The Phillies will be well-represented at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, which opens play on March 6.
Ten players from within the organization will take part in the tournament. The group is highlighted by 2016 All-Star Odubel Herrera, who will play for Venezuela and be joined by teammates Freddy Galvis, Jeanmar Gomez and Edubray Ramos. Venezuela's tournament opener is March 10 against Puerto Rico. Herrera and Galvis are expected to be the Phillies' opening day starters at center field and shortstop, respectively, while Gomez and Ramos will each compete for the closer job.
Exciting catching prospect Jorge Alfaro will suit up for Colombia. The 23-year-old, who will push to be the Phillies' backup catcher, got a taste of the big leagues last September.
Other Phillies pitchers competing in the WBC are relievers Pat Neshek and Hector Neris, as well as prospects Nick Fanti, Kenny Koplove and Nick Pivetta. Neshek, representing the United States, was acquired by the Phillies this offseason in a trade with the Astros. Neris, playing for the Dominican Republic, will also eye the Phillies' closer role after posting a 2.58 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings last season.
Pivetta (Canada) pitched well at Double A Reading last season, earning a promotion to Triple A Lehigh Valley for five starts. The impressive work earned him a spot on the team's 40-man roster this offseason. Fanti (Italy) played for the Gulf Coast League Phillies last season, while Koplove (Israel) spent time with both Williamsport and Lakewood.