Tuesday, January 20, 2009
For those who care
From the World Baseball Classic website, here are the provisional rosters for all teams. These are the 45-man rosters, that will be paired down to 25-man rosters by the start of the tournament.
You can do your shopping by country, or major league team. It's a good thing that half these guys are minor leaguers, and that 44% of these guys won't make the final roster. Otherwise, there wouldn't really be much call for spring training this year.
You have to wonder what the tourism boards in Arizona and Florida are thinking about this?
The Dutch (yes, we have a Sir Sidney sighting) and the Aussies have some pitching, the Canadians have some hitting and fielding, Japan, based solely on their major leaguers, isn't as strong as it would seem to be, and the Dominicans have Pujols, Rodriguez (traitor, but who wants to watch him choke), Ortiz, Beltre, Pena, a whole who's who of hitters, and suspect pitching.
Puerto Rico has the catching, but isn't as strong as they think, the USA has a manager who will actually try to win instead of stroking egos, and the Venezuelans are a hell of a lot stronger than anyone might expect. Who knew the Hairston brothers were Mexican, by the way?
So, based purely on the provisional rosters, the teams advancing into round 2 will be:
Japan & South Korea
Cuba & Australia
(have to have an upset here. You might think Mexico would be a logical choice, but under orders from Trey Hillman, Joakim Soria will only get to pitch 2 innings total in the classic, assuming Mexico ever has a lead and a save opportunity, but not on back to back days)
USA & Canada
(I really want Italy to make it to the second round, thus giving the Italian team a chance to actually step foot in the country they are playing for)
My final (and I reserve the right to change my mind whenever I want) 4 will be:
The Netherlands as a surprise upset special over the Dominicans, who will beat their good hitting with good pitching.
I also envision Sir Sidney propelling the Dutch into the second round by tossing a complete game shutout, striking out Alex Rodriguez with 2 outs in the ninth and the tying run on 3rd, dominating the Classic, signing a huge contract with Boston, winning the Cy Young, and Jason, from It IS About The Money, Stupid, denouncing baseball as inherently evil, shaving his head, and going to live in a Buddhist monastery in Tibet.
It's baseball, it could happen.