.

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