Regensburg World Baseball Classic Qualifier preview and guide

Michael Clair


By Michael Clair
www.mlb.com


Regensburg World Baseball Classic Qualifier preview and guide

\n”,”providerName”:”Twitter”,”providerUrl”:”https://twitter.com”,”type”:”rich”,”width”:550,”__typename”:”ExternalEmbedContent”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.5″:{“data”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.5.data”,”typename”:”ExternalEmbedContent”},”type”:”oembed”,”__typename”:”ExternalEmbed”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.6″:{“content”:”* How to stream the Qualifiers“,”type”:”markdown”,”__typename”:”Markdown”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.7″:{“content”:”**France** \nWBSC ranking: No. 22 \nLast World Baseball Classic appearance: Has never qualified\n\nBruce Bochy is back to manage the French team. He had taken on the role in 2020 before the pandemic shut the sport down and now he’s hoping to lead the squad to its first World Baseball Classic appearance. An emerging program, the team may struggle in an event against countries with so many players with affiliated experience.\n\nVeteran pitcher Cory Gearrin, who played in the Major Leagues from 2011-20, gives the team a chance any time he’s on the mound, but is the only player with Major League experience on the roster. Twenty-three-year-old Milwaukee Brewers farmhand first baseman Ernesto Martinez is also the only player on France’s roster currently playing in the Minor Leagues, but there is plenty of excitement around East Tennessee State center fielder Leo Jiminian. The first French-born and homegrown player to play DI college baseball, Jiminian hit .302 with three home runs in his junior season for the university.”,”type”:”markdown”,”__typename”:”Markdown”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.8.data”:{“html”:”

Leo Jiminian with the RBI single to give Hays the lead! @HaysLarksBB @ETSU_Baseball

T4: @HaysLarksBB 2 @LiberalBeeJays 1
Exit Velo: 92 MPH
Powered by @TrackManBB pic.twitter.com/iUzxrEvNoR

— NBC World Series (@NBCBaseball) August 5, 2022

\n\n”,”providerName”:”Twitter”,”providerUrl”:”https://twitter.com”,”type”:”rich”,”width”:550,”__typename”:”ExternalEmbedContent”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.8″:{“data”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.8.data”,”typename”:”ExternalEmbedContent”},”type”:”oembed”,”__typename”:”ExternalEmbed”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.9″:{“content”:”**Germany** \nWBSC Ranking: No. 18 \nLast World Baseball Classic appearance: Has never qualified\n\nAfter coming just one win away from qualifying in 2013, the German team has high expectations as hosts of the event — even with its most famous and arguably best player, Max Kepler, unable to play. (40-man roster players are ineligible for the Qualifiers, but are eligible for the main tournament.)\n\n\”To be frank, our plan is to play two games,\” former Major League starter Brian Flynn said ahead of his debut with Germany. \”We’d like to go out and win Game 1 and then just take that easy route and win that next game, instead of going through the extra games and everything. In our minds, we’re ready to play two games and book a ticket for March.\”\n\nFlynn should lead the rotation after posting a 2.54 ERA in the Australian Baseball League with the Melbourne Aces in 2020-21, and where he’ll return later this fall. He’s joined by former big leaguers in outfielder Aaron Altherr and catcher Bruce Maxwell, so Germany should be strong up the middle. Unfortunately, Markus Solbach — who pitched in Triple-A with the Tigers earlier this season — will miss the tournament with an injury.\n\nVeteran catcher Simon Gühring, who played in the Brewers’ Minor League system and has won two German bundesliga MVP Awards, will once again captain the team. After his son just won the U-12 European Championships, Gühring will hope to regain bragging rights by leading Germany to its first ever Classic tournament appearance.\n\n\”I mean, I played on the national team for 23, 24 years. We never won the European Championship,\” Gühring recently told MLB.com. \”Now my 12-year-old son just won it. So, he pulls rank, he tells me what to do around the house.\””,”type”:”markdown”,”__typename”:”Markdown”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.10.data”:{“html”:”“,”providerName”:”YouTube”,”providerUrl”:”https://www.youtube.com/”,”type”:”video”,”width”:480,”__typename”:”ExternalEmbedContent”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.10″:{“data”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.10.data”,”typename”:”ExternalEmbedContent”},”type”:”oembed”,”__typename”:”ExternalEmbed”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.11″:{“content”:”**Great Britain** \nWBSC Ranking: No. 23 \nLast World Baseball Classic appearance: Has never qualified\n\nGreat Britain’s ranking may be low, but it has made great strides in the recent past, jumping from No. 32 to No. 23 in the men’s worldwide rankings. After losing in the 2017 Qualifier final to Israel, Team GB will hope to get over the hump this time around thanks to a roster filled with affiliated players.\n\nThe bespectacled Vance Worley, who pitched in the Major Leagues for eight years, is probably the most famous name. He’s joined by the Astros’ Andre Scrubb, former Angels and Rangers pitcher Michael Roth and former Marlins pitcher Chris Reed among players with big league experience.\n\nThe future is plenty bright, too, as 11 more players on the roster are currently in the affiliated Minors. They’re led by the Mariners No. 1 prospect Harry Ford (No. 68 overall) who was selected 12th overall in the 2021 Draft, as well as Marlins No. 16 prospect Ian Lewis and Pirates No. 29 prospect Tahnaj Thomas. College ballplayer Kennard Dawson, who recently starred at London’s FTX MLB Home Run Derby X event and hit a first-round walk-off home run, will also be featured.”,”type”:”markdown”,”__typename”:”Markdown”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.12.data”:{“html”:”

