A qualifier for the 2021 World Baseball Classic will be held next week (March 13-18) in Tucson, Ariz., with six countries — Brazil, France, Germany, Nicaragua, Pakistan, and South Africa — vying for two spots in next year’s WBC.
Major leaguers will take part in the actual World Baseball Classic tournament next year, but in the qualifying rounds only minor league players are available, and there are a few players with affiliated teams taking part in this qualifying round.
Angels right-hander Jason Alexander is pitching for France, a team managed by Bruce Bochy. Alexander, whose mother was born in Paris, had a 6.66 ERA in 101⅓ innings between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake in 2019, with 96 strikeouts and 36 walks. The 27-year-old is the brother of Dodgers relief pitcher Scott Alexander.
France plays Germany on Friday, March 13 (4:30 p.m. PT). A win would mean a game against South Africa on March 14, and a loss would mean an elimination game on March 15. It takes three victories to qualify for the 2021 World Baseball Classic.
All of the games will be streamed live, for free, on YouTube.
- For the eighth consecutive season, Mike Trout has the highest projected Wins Above Replacement by ZiPS, and Dan Szymborski puts that into historical perspective over at FanGraphs.
- After news of the Angels’ firing longtime visiting clubhouse manager Brian Harkins, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register examined the prevalence of using illegal substances on the baseball. Andrew Heaney told him, “I think no one thinks it’s shocking that people are using sticky stuff on their fingers. You’ve been hearing about it forever, I think throughout the history of baseball.”
- A second Angels clubhouse attendant was fired in addition to Harkins, per Mike DiGiovanna and Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times, and that the substance Harkins sold was called “Go Go Juice,” reportedly a blend of rosin and pine tar.
- An opposing pitcher chimed in:
TBH, kind of upset I was never at least offered anything to doctor the baseballs with by the Angels visiting clubhouse...maybe I didn’t tip enough— Brett Anderson (@_BAnderson30_) March 6, 2020
- A resident group called People’s Homeless Task Force Orange County filed suit in Orange County superior court challenging the city of Anaheim’s approval of the Angel Stadium sale. Alicia Robinson at the Orange County Register has more.
- Speaking of Trout, the second home game of the season will feature a Mike Trout bobblehead giveaway, one that has him holding all three of his MVP awards.