Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith is the new name confirmed by the United States team for the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
For a few years now, Smith has been one of the Dodgers’ most important — and underrated — players, and he could play a key role in helping the team win another World Series title in 2022.
Smith was left out of the National League All-Star this season despite a good first half of the season. But next year, he’ll play with America’s best athletes and try to accomplish something for the first time in his career: win the World Baseball Classic.
This Monday (29), Smith becomes the 11th player confirmed to play for Team USA in the tournament, joining teammate Mookie Betts who is confirmed to attend this weekend. Dodgers third baseman Dino Ebel is also on coach Mark DeRosa’s team.
“You dream as a kid to come out and put on the jerseys of the United States, and hopefully one day you’ll be in that position and get that opportunity,” Smith said. “I absolutely wanted to do this. They asked, and I’m humbled and grateful and happy for the opportunity.
World Baseball Classic rosters are limited to 28 players. With JT Realmuto interested in playing, the U.S. team may already have their names decided.
Smith, who has hit 52 home runs since 2020 — more than any NL catcher — can also serve as the team’s DH when needed.
Here’s what the cast looks like:
C: JD Realmudo, Will Smith
1B: Pete Alonso, Paul Goldschmidt
2B: The Trevor Story
SS: Tim Anderson
3B: Nolan Arenado
OF: Mookie Betts, Cedric Mullins, Mike Trout, Kyle Tucker
Team USA will begin their title defense as part of Group C at Chase Field in Phoenix from March 11-15, facing Canada, Colombia, Mexico and a qualifier. The winner and runner-up of Group C will advance to the quarterfinals in Miami on March 17-18, where they will face the winner and runner-up of Group D.
“It’s going to be a good team,” Smith said. “It’s going to be awesome to be around all these guys and see how they go about their business. I’m excited about the whole experience and excited to try to win it.
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