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World Baseball Classic: Fantasy Relevant Players (2023)

by Joshua Thusat
Feb 14, 2023
Lars Nootbaar

Lars Nootbaar will be the first non-citizen to play for Japan in the WBC.

What are the two greatest things about the World Baseball Classic? In this writer’s humble opinion, it is the worldwide attention paid to the game and the diversity of MLB players who rally to a home flag before returning to play in the U.S. for the regular season.

Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

World Baseball Classic: Fantasy Relevant Players

Do You Know?

The long-time Red Sox shortstop who signed with the Padres in the offseason, Xander Bogaerts, is Aruban. As a Dutch-born outfielder, he will play for the Netherlands this year. Lars Nootbaar’s mother, Kumi Enokida, is Japanese. This is enough to qualify him to play for the Samurai Japan National Team. He will be the first non-citizen to play for Japan. Another Cardinals player, Tommy Edman, is on the Korea National Team. His mother is Korean.

Meet Masataka Yoshida

For many baseball fans, the WBC will be the first time that they see the 29-year-old Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida, who signed a 5-year, $90 million contract in December with Boston. By comparison, Seiya Suzuki signed a 5-year $85 million deal last year for the Cubs. Yoshida’s stat line after seven years in Nippon Professional Baseball is .327/.421/.539, and last year the left-hander beat his own career line by batting .335/.447/.561. Yoshida doesn’t have prodigious power, but he regularly manages to reach 20 homers in a season. He doesn’t steal bases. But he walks a lot (15.7%) and strikes out very little (8.1%). That is his calling card: extreme plate discipline. His profile reminds me of Hall-of-Famer Robin Yount in the early ’80s. This is a top-of-the-order hitter, and it should be fun to watch him play for Japan in March before heading over to Fenway for his first season in Boston.

Top Fantasy Relevant Players in the WBC

First, here are the top fantasy-relevant players participating in the World Baseball Classic by position.

Top CatchersJ.T. Realmuto (PHI), Salvador Perez (KC), Alejandro Kirk (TOR), and Will Smith (LAD)

Top 1BFreddie Freeman (LAD), Vlad Guerrero (TOR), Pete Alonso (NYM), Paul Goldschmidt (STL), Vinnie Pasquantino (KC)

Top 2BJose Altuve (HOU), Tommy Edman (STL), Andres Gimenez (CLE), Gleyber Torres (NYY)

Top 3BJose Ramirez (CLE), Manny Machado (SD), Rafael Devers (BOS), Nolan Arenado (STL)

Top SSTrea Turner (PHI), Bobby Witt Jr. (KC), Francisco Lindor (NYM), Xander Bogaerts (SD)

Top OFJuan Soto (SD), Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL), Kyle Tucker (HOU), Julio Rodriguez (SEA), Mookie Betts (LAD), Mike Trout (LAA), Kyle Schwarber (PHI), Randy Arozarena (TB), Cedric Mullins (BAL), Luis Robert (CWS), Eloy Jimenez (CHW), Anthony Santander (BAL), Tyler O’Neill (STL), Masataka Yoshida (BOS)

Top UTShohei Ohtani (LAA)

Top SPSandy Alcantara (MIA), Shohei Ohtani (LAA), Julio Urias (LAD), Framber Valdez (HOU), Cristian Javier (SP), Yu Darvish (SD), Nestor Cortes Jr. (NYY), Clayton Kershaw (LAD), Lance Lynn (CWS), Freddy Peralta (MIL), Pablo Lopez (MIN), Jesus Luzardo (MIA), Brady Singer (KC), Patrick Sandoval (LAA), Ranger Suarez (PHI)

Top RPEdwin Diaz (NYM), Emmanuel Clase (CLE), Devin Williams (MIL), Ryan Pressly (HOU), Felix Bautista (BAL), Camilo Doval (SF), David Bednar (PIT), Daniel Bard (COL), Andres Munoz (SEA)

The Complete List

Pointing out the fantasy-relevant players from each team is quite an undertaking. First, we have to decide what makes a player relevant. Of course, most of the players on the U.S. roster in March will be useful on any fake team, but to cover as much as possible, I’ve included three tables below:

  • Table 1: Fantasy Relevant Players on an International Team
  • Table 2: Fantasy Relevant Players on the U.S. Team
  • Table 3: Top Prospects in the WBC

