World Baseball Classic Update for 8/5/2022: Machado and Guerrero, Colombia’s manager, and more

Still catching up on some of the WBC news from the past few days….

World Baseball Classic Update 7/27/2022: An Aussie confirmed, Team Pakistan starts to take shape, and more.

Curtis Mead, a top-100 prospect who plays in the Rays organization, told an MiLB reporter that he plans to play for Australia next year. It should be noted, however, that the Adelaide-born infielder has had an injury since then, so that could change.

In Qualifier news, Team Pakistan is starting to take shape. Infielder Alex Khan of West Virginia University has been confirmed by the Pakistani team’s Twitter feed, and Pakistani-Canadian infielder Ahmad Mahmood (a commit to a community college in California) has had his participation confirmed by both his Twitter bio and a tweet from his old baseball academy. Other players either confirmed or implied for qualifiers by the Pakistani baseball federation’s Twitter page include former DIII player Shahid Shattar, community college outfielder Sami Khan, 16-year-old pitcher Amaan Khan, former Astros draftee Omar Arif, Citadel baseball player Rohan Shah, Tulane pitcher Blake Mahmood, Bethune-Cookman pitcher Amir Asghar, Canadian college pitcher Adam Khan, and Lyad Ansari, the nephew of a internationally-experienced cricket player. While the Pakistani team will likely be massively outgunned in qualifying against teams from places like Panama and Nicaragua that will primarily have professionals, you never know what might happen in baseball. One of my favorite WBC memories, for example, is when a bullpen for Team Brazil that included a 16-year-old amateur was able to close out Colombia.

On the business side of things, a Korean paper looked into why Korea isn’t hosting a round in next year’s tournament. Reasons include the want to have as many Japan-Korea games as possible, fairly low attendance in 2017 in Korea for the WBC (not helped by a surprise early elimination for Team Korea), and the fact that apparently Taiwan lobbied for a round more than Korea did.

Quick World Baseball Classic Update 7/26/22: Story is in

I’ve been busy the last few days, so this isn’t as thorough as it should be. I haven’t been able to scour the non-English sites for World Baseball Classic news, for example. I’m hoping to have a more full update in the coming days.

Anyway, the main news is that Team USA has its second confirmed player: Trevor Story. The Red Sox infielder was confirmed yesterday. He hasn’t been hitting as well this season, but his overall pedigree and ability to play second or short will make a good asset for the team. He joins Mike Trout as players confirmed for Team USA.

Speaking of Red Sox and the tournament, manager Alex Cora says he expects that Rafael Devers (Dominican), Xander Bogaerts (Kingdom of the Netherlands), and Christian Vazquez (Puerto Rico) will also take part. Cora himself admitted he’d love to manage but can’t due to rules against current managers taking part.

Come back in the coming days for updated WBC projections and perhaps more WBC news.

World Baseball Classic Update 7/22/22: Dominican and Korea get managers

The big news since our last update is that Rodney Linares will manage the Dominican Republic team in the WBC. Currently the third base coach for the Tampa Bay Rays, Linares had a brief minor league career and has been coaching ever since. He managed for several years in the Astros system before joining the Rays.

Speaking of the Dominican Republic, don’t expect to see Albert Pujols suiting up to play for them next year. With him retiring after this year and the Dominican talent pool so deep, he says he wouldn’t want to take the spot of a more worthy player. Instead, he’s planning on getting some traveling and spending time off with his kids. It’s similar to what I noted Miguel Cabrera said a few days ago, although Cabrera didn’t completely close the door to some sort of involvement.

Meanwhile, over in Asia, it’s been announced that Lee Kang-Chul will manage the South Korean squad in the WBC next year. A longtime pitcher in the KBO, he was the league’s strikeout champ back in 1992 and who remains one of the leaders in the league’s history in strikeouts and win. Lee has been the skipper of the KT Wiz since 2019, including a Korean Series title last season.

Finally: As has been noted before here and elsewhere, an effort is being made by Cuban players in North America to be part of the WBC. Major League Baseball again has noted that it isn’t up to the league, though, since rules for international competition put such decisions with national federations.

World Baseball Classic Update 7/19/2022: Ohtani interested, Cabrera doesn’t want to take the spot of a younger player, and a note about some upcoming WBC stuff

Some more WBC news that emerged from yesterday’s All-Star Game media availability:

  • Shohei Ohtani hopes to play in the WBC next year, although he does admit that his unique situation as a two-way player may make it a bit complicated.
  • Miguel Cabrera, who has previously said he wants to play for his native Venezuela next year, has hedged it a bit. In essence, while he wants to play a role, he also doesn’t want to take the spot of a more worthy younger player.
  • Finally, a programming note: Over the next ten days, I’ll have new versions of roster projections for Team USA and the Dominican. I might also have the long-gestating Venezuela projections.

Over at The Nats Report: A look at the Red Wings first half

Aside

My work on the Red Wings here and at Pickin’ Splinters has caught some people’s attention, and so I’m proud to announce that I’ll be doing a (mostly) weekly Red Wings update for the folks over at The Nats Report. Click the link to read my first installment.

World Baseball Classic Update 7/18/2022: Trout’s in, Cruz is a GM, and more…

The biggest World Baseball Classic news of the day is undoubtedly that Mike Trout has confirmed that he is going to be playing for Team USA in next year’s WBC. He announced it during media day at the All-Star Game (where he is in attendance, even if he isn’t playing due to a back spasm), and Team USA GM Tony Reagins (who is the man who drafted Trout for the Angels) confirmed that Trout will be the team’s Captain and also that he was the first player he called once he got the GM job. Trout hasn’t played in any previous World Baseball Classics for various reasons, so him taking part this time is a big get for Team USA and the event in general.

