Selected in the 17th round of the 2017 draft out of University of Oklahoma by the Miami Marlins, right-handed reliever Vincenzo Aiello played in professional baseball for four seasons (2017-21) in the Marlins and White Sox organizations. He recorded 11 wins and a 2.91 ERA in 93 outings in his stints between Rookie League and Double-A. In the summer of 2021, he was placed on the injured list while playing in Winston-Salem and elected free agency at the end of the year. Most recently the 28-year-old Aiello signed with his hometown team, the Atlantic League’s Staten Island FerryHawks. He made 18 appearances on the mound and allowed 19 earned runs in 22 innings.
GLENN ALBANESE JR.
24-year-old right-handed pitcher Glenn Albanese Jr. was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the 15th round of the 2021 draft out of University of Louisville. In 38 appearances at the High-A and Double-A level, the Illinois native and 6’7” reliever compiled a 1-2 record (3.34 ERA) with five saves and 68 strikeouts in 62 innings pitched. Relative TJ Galidari played in the NHL from 2010-16.
Alex Bassani is one of the pitching veterans in Italian baseball. Having grown up in Bologna with multiple experiences in the Italian Baseball League since 2013, Bassani broke out in 2017 in Novara with a strong season at the plate and on the mound. The 32-year-old hurler later moved to Rimini (2018) and back to Bologna (2019-present), where he won three consecutive Italian championships and the European Champions Cup. He has represented Team Italy in 20 games to date. Bassani made his Azzurri debut in 2017 at the European Baseball Series and has been called upon in every international competition ever since. He earned the save in the 2021 European Baseball Championship bronze medal game against Spain and was the winning pitcher against Curacao in the 2022 Haarlem Week tourney.
Joseph Carlo Biagini will represent Team Italy for the first time at the 2023 WBC. The 32-year-old right-handed pitcher was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 26th round of the 2011 draft. The Toronto Blue Jays picked him up on the waiver wire during the 2015 Rule 5 Draft, and the California native made his MLB debut on April 8, 2016. Working out of the bullpen as an effective setup pitcher during the regular season and also pitching in the postseason, Biagini was named 2016 Blue Jays Rookie of the Year. He became a fan favorite and made two TV appearances on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. Biagini was traded to the Houston Astros alongside Aaron Sanchez and Cal Stevenson for Derek Fisher on July 31, 2019. He had brief stints with Houston in 2020 and with the Chicago Cubs in 2021. However, he returned to the Blues Jays organization in 2022 and compiled a 4-2 record (3.46 ERA) in 30 appearances including five starts for Triple-A Buffalo.
The 26-year-old Parma native competed in the 2008 Little League World Series while on the first-ever Italian squad (Emilia Little League) to play in the international youth competition and a decade later on March 20, 2018 became the first Italian-born student-athlete to play for the College World Series-bound University of Texas Longhorns. Right-handed pitcher Matteo Bocchi signed a minor league contract with the Chicago Cubs on June 13, 2019 and reached as high as AAA playing for the Iowa Cubs. During his two seasons in the minors, he compiled a 4-3 record with one save in 37 appearances (3.90 ERA. 94.2 IP, 109 K).
Philadelphia-born Ryan Castellani was selected out of high school in the 2nd round in of the 2014 draft by the Colorado Rockies. He was named Baseball America High-A All-Star while pitching for the Modesto Nuts in the California League. Despite some injuries along the way, the right-handed pitcher made his MLB debut for the Colorado Rockies on August 8, 2020 and remained in the starting rotation for the remainder of the season. He managed to make only one start for the Rockies in 2021 before signing with the Oakland Athletics on March 11, 2022. Castellani pitched only 2.2 innings in three appearances for the A’s during the 2022 season.
TIAGO DA SILVA
A Team Italy WBC veteran pitcher having played in the 2009, 2013 and 2017 editions, 37-year-old Tiago da Silva signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays on January 30, 2015 and pitched at Single-A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire before returning to the Mexican Leagues. He was awarded the 2014 Mexican League Reliever of the Year while pitching for Delfines de Ciudad del Carmen. The Brazilian-Italian pitcher led San Marino to back-to-back Italian championship titles in 2021 (when he won Italian Baseball Series MVP) and 2022.
San Marino-born pitcher Alessandro Ercolani signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2021. He is the very first player to sign an MiLB contract from the small country located in northwest Italy with just over 33,000 citizens. The right hander has since made 20 Rookie ball appearances and posted a 2.77 ERA in 48.2 innings of work with 59 strikeouts. The 18-year-old prospect is the youngest member of the Team Italy WBC roster after recently playing in the U18 World Cup and European Baseball Championship.
Left-handed pitcher Nick Fanti makes an encore appearance at the 2023 WBC after making his Team Italy debut at the 2017 WBC in Jalisco, Mexico, where he threw a scoreless inning of relief against Puerto Rico. The 26-year-old New York native was selected in the 31st round of the 2015 draft by the Philadelphia Phillies out of high school. He was named to the FCL Post-Season All-Star team in 2016 and a Baseball America Low-A All-Star in 2017. Fanti pitched four seasons in the Philadelphia Phillies minor league system and reached High-A in 2018 prior to a stint in the Australian Baseball League playing for the Sydney Blue Sox. Multiple injuries resulted in a Tommy John surgery, and a shoulder injury kept him off the field during the 2022 season.
