The “ideal” 2023 Team USA WBC roster

The next World Baseball Classic is next year, and so I got to thinking: what would be the “ideal” WBC team for Team USA? Not the most likely (that will happen when I begin doing projections), but rather what the best possible team would be if I was able to 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 exists right now.

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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World Baseball Classic Update (9-30-16)

It’s time for a WBC Update!

First off, as you probably saw, Israel won it’s qualifying pool and is headed to the main WBC tournament.

Secondly, White Sox instructor Luis Sierra, who was a first-base coach for Colombia in the WBC Qualifiers, will again coach for Colombia in the main tournament next year.

Adam Jones says he will play for Team USA again if asked. Also in Team USA news, they are said to be looking at Brian Dozier of the Twins as a possible member.

The Seattle Times ran an article on Mariners who may be playing in the WBC. Robinson Cano is all-in for the Dominican, of course, and so is Nelson Cruz. Dae-Ho Lee says he’ll play for Korea is he’s asked, and Felix Hernandez wants to play for Venezuela again (he wasn’t able to in 2013 due to contract stuff). Reliever Edwin Diaz wants to play for his native Puerto Rico. As for Americans, Kyle Seager said he’d love to play, although he admits the depth of American baseball means he could end up staying in Spring Training or sitting on the bench.

While not “news”, per se, you should still read Lindsey Adler’s awesome article on Pakistani baseball.

Until next time, this has been Dan Glickman with your WBC update.


World Baseball Classic Update (Sept. 6, 2016)

Due to my trip and other responsibilities, I’ve been slacking on WBC updates. So, here is one.

The Pools for the 2017 WBC have been revealed:

The biggest piece of WBC news in the past few weeks is probably the reveal of the actual pools and locations for the tournament. They are:

Pool A (Tokyo Dome): Australia, China, Cuba, Japan

Pool B (Geocheok Dome in Seoul, South Korea): Taipei, Korea, Netherlands, winner of Brooklyn Qualifying pool (more on that later)

Pool C (Marlins Park in Miami): Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, USA

Pool D (Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico): Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela

Pool E (Tokyo Dome): Top two of Pool A and Pool B

Pool F (Petco Park in San Diego): Top two of Pool C and Pool D

Semi-Finals and Finals are in Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Rosters for the Brooklyn Qualifier have been revealed:

Late in August, the rosters for the final qualifying pool were revealed. Baseball America has a good rundown of them, and I’ll go more in-depth on them when I do my preview of the group later in the month. But my early impressions say that Brazil and Israel will be the main teams to beat in the pool, although the UK could surprise.

Other WBC News:

Kim In-Sik, the manager for Team Korea, is pessimistic about the team’s chances due to a lack of pitching, especially right-handers. He hopes to get Seung-Hwan Oh, but problems with a gambling situation in Macau that led to his suspension from KBO and NPB (it’s complicated and I’m not entirely sure if I fully understand it, but it has to do with rules in Korea and Japan that frown upon gambling even if it’s in a place where it’s legal) make that less than a slam-dunk. On the position player side, Dae-Ho Lee and Byung-Ho Park have been supportive, although Park’s injury makes it unlikely he will take part. Among the KBO players Kim is looking at is Jae-Kuk Ryu, who had some time in the majors from 2006 to 2008. Another article suggests that Hyun-Soo Kim of the Orioles is a certainty to be on the team, but that other MLB players besides him and Dae-Ho Lee are iffy due to the fact they all have had injury problems throughout the year.

Ervin Santana is eager to represent the Dominican at the next WBC, and hopes that Miguel Sano can join him. However, based on conversations that Sano has had with Latin American scouting sources for the Twins, it’s possible he’ll be the odd man and might be better served staying with the Twins, since the DR likely will have players like Adrian Beltre and Edwin Encarnacion filling the roles that Sano would likely would be most fit for.

Noah Syndergaard is likely to receive an invitation from Team USA, although it’s unknown if he would accept.

21-year-old Tyler O’Neill, named the Mariners’ best Minor League player this season by the Seattle Times, is a candidate for Team Canada.

Ken Rosenthal speculates that Clayton Kershaw and A.J. Ellis may have a reunion on Team USA next spring. However, he notes that there are plenty of “ifs” connected to that, especially related to Kershaw’s health and whether Ellis would even be considered for Team USA given America’s depth at the position.

