World Baseball Classic Update 8/21/2022: Venezuela, Argentina, Pakistan, and more

A roundup of some additional WBC news from the past week or so that I missed in yesterday’s post:

  • Add Astros pitcher Luis Garcia to the list of Venezuelans who have committed to the tournament. You can add Rockies pitcher German Marquez to that list as well.
  • Rolando Arnedo, the manager of the Diamondbacks’ Arizona Complex League team, will skipper Argentina in the qualifiers. In fact, Argentina has revealed a lot more about its qualifier team in an article released on Aug. 18. Among other information: Astros Arizona Complex League manager Marcelo Alfonsin will be the pitching coach, Gabriel Sanso will be the bench/hitting coach, Eduardo Capdevilla will be outfield/third base coach, Nicolas Solari will be infield/first base coach, and Federico Bisbal will be on quality control and analytics. Player-wise, Argentina is hoping for participation from players of Argentine descent like Miami’s Daniel Castano, the Baltimore organization’s Yennier Cano, and CPBL player An Ko Lin. It’s unlikely that they’ll be able to get Castano given scheduling and the concussion and Cano’s participation would likely depend on whether he’s on the big league club by that time as well, though.
  • Pakistan has introduced three of the coaches involved in the qualifying team: Brian Furches, pitching coach Randall Arms, and Naser Peter.
  • Australia and Japan will play a series in November as preparation for the WBC.
  • Broadcasting announcement: Tyler Maun and former Australian big-leaguer Ryan Rowland-Smith will be on the call for the WBC qualifiers.

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.

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!

Possible international sites for MLB games

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Previously, I discussed some possible neutral-field games in the USA or Canada. Today, it’s time to look beyond the borders and muse about possible neutral-field games internationally going forward.

Go below the jump for more.

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World Baseball Classic Qualifier Preview: Sydney (Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa)

The first qualifier for the World Baseball Classic will feature an eclectic group of three “Commonwealth” nations in addition to the Philippines, and while it’s likely that the host Australians will come out on top, it will be interesting to see how the others do, especially New Zealand, which arguably has the fastest-growing baseball program in the world.

Go below the jump for the more:

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World Baseball Classic Update for February 9, 2016

As we barrel towards the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, here’s the latest news:

 

The Run-Up to the Sydney Qualifiers:

First off, the most important news for all of us is how we’ll be able to watch it. And good news! In the USA and Canada, all games will be on the World Baseball Classic website! Go to the link to see how else you can watch it, as select games will be on TV on MLB Network and all games will be on ESPN in the Pacific Rim area, although some games will be tape-delayed.

There have been some changes to rosters since they were first announced. Perhaps the most notable addition has been that infielder Gift Ngoepe has been added to South Africa. Probably the best African baseball player in history, Gift is now on the Pirates’ 40-man roster, which probably delayed it being official.

Various teams have been playing informal warm-up games in the run-up to the qualifiers. You can see pictures and info on some of New Zealand’s play on their Facebook page, for example.

The New Zealanders will be wearing #37 on their uniforms in memory of Lincoln Holdzkom, who died in a car accident last year.

In other WBC news:

Tickets are now on sale for the Panama City portion of the Qualifiers.

Attention Britons and people with fairly close British ancestry: the United Kingdom’s baseball team is holding open tryouts on Sunday, March 6th!

Athletics catching prospect Bruce Maxwell, who was born in Germany, will be part of the German team in their qualifying tournament.

There are a few other stories I’ve missed, but I’m hard at work on the WBC Qualifier preview for Sydney, so those other stories will have to wait until next time!

 

 

(Blogathon ’16) WBC News for January 29, 2016

This post is part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

It’s time for a World Baseball Classic update! With the first qualifiers coming up, more news has started to come out. Let’s take a look at some of the news:

Sydney Qualifying Pool Rosters and Schedules released:

On Wednesday, the rosters and schedules for the Sydney qualifying pool came out. They can be found over here on Baseball America. I’ll have a more thorough preview as we get closer to the event, but it’s definitely a case where Australia should be considered the heavy favorite, full of players with experience in MLB or the Minors. After Australia, it’s a fight for the second spot to face them in a winner-take-all game to get to the main tournament. Clay Rapada is probably the most notable player outside of the Australians, as he will be playing for the Philippines, the country of his father’s birth, before retiring. Former All-Star Jason Bartlett, also of Filipino descent, was also expected to play, but I don’t see him on the roster.

News from other qualifying pools:

As I mentioned last time, the qualifiers, unlike the main tournament, are not events where MLB teams are required to allow 40-man roster players to take part if there’s an overlap with official team acitivites. This will most hurt a team like Mexico, where the Blue Jays are unlikely to allow their three Mexican players from taking part in the March qualifier in Mexicali.

Jon Morosi, one of the best people to follow for WBC news, had information on his Twitter feed on the German team, who will be managed by Garth Iorg (yes, that Garth Iorg). Depending on what difficulties Mexico has, they could be a threat in Mexicali, even with Max Kepler likely skipping as he tries to win a spot on the Twins, they will have Donald Lutz, one of the few Germans with MLB experience.

Bruce Chen, who retired last season, is apparently willing to pitch for Panama.

Other WBC News:

Ozzie Guillen is totally up for managing Team Venezuela in 2017.

 

And that’s it… for now.

Keep an eye out for more WBC news on the Baseball Continuum as it occurs.

At 9 AM: International Baseball Culture

This post has been part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

World Baseball Classic News for 12-17-2015: Catching Up

It’s time to catch up on some World Baseball Classic news!

 

Lincoln Holdzkom passes away

First off, though, there is tragic news out of California, where New Zealander-American pitcher Lincoln Holdzkom has passed away after a car accident. Holdzkom, the brother of John Holdzkom of the Pirates organization, was expected to be the team captain for New Zealand in the WBC Qualifiers. Our thoughts are with him and his family and friends.

