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Dodgers to watch in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers

A trio of Dodgers minor league pitchers next week in Tucson

Miami Marlins News Conference Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

It’s nearly World Baseball Classic qualifying time in Tucson, Arizona, with 12 teams battling for four spots in next year’s international tournament. These teams are split into two pools, and rosters have been released for the first group.

Pool 1 consists of Brazil, France, Germany, Nicaragua, Pakistan and South Africa, but more relevant locally are the three Dodgers minor leaguers taking part.

  • LHP Leonardo Crawford (Nicaragua)
  • RHP Markus Solbach (Germany)
  • RHP Kieran Lovegrove (South Africa)

Crawford is the youngest of the bunch at 23, and the most accomplished professionally. He had a 2.81 ERA between Class-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa in 2019, with 134 strikeouts against only 27 walks in 121⅔ innings. The Nicaraguan team is managed by former big leaguer Marvin Bernard.

Solbach is a 28-year-old former Twins and Diamondbacks farmhand who also pitched in the Canadian-American League and Australian Baseball League. He appeared in eight games last year for Tulsa, starting seven, and posted a 2.57 ERA with 39 strikeouts and eight walks in 42 innings.

Lovegrove was born in South Africa but played high school ball at Mission Viejo, and was drafted by Cleveland in the third round in 2012. He was all over the place in the Orioles and Giants systems in 2019, posting a 9.00 ERA in 26 innings, with almost as many walks (24) as strikeouts (27). He signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers in February.

This qualifier is modified double elimination, with six teams vying for two berths in the 2021 World Baseball Classic. Play begins next Friday, with all games streamed live on YouTube.

World Baseball Classic Pool 1 qualifier

Game Date Time (PT) Matchup
Game Date Time (PT) Matchup
1 Fri, Mar 13 9:30 a.m. Pakistan vs. Brazil
2 Fri, Mar 13 4:30 p.m. Germany vs. France
3 Sat, Mar 14 9:30 a.m. Game 1 winner vs. Nicaragua
4 Sat, Mar 14 4:30 p.m. Game 2 winner vs. South Africa
5 Sun, Mar 15 9:30 a.m. Game 2 loser vs. Game 3 loser
6 Sun, Mar 15 4:30 p.m. Game 1 loser vs. Game 4 loser
8 Tue, Mar 17 9:30 a.m. Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner
7 Tue, Mar 17 4:30 p.m. Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner*
9 Wed, Mar 18 3:00 p.m. Game 8 winner vs. Game 7 loser*
*winner earns berth in 2021 WBC

The Pool 2 qualifier will follow this, from March 20-25, between Great Britain, Panama, The Philippines, Spain, New Zealand, and the Czech Republic. But rosters for those teams haven’t yet been released.