Finally, the rosters for the Panama and Mexicali qualifiers of the WBC have been unveiled. I’ll go deeper when I do the previews for the tournaments, but a quick rundown:
- It appears, on paper, that this is going to be Mexico’s pool to lose. They have by far the most experienced and MLB-related of the rosters in the pool, led by All-Star Adrian Gonzalez and Oliver Perez.
- The Czechs are generally using their own players (such as Cleveland farmhand Martin Cervenka), which is commendable, but they have a few guys who are there due to Czech heritage, such as Mike Cervenak.
- Nicaragua is probably Mexico’s biggest threat in the Mexicali bracket, with 11 MLB-affiliated players, as well as some players who used to be in affiliated ball.
- Germany is hurt by not having Max Kepler, but still has six affiliated players, including Donald Lutz, who has MLB experience. They also will have former MLB player Will Ohman on the squad- he was born in Germany.
- Panama City:
- The home team Panamanians are led on the field by former All-Star Carlos Ruiz, and possess nine other affiliated players. Many of the other players on the team have also played affiliated ball, with Manny Corpas having reached the Majors.
- The biggest threat to Panama is Colombia, with 16 affiliated players led by MLB or soon-to-be MLB players in Dilson Herrera and Harold Ramirez. They also have four players in AAA.
- The Spanish are one teams in the WBC that are most blatant in their use of “Passport” players who are only eligible for their team due to lax citizenship rules. Almost all of their players, as far as I can tell, are expats from the Caribbean. None of their four affiliated players (Rogelio Armenteros of the Astros organization, Luis Guillorme of the Mets organization, Lazaro Leyva of the Orioles and Carlos Sierra of the Astros’ organization) are from Spain, for example.
- France is probably the team in this pool most likely to go 2-and-out. Only one- Andy Paz- is MLB-affiliated, although some, like Rene Leveret, have been in affiliated baseball in the past.
Finally one last other piece of news:
There is some exhibition action, as Germany split a two-game series with the Tijuana Toros, France beat Seminole State College, and the Czechs lost to a Brewers’ minor league squad.