The 2023 World Baseball Classic will serve as an exquisite appetizer for MLB fans waiting for the regular season.
In fact, the tournament is quite an event in its own right.
We have discussed many times in this space that national teams are in the process of recruiting players to finalize their rosters.
Italy is not considered a favorite to win by any means, not when countries like the United States, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, or Venezuela will also play.
They can, however, surprise a few people and, why not, advance to the next round if they play their cards right.
One of those “cards” is their manager: Mike Piazza.
Having played (and starred) in MLB for several years, he knows the game inside and out and will lead the country in its adventure next year.
He recently discussed his role and some of his players.
Mancini Will Likely Be A Middle-Of-The-Order Masher For Italy
As it turns out, lots of players in MLB have Italian ancestry and are eligible to play for the European country.
One of them is Trey Mancini, currently showing his talents with the Houston Astros.
“Trey Mancini will play for Team Italy in the WBC,” the Houston Chronicle’s Chandler Rome confirmed via Twitter.
Trey Mancini will play for Team Italy in the WBC. https://t.co/LxdCVBizuy
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) September 1, 2022
In 484 plate appearances with the Baltimore Orioles and Houston Astros, Mancini is slashing .258/.331/.415 with 16 home runs and 58 RBI.
He has a 114 wRC+, which means he has been 14 percent better by the league average hitter.
He should be an asset for the Italian national team, and a middle-of-the-order masher.
He is also 30, in his prime.
Italy should be ecstatic about having such a proven slugger on their roster for the tournament.