With just over two months to go until the MLB season, the 2022 World Baseball Classic will tie fans over.
This year, we are set to have a fantastic tournament that will showcase some of the best talents in the world. The tournament is due to take place at stadiums in Taiwan, Japan, and the USA from March 8th to 21st 2023.
The defending champion, team USA, is looking to return to glory with one of the most stacked teams in the tournament. Let’s take a look and see who some of the best players set to suit up are.
Top 5 MLB players set to take center stage in the 2022 WBC
5. Trea Turner, USA
Trea Turner made waves last year with a terrific season when proved that longevity can never be discounted. Turner made 708 plate appearances – the most in the MLB – to accompany 21 home runs and the first 100-RBI season of his career. A quintessential leadoff man, Turner will be a vital part of team USA’s offensive capabilities, just like he will be next season for the Philadelphia Phillies.
4 Carlos Correa, Puerto Rico
Carlos Correa is no stranger to the WBC. In 2017, he was instrumental in Puerto Rico’s semifinal win over the Netherlands, crushing a 422-shot. The ball clocked in at 109 mph as it left Correa’s bat.
“New #MNTwins shortstop @TeamCJCorrea went 2-for-4 with a walk and a home run in the 2017 World Baseball Classic semifinals, helping Puerto Rico beat The Netherlands by a run. With Francisco Lindor at shortstop, Correa started the game at third base.” – @ Twins Dingers
Although the star has had his share of offseason drama this year, he is back with the Minnesota Twins and ready to leave it all on the field for Puerto Rico at this year’s World Baseball Classic.
3 Nestor Cortes, USA
Although he was born in Cuba, Nestor Cortes will be competing for his new home, the USA. Cortes reached a 1-year contract to avoid arbitration with the New York Yankees this year, marking the first time the 28-year old flamethrower will make more than $1 million.
“Nestor Cortes Jr. will pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic!” – @ Talkin Yanks
He is coming off a fantastic year in which he went 12-4 with an ERA of 2.44 over 158 innings. He will be a central part of the USA’s rotation this year.
2 Paul Goldschmidt, USA
The reigning NL MVP is also set to lace them up for team USA this year. Goldschmidt, who plays for the St. Louis Cardinals in the MLB, had an unreal year, hitting 35 home runs and 115 RBIs.
“Paul Goldschmidt will play for Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic” – @ FOX Sports MLB
“Goldy” also had the highest .SLG in the league at .578. USA manager Mark De Rosa is unsure if Aaron Judge will join the squad, but at least Goldschmidt gives him the next-best-thing.
1 Shohei Ohtani, Japan
Shohei Ohtani will be making his first appearance for his country at the World Baseball Classic. The Los Angeles Angels superstar became the first player in MLB history to pitch 100 strikeouts and hit 100 RBIs in 2021.
“Shohei Ohtani has announced his intention to play for Team Japan in the #WorldBaseballClassic” – @ World Baseball Classic
Team Japan’s chances of winning the tournament increased significantly just by having Ohtani on the team.