Russell Martin has said he intends to play for Canada if he is healthy. John Axford is also excited to participate.

Omar Vizquel will be scouting the Venezuelan League to keep an eye on people who are on Team Venezuela’s shortlist.


WBC Update (May 18, 2016)

It’s time for a WBC update!

Taiwan has abandoned plans to bid for a WBC pool, likely ensuring that Korea will host something.

Aroldis Chapman is now a US Citizen and says he’d play for Team USA if asked.

And if he is going to take part in the WBC, it’s going to have to be on Team USA, since Cuba has announced that, despite some negotiations to make it happen, defectors will not be allowed on the Cuban national team.

Bryce Harper is in so long as some of the other top US players are going to be playing.

Manny Machado is now on record as being on Team Dominican Republic next year.

And, finally, in what I believe is the first appearance of the WBC in a English-language fictional work, Japanese-American author Naomi Hirahara’s latest book involves a amateur detective trying to solve a murder that takes place at the 2009 WBC finals between Japan and Korea.

WBC Update for 4-25-16: Rule changes, Team USA, Puerto Rico, and what Asian Countries will get WBC Pools?

It’s been awhile, but it’s time for a World Baseball Classic update!

General News:

A possible change in the WBC rules will be introduced in order to entice more pitchers to play. It would allow teams to add extra players the further they advance, so it could be possible, for example, for Clayton Kershaw or David Price (who both have passed on the tournament in the past because they didn’t want to rush their throwing schedule) to join later in the tournament.

At least two pools will take place in Asia during the 2017 Classic, with one in Japan and one in either Korea or Taiwan.

Connected to that: earlier this year, Twins broadcaster, Hall of Famer, and occasional Netherlands pitching coach Bert Blyleven said that the Dutch were expected to start their WBC campaign in Korea. Apparently that isn’t official yet, but definitely possible. This is mainly because Korea has a domed stadium and Taiwan does not.

While I can’t find the exact tweet/article about it, apparently the locations of the first round of the “main” World Baseball Classic will be revealed on May 10, so presumably all these questions will be put to rest then.

Pakistani coaches have attended a clinic in China in preparation for their qualifying pool.

Players on possibility of WBC play:

Mike Trout says it’s too early to say whether he’ll play in the WBC, although it sounds like he does want to do it, it’ll depend on how he feels.

Staying on Team USA, the dream of a Team USA Madison BumgarnerBuster Posey battery apparently isn’t a pipe-dream. Although neither of them have said definitively, both of them said they were open to it.

Sonny Gray, meanwhile, thinks it’d be “awesome” to be on Team USA.

Francisco Lindor is excited to play for the Puerto Rican national team.

Look later this week as I make another projection for Team USA! And if you see any WBC news I missed, let me know by tweeting me at @DanJGlickman or e-mailing me at!

WBC Round 2 Preview: Pool 2 (Miami)

Japan and the Netherlands have already qualified for the final four of the WBC, but who will join them? That will be decided in Miami, where three of baseball’s traditional powers are joined by the surprising Italian team to determine who will escape to San Francisco. Go below the jump for my preview of the double elimination round:

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World Baseball Classic Preview: Pool D (Arizona)

USA. Canada. Mexico. Italy. Those are the four teams in the D Pool of the World Baseball Classic.

Go below the jump for the preview:

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WBC Roster Analysis: Team USA

So, Team USA’s roster has been released, here’s how it looks (they’ve released 27 names, the 28th will be named later):

Jeremy Affeldt – San Francisco Giants – LHP
J.P. Arencibia – Toronto Blue Jays – C
Heath Bell – Arizona Diamondbacks – RHP
Willie Bloomquist – Arizona Diamondbacks – UTL
Mitchell Boggs – St. Louis Cardinals – RHP
Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers – OF
Steve Cishek – Miami Marlins – RHP
Tim Collins – Kansas City Royals – LHP
R.A. Dickey – Toronto Blue Jays – RHP
Luke Gregerson – San Diego Padres – RHP
Derek Holland – Texas Rangers – LHP
Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles – OF
Craig Kimbrel – Atlanta Braves – RHP
Jonathan Lucroy – Milwaukee Brewers – C
Joe Mauer – Minnesota Twins – C
Kris Medlen – Atlanta Braves – RHP
Glen Perkins – Minnesota Twins – LHP
Chris Perez – Cleveland Indians – RHP
Vinnie Pestano – Cleveland Indians – RHP
Brandon Phillips – Cincinnati Reds – IF
Jimmy Rollins – Philadelphia Phillies – IF
Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins – OF
Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees – IF
Shane Victorino – Boston Red Sox – OF
Ryan Vogelsong – San Francisco Giants – RHP
David Wright – New York Mets – IF
Ben Zobrist – Tampa Bay Rays – UTL

