Thursday, February 23, 2006

World Baseball Classic
Pool C


C Ariel Pestano
1B Danny Miranda
2B Yulieski Gourriel
3B Michel Enrique
SS Eduardo Paret
LF Frederich Cepeda
CF Carlos Tabares
RF Alexei Ramirez
DH Eriel Sanchez

C Vladimir Garcia
C Yulexis La Rosa
C Roger Machado
IF Leslie Anderson
IF Ariel Borrero
IF Yorbis Borroto
IF Loidel Chapelli
IF Yorelvis Charles
IF Juan Carlos Moreno
IF Luis Miguel Navas
IF Hector Olivera
IF Joan Carlos Pedroso
IF Rudy Reyes
IF Vismay Santos
IF Amaury Suarez
OF Yoennis Cespedes
OF Alfredo Despaigne
OF Yoandy Garlobo
OF Rehutilio Hurtado
OF Juan Carlos Linares
OF Serguei Perez
OF Yoandry Urgelles
OF Osmany Urrutia
OF Dayan Viciedo
OF Andy Zamora

The big question mark of the tournament. For me at least. Peter Gammons has probably sipped brandy at Castro's estate, so it'd be better to go ask him. Cheesy Chris Berman Nickname #1: "He's not my Elvis, he's" Yourelvis Charles.

SP Vicyohandri Odelin
SP Adiel Palma
SP Danny Betancourt
SP Fidel Castro

RP Pedro Luis Lazo
RP Vladimir Banos
RP Ubisney Bermudez
RP Alberto Bicet
RP Luis Borroto
RP Robelio Carrillo
RP Maikel Folch
RP Yosvany Fonseca
RP Jose Angel Garcis
RP Valery Garcia
RP Norberto Gonzalez
RP Ylieski Gonzalez
RP Yadel Marti
RP Jonder Martinez
RP Yunieski Maya
RP Alien Mora
RP Yadial Pedroso
RP Yosvany Perez
RP Luis Miguel Rodriguez
RP Ormari Romero
RP Alberto Soto
RP Israel Soto
RP Dennis Suarez


LF Gene Kingsale (Orioles)
3B Vince Rooi (Nationals)
CF Andruw Jones (Braves)
DH Shea Hillenbrand (Blue Jays)
1B Randall Simon (Devil Rays)
C Chairon Isenia (Devil Rays)
2B Alexander Smit
SS Raylinoe Legito
RF Harvey Monte (Mariners)

C Maikel Benner
C Mark Duursma
C Kenley Jansen (Dodgers)
C Tjerk Smeets
C Sidney de Jong
2B Sharnol Adriana
IF Forstine Coenraad
3B-SS Ivanon Coffie
IF Robbie Cordemans
IF Yrendell DeCaster (Pirates)
IF Percy Isenia
IF Ferenc Jongejan
IF Jair Jurrjens (Tigers)
IF Shairon Martis
IF Sharlon Schoop
SS Hainley Statia (Angels)
IF Joseph Woerman (Mariners)
OF Quincy Ascencion (Orioles)
OF Wladmir Balentien (Mariners)
OF Johnny Balentina
OF Denny Beljaards
OF Rogearvin Bernadina (Nationals)
OF Adam Boeve
OF Bryan Englehardt
OF Gregory Halman (Mariners)
OF Ardley Jansen (Braves)
OF Danny Rombley
OF Dirk van Klooster

The Netherlands is one of the better beneficiaries of the lax nationality rules of this tournament. Most players here come from Western countries that are Dutch possessions, or are of Dutch decent. The 3-4-5 hitters in this lineup should win the Netherlands their share of games. Does anyone want to put an over/under on the number of Homsar-style "You sunk my Jongejan" comments I make during the WBC.

