Back during the Blogathon, I did a super-hypothetical projection of what the World Baseball Classic team for the USA would look like if everybody took part, regardless of whether I actually thought they would or not. I called it Version 0.1.
Now, though, it’s time to be more realistic. Not everyone will take part, especially among the pitchers. And, what’s more, the roster will not be a simple gathering of talent. No, there will be role-players: Mark DeRosa, Ben Zobrist, and Willie Bloomquist were on previous WBC teams partly (or, in the case of Bloomquist, almost entirely) because they could play multiple positions. The bullpens will not simply be closers, there will be set-up men and specialists who would only be known to the die-hards.
In addition, there are likely to be rule changes that will allow teams to add players as the tournament goes on, primarily aimed at making it easier for some pitchers to play but who are skittish about going during the early rounds where they might not have had as much time to prepare. For simplicity’s sake, this version of the projections is going to only use a 28-man roster, but sometime in the future I will make projections that reflect the new rules once we officially know what they are.
Now, before we begin (after the jump), a reminder of the WBC roster rules/general wisdom that I use to make these:
- 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. (This may change pending rule changes.)
- The pitch count rules make relievers extremely important.
(Go below the jump for the projections)