World Baseball Classic rosters are made up of 28 players, of which 13 of them must be pitchers and two of them must be catchers. So far, these are the players who have been confirmed or all-but-confirmed to be playing for the United States in the 2013 Classic:
- Joe Mauer, C (Minnesota)
- David Wright, 3B (NY Mets)
- Ryan Braun, OF (Milwaukee)
- Giancarlo Stanton, OF (Miami)
- R.A. Dickey, SP (Toronto)
- Adam Jones, OF (Baltimore)
- Shane Victorino, OF (Boston)
- Andy Pettitte, SP (NY Yankees)
- Craig Kimbrel, RP (Atlanta)
- Chris Perez, RP (Cleveland)
- Luke Gregerson, RP (San Diego)
- Brandon Phillips, 2B (Cincinnati)
- Vinnie Pestano, RP (Cleveland)
- Ryan Vogelsong, SP (San Francisco)
- Jonathan Lucroy, C (Milwaukee)
- Mark Teixeira, 1B (NY Yankees)
- Glen Perkins, RP (Minnesota)
- Jimmy Rollins, SS (Philadelphia)
- Jeremy Affeldt, RP (San Francisco)
That’s 19 players: three starting pitchers, six relievers, two catchers, a first-baseman, a second-baseman, a shortstop, a third-baseman and four outfielders. Put it another way, there are 9 spots still unrevealed, and at least four of them are pitchers (with at least one of them probably a starter). So, it also follows that at most five of the remaining players are position players. Team USA still needs some more infielders, maybe a utility guy, and perhaps another catcher (reports say that Team USA will have three catchers).
Justin Verlander isn’t on the provisional roster right now, but apparently that more has to do with the fact he hasn’t said yes or no yet. He’ll apparently be making that decision by early March. Meanwhile, Kris Medlen had been mentioned as a possibility for the team, but hasn’t been mentioned in the past few days. I’m going to guess that this basically means that the fourth spot in the rotation will either be Verlander or Medlen. So either the best pitcher on the planet or the pitcher who’s team won 22 consecutive games that he started. Not a bad set of options.
21. Matt Wieters, C (Baltimore Orioles)
The third catcher isn’t Buster Posey, so it’s likely either Wieters or another American catcher like A.J. Ellis or Alex Avila or somebody like that. After pitchers, catchers are the hardest players to get to commit to the WBC.
Okay, so now they bullpen is filled up. Nathan definitely has received an invitation and was considering, the other two are just guesses based on guys who’d fit well. One thing to note is that it’s possible (but unlikely) that Medlen could remain on the roster as a long reliever if Verlander were to pitch
25. Paul Konerko, 1B (Chicago White Sox)
It was reported that Konerko was on at the very least an early list for Team USA, so I’ll put him down for now.
26. Jay Bruce, OF (Cincinnati)
Was reportedly on a early roster but hadn’t heard yet. Would make a great bat-off-the-bench and outfielder for those days where one of the other OFs are DHing.
Finishing the roster by adding in a guy who can play anywhere and another shortstop.
It’ll be interesting to see how well my predictions turn out.