SP Mark Mulder (Cardinals)
SP Danny Haren (Athletics)
SP Sidney Ponson (Cardinals)
SP Kirk Saarloos (Athletics)
SP Calvin Maduro (Yankees)

RP David Aardsma (Cubs)
RP Justin Huisman (Royals)
RP Andy Van Hekken (Braves)
RP David Bergman
RP Dave Draijer
RP Gregory Gustina
RP Duko Jansen
RP Diegomar Markwell (Blue Jays)
RP Jan Naterop
RP Simon Pantophlet
RP Nick Stuifbergen
RP Patrick de Lange
RP Robin van Doornspeek
RP Michiel van Kampen
RP Jurjen van Zijl

This is looking like the best rotation in this division. Haren was actually a part of the trade that sent Mulder to St. Louis. Mulder is the established star, and it looks like Haren will be joining his class soon. Ponson, Mulder's new teammate, has struggled as of late, so anything he does is a plus. I have a feeling that, as a knight in Aruba, Ponson will step it up with national pride on the line. The bullpen features three relievers with token MLB experience. A bit of trivia that will soon be worn out in true "Video Killed the Radio Star" style: When Aardsma made the Show, he replaced Hank Aaron as the player listed first alphabetically in a list of all-time Major Leaguers.


2B Jose Macias (Cubs)
C Einar Diaz (Indians)
LF Carlos Lee (Brewers)
3B Olmedo Saenz (Dodgers)
RF Fernando Seguignol
1B Julio Zuleta
SS Vicente Garabaldo
DH Julio Mosquero
CF Sherman Obando

C Jose Camarena (Braves)
C/3B Damaso Espino (Royals)
C Carlos Lee (White Sox)
C Carlos Munoz
C Cesar Quintero
C Nelson Robeldo
IF Alberto Acosta
2B Avelino Asprilla (Pirates)
IF Norberto Batista (Marlins)
SS Javier Castillo (White Sox)
IF Angel Chavez (Giants)
IF Jonny Cordoba
IF Miguel Gomez
IF Joseph Guerra
IF Roberto Gutierrez-Betancourt
IF Freddy Herrera
IF Luis Iglesias
IF Jaime Jaen
IF Yoni Lasso (Reds)
SS Orlando Miller ()
IF Ramon Ramirez
IF Manuel O Rodriguez
OF Earl Agnoly
OF Cirilo Cumberbatch (Indians)
OF Audes De Leon
OF Maruis Loupadiere (Rockies)
OF Adolfo Rivera
OF Manny Rodriguez

This is an interesting mix of players. Lee, coming off of a steller first year in Milwaukee, is the big bat. Saenz did a solid backup job in Los Angeles last year. Macias is a versatile player, and Diaz is a former starter at the Major League level. Seguignol and Zuleta were both useful players in their Major League days. After that, it will be interesting to see what Panama can put out there.

SP Bruce Chen (Orioles)
SP Roger Deago (Padres)
SP Ramiro Mendoza (Yankees)
SP Len Picota

RP Manny Acosta (Braves)
RP Rolando Altamirano
RP Abraham Atencio
RP Albenis Castillo (Dodgers)
RP Manuel Corpas (Rockies)
RP Jorge Cortes (Reds)
RP Paolo Espino
RP Jose Luis Gonzalez
RP Santos Hernandez
RP Rolando Herrera
RP Donald Julio (Diamondbacks)
RP Davis Romero (Blue Jays)
RP Elias Saenz

I don't think this rotation will strike fear into anyone's heart. Chen is a journeyman who's played everywhere east of the Mississippi except the Presidential Wiffle Ball game. Mendoza has spent all of his career as a long reliever. After Mariano Rivera declined to be in the WBC, the bullpen is left with a sprinkling of Minor Leaguers, but no recognizable names.

Puerto Rico

LF Alex Rios (Blue Jays)
CF Carlos Beltran (Mets)
C Ivan Rodriguez (Tigers)
1B Carlos Delgado (Mets)
2B Jose Vidro (Nationals)
DH Javy Lopez (Orioles)
3B Mike Lowell (Red Sox)
RF Jose Cruz Jr. (Dodgers)
SS Alex Cora (Red Sox)