Now, go after the jump for my analysis:

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So, here’s how Team USA looks right now (and how it may look on Thursday)

World Baseball Classic rosters are made up of 28 players, of which 13 of them must be pitchers and two of them must be catchers. So far, these are the players who have been confirmed or all-but-confirmed to be playing for the United States in the 2013 Classic:

  1. Joe Mauer, C (Minnesota)
  2. David Wright, 3B (NY Mets)
  3. Ryan Braun, OF (Milwaukee)
  4. Giancarlo Stanton, OF (Miami)
  5. R.A. Dickey, SP (Toronto)
  6. Adam Jones, OF (Baltimore)
  7. Shane Victorino, OF (Boston)
  8. Andy Pettitte, SP (NY Yankees)
  9. Craig Kimbrel, RP (Atlanta)
  10. Chris Perez, RP (Cleveland)
  11. Luke Gregerson, RP (San Diego)
  12. Brandon Phillips, 2B (Cincinnati)
  13. Vinnie Pestano, RP (Cleveland)
  14. Ryan Vogelsong, SP (San Francisco)
  15. Jonathan Lucroy, C (Milwaukee)
  16. Mark Teixeira, 1B (NY Yankees)
  17. Glen Perkins, RP (Minnesota)
  18. Jimmy Rollins, SS (Philadelphia)
  19. Jeremy Affeldt, RP (San Francisco)

That’s 19 players: three starting pitchers, six relievers, two catchers, a first-baseman, a second-baseman, a shortstop, a third-baseman and four outfielders. Put it another way, there are 9 spots still unrevealed, and at least four of them are pitchers (with at least one of them probably a starter). So, it also follows that at most five of the remaining players are position players. Team USA still needs some more infielders, maybe a utility guy, and perhaps another catcher (reports say that Team USA will have three catchers).

Here’s my predictions of how the rest of the roster will shape up (not that I assume that Troy Tulowitzki and Dustin Pedroia are held out due to injury concerns):

20. Either Justin Verlander or Kris Medlen

Justin Verlander isn’t on the provisional roster right now, but apparently that more has to do with the fact he hasn’t said yes or no yet. He’ll apparently be making that decision by early March. Meanwhile, Kris Medlen had been mentioned as a possibility for the team, but hasn’t been mentioned in the past few days. I’m going to guess that this basically means that the fourth spot in the rotation will either be Verlander or Medlen. So either the best pitcher on the planet or the pitcher who’s team won 22 consecutive games that he started. Not a bad set of options.

21. Matt Wieters, C (Baltimore Orioles)

The third catcher isn’t Buster Posey, so it’s likely either Wieters or another American catcher like A.J. Ellis or Alex Avila or somebody like that. After pitchers, catchers are the hardest players to get to commit to the WBC.

22. Joe Nathan, RP (Texas Rangers)
23. Tyler Clippard, RP (Washington Nationals)
24. James Russell, RP (Chicago Cubs)

Okay, so now they bullpen is filled up. Nathan definitely has received an invitation and was considering, the other two are just guesses based on guys who’d fit well. One thing to note is that it’s possible (but unlikely) that Medlen could remain on the roster as a long reliever if Verlander were to pitch

25. Paul Konerko, 1B (Chicago White Sox)

It was reported that Konerko was on at the very least an early list for Team USA, so I’ll put him down for now.

26. Jay Bruce, OF (Cincinnati)

Was reportedly on a early roster but hadn’t heard yet. Would make a great bat-off-the-bench and outfielder for those days where one of the other OFs are DHing.

27. Ben Zobrist, Utility (Tampa)
28. Ian Desmond, Shortstop (Washington)

Finishing the roster by adding in a guy who can play anywhere and another shortstop.

It’ll be interesting to see how well my predictions turn out.