Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Beisbol Copa Del Mundo

Group D: Games Played in the US (Florida or Arizona

The World Baseball Classic now has its own website, here. Without further ado, here are your Pool D participants:

Dominican Republic

SS Miguel Tejada
RF Vlad Guerrero
1B Albert Pujols
DH David Ortiz
LF Manny Ramirez
2B Alfonso Soriano
3B Adrian Beltre
CF Sammy Sosa
C Miguel Olivo

I wouldn't want to face that lineup. Let's see, they have to have some negatives... Well, they only have one lefty. There's also no true center fielder. Vlad is probably in better shape to play center than Sammy, but for the time being I'll keep Vlad in right because of his arm. But, with all that said, any lineup with Tejada leading off and Guerrero batting second is OK in my book.

1B Julio Franco
SS/2B Rafael Furcal
OF Jose Guillen
3B Aramis Ramirez

Franco gets in as the fan favorite. Furcal can play an important role as a table-setter for all the big boppers. Plus, he is a switch hitter. Guillen is insurance at all three outfield positions, while the choice between Beltre and Aramis Ramirez at third is a toss up.

SP Pedro Martinez
SP Bartolo Colon
SP Pedro Astacio
SP Odalis Perez
SP Jose Lima

Is it even legal to have Pedro and Lima in the same rotation? That's just too out of control. Martinez and Colon stand head and shoulders above the rest of the starters, but this is still a rotation that would be enough for any penant contenders.

RP Antonio Alfonseca
RP Octavio Dotel
RP Damaso Marte
RP Francisco Cordero
RP Guillermo Mota
CP Armando Benitez

The Cradle of Closers - of this bunch, only Marte has not been a closer in his career, and he still has 27 career saves. If I was managing this team, I'd be tempted to go with a two man rotation of Pedro and Colon, let them throw 3 innings every other day, and then just turn it over to the bullpen. Until the final rounds, at least, when I would "accidentally" forget that Benitez is on the team.


CF Melvin Mora
SS Omar Vizquel
RF Bobby Abreu
LF Miguel Cabrera
C Victor Martinez
DH Magglio Ordonez
3B Carlos Guillen
2B Edgardo Alfonzo
1B Andres Galarraga

While the Dominicans will be hitting it out of the park, the Venezuelans will be hitting the ball everywhere inside the park. Top to bottom, this is a great lineup when it comes to hitting for average. This team could struggle - Abreu and Alfonzo are known for being inconsistent, Martinez always gets off to a slow start, and everyone else in the lineup except Cabrera has injury issues. But, if everyone's clicking, they'll give the Dominicans a run for their money.

C Ramon Hernandez
SS Cesar Izturis
OF Richard Hidalgo
IF Luis Sojo

Hernandez is a very underrated catcher - truly Gammonsesque. Izturis has the bat and the glove (and the wheels) to start at short, but Omar is the fan favorite in Venezuela. Hidalgo offers some depth in the outfield. And you just know that Luis Sojo can't pass up an offer to play in a tournament like this.

SP Johan Santana
SP Carlos Zambrano
SP Freddy Garcia
SP Gustavo Chacin
SP Wilson Alvarez

Now that I take a look at how deep this rotation is, I have to give a slight edge to the Venezuelans in this pool. Again, the lineup doesn't have big pop (or Big Papi), but the starting pitchers will be able to keep the score down low enough to make good of the runs that the hitters do produce. Santana, Zambrano, and Garcia are lights out, and if Chacin can keep up the work he's doing this year, you could Tim Robbins in the 5th starter slot and still do alright.

RP Rafael Betancourt
RP Victor Zambrano
RP Kelvim Escobar
RP Juan Rincon
RP Carlos Silva
RP Ugueth Urbina
CP Francisco Rodriguez

Several decent starters will have to get used to bullpen life for this team to succeed. Zambrano, Escobar, and Silva are all capable pitchers - most of the time. They will be joined by three proven setup men in Betancourt, Rincon, and Ugueth Urbina, who will once again be given the 8th inning spot instead of the closer's role. Closing will be the hard-slinging Francisco Rodriguez.


2B Trent Durrington
1B ?
3B ?
C Dave Nilsson
SS ?
LF ?
CF ?
RF ?

Hey, I remember Dave Nilsson? Whatever happened to him? Nilsson left the majors after the 1999 season to join the Aussie national team. Then, in 2004, he came back to the States to join the Braves organization. He'll be joined in the Australia lineup by Durrington, who has spent parts of four seasons with the Angels and Brewers.


SP Damian Moss
SP John Stephens
SP Brad Thomas

Once considered a top prospect of the Braves, Moss has bounced around in many trades and is currently in the Seattle organization. He'll be joined by John Stephens, who pitched in 12 games for the Orioles in 2002, and Brad Thomas, who sponsored his own Baseball-Reference page as a birthday present to his wife.

RP Grant Balfour
CP Graeme Lloyd

Australia's bullpen will consist of Twins reliever Grant Balfour and the recently retired Graeme Lloyd.


No active Major Leaguers. Could have sworn there was at least one...