👓VANIMAL SIGHTING👓

First look at @VANIMAL_46 in GB colours! #LetsGoGB pic.twitter.com/hvQ2CxaKX9

— Great Britain Baseball (@GB_Baseball) September 13, 2022

\n\n”,”providerName”:”Twitter”,”providerUrl”:”https://twitter.com”,”type”:”rich”,”width”:550,”__typename”:”ExternalEmbedContent”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.12″:{“data”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.12.data”,”typename”:”ExternalEmbedContent”},”type”:”oembed”,”__typename”:”ExternalEmbed”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.13″:{“content”:”**South Africa** \nWBSC Ranking: No. 26 \nLast World Baseball Classic appearance: 2009 (finished 16th)\n\nThe only nation from Africa to regularly play in international baseball tournaments, they are the lowest-ranked club to take part in the Regensburg Qualifier and will have an uphill battle to qualification.\n\nGift Ngoepe, who became the first player from Africa to ever reach the Major Leagues when he debuted with the Pirates in 2017, is the definite star of the squad. Though he retired in March to coach for the Newport Rams of Baseball Victoria, he most recently played with the independent Frontier League Québec Capitales in 2021 and posted an .841 OPS.\n\nHe’s joined by his younger brother, Victor, Dylan De Meyer, Kieron Lovegrove, and Justin Erasmus among those players with Minor League experience.”,”type”:”markdown”,”__typename”:”Markdown”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.14″:{“contentDate”:”2019-03-14T17:23:10Z”,”description”:”Scott Palmer discusses the interesting path to the big leagues from Gift Ngoepe and how he can contribute to the Phillies in 2019″,”duration”:”00:01:59″,”slug”:”gift-ngoepe-s-path-to-the-majors-c2523615183″,”source”:null,”tags”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.14.tags.0″,”typename”:”Tag”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.14.tags.1″,”typename”:”Tag”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.14.tags.2″,”typename”:”Tag”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.14.tags.3″,”typename”:”Tag”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.14.tags.4″,”typename”:”Tag”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.14.tags.5″,”typename”:”Tag”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.14.tags.6″,”typename”:”Tag”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.14.tags.7″,”typename”:”Tag”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.14.tags.8″,”typename”:”Tag”}],”templateUrl”:”https://img.mlbstatic.com/mlb-images/image/private/{formatInstructions}/mlb/rxy9hrsdvgz8c7ggjd9d”,”title”:”Gift 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Features”,”__typename”:”Tag”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.14.tags.3″:{“slug”:”hbmig-mlbtax-grapefruit-league”,”title”:”HBmig Grapefruit League”,”__typename”:”Tag”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.14.tags.4″:{“slug”:”hbmig-combined-media-state-media-archive”,”title”:”HBmig MEDIA_ARCHIVE”,”__typename”:”Tag”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.14.tags.5″:{“slug”:”teamid-143″,”title”:”Philadelphia Phillies”,”__typename”:”Tag”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.14.tags.6″:{“slug”:”hbmig-team-id-143″,”title”:”HBmig American League All-Stars”,”__typename”:”Tag”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.14.tags.7″:{“slug”:”hbmig-subject-mlbcom-no-transcode”,”title”:”HBmig MLBCOM_NO_TRANSCODE”,”__typename”:”Tag”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.14.tags.8″:{“slug”:”spring-training”,”title”:”Spring Training”,”__typename”:”Tag”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.15″:{“content”:”**Spain** \nWBSC ranking: No. 19 \nLast World Baseball Classic appearance: 2013 (15th)\n\nAfter missing out on the 2017 tournament, Spain has a good chance of returning in 2023 and should perhaps be considered the Qualifier favorite. Spain finished third in the 2019 European Baseball Championships and fourth in ’21, and its roster features Rogelio Armenteros, Engel Beltre, Vicente Campos and Rhiner Cruz among those with Major League service time. That’s just the tip of the iceberg though and plenty more have experience in the high Minors.\n\nThere’s one player you’ll definitely want to keep a close eye on: Noelvi Marte, the No. 18 prospect in all of baseball. The Reds shortstop, whose scouting report touts his \”ridiculous raw power,\” posted an .829 OPS in High-A this season with 19 home runs and 23 stolen bases. The World Baseball Classic could just be his time to shine on the international stage.”,”type”:”markdown”,”__typename”:”Markdown”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.16″:{“contentDate”:”2022-09-07T00:25:09.787Z”,”description”:”Reds No. 2 prospect Noelvi Marte demolishes his 19th homer of the season, fourth for High-A Dayton”,”duration”:”00:00:31″,”slug”:”noelvi-marte-hammers-homer”,”source”:null,”tags”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.16.tags.0″,”typename”:”Tag”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.16.tags.1″,”typename”:”Tag”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.16.tags.2″,”typename”:”Tag”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.16.tags.3″,”typename”:”Tag”}],”templateUrl”:”https://img.mlbstatic.com/mlb-images/image/upload/{formatInstructions}/mlb/vefdfmik2cb9ymks02dj”,”title”:”Noelvi Marte hammers homer”,”type”:”video”,”url”:”/video/noelvi-marte-hammers-homer”,”__typename”:”Video”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.16.tags.0″:{“slug”:”teamid-113″,”title”:”Cincinnati Reds”,”__typename”:”Tag”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.16.tags.1″:{“slug”:”playerid-682622″,”title”:”Noelvi Marte”,”__typename”:”Tag”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getForgeContentBySlug({\”locale\”:\”en-us\”,\”slug\”:\”regensburg-world-baseball-classic-qualifier-preview-and-guide\”,\”type\”:\”story\”}).parts.16.tags.2″:{“slug”:”minor-league-baseball”,”title”:”Minor League 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10:48 AM UTC

