Margo Sugarman

In their first appearance at the World Baseball Classic, it'll be interesting to see what is in store for Team Israel.

In their first appearance at the World Baseball Classic, it'll be interesting to see what is in store for Team Israel.

Israel's first appearance at the World Baseball Classic could be an interesting ride for many players. With a roster full of borderline MLBers, Israel has one of the weaker rosters in the tournament, but with a fairly weak pool around them they have a chance to make some noise. Netherlands is the clear favorite to win Pool A, behind Xander Bogaerts, Jonathan Schoop and Kenley Jansen, but with South Korea and Chinese Taipei's fringe roster, Israel has a legit chance to battle for a runner-up spot in Pool A.

Key Players

As mentioned above, Israel's roster isn't exactly stacked but has a lot of guys that have MLB experience, or are on the cusp between the bigs and the minors. One of the most important players for Israel is going to be longtime MLB starter Jason Marquis. The journeyman's numbers may not be mind blowing, but his 318 starts is far more experience than any of the other Israeli starters have.

While Marquis will front the pitching staff, the main bullpen piece will be the consistent veteran Craig Breslow. Breslow was never a dominant reliever, and didn't close games much but he was an effective reliever for the Red Sox in the last few years, winning a World Series title in 2013, when he posted a 1.81 ERA in 61 games.

On the bat side, no one is going to be more important to Israel's success than likely starting first basemen Ike Davis. While Davis's success has dwindled lately, he is only five years removed from hitting 32 home runs. In addition to Davis, Sam Fuld will be key to Israel's offensive output. Fuld was never a great hitter, but has a ton of speed and could be an effective leadoff hitter. On top of that, Fuld is magic with the glove and will likely patrol center field.

Underrated Players

One of the most underrated players on the Israel roster, is utility man Cody Decker. While his big league numbers are underwhelming, Decker has mashed Tripl- A pitching with 185 career minor league home runs. His issue has always been his strikeout numbers and his lack of contact, but despite that he has a good chance to provide some middle of the order pop with Ike Davis for Israel.

In addition to Decker, another interesting player is outfielder Zach Borenstein. A minor leaguer in the Diamondbacks organziation, Borenstein could look at some time in the bigs this year after another productive season in Triple-A. He's got a decent amount of power, but Borenstein also does a magnificent job getting on base which could make him a threat from the two hole, assuming Sam Fuld leads off.

Roster

Pitchers: Dylan Axelrod, Corey Baker, Jeremy Bleich, Richard Bleier, Craig Breslow, Danny Burawa, Gabe Cramer, Scott Feldman, Jake Fishman, Brad Goldberg, Tyler Herron, Jake Kalish, Alex Katz, Kenny Koplove, Dean Kremer, Jared Lakind, Shlomo Lipetz, Jason Marquis, Troy Neiman, R.C. Orlan, Ryan Sherriff, Zack Thornton, Joey Wagman, Josh Zeid

Catchers: Ryan Lavarnway, Nick Rickles

Infielders: Scott Burcham, Ike Davis, Cody Deckey, Nate Freiman, Ty Kelly, Tyler Krieger

Outfielders: Zach Borenstein, Sam Fuld, Blake Gailen, Mike Meyers

Expectations

Realistically, expectations for Israel aren't very high. This is their first appearance in the WBC as we've mentioned, and they don't exactly have a loaded roster. However, considering their weak group Israel has a chance to do something. While they won't likely overcome Netherlands atop the group, Chinese Taipei's roster is very weak, and outside Dae Ho-Lee and Seung Hwan-Oh, South Korea's roster is fairly unknown.


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