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Ten Prospects Impressing In The World Baseball Classic

Ten Prospects Impressing In The World Baseball Classic

The World Baseball Classic represents an opportunity for baseball’s biggest stars to showcase their talents on an international stage. It is also a chance for rising prospects to show they can compete against major leaguers in games that count.

Prospects showcased their abilities around the world during pool play at the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Some, like Brewers outfielder Sal Frelick, were well-known prospects who played starring roles to help their teams advance. Others, like Cardinals righthander Guillermo Zuniga, used the WBC to establish themselves as prospects to watch moving forward. And one, new Tigers righthander Duque Hebbert, used it to get signed to his first professional contract.

Here are 10 prospects who impressed in the WBC during pool play. Players are listed in alphabetical order.

All statistics are through the end of pool play.

Javier Assad, RHP, Cubs
Team: Mexico

Assad followed Patrick Sandoval in Mexico’s opening game against Team USA and shut down the star-studded American lineup with three scoreless innings of relief. The Cubs No. 20 prospect retired Pete Alonso, Kyle Tucker, Tim Anderson, Will Smith, Jeff McNeil and Mookie Betts in order to start the outing. After surrendering a single to Mike Trout, he retired Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado and Alonso for a second time to complete his dominant showing. Assad retired nine of the 10 batters he faced and struck out Alonso swinging twice, first on a 97 mph fastball and again on a 96 mph fastball.

Harry Ford, C, Mariners
Team: Great Britain 

The Mariners No. 1 prospect went 0-for-6 with four strikeouts to start the tournament, but he heated up in a big way once he settled in. Ford went 4-for-7 with a double, two homers, four RBIs and three runs scored to close out pool play and became the youngest player to ever homer in the WBC at 20 years old. He notably doubled and walked against veteran righthander Taijuan Walker in Great Britain’s final game. Ford finished the tournament batting .308/.400/.846 and, in the process, became a baseball idol in England.

Sal Frelick, OF, Brewers
: Italy

The Brewers’ No. 2 prospect hit .389 (7 for 18) with three doubles and four RBIs in pool play to help lift Italy to an improbable quarterfinals berth. Frelick stole third base and scored the winning run in extra innings in Italy’s tournament-opening victory against Cuba, drilled a go-ahead two-run double in its second game against Taiwan, went 2-for-4 with a double against Panama and, in a…

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