Looking at the Team MLB roster for the Japan All-Star Series

Above, you can see the roster for the Japan All-Star Series for Team MLB. As you can see, the term “All-Star” is sort of loose. Oh, yes, it’s a good team, and there are plenty of All-Stars on it. It’s definitely a team you’d be able to make the post-season with in a 162 game schedule. But on the other hand, the pitching staff isn’t exactly world-beating and the outfield is thin due to the pull-outs of Bryce Harper and Adam Jones, meaning a utility player like Ben Zobrist or Chris Carter will be playing a bit there. Another worry is that Evan Longoria might have to leave early because his fiancee is very pregnant, and, honestly, I’m surprised he’s going in the first place with something like that going on.

Anyway, here’s a bit of a run-down on the MLB roster… after the jump:

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WBC Roster Analysis: Puerto Rico

While Puerto Rican baseball has, as I’ve said before, seen better days, the roster that Puerto Rico has in this WBC will have plenty of MLB experience, and will have at least two genuine stars: Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina. So as they host the first round Pool C, they won’t be lacking for talent.

The question, though, is whether that talent will be enough to help them escape the “group of death” that also features the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. While on paper they seem to be the third-best team, this is baseball, and it certainly is possible that Puerto Rico will be able to escape the first round… and perhaps beyond.

Go below the jump for the rest of the analysis.

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Late WBC News for Jan. 16, 2013 (Part 2 of ?): Cuba’s roster

Cuba has released their roster through their state-run Latina Prensa. 

Here’s how it looks:

Catchers: Yulexis La Rosa, Frank Camilo Morejon and Eriel Sanchez.

Infielders: José Dariel Abreu, Luis Felipe Rivera, José Miguel Fernández, Andy Ibañez, Yulieski Gourriel and Barbaro Arrebarruena.

Outfielders: Frederich Cepeda, Alfredo Despaigne, Rusney Castillo, Alexei Bell, Guillermo Hernandez Heredia and Yadiel Hernandez.

Pitchers: Freddy Asiel Alvarez, Ismel Jimenez, Raciel Iglesias, Odrisamer Despaigne, Norberto Gonzalez, Darien Nuñez, Wilber Perez, Yulieski Gonzalez, Vladimir Garcia, Alexander Rodriguez, Danny Betancourt, Vichyoandri Odelín and Yander Guevara.

Manager: Victor Mesa

Head Coach: Jorge Fuentes

Now, you might not recognize many of those names, since they are all part of the state-run Cuban league (where everyone is technically an amateur), so here are some you should know about:

Yulieski Gourriel is probably the best known of this group, an infielder (primarily 3B) who, especially when he was younger, would have MLB teams fighting for the rights to sign him if they could. He hit .273 in the 2006 WBC and .333 in the 2009 edition, where he also hit two home runs.

Alfredo Despaigne is another veteran of past WBCs, an outfielder who played for Cuba in 2009. He holds the Cuban National Series (the aforementioned “amateur” league) record for home runs, which he set when he hit 36 in the 2011-2012 season.

Amongst the pitchers, a name to watch is Ismel Jimenez, a right-handed veteran of the ’09 Classic who currently leads the Cuban National Series in strikeouts this season.

More WBC news as it comes out.