Six nations enter the Regensburg Qualifier and only two will earn a chance to play in the World Baseball Classic tournament beginning this March. With the tournament growing to 20 teams for 2023, more nations than ever before could go on a Cinderella run like Israel’s at the 2017 tournament. That also means it will be even more heartbreaking for the four teams that are eliminated in Regensburg, Germany.

Before the first game between South Africa and Spain on Friday at 13:00 CEST / 7:00 a.m. ET, let’s take a deeper look into each of the teams vying for World Baseball Classic glory. Click here for the full schedule.

Czech Republic
Men’s World Baseball Softball Confederation Ranking: No. 14
Last World Baseball Classic appearance: Has never qualified

The highest-ranked team in the Regensburg Qualifier, this club has some talented players but may struggle against nations with more Major and Minor League experience.

The biggest name on the roster is Martin Cervenka, who was selected by the Orioles in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft and was hoping to become the first Czech national to reach the Major Leagues since Carl Linhart made two pinch-hit appearances with the Tigers in 1952. (There’s some debate about that, though, as the region that Linhart was born in would now be considered Slovakia.)

“The kids back home mostly played soccer and ice hockey, but for me it was always baseball,” Cervenka said in 2019. “Usually when someone asks me what I do, I say, ‘I play baseball,” and they have no idea what I’m talking about.”

He’s not the only player with talent, though. According to @baseballstatcz, an advanced analytics-based Czech baseball website and Twitter account, there are a number of talented Czech players who either are currently playing or recently played Division I baseball. That includes 18-year-old pitcher Michal Kovala, who has committed to Georgia Tech and can already throw over 90 mph, and shortstop Vojtěch Menšík, who starred at N.C. State before signing with the Angels and playing in Class A Inland Empire this year.

Catcher Martin Mužík should provide plenty of pop, too. Just 26 years old, he’s already fifth all-time in home runs in the Czech league and just hit two home runs in a pre-Qualifier friendly against Spain.

The fan favorite just may be 36-year-old veteran pitcher and shortstop Martin Schneider, though. He spends his time away from the field working as a firefighter.

France
WBSC ranking: No. 22
Last World Baseball Classic appearance: Has never qualified

Bruce Bochy is back to manage the French team. He had taken on the role in 2020 before the pandemic shut the sport down and now he’s hoping to lead the squad to its first World Baseball Classic appearance. An emerging program, the team may struggle in an event against countries with so many players with affiliated experience.

