2013 WBC Projections: Venezuela

Venezuela. After the USA and Dominican, it provides the most players to the big leagues. But, much like the USA and DR, it hasn’t really played up to the number of big leaguers they have. Their best finish has been third in the 2009 Classic (and that was only because they were ahead of Team USA because of more wins during the primaries). However, they cannot be counted out. Venezuela is a country that often has divided and fluid politics that makes Washington look like a elementary school, but one thing binds them all together: baseball.

As always, these are the rules of how I pick this roster, a combination of the official WBC rules on rosters and some unwritten rules that emerged during the first two tournaments:

  • Any player coming off a major injury or who has a history of injuries is unlikely to participate. This is especially true for the pitchers.
  • Players that will be on new teams are less likely to participate, but shouldn’t be completely ignored, with the exception of pitchers.
  • Teams are made up of 28 players, of which 13 of them must be pitchers and two of them catchers.
  • The pitch count rules make relievers extremely important.

So, after much research and thought, here are my projections for the 2013 Venezuelan National Team (after the jump):

Manager: Luis Sojo

Sojo, a manager in the low minors for the Yankees the last few years, has been the manager of Venezuela the last few major tournaments. Of course, this assumes Ozzie Guillen doesn’t get fired by the Marlins between now and next March (always a possibility), in which case he’d probably want the job.

Catcher: Miguel Montero, Humberto Quintero, Jesus Flores

All three are Major Leaguers, although only Montero really has a good bat. Yorvit Torrealba isn’t included due to his being a free agent this winter, and Wilson Ramos isn’t included due to his injury.

First Basemen: Ernesto Meija, Luis Antonio Jimenez

Ernesto Meija is a first-baseman in the Braves’ system who is doing well in AAA Gwinnett this season. Luis Jimenez from the Seattle organizaiton is also doing well in AAA. Venezuela does not have a devoted 1B in the Major Leagues as of right now, although perhaps they could have Miguel Cabrera temporarily move back to first if they could sedate the Detroit front office long enough.

Second Basemen: Jose Altuve, Omar Infante

Infante could, if needed, fill in at other positions as well, although he’s only been at second the last two years.

Third Basemen: Miguel Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval

Apologies to Alberto Callaspo.

Shortstop: Asdrubal Cabrera, Elvis Andrus

There really isn’t much that needs to be said here, and I wouldn’t want to be Sojo trying to figure out who to play.

Outfielders: Martin Prado, Gregor Blanco, Carlos Gonzalez, Gerardo Parra

Bobby Abreu just misses, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did end up playing.

Starting Pitchers: Felix Hernandez, Johan Santana, Felix Doubront, Henderson Alvarez

King Felix is obvious. Johan Santana is a big question mark due to his history with injuries, but I’m including him anyway. Felix Doubront has been one of the better pitchers, at least as far as W-L record, for the Red Sox this season. Henderson Alvarez of the Blue Jays rounds out the rotation.

Anibal Sanchez isn’t included due to the fact he may be with a new team in the 2013 season. Ditto with Carlos Zambrano.

Relievers: Rafael Betancourt, Jose Mijares, Ronald Belisario, Brayan Villarreal, Franklin Morales, Edward Mujica, Lester Oliveros, Jose Ortega, Victor Moreno

This is one of Venezuela’s biggest strengths: they have a great bullpen.

Betancourt didn’t play in 2009, but I’m including him. Jose Mijares would provide a lefty out of the bullpen. Belisario, with the Dodgers, has a 1.25 ERA. Brayan Villarreal of the Tigers has an even lower 1.16 ERA. Morales, Mujica and minor leaguers Lester Oliveros, Jose Ortega and Mexican Leaguer Victor Moreno (who has 24 saves and a 1.91 ERA for Campeche this season) round out the bullpen.

Francisco Rodriguez isn’t what he once was, but he still deserves a spot in the bullpen- however, he will be a free agent this winter, so I’m not including him.

So, what would a lineup for this team look like? Perhaps something like this:

1. Jose Altuve, 2B

2. Martin Prado, LF

3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B

4. Carlos Gonzalez, RF

5. Pablo Sandoval, DH

6. Miguel Montero, C

7. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS

8. Gerardo Parra, CF

9. Ernesto Meija, 1B

Starting Pitcher: Felix Hernandez

11 thoughts on “2013 WBC Projections: Venezuela

  1. Pingback: My 2013 WBC Projections so far (as of July 2nd, 2012) | The Baseball Continuum

  2. Great projection my only critique would be playing Sandoval at 3rd Miguel at 1st and DH either Andrus or Asdrubal. You can flip a coin on those 2, both have ridiculous gloves at short

  3. Pingback: My roster projections so far for the 2012-2013 World Baseball Classic (as of Aug. 14, 2012) | The Baseball Continuum

  4. Pingback: Your super-early preview of the 2013 World Baseball Classic Round of 16 | The Baseball Continuum

  5. I think this should be a better lineup: 1 Asdrubal Cabrera SS/ 2 Marcos scutaro 2B/ 3 Pablo Sandoval 3B/ 4 Miguel Cabrera 1B/ 5 Carlos Gonzalez CF/ 6 Victor Martinez DH/ 7 Ramon Hernandez C/ 8 Bob Abreu RF/ 9 Martin Prado LF. Miguel montero Backup catcher/ Omar infante infield utility/ Endy Chavez pinch hitter/ Elvis andrus pinch runner and Juan Rivera as a 4th outfield. 3 game serie rotation: opening day king Felix, Johan Santana, Anibal Sanchez/ Bullpen: Carlos zambrano, Armando galarraga, Freddy Garcia, Ronald belisario, Franklin morales, Jose mijares, setup Rafael Betancourt and KRod as a closer Francisco Rodriguez. What do u guys think about this team? We should be fighting for the tittle with respect that deserve Dominican republic, USA and the current champion Japan. A VENEZUELA VOY!!!!!!

    • I think if the best players from each country played.. The US is hands down the best team… The problem is most of the top US players wont play.
      1b- Fielder
      2b- Pedroia
      3b Wright/Longoria
      SS- Tulowitzki/Jeter
      Catcher- Posey/Mauer
      Outfield- Hamilton, Braun, Stanton, Kemp, Mchutcheon, Jones, Ellsbury, Holliday, Trout, Harper, Bruce, Upton,

      Sp
      1. Verlander
      2. Kershaw
      3. Strasburg
      4. Weaver
      5. Cain
      6. Price
      7. Sabathia
      8. Sale
      CL- Kimbrel

      That team would be un-beatable… Most of those guys won’t play so who knows.

  6. Pingback: My WBC Projections as of Nov. 4, 2012 | The Baseball Continuum

  7. the truth is that neither Dominican, USA or Venezuela have something to envy regarding players (3 teams have the best of MLB). now, I see a big difference between Joe Torres and Luis Sojo regarding tactics , experiance and the time to make deciciones in key moments. Venezuela has enough quality managers. I don´t understand why they still set on sojo

      • in venezuela we all, HATE luis sojo, and the lineup will be this c. miguel montero,1b. miguel cabrera, 2b marco scutaro, ss, elvis andrus,3b pablo sandoval, cf gerardo parra, lf carlos gonzalez, rf martin prado, dh asdrubal cabrera. pitcher, anibal sanchez

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