Will Smith was officially announced on Monday as a member of Team USA in the upcoming 2023 World Baseball Classic, the first such international event for the Dodgers catcher.
Smith this season is hitting .269/.354/.472 with 19 home runs, a 133 wRC+ and 75 RBI. He leads all major league catchers in slugging percentage and RBI, and ranks in the top four at the position in home runs, batting average, on-base percentage, wRC+, and runs scored (55).
He’ll be joined on Team USA by outfielder Mookie Betts and third base coach Dino Ebel.
The United States squad, which won the last World Baseball Classic, held in 2017, is building quite a strong lineup, with the names revealed so far. Phillies catcher JT Realmuto is also on the team, and since this graphic was made Team USA added Smith and Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker.
Team USA is unreal pic.twitter.com/9QX1UyTTPw— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 26, 2022
Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman is expected to play for Team Canada again in the WBC, as he did in 2017.
“If they ask me, I’m 100-percent in,” Freeman told Shi Davidi of SportsNet in July. “I already asked Andrew Frideman (the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations) if the Dodgers are OK with guys playing in the WBC and he said yes, so if they ask, I’m in.”
The World Baseball Classic will be played from March 11-21, 2023, with the final two rounds at loanDepot Park in Miami. Team USA is in Pool C, which also includes Mexico, Colombia, and Canada, plus a team from the qualifying rounds to be played this September and October. Pool C plays its games next March 11-15 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona.
Three Dodgers minor league player of the week honors, announced on Monday:
- Pacific Coast League: James Outman continued to thrive for Triple-A Oklahoma City, going 12-for-21 with five doubles, three triples, two home runs, 14 runs batted in, and six runs scored
- Midwest League: High-A Great Lakes outfielder Ismael Alcantara was 7-for-14 with three home runs, a double, a triple, seven RBI, and five runs scored
- California League: Low-A Rancho Cucamonga catcher Dalton Rushing, the Dodgers’ top draft pick this year, was 12-for-23 with five doubles, a home run, seven RBI, and six runs
J.J. Cooper at Baseball America breaks down the possibilities of potential unionization of minor league players, which if approved would be a separate bargaining unit from major league players.
Evan Drellich at The Athletic spoke with Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at Cornell, about MLBPA’s push to unionize minor leaguers. Included was this, about the potential separate bargaining unit: “If they can schedule job actions together, and organizing together, and where they have common grievances, they fight them together, that gives them more power. If they are divided and fighting each other, then that’s going to weaken both unions.”