Joc Pederson joins Team Israel for 2023 World Baseball Classic J. – The Jewish News of Northern California

Posted By on July 19, 2022

Palo Alto High School graduate Joc Pederson, the San Francisco Giants outfielder starting in Tuesdays Major League Baseball All-Star Game, will compete for Team Israel in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, the team announced Sunday on Twitter.

The competition starts next March, and Israel will compete in Miami in Pool D, a bruising division consisting of some of the sports strongest national teams: the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, plus a qualifying team yet to be determined.

It's Official! Israels manager for the WBC Ian Kinsler confirmed Sunday that @MLB All-Star @yungjoc650 Pederson has committed to play for #TeamIsrael at the 2023 @WBCBaseball! #blueandwhite_baseball

Israel Baseball (@ILBaseball) July 17, 2022

Pederson, currently in his first season with the Giants, will add a big bat to Team Israel. On track for one of the best seasons in his nine-year career, the Jewish slugger is batting .252, with a .517 slugging percentage and 17 home runs, one shy of his total for all of last season.

Pederson first competed for Israel in the 2013 WBC qualifier, prior to making his MLB debut in 2014. There, Israel was defeated by Spain, failing to advance to the main round of the competition.

In the 2017 WBC, Team Israel for the first time qualified for the tournaments main draw, but Pederson wasnt on the roster. Peter Kurz, then president of the Israel Association of Baseball, said at the time that Pederson instead opted to pursue a regular season starting role for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Pederson missed out on an Israeli squad that surprised the baseball world, winning its first four games before being eliminated in the second round. Three of the wins came against South Korea, Chinese Taipei and Cuba No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 in the world, respectively, at that time.

Israel currently is No. 20 in the World Baseball Softball Conference rankings, below all of the teams in its pool: No. 6 Venezuela, No. 7 Dominican Republic and No. 16 Puerto Rico. (The D.R. was No. 1 in the previous rankings.)

This years All-Star Game in Los Angeles features 11 players from the D.R. and eight from Puerto Rico. So far, Pederson is the only All-Star committed to playing for Israel.

Ian Kinsler, a four-time MLB all-star who won the 2017 WBC as a player on Team USA, will manage Team Israel next March. He obtained Israeli citizenship in 2020 and played for Team Israel at the last Olympics in Tokyo, where it finished fifth in baseball.

I was very excited when I was asked to manage Team Israel at the WBC and it didnt take long for me to accept the position, Kinsler said on the website Israel Baseball. I enjoyed my time playing in the tournament and now that I know Israel baseball well from my time in the Olympics, I am convinced that we will have a very competitive squad that will go far.

Pederson is competing in his second All-Star game, alongside fellow Jew Max Fried of the Atlanta Braves. Fried is among the frontrunners for this years National League Cy Young Award, given to the leagues best pitcher.

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Joc Pederson joins Team Israel for 2023 World Baseball Classic J. - The Jewish News of Northern California

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