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Who will be the 16th and final team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic?

Sunday’s Say Hey, Baseball takes a look at Israel and Great Britain fighting for the last 2017 WBC spot. Plus, playoff spots are being wrapped up!

World Baseball Classic - Second Round - Miami - Italy vs Dominican Republic Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

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Today, Jason Marquis, Ike Davis, Craig Breslow, and Ryan Lavarnway are going to be playing meaningful baseball in late September. No, they aren’t playing for a Major League Baseball team that’s in a divisional or wild card race. Instead, they’ll be representing Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers, and they are just one win away from booking a trip to South Korea for the WBC in 2017.

Israel is coming off of a tense 1-0 victory over Brazil in the semis on Friday night. Cardinals minor leaguer Corey Baker threw five shutout innings, and then White Sox prospect Brad Goldberg capped off a good performance from the bullpen to eke out the 1-0 win and shutout the Brazilians. Instead of there being a semifinal rematch in the finals, Great Britain shocked Brazil — who is managed by Barry Larkin — by winning 4-3 and getting the final out by catching Brazil’s designated hitter trying to steal third base.

Israel will be the favorites to win this evening’s game at MCU Park in Brooklyn (6:00 PM ET on and it makes sense — they’ve already beaten Great Britain in the preliminary stage of this particular qualifying pool, and they just have more talent. While the Brits do have plenty of minor league talent on their roster, Israel has eight players who have seen the big leagues and played regularly at that level, to boot. They’ve also been in this position before — back in 2013, they made the qualifying final but fell in a rematch against Spain. It’s clear that Israel is trying to avoid a repeat of that moment, and if they can get the job done against Great Britain today, then the full-strength Israel team could be one of the more interesting teams in next year’s WBC.


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