Selected in the seventh round of the 2016 draft by the Seattle Mariners, the Brooklyn-born and Staten Island native Matthew Festa made his MLB pitching debut on July 14, 2018 and subsequently made the 2019 Mariners’ Opening Day roster. After Tommy John surgery, he once again made the Mariners’ Opening Day roster in 2022 when the 29-year-old reliever made 53 regular season appearances (2-0, 2 SV, 4.17 ERA, 64K, 54 IP) and two postseason appearances (0-0, 2.70 ERA, 2 K, 3.1 IP against the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros).
Right-handed pitcher Sam Gaviglio returns to Team Italy after making his Azzurri debut during the 2017 WBC when he started the second game of the tournament against Venezuela (4.2 innings, 2 runs allowed). The 32-year-old Oregon native was selected in the fifth round of the 2011 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. He subsequently spent four seasons in MLB (11-18 record, 4.88 ERA and 296.2 innings in 98 games pitched) playing for the Seattle Mariners (2017), Kansas City Royals (2017) and the Toronto Blue Jays (2018-20). Gaviglio has since signed minor league contracts with the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers. He spent the 2022 season pitching for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers and compiled a 6-4 record (6.34 ERA) in 17 appearances including nine starts.
Vying for an MLB comeback after knee surgery, pitcher Matt Harvey will represent Team Italy in the 2023 WBC. Thanks to his Italian mother, the 33-year-old right-handed pitcher will be in the Italian rotation after his 2022 season between High-A and Triple A (8-1, 3.72 ERA in 13 starts). Born in New London, Connecticut and selected in the first round of the 2010 draft by the New York Mets out of University of North Carolina, Harvey pitched six seasons for the Mets. He reunites with Mike Piazza, who managed Team USA in the World Futures Game in 2011 when Matt picked up the save for the Americans. Among his highlights of his first three seasons, he broke a franchise record for a debuting pitcher with 11 strikeouts against Arizona in 2012. Harvey was named MLB All-Star in 2013 and started game five of the 2015 World Series against the Kansas City Royals. From 2019 to 2021, he pitched for the Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics, Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles. During his illustrious MLB career, Harvey compiled a 50-66 record with a 4.42 ERA and 867 strikeouts in 966.1 innings pitched.
Joe LaSorsa is a 24-year-old New York native and a promising left-handed pitcher who was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in 18th round of the 2019 draft out of St. John’s University. He will begin his fourth professional season by competing in his first international tourney with Team Italy in the 2023 WBC. He made 39 relief appearances and one start for a total of 73.1 innings between High-A and Double-A during the 2022 season when he compiled a 7-3 record with 8 saves (2.33 ERA) and 87 strikeouts in 73.1 innings of work.
Pitcher Braxton Lorenzini will make his Team Italy debut in the 2023 WBC. Selected by the San Diego Padres in the 33rd round of the 2015 draft out of California’s West Hills College, the 27-year-old Colorado native and right-handed reliever played six seasons in the minor leagues between 2015 and 2021. He made 94 appearances and registered a 11-9 record (6.17 ERA) with 139 strikeouts in 143.1 innings as a part of the San Diego Padres (2015-17) and the Colorado Rockies (2018-21) organizations.
Related to undefeated American boxing legend Rocky Marciano, pitcher Joey Marciano has the same fighting spirit on the mound. With a late start to his baseball career playing for the first time as a freshman in high school, he made up for lost time and became a pitching sensation at Southern Illinois University. Selected in the 36th round of the 2017 draft by the San Francisco Giants, Joey Marciano had high hopes to pitching professionally. Despite being named 2017 ACL Post-Season All-Star and 2018 ACL Post-Season All-Star, he retired from the game. Marciano returned to the Giants organization in 2021 after the pandemic-induced year off. With a stronger pitching repertoire and a solidified relief role, he moved up to Double-A and Triple-A in 2022 and compiled a 4-2 record with 9 saves (4.12 ERA) and 62 strikeouts in 59 innings of work.
After four seasons in the NCAA’s Atlantic 10 Conference pitching for the George Mason Patriots, Brian Marconi signed a minor league contract on June 12, 2019 with the Philadelphia Phillies, his hometown organization. Forced to miss the entire 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, he broke through High-A, Double-A and Triple-A in 2021 as a dominant closer. Marconi earned the Double-A Northeast League Reliever of the Year Award and named to the All-Star team. The 25-year-old compiled a 4-7 record (4.40 ERA) with 18 saves and 68 strikeouts in 57.1 innings of work during the 2022 season in between Double-A and Triple-A stints.