Table 1: Fantasy Relevant Players on an International Team

Player Position Country
Xander Bogaerts (SD) SS Netherlands
Yoan Moncada (CWS) 3B Cuba
Luis Robert (CWS) OF Cuba
Vinnie Pasquantino (KC) 1B Italy
Yu Darvish (SD) SP Japan
Shohei Ohtani (LAA) SP/UT Japan
Seiya Suzuki (CHC) OF Japan
Lars Nootbaar (STL) OF Japan
Masataka Yoshida (BOS) OF Japan
Tommy Edman (STL) 2B South Korea
Ha-Seong Kim (SD) 2B/SS South Korea
Julio Urias (LAD) SP Mexico
Jose Urquidy (HOU) SP Mexico
Taijuan Walker (PHI) SP Mexico
Patrick Sandoval (LAA) SP Mexico
Andres Munoz (SEA) RP Mexico
Giovanny Gallegos (STL) RP Mexico
Alejandro Kirk (TOR) C Mexico
Luis Urias (MIL) 2B/3B/SS Mexico
Rowdy Tellez (MIL) 1B Mexico
Isaac Paredes (TB) 1B/2B/3B Mexico
Randy Arozarena (TB) OF Mexico
Alex Verdugo (BOS) OF Mexico
Joey Meneses (WSH) 1B/OF Mexico
Jose Quintana (NYM) SP Colombia
Cal Quantrill (CLE) SP Canada
Freddie Freeman (LAD) 1B Canada
Tyler O’Neill (STL) OF Canada
Jose Berrios (TOR) SP Puerto Rico
Edwin Diaz (NYM) RP Puerto Rico
Marcus Stroman (CHC) SP Puerto Rico
Javier Baez (DET) SS Puerto Rico
Francisco Lindor (NYM) SS Puerto Rico
Jose Miranda (MIN) 1B/3B Puerto Rico
MJ Melendez (KC) C Puerto Rico
Salvador Perez (KC) C Venezuela
Luis Arraez (MIA) 1B/2B Venezuela
Jose Altuve (HOU) 2B Venezuela
Gleyber Torres (NYY) 2B/SS Venezuela
Eugenio Suarez (SEA) 3B Venezuela
Andres Gimenez (CLE) 2B/SS Venezuela
Ronald Acuna (ATL) OF Venezuela
Avisail Garcia (MIA) OF Venezuela
Anthony Santander (BAL) OF Venezuela
Martin Perez (TEX) SP Venezuela
Pablo Lopez (MIN) SP Venezuela
Ranger Suarez (PHI) SP Venezuela
Jesus Luzardo (MIA) SP Venezuela
Luis Garcia (HOU) SP Venezuela
Brusdar Graterol (LAD) RP Venezuela
Julio Rodriguez (SEA) OF Dominican Republic
Jose Ramirez (CLE) 3B Dominican Republic
Juan Soto (SD) OF Dominican Republic
Vlad Guerrero (TOR) 1B Dominican Republic
Rafael Devers (BOS) 3B Dominican Republic
Manny Machado (SD) 3B Dominican Republic
Jeremy Pena (HOU) SS Dominican Republic
Framber Valdez (HOU) SP Dominican Republic
Sandy Alcantara (MIA) SP Dominican Republic
Cristian Javier (HOU) SP Dominican Republic
Freddy Peralta (MIL) SP Dominican Republic
Johnny Cueto (MIA) SP Dominican Republic
Emmanuel Clase (CLE) RP Dominican Republic
Bryan Abreu (HOU) RP Dominican Republic
Camilo Doval (SF) RP Dominican Republic
Diego Castillo (SEA) RP Dominican Republic
Felix Bautista (BAL) RP Dominican Republic
Genesis Cabrera (STL) RP Dominican Republic
Gregory Soto (PHI) RP Dominican Republic
Hector Neris (HOU) RP Dominican Republic
Seranthony Dominguez (PHI) RP Dominican Republic
Yimi Garcia (TOR) RP Dominican Republic
Amed Rosario (CLE) SS/OF Dominican Republic
Eloy Jimenez (CHW) OF Dominican Republic
Jean Segura (MIA) 2B Dominican Republic
Jorge Polanco (MIN) 2B Dominican Republic
Ketel Marte (ARI) 2B Dominican Republic
Marcell Ozuna (ATL) OF Dominican Republic
Joc Pederson (SF) OF Israel
Eli Morgan (CLE) RP Israel
Jonathan Loaisiga (NYY) RP Nicaragua

Table 2: Fantasy Relevant Players on the U.S. Team

Player Position
Pete Alonso (NYM) 1B
Tim Anderson (CWS) SS
Nolan Arenado (STL) 3B
Mookie Betts (LAD) OF
Paul Goldschmidt (STL) 1B
Jeff McNeil (NYM) 2B
Cedric Mullins (BAL) OF
J.T. Realmuto (PHI) C
Kyle Schwarber (PHI) OF
Will Smith (LAD) C
Mike Trout (LAA) OF
Kyle Tucker (HOU) OF
Trea Turner (PHI) SS
Bobby Witt Jr. (KC) OF
Nestor Cortes Jr. (NYY) SP
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) SP
Lance Lynn (CHW) SP
Miles Mikolas (STL) SP
Brady Singer (KC) SP
Adam Wainwright (STL) SP
Devin Williams (MIL) RP
David Bednar (PIT) RP
Jason Adam (TB) RP
Ryan Pressly (HOU) RP

Table 3: Top Prospects in the WBC

Player Team Prospect Rank Position Country
Sal Frelick (MIL) Brewers No. 2 OF Italy
Dominic Fletcher (ARI) D-Back No 13 OF Italy
Ivan Herrera (STL) Cardinals No. 7 C Panama
Jose Ramos (LAD) Dodgers No. 8 OF Panama
Bo Naylor (CLE) Guardians No. 5 C Canada
Edouard Julien (MIN) Twins No. 15 2B Canada
Owen Caissie (CHC) Cubs No. 10 OF Canada
Denzel Clarke (OAK) Athletics No. 13 OF Canada
Mitch Bratt (TEX) Rangers No. 17 P Canada
Otto Lopez (TOR) Blue Jays No. 18 SS Canada
Milkar Perez (SEA) Mariners No. 18 3B Nicaragua
Carlos Rodriguez (MIL) Brewers No. 19 P Nicaragua
Harry Ford (SEA) Mariners No. 1 C Great Britain
Dominic Hamel (NYM) Mets No. 4 P Puerto Rico
Spencer Horwitz (TOR) Blue Jays No. 13 1B Israel
Zack Gelof (OAK) Athletics No. 3 2B/3B Israel
Matt Mervis (CHC) Cubs No. 21 1B Israel
Colton Gordon (HOU) Astros No. 24 P Israel
Jordan Diaz (OAK) Athletics No. 9 3B Colombia
Luis De Avila (ATL) Braves unranked P Colombia
Jaydenn Estanista (PHI) Phillies No. 26 P Netherlands

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