2023 WBC Team USA Roster Projections Version 1.0

It is time. After far too much slacking on my part, it is finally here. My first actual roster projection for Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. This isn’t my talk of the “ideal” roster, as I have done previously, this is based on who may actually take part and who has actually committed.

Go below the jump for more.

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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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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.

At Pickin’ Splinters: Red Wings falls back in division with 3-2 loss

Aside

My first game story for Pickin’ Splinters is now up. Be sure to check it out and read about the Wings’ loss last night as well as manager Matthew LeCroy’s thoughts on the game.

Some Personal News: Pickin’ Splinters

I’m sharing some personal news today. Beginning on Friday, I’ll be occasionally covering the Rochester Red Wings and other Rochester-area sports on Pickin’ Splinters.

I will continue, of course, to post on this blog. My Rochester Red Wings Reports will also continue, but will only cover games that I go to as a fan. I will, however, make sure to provide links here to any baseball-related stories I do for Splinters.

Thanks for reading!

Rochester Red Wings Report: One line on every new member of the 2022 Rochester Red Wings

During the 2022 season, I’ll have occasional reports on games I’ve attended of the Rochester Red Wings, the AAA affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

Last night’s 3-2 loss to Syracuse was, for such a close game, a rather nondescript one, as the Wings were foiled by a lack of clutch hitting and a would-be tying run being thrown out at the plate.

So, instead, I’m updating my opening day look at the team by having one line on every member of the Red Wings who was not on the opening day roster. I am not including Alcides Escobar, who is on a rehab assignment.

Here we go:

  • Cory Abbott was acquired by the Nationals off waivers from the Giants in May.
  • Joan Adon is looking to get back to Washington after being sent down with a 1-11 record and 6.97 ERA thus far in the show this season.
  • Luis Avilan is an MLB veteran of 458 games, primarily with Atlanta and the Dodgers.
  • Matt Brill came to the Nationals organization after initially being with Arizona, and was moved from AA to AAA in early June.
  • Zack Burdi, currently on the IL, saw some MLB time with the White Sox and Orioles last season.
  • Sam Clay first made his Rochester Red Wings debut in 2019, during the Twins era.
  • Matt Cronin had a minuscule 0.55 ERA in AA Harrisburg before being called up to the Wings in late May.
  • This is Danny Dopico‘s first year in the Nationals organization, having previously been with the White Sox.
  • Aside from Cade Cavalli, Cole Henry is likely the biggest pitching prospect in the Nationals system.
  • Patrick Murphy has pitched in 35 career MLB games.
  • Sterling Sharp is not related to former NFL player Sterling Sharpe, as should be clear by the fact their last names are spelled different.
  • Mason Thompson has a 3.86 ERA in 25.2 career IP in Major League Baseball.
  • Taylor Gushue had a cup of coffee with the Cubs in 2021.
  • Curacao’s Junior Martina has leapfrogged AA to join the Red Wings.
  • Ildemaro Vargas has seen MLB time with Arizona, the Cubs, Minnesota, and Pittsburgh.
  • Josh Palacios‘ uncle, Rey Palacios, is both a former big leaguer and a longtime Rochester firefighter.

The Red Wings continue their series against Syracuse through Sunday.

2023 WBC Team Dominican Republic: The “ideal” roster

Here’s a fun fact: one of my most popular posts ever was an early projection of what Team Dominican Republic’s roster would look like for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. So now that I have finished my June update for Team USA, it is time to look at another tournament favorite: the Dominican Republic. It’s a topic that others have already brought up: reporter Hector Gomez tweeted out one possible lineup, while no less than Vladimir Guerrero Jr. gave his opinion back in April. Now, it’s my turn.

Much like the Team USA rosters, at this point this is a “pie-in-the-sky” roster. It assumes, probably wrongly, that every player I mention would be willing and able to play. That, needless to say, is highly unlikely. There are always injuries, spring training superstitions, or transaction considerations that cause players to back out. While this has not been as big of a problem in the past for the Dominican as it has been for some other countries, it still happens. So keep that in mind while reading this: it’s highly unlikely that the final roster will look like this.

That said, even with this being a pie-in-the-sky exercise, there are two rules I have in place while making this:

  • Teams are made up of 28 players, of which 13 of them must be pitchers and two of them catchers.
  • The pitch count rules make relievers extremely important.

Go below the jump for more:

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The “ideal” 2023 Team USA WBC roster 2.0

THIS ARTICLE IS NOW OUT-OF-DATE! MY LATEST PROJECTIONS CAN BE FOUND HERE!

Last month, I speculated as to who would be on the Team USA World Baseball Classic roster next year. We’re now over a month later, so based on how the season is going, how much has changed?

Again, this is not the most likely (that will happen when I begin doing projections). Instead, it is what the best possible team would be if I could wave a magic wand and ensure that every player we’d want would be playing regardless of any injuries, off-season concerns, or spring training routine.

In other words, think of this as a sort-of rough draft or best-case-scenario. It will likely provide a bit of a skeleton for more-serious projections, but it’s unlikely to come to pass as it currently exists.

That said, even with this being a pie-in-the-sky exercise, there are two rules I have in place while making this:

  • Teams are made up of 28 players, of which 13 of them must be pitchers and two of them catchers.
  • The pitch count rules make relievers extremely important.

Go below the jump for more:

Continue reading