32-year-old right-handed pitcher Vinny Nittoli began his professional career after being selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 25th round of the 2014 draft. He eventually ventured in the Indy League and pitched for St. Paul Saints as a reliever and starter. Nittoli later signed minor league contracts with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2018 and the Toronto Blue Jays in 2019 before returning to the Seattle Mariners organization in 2020. He made his MLB pitching debut for the M’s on June 23, 2021 against the Colorado Rockies. Nittoli spent time in Triple-A pitching in the Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays organizations before returning to MLB in 2022 for two appearances with the Philadelphia Phillies. On January 12, 2023, he signed a minor league contract with the Chicago Cubs.
Selected in the fourth round of the 2019 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals out of UC Irvine, Andre Pallante emerged as one of the best pitchers for the Redbirds in 2022. The right-handed pitcher made his MLB debut on March 10, 2022 and a total of 47 appearances during the regular season including 10 starts for the Redbirds in 2022 with a 6-5 record (3.17 ERA) in 108 innings pitched. He also made one Wild Card Series appearance against the Philadelphia Phillies. Pallante will make his Team Italy pitching debut in the 2023 WBC.
Selected in the 40th round of the 2017 draft by the Chicago Cubs out of Lipscomb University in Nashville, right-handed pitcher Jeffrey Passantino played three minor league seasons before joining the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization in 2021. The 27-year-old Florida native got as high as Triple-A during the 2022 season and compiled an overall 3-2 record (4.47 ERA) in 22 minor league appearances with 42 strikeouts in 41.1 innings pitched. He recently pitched for Gigantes de Carolina in the Winter League in Puerto Rico and allowed just one run in 11.2 innings pitched.
Nicolò Pinazzi was born and raised in Milan where he played for local club Milano 1946. The 23-year-old left-handed pitcher signed a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds in 2020. For the past two seasons, he pitched in the Rookie League and compiled a 5-2 record (3.95 ERA) with 98 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched), earning him a promotion to Single-A Daytona at the end of the 2022 season.
A product of the FIBS Academy, MLB pitching prospect Claudio Scotti signed a minor league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 1, 2016. After two years in the Pirates organization, he returned to pitch for Team Italy during Haarlem Baseball Week and the Super 6 in 2018. Scotti enjoyed success when signing with UnipolSai Bologna and leading the team to two consecutive Italian championship titles in 2019 and 2020 as well as winning the European Champions Cup in 2019. After pitching seven scoreless innings with 16 strikeouts for Team Italy in the 2021 U23 European Baseball Championship in Verona and after two starts at the European Championships in Turin in 2021, he signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets on October 2, 2021. Scotti spent the 2022 season in the Rookie League and made five appearances including two saves.
Mitchell Anthony Stumpo signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 2, 2019. The 26-year-old North Carolina native and right-handed pitcher nearly retired twice after suffering an arm injury in high school and not being drafted after a successful collegiate career at Guildford College. He got his chance for redemption and quickly ascended up the ladder being named 2021 MiLB Organization All-Star Stumpo helped the Triple-A Reno Aces win the 2022 Pacific Coast Championship with 45 appearances and a record of 1-2 (3.53 ERA) with eight saves and 51 strikeouts in 43.1 innings pitched.
Vin Timpanelli signed a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds on August 18, 2020. The Staten Island, New York native played most of his college career at New Jersey’s Ramapo College as a catcher but during his senior year he started throwing some bullpen sessions. After the Covid-plagued 2020, Timpanelli focused on pitching and was subsequently picked up as a free agent by the Cincinnati Reds. After spending his time at High-A Dayton in 2021 and part of 2022, he advanced to Double-A Chattanooga. During his 2022 campaign, he made 32 appearances and compiled a 1-1 record (5.10 ERA) with 2 saves and 79 strikeouts in 47.2 innings pitched.
The 23-year-old right-handed pitcher signed a minor league contract with Milwaukee Brewers on June 9, 2017 and made his Rookie League debut the same year. He made his Team Italy debut in the 2017 U18 World Cup. Michele Vassalotti earned Pioneer League Pitcher of the Week in 2019 and later won Player of the Game honors twice for the Brisbane Bandits during the 2021 Australian Baseball League season. Pitching for the Brewers’ Single-A Carolina Mudcats in 2022, he compiled a 9-2 record (2.64 ERA) with seven saves and 56 strikeouts in 47.1 innings.
STEPHEN WOODS JR.
Selected in the sixth round of the 2013 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, right-handed pitcher Stephen Woods Jr. chose to attend SUNY Albany and play collegiate ball. He was selected again in the eighth round of the 2016 draft by the San Francisco and signed a minor league contract on June 22 2016. On December 20, 2017, Woods was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays along with Denard Span, Christian Arroyo and Matt Krook as part of the deal that brought Evan Longoria to San Francisco. After sitting out during the 2018 season due to injury, he pitched 86 innings at the HIgh-A level and secured a sub 2 ERA before being selected as the fourth overall pick by the Kansas City Royals in the 2019 MLB Rule 5 Draft. After 2020 Spring Training, Woods was dropped off the 26-man roster and sent back to the Tampa Bay Rays. He was later traded for and acquired by the Kansas City Royals. Woods reached the Triple-A level in 2022. During his minor league career, he has appeared in 116 games including 52 starts and has complied a 23-19 record (3.58 ERA) with 352 strikeouts in 339.2 innings pitched.