Mexico’s roster starts to take shape

Jon Morosi has an article on the Mexican National Team that has begun to take shape. Edgar Gonzalez will be the manager for Team Mexico in the WBC Qualifiers and presumably the main tournament as well if they qualify. His younger brother, Adrian Gonzalez, will be on the roster. The team could be pretty deep in pitching, Morosi writes:

Mexico’s preliminary roster will be especially deep in pitching, with Yovani Gallardo, Marco Estrada, Roberto Osuna, Aaron Sanchez, Miguel Gonzalez and Dodgers prospect Julio Urias among the notable arms certain to be included on it. Pitchers Jorge De La Rosa, Joakim Soria and Olivez Perez also are eligible to play for Mexico, as is Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier, who is Mexican-American.

However, there are some problems that could trip up Mexico. For one thing, while MLB teams are very strongly encouraged to allow players to participate in the qualifiers, they are not required (unlike the main rounds of the WBC, where they are only allowed to officially block player participation if they are coming off an injury or there are too many players being picked from their roster). In addition, there is an ongoing feud between the Mexican League and Mexico’s national baseball federation that will make the participation of Mexican Leaguers iffy.

Edwin Rodriguez will begin recruiting for Team Puerto Rico

In a Spanish-language article on Elnuevodia.com, there is the news that Edwin Rodriguez will soon begin to recruit for Team Puerto Rico. While the article mentions how he will try to make an effort to get players of Puerto Rican descent (like Jake Arrieta) to take part, I personally think it’s more likely they’ll have to rely upon native-born Puerto Ricans like Yadier Molina, Carlos Beltran, Angel Pagan, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, and the like. All of them are mentioned in the article. Puerto Rico came in a surprising second in the 2013 WBC.

Other Notes:

So, until next time, this has been a WBC update!

World Baseball Classic News for 9-17-2015: Qualifier Pools Announced!

Well, I told you that more news was probably coming, and today it was confirmed, as the World Baseball Classic qualifying pools have been announced! They are (all qualifiers in 2016):

 

Qualifier 1 (Sydney, Australia on February 11-14th):

Australia

New Zealand

Philippines

South Africa

Qualifier 2 (Mexicali, Mexico on March 17-20th):

Mexico

Czech Republic

Germany

Nicaragua

Qualifier 3 (Panama City on March 17-20th):

Colombia

France

Panama

Spain

Qualifier 4 (Brooklyn on Sept. 22-25th):

Brazil

Great Britain

Israel

Pakistan

As you can see, they’ve mixed up the locations (only Panama is a return qualifying host), the pools (no pool has more than two teams that were in the same individual pool last time), and also teams (Pakistan has replaced Thailand). Some things to note here:

  • MLB players will be able to participate in Qualifiers 1-3, but not Qualifier 4.
  • It is again a modified double-elimination, meaning it’s double elimination until there are only two, at which point it’s a winner-take-all championship game. I’ve always had a problem with this format and feel a straight-up double-elimination would be better, but I understand how the organizers would like the drama of a winner-take-all game.
  • Qualifier 4, in Brooklyn, is clearly meant to be a pool of teams that don’t have pro-worthy stadiums in their countries. It’s likely Brooklyn was picked due to New York’s diverse nature, with MLB and the other WBC organizers no doubt hoping that the city’s large Jewish population will turn up for Israel games.
  • Looking at this right now, I’d say that Qualifier 2 will probably have the highest level of talent, Qualifier 3 will be the hardest for any one team to get out of, and Qualifier 4 will be the hardest to predict. Qualifier 1, by contrast, looks like it should be a fairly easy draw for Australia.
  • I’m somewhat surprised that the Philippines is in Qualifier 1. I had a feeling they might make it an All-Commonwealth pool and have the Philippines be in New York City. At least, that’s what I thought after reading Jon Paul Morosi’s original post before it was official.

 

So, look in the coming days and no doubt more news will come out and I’ll take a look at some of the teams and other aspects of the qualifying tournament- like Pakistan’s baseball program.

 

WBC News for September 9, 2015: Some other stuff

There’s some other World Baseball Classic news I forgot to get to yesterday:

First off, way back in April, Russell Martin said he’s totally up for another go-around for Canada in 2017. He infamously missed the 2013 Classic because he wanted to play middle-infield.

In March, Jon Morosi- the biggest WBC booster amongst mainstream MLB writers- talked a bit about it. The 12 teams that didn’t finish last in their groups (Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, South Korea, United States and Venezuela) will automatically get a bid. No major changes are expected in the actual WBC itself, although the teams that finished last in their groups (Mexico, Australia, Brazil and Spain) will have to go through qualifiers to qualify again. He indicated that Mexico, Germany, Australia and Panama were the likely places to hold qualifiers, due to facilities and likelihood to participate. He estimated that most qualifiers would occur in September and/or November of 2016, although he says that Australia may host in February of 2016 after the end of their league’s season but before Spring Training.

Speaking of which, the New Zealand baseball federation’s twitter feed implied that, indeed, there will be an Australian-based qualifier in February next year. However, I personally e-mailed Australia’s baseball federation asking about where they stand as far as the WBC, and they said that they have yet to hear from WBC Inc. (the company formed by Major League Baseball, the MLBPA, the IBAF and other professional leagues to manage the tournament), although they do know they will, as expected, have to go through qualifiers. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, that there will be a qualifying round in Australia in February 2016, but it’s definitely not official yet.

Finally, there was some talk that the Mexican portion of the qualifiers would be held in Mexicali, Hermosillo, or Monterrey.

Remember to follow the Baseball Continuum for more WBC news as it comes out in the coming weeks, months and years.