C Ramon Castro (Mets)
C Bengie Molina (Blue Jays)
C Yadier Molina (Cardinals)
C Rene Rivera (Mariners)
C Omir Santos (Yankees)
C/1B Geovany Soto (Cubs)
C Javier Valentin (Reds)
IF Carlos Baerga (Nationals)
IF Alex Cintron (Diamondbacks)
IF Willie Collazo (Angels)
2B Ruben Gotay (Royals)
3B/C Edwards Guzman
IF Jose Hernandez (Pirates)
SS/3B Felipe Lopez (Reds)
IF Ivan Maldonado (Mets)
SS Ramon E Martinez (Dodgers)
1B Eduardo Perez (Indians)
2B Rey Sanchez (Yankees)
IF Jose Valentin (Mets)
IF William Vazquez (Rockies)
CF David DeJesus (Royals)
LF Juan Gonzalez
OF Raul Gonzalez (Cardinals)
OF Ricky Ledee (Dodgers)
CF Luis Matos (Orioles)
OF Miguel Negron (Blue Jays)
OF John Rodriguez (Cardinals)
RF Ruben Sierra (Twins)
CF/RF Andres Torres (Rangers)
RF/LF Pedro Valdes
CF Bernie Williams

I'll say it now: If Team USA comes out flat in the World Baseball Classic - like their men's basketball counterparts in Athens or men's hockey days ago - this Puerto Rican team could win the tournament.
This is the starting 9 that Baseball America put out last summer. I'll go with it for now. Cora has the glove and experience at short, but Felipe Lopez had a great 2005 at the plate. I'd probably start Lopez and go to Cora as a defensive replacement in the late innings. The depth at catcher is still staggering, even without the third Fabulous Catching Molina (Jose) on the team. Ramon Castro, Yadier Molina, and Javier Valentin, all Major Leaguers (Yadier a starter), might not even make this team. Bengie Molina, the hottest free agent catcher on the market, will see some playing time, but only because Javy Lopez isn't a catcher any more. (Lopez is moving to first base/DH this spring.) Righty Juan Gonzalez (if he's healthy) and switch-hiting Ruben Sierra provide you with all the pop off the bench you need. Like Gonzalez and Sierra, Jose Hernandez and Jose Valentin are mirror images of each other. The right-handed Hernandez and left-handed Valentin both started as shortstops, but later in there career moved throughout the infield and even into the outfield. Alex Rios and Luis Matos are swappable as well, depending on who is hot at the moment. Rounding out the bench: Carlos Baerga is Carlos Baerga. Cintron and Gotay are both starting middle infielders in the pros. Ledee is a veteran who can play all three outfield positions. DeJesus is another Royals starter. And Bernie Williams should play center and bat cleanup! Wait, what? No!

SP Javier Vazquez (White Sox)
SP Joel Pineiro (Mariners)
SP J.C. Romero (Angels)
SP Kiko Calero (Athletics)

RP Roberto Hernandez (Pirates)
RP Fernando Cabrera (Indians)
RP Jonathan Aibaladejo
RP Carlos Alvarado
RP Federico Baez (Cubs)
RP Pedro Feliciano
RP Angel Garcia (Twins)
RP Dicky Gonzalez
RP Javier Lopez (White Sox)
RP Josue Matos (Blue Jays)
RP Hector Mercado (Rangers)
RP Juan Padilla (Mets)
RP Saul Rivera (Nationals)
RP Chris Rojas (Phillies)
RP Orlando Roman (Mets)
RP Jonathan Sanchez (Giants)
RP Jose Santiago (Mets)

I'm really surprised that there aren't very many big names on this pitching staff. So, this team will have to score a ton of runs to win. Well, they can do it. Vazquez is close to his family and his country, so look for him to play well at home. Romero and Calero are conditioned as relievers in the Majors. So, it will be interesting to see how they fare as starters in the WBC, especially just two weeks after reporting to Spring Training. Hernandez, who wins the Clifford Robinson Memorial "Wow, They're Still Playing? How Old Are They?" award, will likely be the closer. He'll be aided by Cabrera, a young up-and-comer in the Indians system. Cabrera is expected to be a major contributer in the Tribe bullpen this year. Santiago is a veteran journeyman. The rest of the Puerto Rican staff consists of a spattering of players with their cups of coffee in the Show, including Garcia, Gonzalez, Javier Lopez, Matos, Mercado, and Padilla. (For the record, Hernandez is 41 and Robinson 39.)