California native and infielder David Fletcher is one of the most important figures within the Los Angeles Angels’ clubhouse. His mother, Fernanda Fletcher, grew up in Italy and taught him Italian at a young age. The trilingual David, who is also fluent in Spanish, was selected by the LA Angels in the sixth round of the 2015 draft and made his MLB debut for the Halos in 2018 when he showed his versatility playing second base, third base and shortstop. His best season of his five-year MLB career came in 2020 where he hit .319/.376/.435 with three HR and 18 RBI in 49 games played.
Lefty bat and speedster Nicky Lopez will wear the Azzurri uniform at the 2023 WBC. The 27-year-old infielder will begin his fifth season in the Kansas City Royals organization. He was selected in the fifth round of the 2016 draft out of Creighton University and made his MLB debut on May 14, 2019. Lopez has played a total of 451 MLB games and was one the best hitters in the American League in 2021 when he put together an impressive .300 batting average in 151 games played. During the 2022 season, the middle infielder appeared in 141 games splitting time at second base, third base and shortstop. He was successful in 13 of 16 stolen base attempts.
Selected in the 11th round of the 2018 draft by the Kansas City Royals out of Old Dominion University, first baseman and designated hitter Vinnie Pasquantino made his MLB debut on June 28, 2022 and has since become a Kansas City Royals fan favorite. His power and offensive productivity has earned him the nickname “Italian Nightmare” by Kansas City Royals icon George Brett, of “Italian Nightmare” to represent the fear he puts in opposing pitchers’ heads before facing him. Other nicknames such as “Pasquatch” have also surfaced since being called up. During his 72 MLB games in 2022, Richmond, Virginia native compiled a .295 batting average with 10 doubles, 10 home runs and 26 RBI.
Selected in the 14th round of the 2016 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays out of the University of Nevada, California native Miles Mastrobuoni made his MLB debut on September 22, 2022 after spending seven seasons in the minor leagues. In 2022, the 27-year-old utilityman appeared in 129 Triple-A games and put together a .300 batting average with 16 home runs, 32 doubles, three triples and 16 home runs. The speedster was also successful in 23 of 26 stolen base attempts. Primarily a middle infielder with some outfield MLB experience, Mastrobuoni was traded by the Tampa Bay Rays to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for RHP Alfredo Zarraga on November 15, 2022.
Dominican-born infielder Robel Garcia was signed as a free agent by the Cleveland Indians in June 2010. He spent four years in the minor leagues before playing in Italy (Imola and Bologna) in 2016. Robel later signed a minor league contract with the Chicago Cubs on October 31, 2018 after a strong camp with the Italian national team in Arizona and made his MLB debut on July 3, 2019. He was later named 2019 MiLB Organization All-Star by the Chicago Cubs. After playing 31 games for the Chicago Cubs during the 2019 season, Garcia added more MLB experience to his resume in 2021 when he joined the Houston Astros for 47 games. He made his Team Italy debut in 2017 playing in the Super 6 tournament in the Netherlands, where he went 9-for-16 with three HR, 7 RBI and completed the cycle against Belgium. Robel returned to the Azzurri squad during Haarlem Baseball Week.
Selected in the 21st round of the 2018 draft by the Detroit Tigers out of St. John’s University, the 27-year-old New York native and utility player John Valente has made his way up to Triple-A playing second base, third base and left field for the 2022 Toledo Mud Hens. He slashed .293/.355/.390 with two home runs, 26 RBI and a career-high 14 stolen bases.