If you’ve stumbled over here and are looking for a more up to date roster, check out this page.
The full provisional rosters came out for the WBC teams this week, and I figured I’d follow up on last week’s post. There probably won’t be too much WBC talk here until it starts on March 5, but with as slow as things are for the Nats right now, you never know. Anyway, here is a more full US roster. There are a few more players on the roster, but this list is pretty complete.
C – Brian McCann / AJ Pierzynski / Brian Schneider
1B – Kevin Youkilis / Derrek Lee
2B – Dustin Pedroia / Brian Roberts
3B – David Wright / Chipper Jones / Evan Longoria
SS – Derek Jeter / Jimmy Rollins
LF – Ryan Braun / Carlos Quentin
CF – Grady Sizemore / Curtis Granderson / Shane Victorino / Vernon Wells
RF – Brad Hawpe / Ryan Ludwick
UTIL – Mark DeRosa
SP – Jake Peavy
SP – Roy Oswalt
SP – John Lackey
SP – Scott Kazmir
SP – Ted Lilly
SP – Justin Verlander
RP – Steve Shields
RP – Brian Fuentes
RP – John Danks
RP – Jonathan Broxton
RP – BJ Ryan
RP – JJ Putz
RP – Joe Nathan
So added to last week’s take on the infield we have Lee and Roberts, both are arguably better than the people I had listed as starters last time. One week later, the outfield is MUCH MUCH deeper. In LF, add Carlos Quentin, in CF, add Vernon Wells and Shane Victorino, and in RF add Ryan Ludwick. It’s an impressive roster, for sure. It may be the best roster there, although the Dominican Republic (Pujols, ARod, Big Papi, Hanley Ramirez, Reyes, Beltre, Cano, Vlad, Soriano, Peralta) may well be better. The pitching staff has expanded, both with Danks, yet another very good closer in the bullpen, and with Lilly, Verlander and Kazmir rounding out the starting group. The team looks very good, but not just for the names.
The team has power hitters: Braun, Longoria, Quentin, Wright, Chipper, Lee, Wells, Youkilis, McCann, Hawpe and Ludwick. They have guys who always find a way to reach base safely, and have speed: Jeter, Pedroia, Roberts, DeRosa and Granderson. They have those guys who do everything well, probably topped off with Sizemore and Rollins. And there’s room for some of the smaller names to step up and grab the spotlight. People will notice if Jeremy Guthrie, Matt Lindstrom, or Joey Devine shuts down the opposition, even if they don’t know who they are. Same thing if Chris Ianetta gets a game winning hit.
There’s true talent up and down the lineup, and it should be very fun to watch. Who do you start at third – Chipper, who is probably one of the best hitting third basemen in history? Wright, who’s probably the most complete player in that position in many years? Or Longoria, who will compete with Wright for that title sooner than most anticipated? How about SS? Jeter, the face of the game for much of the world, who still hits as well as anyone at short? Or Rollins – rangier, lower OBP but more power and speed, and recent MVP? Do you want to play Jeter, Pedroia and Youkilis together just to see those three turn a double play? An OF of Braun, Sizemore and Hawpe would be pretty devastating. Then again, so would Quentin, Wells and Ludwick. The debate may be one of the best parts of this team.
It’s much harder for me to evaluate team Cuba or Japan, because so many of those players aren’t MLB players, but they play very well together. Here are some of the highlights on the other teams (including the few names you should recognize on Japan’s roster):
Japan – Dice-K, Hideki Okajima, Kenji Johjima, Fukudome, and, of course, Ichiro
Canada – Jeff Francis and Rich Harden lead the staff, while the lineup is bolstered by Justin Morneau, Russell Martin, Joey Votto, Mark Teahan, Jason Bay and Matt Stairs
Dominican – in addition to all the great hitters named above, they have Pedro Martinez, Fausto Carmona, Francisco Cordero, Johnny Cueto, Liriano, Ervin Santana, Valverde and a slew of other major leaguers pitching for them
Korea – they’re actually considered one of the best teams in the competition, but the only guys you’ve probably heard of are Shin Soo Choo of the Indians and Derek Jeter’s favorite pitcher – Byung Hyun Kim
Venezuela – Hugo’s boys have some really talented major leaguers as well including Felix Hernandez, Johan Santana and Carlos Zambrano as starters. Crediting their bullpen is K-Rod and Rafael Betancourt, while Jorge Julio may be debting it. Their lineup is formidable too: Miguel Cabrera, Bobby Abreu, Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez, Melvin Mora, Dioner Navarro, Ramon Hernandez, and Juan Rivera. On top of that, they have some really slick fielders with Cesar Izturis, Maicer Izturis, Omar Vizquel and Marco Scutaro. They might not be picked to win, but you should keep your eye on them
Mexico – A few major leaguers dot this roster. Four youngters: Alfredo Aceves, Jorge Campillo, Yovani Gallardo and Matt Garza will be there with Oliver Perez. In the bullpen, there is perhaps the most underrated closer of ’08, Joakim Soria. The lineup has Adrian Gonzalez, Scott and Jerry Hairston, Rod Barajas, and Jorge Cantu
Puerto Rico – As you could imagine, they have some impressive players as well. Their pitching staff includes Javier Vazquez, Ian Snell, JC Romero, Joel Pinero and Pedro Feliciano. The lineup a slew of catching talent – Ivan Rodriguez, Benji Molina, Yadier Molina, and Giovanni Soto. The rest of their lineup isn’t too bad either, with Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, Alex Rios, Ramon Vazquez, and, of course, Felipe Lopez.
Panama, I mean Panama – Rounding out the teams with names you might recognize, Panama has a few MLB stars themselves, at least in their own country. Pitchers include Manny Acosta and Manny Corpas. There hitters are lead by Carlos Lee, throw in catcher Carlos Ruiz and that’s pretty much it with top guys, but there are a slew of MLB players.
Looking over that talent, it’s hard to rank Japan, Korea and Cuba, but they are all supposed to be good. The other teams, besides those 3, are going to be topped by the US and the Dominican. Venezuela has a shot of making a run as well, and I wouldn’t count out Puerto Rico, although I don’t think they can win the whole thing.