Veteran pitcher Cory Gearrin, who played in the Major Leagues from 2011-20, gives the team a chance any time he’s on the mound, but is the only player with Major League experience on the roster. Twenty-three-year-old Milwaukee Brewers farmhand first baseman Ernesto Martinez is also the only player on France’s roster currently playing in the Minor Leagues, but there is plenty of excitement around East Tennessee State center fielder Leo Jiminian. The first French-born and homegrown player to play DI college baseball, Jiminian hit .302 with three home runs in his junior season for the university.

Germany
WBSC Ranking: No. 18
Last World Baseball Classic appearance: Has never qualified

After coming just one win away from qualifying in 2013, the German team has high expectations as hosts of the event — even with its most famous and arguably best player, Max Kepler, unable to play. (40-man roster players are ineligible for the Qualifiers, but are eligible for the main tournament.)

“To be frank, our plan is to play two games,” former Major League starter Brian Flynn said ahead of his debut with Germany. “We’d like to go out and win Game 1 and then just take that easy route and win that next game, instead of going through the extra games and everything. In our minds, we’re ready to play two games and book a ticket for March.”

Flynn should lead the rotation after posting a 2.54 ERA in the Australian Baseball League with the Melbourne Aces in 2020-21, and where he’ll return later this fall. He’s joined by former big leaguers in outfielder Aaron Altherr and catcher Bruce Maxwell, so Germany should be strong up the middle. Unfortunately, Markus Solbach — who pitched in Triple-A with the Tigers earlier this season — will miss the tournament with an injury.

Veteran catcher Simon Gühring, who played in the Brewers’ Minor League system and has won two German bundesliga MVP Awards, will once again captain the team. After his son just won the U-12 European Championships, Gühring will hope to regain bragging rights by leading Germany to its first ever Classic tournament appearance.

“I mean, I played on the national team for 23, 24 years. We never won the European Championship,” Gühring recently told MLB.com. “Now my 12-year-old son just won it. So, he pulls rank, he tells me what to do around the house.”

Great Britain
WBSC Ranking: No. 23
Last World Baseball Classic appearance: Has never qualified

Great Britain’s ranking may be low, but it has made great strides in the recent past, jumping from No. 32 to No. 23 in the men’s worldwide rankings. After losing in the 2017 Qualifier final to Israel, Team GB will hope to get over the hump this time around thanks to a roster filled with affiliated players.

The bespectacled Vance Worley, who pitched in the Major Leagues for eight years, is probably the most famous name. He’s joined by the Astros’ Andre Scrubb, former Angels and Rangers pitcher Michael Roth and former Marlins pitcher Chris Reed among players with big league experience.

The future is plenty bright, too, as 11 more players on the roster are currently in the affiliated Minors. They’re led by the Mariners No. 1 prospect Harry Ford (No. 68 overall) who was selected 12th overall in the 2021 Draft, as well as Marlins No. 16 prospect Ian Lewis and Pirates No. 29 prospect Tahnaj Thomas. College ballplayer Kennard Dawson, who recently starred at London’s FTX MLB Home Run Derby X event and hit a first-round walk-off home run, will also be featured.

South Africa
WBSC Ranking: No. 26
Last World Baseball Classic appearance: 2009 (finished 16th)

The only nation from Africa to regularly play in international baseball tournaments, they are the lowest-ranked club to take part in the Regensburg Qualifier and will have an uphill battle to qualification.

Gift Ngoepe, who became the first player from Africa to ever reach the Major Leagues when he debuted with the Pirates in 2017, is the definite star of the squad. Though he retired in March to coach for the Newport Rams of Baseball Victoria, he most recently played with the independent Frontier League Québec Capitales in 2021 and posted an .841 OPS.

He’s joined by his younger brother, Victor, Dylan De Meyer, Kieron Lovegrove, and Justin Erasmus among those players with Minor League experience.

Spain
WBSC ranking: No. 19
Last World Baseball Classic appearance: 2013 (15th)

After missing out on the 2017 tournament, Spain has a good chance of returning in 2023 and should perhaps be considered the Qualifier favorite. Spain finished third in the 2019 European Baseball Championships and fourth in ’21, and its roster features Rogelio Armenteros, Engel Beltre, Vicente Campos and Rhiner Cruz among those with Major League service time. That’s just the tip of the iceberg though and plenty more have experience in the high Minors.

There’s one player you’ll definitely want to keep a close eye on: Noelvi Marte, the No. 18 prospect in all of baseball. The Reds shortstop, whose scouting report touts his “ridiculous raw power,” posted an .829 OPS in High-A this season with 19 home runs and 23 stolen bases. The World Baseball Classic could just be his time to shine on the international stage.

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