2023 WBC: What Diamondbacks players are in it?

Milwaukee Brewers v Arizona Diamondbacks
Milwaukee Brewers v Arizona Diamondbacks / Norm Hall/GettyImages

The World Baseball Classic will begin on Tuesday, March 7 at 11:00 PM and will end on Tuesday, March 21. If you didn't know, some of the games will take place at Chase Field! Go buy your tickets now!

OF Alek Thomas: Mexico

Alek Thomas is a very intriguing player for the Diamondbacks given his age.  The moon is the limit for this kid and at the age of 22, he will be representing his country in the World Baseball Classic before Arizona’s season begins…

Currently, Mexico's outfield boasts the names of Rays Randy Arozarena, Red Sox Alex Verdugo, and Jared Duran, Rangers Jose Cardona, and D-backs Alek Thomas.  Randy Arozarena and Alex Verdugo are locks for 2 of the outfield spots, but the 3rd one could be up for grabs.  Jose Cardona is probably out of the race as he has failed to reach the bigs, but it will be a close call between Thomas and Duran for the 3rd spot.  Duran owns a .629 OPS in 91 big league games as well as a -2 OAA.  Thomas on the other hand owns a .619 OPS in 113 big league games as well as a 7 OAA.  Duran may be a better hitter by a small margin, but Thomas is a better all-around player.  If you ask me, Thomas deserves the nod…

Mexico will face a Colombia team led by Angels infielder Gio Urshela for their first game.  Mark your calendar, the game will take place Saturday, March 11 at 12:30 p.m. MST

SP Merrill Kelly: USA

The one and only Diamondbacks player representing the land of the free; Merrill Kelly. Kelly enjoyed a solid 2022 season as he went 13-8 with a 3.37 ERA over the course of 33 starts.  He will be joining a USA roster that is absolutely stacked for the WBC.  Here are the projected starters:

C: J.T Realmuto (Phillies)

1B: Paul Goldschmidt (Cardianls)

2B: Tim Anderson (White Sox)

SS: Trea Turner (Phillies)

3B: Nolan Arenado (Cardinals)

OF: Mookie Betts (Dodgers)

OF: Mike Trout (Angels)

OF: Kyle Tucker (Astros)

DH: Pete Alonso (Mets)

Lord have mercy, that lineup is ridiculous.  On top of a stacked lineup, the USA will showcase some elite pitching.  Kelly will be joining a group of starting pitchers that includes decorated veterans Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn; Cardinals Miles Mikolas who recorded a 3.29 ERA last season in 32 starts; Rockies lefty Kyle Freeland who was dominant on the road a season ago; and up and coming Royals pitcher Brady Singer.  The real question is, how is manager Mark Derosa going to find time to pitch all of these guys?

The USA will face a Great Britain team led by Dodgers outfielder Tracye Thompson for their first game.  Mark your calendar, the game will take place Saturday, March 11 at 7:00 p.m. MST

2B Ketel Marte: Dominican Republic

The beloved Diamondbacks infielder will be heading to the WBC representing the DR.  Amazingly, the last time there was a WBC was 2017; 2017 marked year one for Ketel in a D-backs uniform.  In 2022, Marte had his worst year at the plate since joining Arizona.  He finished the season with a .728 OPS in 137 games... 

Like the USA roster, the DR roster is absolutely stacked.  The sad truth is, Marte may be on the outside looking in when it comes to being a starter for his country.  The infielders on the DR include names like Vlad Gurrero Jr., Rafael Devers, Wander Franco, Manny Machado, Jeremy Pena, and Jean Segura.  It is hard to see where Marte will fit into the infield with names like that.  One thing that could get Marte into the starting lineup is his ability to mash left-handed pitching.  Last season against lefties, Marte slashed .276/.342/.470 for an OPS of .812.  His number may get called late in a game to pinch-hit against a lefty.  Who knows, maybe Marte will become a hero in the DR for a single at-bat.  You heard it here first…  

The Dominican Republic will face a Venezuelan team led by Astros infielder Jose Altuve for their first game.  Mark your calendar, the game will take place Saturday, March 11 at 5:00 p.m. MST

IF Emmanuel Rivera: Puerto Rico

Emmanuel Rivera is no doubt, a talented player.  In 39 games with the D-backs a season ago, he posted a 7 OAA (Outs Above Average) at 3B which would rank him in the top 10 in all of baseball.  He also hit 6 HRs, 18 RBIs, and recorded a .728 OPS…

Like, Marte, Rivera might be on the outside looking in when it comes to starting.  Rivera plays 3B and 1B and it seems like those positions will already be taken.  Puerto Rico has both Fransico Lindor and Javier Baez on the roster.  Likely, one of them will shift over to 3B; probably Baez.  At first, Rivera has a chance, but the nod will likely go to young Minnesota Twins star Jose Miranda.  Rivera will likely see time off the bench pinch-hitting, or he might even come off the bench late in the game to play 3rd.  Either way, the D-backs organization has to be proud of the trade they made to get a guy like Rivera…

Puerto Rico will face a Nicagura team led by Yankees pitcher Jonathan Loáisiga for their first game.  Mark your calendar, the game will take place Saturday, March 11 at 10:00 a.m. MST