A Pool C sleeper in the World Baseball Classic?
Canada is yet to make it out of the pool stage in the World Baseball Classic, and it has a 1-7 record since 2009. However, this year’s team is looking to stun the USA and Mexico, the two odds-on favorites to make it out of Pool C in Phoenix.
It will be led by Freddie Freeman, the Dodgers first baseman who was born in Fountain Valley, California, to two Canadian parents. He is one of three non-Canadian-born players on the team and the only one born in the United States.
Other names MLB fans might recognize are Cal Quantrill and Tyler O’Neill, representing the Guardians and Cardinals, respectively. The Blue Jays are being represented by Otto Lopez, who was born in the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela-born Damiano Palmegiani. Two American Association players will be on Canada as well: R.J. Freure and Jacob Robson.
Can Canada stun either Mexico or the United States? Only time will tell. But it does have a lot of skill on its roster despite not having as much MLB representation as some other squads.
MORE: World Baseball Classic schedule 2023: Complete dates, times
Canada World Baseball Classic roster 2023
Blue Jays fans, rejoice! Toronto used an all-right-handed batting order a significant amount in 2022, but Canada has a few strong left-handed options at the plate. Freeman jumps off the page, of course, but Josh Naylor’s brother Bo also brings some power from the left side, as does Edouard Julien.
In the outfield, the highlight is the Cardinals’ Tyler O’Neill, born in Burnaby, British Columbia. Matt Brash, a popular breakout pick for the Mariners in 2023, joins Cal Quantrill as some of the top dealers on the roster.
|Matt Brash||Seattle Mariners||R|
|Mitch Bratt||Texas Rangers||L|
|Trevor Brigden||Tampa Bay Rays||R|
|Indigo Diaz||New York Yankees||R|
|R.J. Freure||Lincoln Saltdogs||R|
|Cal Quantrill||Cleveland Guardians||R|
|Evan Rutckyj||Niigata Albirex||L|
|Noah Skirrow||Philadelphia Phillies||R|
|Cade Smith||Cleveland Guardians||R|
|Curtis Taylor||Chicago Cubs||R|
|Rob Zastryzny||Pittsburgh Pirates||L|
|Bo Naylor||Cleveland Guardians||L/R|
|Freddie Freeman||Los Angeles Dodgers||1B||L/R|
|Edouard Julien||Minnesota Twins||2B||L/R|
|Otto Lopez||Toronto Blue Jays||SS||R/R|
|Damiano Palmegiani||Toronto Blue Jays||3B||R/R|
|Abraham Toro||Milwaukee Brewers||2B/3B||S/R|
|Jared Young||Chicago Cubs||1B||L/R|
|Owen Caissie||Chicago Cubs||OF||L/R|
|Denzel Clarke||Oakland Athletics||CF||R/R|
|Tyler O’Neill||St. Louis Cardinals||LF||R/R|
|Jacob Robson||Kansas City Monarchs||OF||L/R|
MORE: 2023 World Baseball Classic: Ranking the top seven pitching rotations
Canada players to watch in World Baseball Classic
Freddie Freeman is the obvious pick among players to watch, but there are some other names to look out for.
Edouard Julien, a highly touted Twins prospect, has star potential. He’ll be a huge player to watch for Canada this year.
For Blue Jays fans, Otto Lopez and Damiano Palmegiani are minor leaguers to watch, with Lopez getting at-bats in spring training this year. Bo Naylor will be a player to watch for Guardians fans as well, as the catcher looks to get more reps.
In the outfield, Tyler O’Neill of the Cardinals provides a lot of the power. He’s joined by two minor leaguers and an American Association outfielder.
The pitching staff is headlined by Cal Quantrill and Matt Brash. The latter has garnered a lot of buzz around Mariners camp for his improved slider this season, while the former posted a stellar 15-5 record for Cleveland in 2022.
MORE: World Baseball Classic 2023: MLB team-by-team roster breakdown
Who is coaching Canada in the World Baseball Classic?
Canada is being coached by Detroit-born Ernie Whitt, who has managed the national team since 2004.
Whitt has managed Canada in every WBC to date and he was inducted in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009. He played for the Blue Jays from 1977 to 1989. For Whitt, making it out of the pool is the ambition.
“It’s a big goal,” he said during at baseball’s winter meetings in December, per SportsNet. “That’s something that we haven’t done and we’d love to have that opportunity. The win against the United States was great, but it didn’t guarantee moving on, so the other games are important also. That’s why we’re hoping that we get the players necessary, and we go on and have a great tournament.”
Whitt is joined by pitching coach Dennis Boucher, first base coach Larry Walker (yes, Hall of Famer Larry Walker), third base coach Tim Leiper, bullpen coach Paul Quantrill (Cal’s father), and general coaches Russell Martin and Greg Hamilton.
Canada World Baseball Classic history
Canada is yet to make it out of pools in the World Baseball Classic, and it is 1-7 in its last three appearances.
Its signature win is a 2006 victory over the United States, but despite a 2-1 record, it was unable to make it out to the second round.
|2006||Eliminated in pools||9-1 loss to Mexico|
|2009||Eliminated in pools||6-2 loss to Italy|
|2013||Eliminated in pools||9-4 loss to USA|
|2017||Eliminated in pools||8-0 loss to USA|
Canada World Baseball Classic 2023 schedule
Canada will be playing Pool C, to be hosted by the Diamondbacks’ Chase Field in Phoenix.
It will be alongside the USA, Mexico, Colombia, and Great Britain.
The tournament for Canada will begin March 12 against Great Britain, and pools will finish March 15 against Mexico.
|Date||Game||Time (ET)||Channel (U.S.)|
|March 12||Great Britain vs. Canada||3 p.m.||FS1|
|March 13||Canada vs. USA||10 p.m.||FS1|
|March 14||Canada vs. Colombia||3 p.m.||FS2|
|March 15||Mexico vs. Canada||3 p.m.||FS2|