World Baseball Classic Preview
On March 2nd, the first round of the World Baseball Classic kicked off, marking only its third season of the newly formed competition. People say it’s the “World Cup” of baseball, and the 16 teams playing in the tournament feature many of the best baseball players in the world. Japan won the first two WBC’s, but the USA is gunning strong to claim the third title.
Despite the USA’s roster missing some of the MLB’s top players, they do in fact have a very solid lineup that will put them in a good spot for the tournament. The USA’s 27-person team roster includes:
Pitchers: R.A. Dickey, Derek Holland, Craig Kimbrel, Kris Medlen, Chris Perez, Vinnie Pestano, Glen Perkins, Ryan Vogelsong, Jeremy Affeldt, Heath Bell, Mitchell Boggs, Steve Cishek, Tim Collins, and Luke Gregerson.
Outfielders: Ryan Braun, Giancarlo Stanton, Shane Victorino, and Adam Jones.
Infielders: David Wright, Brandon Phillips, Jimmy Rollins, Mark Teixeira, Ben Zobrist, and Willie Boomquist.
Catchers: Joe Mauer, J.P. Arencibia, and Jonathan Lucroy.
Venezuela and the Dominican Republic are other teams to look out for during the tournament, because they too have very solid rosters with virtually no holes in the lineup. Venezuela has 11 MLB All Stars on their squad, and the Dominican Republic has power hitters such as Carlos Santana and Nelson Cruz. However, both of these teams are in Pool C, whereas the USA is in Pool D, so the USA will only end up having to play one of the teams granted that they win their pool.
So things are looking good for Team USA in the third ever World Baseball Classic, and they could very well pull off their first ever WBC Championship this year. The USA plays Mexico in their first game of the tournament on March 8th, and will face Italy and Canada on the 9th and 10th respectively. So stay tuned and up to date with the 2013 World Baseball Classic, and be on the lookout for the USA as they strive for the gold.