Fire Gardy

Mismanaging games since 2002

World Baseball “Classic”

Its really not a classic, the World Series (Fall Classic) is a classic because its, well, classic.  Anyway, the rosters were finalized last night and I thought I’d take a minute to look at the US roster and a few other teams with recognizable names. 

The starting rotation appears to be very solid.  Due to the schedule they only need a four man rotation.  That consists of Jake Peavy and Roy Oswalt at the top, and Ted Lilly and Jeremy Guthrie at the back end.  Not bad.  Two aces, plus two solid middle rotation guys.  The bullpen is pretty crowded, with four closers in Nathan, Fuentes, Broxton, and BJ Ryan.  There are a total of 14 pitchers and 14 position players, so that makes for a crowded bullpen.  This is probably good news for the teams of the players, though.  The starters don’t need to pitch very deep into the game, with plenty of viable relief options available.

The same can be said on the offensive side.  Two all-star shortstops in Jeter and Rollins.  Two catchers, Mark DeRosa who can play pretty much anywhere.  Youklis appears to be the only true firstbaseman, and Pedrioa the only true secondbaseman.  Too bad for the Red Sox, I hate them anyway.  But I assume DeRosa will fill in at those two spots primarily, with Wright and Chipper Jones splitting time at third.  There are four outfielders, two of whom are centerfielders (Granderson and Sizemore) and two corner (Hawp and Braun).  It should be pretty easy to rotate those four guys, thus not overworking anyone. 

We’ve already discussed the legitimacy of this tournament, so I won’t get into that.  I think the US has a very strong squad.  Johan Santana is sitting out, so the Venezuela squad is missing its best pitcher, but it still has Felix Hernandex and Carlos Zambrano.  But one of them is offset by Carlos Silva.  They should also have a strong lineup with Magglio Ordonez, and Miggy Cabrera. Defense appears to be solid with the Isturis brothers on the roster, as well as Endy Chavez in the outfield. 

Another noteworth team is the Dominican Republic.  While their pitching staff isn’t overwhelming, they do have a nice lineup.  Hanely Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Alex Rodriguez, and David Ortiz are the big names. Along with Adrian Beltre and Robinson Cano.  They are lacking Manny Ramierz and Albert Puljos, two players I believe they had last time around.  The pitching staff has Johnny Cueto and Pedro Martinez.  Not much else in the way of starters. 

Of those three teams I looked at, I would think the US has the best squad, due to pitching.  The starters are very good, and so is the bullpen.  Obviously Japan and Cuba will have very good teams, but since outside of Ichiro I don’t know any of their players, I wasn’t going to bother looking at their rosters.  My guess is that the United States, Japan, or Cuba will win.  And two of those teams will be playing each other in the championship round.

2 comments

2 Comments so far

  1. sirsean February 25th, 2009 10:32 am

    My pick is Canada over Taiwan in the championship.

    Cuba scuttled their chances by building a team of old loyalists rather than young talent. Oops.

    I like the suggestion I saw on BP yesterday: Don’t do it during Spring Training. Cancel the All Star game. Extend the All Star Break to 7 days, and have a single elimination tournament where each country has a team.

    All the pitchers are in mid-season form, players don’t have to skip their spring training, it’s a lot more meaningful than the stupid All Star game. Everybody wins (except the American League, which would presumably only host the World Series 50% of the time as opposed to 100% of the time).

  2. FunBobby February 25th, 2009 11:04 am

    I think Canada’s pitching is far too weak for them to do anything. The only pitcher I recognize on their roster is Jesse Crain. And that can’t be good. I guage a team by the number of “free agents” they have. If they have a bunch of players who aren’t good enough to even be on some team’s triple A affiliate, then they can’t possibly contribute.

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