So far, the surprise of the World Baseball Classic has been Israel. The team followed-up a mild upset of South Korea in the opener with a convincing win over Chinese Taipei.
With a 2-0 record, and a win by the Netherlands today, Team Israel has all but secured a spot in the second round.
Israel’s starting third baseman is Ty Kelly. So far in the tournament, Kelly is 3 for 9 with two runs, two walks and a double. It’s a strong start for a player who called the 2-1 victory in the opener in 10 innings, “Definitely the most stressful game I’ve ever been a part of.”
Kelly is not the only player with Mets ties on team Israel. Former Mets minor leaguers, Zack Thornton and Josh Zeid, pitched in that 2-1 victory. Zeid pitched three scoreless innings to secure the win. Watching over that win was bench coach and recently retired Brooklyn Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa.
The power bat in the lineup is former Mets first baseman Ike Davis. In his two games, Davis is 4 for 6 with two runs, two RBI, a walk, a double, and a triple. Of note, Davis has only hit two triples in his seven year major league career. The last one was in 2011 against current Met Tom Gorzelanny.
In their second game, Israel faced off against former Mets second baseman Chin-lung Hu. In the team’s first game, he served as the leadoff hitter and the DH. In the 15-7 loss to Israel, he was 1-5 with a run scored.
Mets left-handed pitching prospect Nelmerson Angela is playing for the Netherlands, but did not compete in their 5-0 victory over Korea earlier today.
It should be noted Yoenis Cespedes‘ 19-year old brother Yoelkis Cespedes played well in Cuba’s 11-6 loss to Japan. In the game, Cespedes 3 for 4 with a run and a double.
As the WBC progresses, we should see more Mets represent their countries. Jeurys Familia, Jose Reyes, and Hansel Robles will be playing for the Dominican Republic. Fernando Salas and catching prospect Xorge Carrillo will be playing for Mexico. Fellow Mets prospects Gavin Cecchini and Brandon Nimmo will be playing for Italy.
The battery of Seth Lugo, Rene Rivera, and T.J. Rivera will play for Puerto Rico with Lugo starting the opener against Venezuela. Former Mets Carlos Baerga, Jose Valentin, and Carlos Delgado join current Mets bullpen coach Ricky Bones on the Puerto Rico coaching staff.
While there are no current Mets playing for the United States, the roster does feature former Mets Tyler Clippard, Daniel Murphy, and Michael Fulmer. Each one of these players had a distinct impact on the 2015 pennant winning team.