Saturday, February 23, 2013

A look at Team USA for the World Baseball Classic

UPDATE (3/8/2013):  Eric Hosmer from the Kansas City Royals has replaced Mark Teixeira as the team's first baseman after Texeira was injured in a New York Yankees spring training game.

The other day I posted about how the World Baseball Classic has peeked my interest this year (World Baseball Classic is a break from monotony of Spring Training ).  The World Baseball Classic is an international tournament being played in March 2013 with national teams battling for the title of "World Champion" and bragging rights as the country with the best baseball players.  Rosters for the various national teams that range from the Netherlands to Venezuela include Major League (MLB)players and professional atheletes from other professional baseball leagues located throughout the world.  Japan which has won the tournamant the last two times it has been played in 2006 & 2009 and is considered a favorite again this year has a roster filled entirely with players from its domestic professional baseball league while the USA which is skippered by Yankees Manager Joe Torres is filled entirely with MLB Players from the American and National  leagues.

Team USA is guaranteed to play 3 games in the World Baseball Classic's first round and if they have the best record in their 4 team pool (Pool D) than they will move on to Round 2 being played in Miami Florida being played March 12 through the 16th.  They will play their Round 1 games in Phoenix, Arizona March 8 - 10, 2013.  Games will be broadcast on cable tv and the internet via MLBtv. 

Game 1 is on Friday March 8 @ 9pm ET vs Mexico
Game 2 is on Saturday March 9 @ 9pm ET vs Italy
Game 3 is on Sunday March 10 @ 9pm ET vs Canada
So let's take a look at our 2013 Team USA!
We have 5 starting pitchers on the roster:
R.A. Dickey played for the New York Mets in 2012 and had a 20-7 record with a 2.73 Earned Run Average (ERA)
Gio Gonzalez played for the Washington Nationals in 2012 with a 21-8 record and 2.89 ERA
Ryan Vogelsong helped the San Fransico Giants win the 2012 World Series with a 14-9 record and played in the 2011 MLB All-Star Game having a 13-7 record that year.
Derek Holland had a 12-7 record in 2012 and 16 wins & 5 losses in 2011 for the Texas Rangers.
Ron Detwiler went 10-8 with a 3.74 ERA with 27 game starts for the Washington Nationals in 2012.
Team USA also has a lot of depth with a roster full of quality middle relievers and closers:
Vincent Pestano pitched for the Cleveland Indians in 2012 with a 3-3 record and 2.57 ERA in 70 games for the Tribe.
Luke Gregerson had a 2.39 ERA in 77 games as a middle reliever with the San Diego Padres in 2012.
Steve Cishek went 5-2 with 15 saves and a 2.69 ERA for the Florida Marlins in '12 season.
Mitchell Boggs was 4-1 in '12 with a  2.21 ERA in 78 games for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Glen Perkins went 3-1 with a 2.56 ERA in 70 games for the Minnesota Twins in 2012.
The team also has closers on the line-up:
Chris Perez had 39 saves and a 3.59 ERA with the Cleveland Indians in 2012.
Heath Bell had an off year with the Miami Marlins in 2012 with a 5.09 ERA and 19 saves but the prior 3 years in San Diego he averaged 49 saves per year and a 2.50 ERA.
Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves had a steller year in 2012 with 1.01 ERA and 42 saves!
On the field playing D here is the starting lineup for Team USA:
CATCHERJoe Mauer (Minnesota Twins) A solid and respected glove behind the plate to keep the pitching rotation under control with a career batting average as a .323 hitter in 9 seasons - one of the best catchers in the tournament and in Major League Baseball.
1st BASE:  Mark Teixeira (New York Yankees)  a .280 career hitter over 8 season with more than 300 homeruns.
2nd BASE: Brandon Phillips (Cincinatti Reds)  in 2012 he batted .281 with 18 HRs.
SHORT STOP:  William Bloomquist (Arizone Diamondbacks) had a .302 batting average in '12
3rd BASE David Wright (New York Mets) had a great year in 2012 with a .301 batting average & 21 HRs
LEFT FIELD:  Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers)  41 Homeruns and a .319 batting average in '12
CENTERFIELDAdam Jones (Baltimore Orioles) batted .287 with 32 home runs in 2012
RIGHT FIELDGiancarlo Stanton (Miami Marlins) hit .290 with 37 HRs last season.
Good luck Team USA - let's bring home the title "world champs!" 
For more information about the World Baseball Classic visit

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