A quartet of Oakland A’s players could find themselves on the international stage when March rolls around.
Four members of the organization – Jordan Diaz, Zack Gelof, Denzel Clarke, and Adrian Martinez – are listed on the preliminary rosters for the World Baseball Classic. While all four may not end up as part of the tournament, they will at least get a chance to learn from other veterans as part of the WBC training camps.
A look at the Oakland A’s vying for the World Baseball Classic
Diaz made his major league debut toward the end of the 2022 season and performed relatively well. He posted a .265/.294/.327 batting line in his 51 plate appearances, hitting three doubles while striking out just seven times. Given his ability to play at first, second, or third, it is entirely possible that he finds a spot on the Columbian team’s roster.
Martinez is the other member of the quartet that found himself in the majors last year. He had an up and down showing in the majors, posting a 6.24 ERA and a 1.526 WHiP over his 57.2 innings, striking out 53 batters with 19 walks. While he may face a tough road to crack the Mexican team’s roster, his fastball and plus changeup could land him in a long relief role for the World Baseball Classic.
Gelof, one of the A’s top prospects, could play a key part for Team Israel. Injuries may have been the only reason why he did not make his major league debut last season as well as he posted a .270/.352/.463 batting line in his 440 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A, hitting 18 homers and 17 doubles while stealing ten bases. His time in the WBC and against that caliber of competition could help push his development even further along.
Clarke was the A’s breakout prospect in 2022, rocketing up their rankings in his first full season. He produced a .248/.365/.469 batting line between A-ball and High-A, hitting 15 homers and 23 doubles while stealing 30 bases. He would also be a longshot to crack Team Canada’s roster, but his experience as part of their camp couldbe invaluable.
Even if those players crack the roster, it is questionable as to how much playing time they will get. A’s fans watching the tournament may not get to see many of their own. However, the experience of being part of the preliminary roster, and getting to train alongside major league players, could pay off in the future.
Four members of the Oakland A’s organization could be part of the World Baseball Classic. If nothing else, that experience could help in the long run.