Israel unveils complete WBC roster

Israel will play against the host country, the Netherlands and Chinese Taipei.

Team Israel at World Baseball Classic qualifier in Brooklyn (photo credit: MARGO SUGARMAN)
Team Israel at World Baseball Classic qualifier in Brooklyn
(photo credit: MARGO SUGARMAN)
Team Israel has announced its roster for the upcoming World Baseball Classic in March in South Korea. The Team Israel roster includes 11 players with major and minor league experience and 16 players who have played in the minor leagues. Israel will play against the host country, the Netherlands and Chinese Taipei.
The Team Israel roster is as follows: Ty Kelly, IF, New York Mets; Sam Fuld, OF, formerly of the Oakland Athletics; Jason Marquis, P, formerly of the Cincinnati Reds; Craig Breslow, P, Minnesota Twins minor league contract; Ike Davis, 1B, Oklahoma City Dodgers (LA Dodgers); Ryan Lavarnway, C, Nashville Sounds (Oakland Athletics); Cody Decker, IF, Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Milwaukee Brewers); Josh Zeid, P, formerly of the Houston Astros; Nate Freiman, 1B, formerly of the Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox); Dylan Axelrod, P, New Orleans Zephyrs (Miami Marlins); Danny Burawa, P, Mississippi Braves (Atlanta Braves); Tyler Krieger, IF, Lynchberg Hillcats (Cleveland Indians); Nick Rickles, C, Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals); Dean Kramer, P, Great Lakes Loons (LA Dodgers); Corey Baker, P, Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals); Jeremy Bleich, P, formerly of the Reading Fightin Phils (Philadelphia Phillies); Jake Kalish, P, Wilmington Blue Rocks (Kansas City Royals); Alex Katz, P, Winston-Salem Dash (Chicago White Sox); Blake Gailen, OF, formerly of the Arkansas Travelers (LA Angels); RC Orlan, P, Potomac Nationals (Washington Nationals); Joey Wagman, P, Stockton Ports (Oakland Athletics); Scott Burcham, IF, Ashville Tourists (Colorado Rockies); Gabe Cramer, P, Lexington Legends (Kansas City Royals); Zach Borenstein, OF, Reno Aces (Arizona Diamondbacks); Mike Meyers, OF, Salem Red Sox (Boson Red Sox); Troy Neiman, P, Lancaster JetHawks (Colorado Rockies); Tyler Herron, P, Las Vegas 51’s (NY Mets); Shlomo Lipetz, P, Israel National Team.
“This is a very exciting roster comprised of a group of very experienced players,” says Team Israel General Manager Peter Kurz. “The core of this team performed decisively in the qualifiers against Brazil and Great Britain in Brooklyn in September last year, to secure our place in the tournament. Since then we succeeded in adding players with many years of MLB experience. There is an incredibly high level of motivation among all these players to represent Israel at the WBC.”
For some of these players – Zeid, Freiman, Rickles, Lipetz and Decker – this will be their third appearance with Team Israel. They were all part of the team that narrowly missed qualifying for the 2013 WBC, and all played in the qualifiers in September, 2016.
WBC rules state that players eligible for citizenship of a country may play on that country’s team. This will be the first time that American Jewish baseball players will represent Israel in a world championship.
In January, eight members of the team visited Israel for a week to learn about Israel and meet Israeli fans who will be supporting them at the WBC.
They toured Tel Aviv, Jerusalem’s holy sites, the Dead Sea, more and met local Israeli baseball players, and broke ground on a baseball facility.
Founded in 1986 by a group of expatriate baseball enthusiasts living in Israel, the IAB’s goal is to promote and teach the game of baseball in Israel. About 1,000 players are part of the IAB’s leagues, ranging from Little League to adult. The IAB brings together Israelis of various ethnicities who play on teams within the country and represent Israel in national teams abroad.