He’s not the only star in Los Angeles in the WBC news, however, as Freddie Freeman says he’s 100% in for Team Canada. For those that don’t know, Freeman’s parents are from Canada and he has played for Canada in the past in tribute to his mother, who died of cancer when he was just ten years old.

The Dominican Republic now has a General Manager: Nelson Cruz. Yes, that Nelson Cruz, the currently-active DH for the Washington Nationals. The league and the MLBPA had to give permission for him to take the job.

In qualifier news, Bruce Bochy has been named the skipper for Team France. Born in France while his father was stationed there, the three-time World Series-winning manager was going to manage France in the WBC qualifiers in 2020 until coronavirus put a stop to the tournament.

Ian Kinsler, the manager of Team Israel, has confirmed that Joc Pederson will play for the Israeli team next spring.

Rafael Devers has reportedly said that he’s in for Team Dominican if they give him a call.

A Twitter account dedicated to Puerto Rican baseball is reporting that former Red Neftali Soto is ready to play for Team PR in next year’s tournament. Soto has spent the last few years tearing it up in Japan, including winning HR titles in the Central League in 2018 and 2019.

Finally, Liam Hendriks has told MLB.com White Sox writer Scott Merkin that he’s interested in representing his native Australia next spring.

That’s it for today. However, it’s possible more news will break during the All-Star Media Day, so don’t be surprised if you see another WBC update on Tuesday!

Who is the greatest Mr. Irrelevant in baseball history?

You may know about Mr. Irrelevant, the last pick of the NFL Draft. The idea being that he is the equivalent of the last person picked on the playground, doomed to be an afterthought. Of course, even the last person picked in a professional draft is still far more talented than you, me, or almost anyone else on the planet. And, indeed, some Mr. Irrelevant picks have gone on to have good careers.

But what of baseball? After all, until very recently the MLB Draft was hilariously long. In fact, at one point there was no set ending. Even once more structure was added, it could still last 40 rounds. Only recently has it truly been downsized, going all the way down to five rounds in 2020 for COVID/labor reasoning before being increased again somewhat to 20 in 2021.

That, as well as the fact that all but the very best of prospects must spend at least some time in the minors, mean many baseball Mr. Irrelevants never even played professionally. But of those who did, who did the best? Given that this year’s draft is currently in full swing, I have a rundown under the jump:

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World Baseball Classic Update 7/15/22: USA GM and other news

Tony Reagins has been named the General Manager for Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Reagins is perhaps best known for his stint with the the Angels from late 2007 until Sept. 2011, where he oversaw a team that made two playoff appearances. In 2009, he was among those who made the decision to take a chance on a somewhat-iffy prospect from the northeast named Mike Trout. He also was the GM for Team USA in the last Olympics, which may suggest we’ll see a similar coaching staff to that (for example, Mike Scioscia).

As I mentioned in a translated-from-Korean article a few days ago, Team Korea is open to potentially having Americans of Korean descent on the team. Meanwhile, KBO pitcher Chang Mo Koo, who has a 0.99 ERA this season, wants to take part and wants a start against Japan.

In the Dominican Republic, meanwhile, Tony Pena isn’t impressed with the slow pace that the Dominican federation has taken to the tournament thus far. Although they have yet to announce a manager, the head of the federation has said Moises Alou is a possibility.

In Puerto Rico, Carlos Beltran is voicing his interest in managing the WBC.

Enrique Reyes, a longtime skipper in the Mexican League who has managed several Mexican teams at the international level as well, is being called the “natural candidate” for the WBC job. Other possibilities are Benji Gil (who managed the Olympic team) and Juan Castro (who managed the team in the 2019 Premier12 tournament).

Argentina’s addition to WBC qualification has gotten some minor press attention there.

Tickets are now on sale for the qualification pool in Germany.

The CompO’St Declaration

On June 22, I made the following post on Twitter:

At the time, it seemed absurd, but as we enter Wednesday, the Baltimore Orioles are now at .500 and are just two games back of a wild card spot. While still considered quite unlikely, it is now not out of the realm of possibility that they will, indeed, make the playoffs.

When I made the declaration above, I did not believe the Orioles would even come remotely close at any point in the season. This is not because I dislike the Orioles. In fact, I quite like the Orioles. I have family in Maryland, watched their minor leaguers when they were the Red Wings’ parent club, and Cal Ripken Jr. was my favorite player growing up. In fact, I even attended one of their playoff games against the Yankees in 2012 and have the “BUCKle Up” rally towel to prove it.

However, I didn’t think they’d possibly be this good. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they continued to do a lot better than myself and many others thought they would, but I didn’t think they’d get to .500, much less be in the conversation for a wild card at any point. That’s especially true since I figured they’d trade away every player not on a long-term contract, which now looks unlikely save for perhaps Trey Mancini (since his contract ends after this season and they’ll want something for him). So, when I wrote that I’d get into composting if they made the playoffs, I meant it.

So, since I’m a man of my word, I’m going to stick with it: If the 2022 Baltimore Orioles make the postseason, I will get into composting. I will buy a compost bin, I will put biodegradable waste like dead leaves, rotten fruits/vegetables, and cut grass into it. I will turn it every week or two to ensure it gets all mixed up. Maybe I’ll even put some worms in it. Eventually, assuming it actually works, I’ll probably give the resulting compost to family to use for gardening, or something.

Now, you’re probably wondering: why composting? It stems from a stupid inside joke where somebody said I must have been a farmer since I was helping with something outside. I quipped that I was doing composting, and it ran far too long from there. For another, composting doesn’t hurt anything and is good environmentally, so it’s not like I’m going to do some dangerous stunt

So, yeah, if the Orioles make the playoffs, I’m going to do composting.

Seriously.