Thursday, March 02, 2006

World Baseball Classic
Pool D


2B Trent Durrington (Brewers)
LF Tim Auty (Mariners)
1B Justin Huber (Royals)
C Dave Nilsson
DH Ben Risinger (Padres)
SS Glenn Williams (Twins)
CF Trent Oeltjen (Twins)
RF Brett Roneberg
3B Brett Tamburrino (Twins)

C Michael Collins
C Trent D'Antonio (Marlins)
C Allan De San Miguel (Twins)
C Andrew Graham (Tigers)
C Matthew Kent
C Joel Naughton (Phillies)
C Joshua Roberts (Indians)
C Andrew Utting
C Ben Wigmore
IF Lachian Dale
IF Gavin Fingleson
IF Matthew Gahan
2B Bradley Harman (Phillies)
SS Luke Hughes (Twins)
IF Justin Humphries (Astros)
IF Timothy Kennelly (Phillies)
IF Brendan Kingman
2B Paul Rutgers (Twins)
1B David Sutherland (Dodgers)
IF Rodney Van Buizen
SS Dean White (Braves)
OF Tom Brice
OF Tom Vincent (Padres)

Australia will be an interesting team to watch. They won silver in the last Olympics, but how will they fare against the big boys? Everyone is pegging Huber the player to watch on this team. The Royals prospect only had a cup of coffee in the Majors last year, but he's expected to be one of the next big things in Kansas City. Nilsson, you may remember, left American baseball several years ago to dedicate himself to his country's team. One thing you may notice about this roster is that there are only five true outfielders (as opposed to 10 catchers). Will that have any affect on the Aussies?

SP Damian Moss (Mariners)
SP Chris Oxspring (Padres)
SP Travis Blackley (Mariners)
SP Craig Anderson (Mariners)
SP Adam Blackley (Red Sox)

RP Jeff Williams
RP Phil Brassington
RP Adam Bright (Rockies)
RP Adrian Burnside (Tigers)
RP Tim Cox (Red Sox)
RP Tristan Crawford (Twins)
RP Kyle Edlich (Twins)
RP Donavon Hendricks (Braves)
RP Josh Hill (Twins)
RP Mark Kelly (Phillies)
RP Craig Lewis
RP Wayne Lundgren (Cardinals)
RP Aaron MacKenzie (Angels)
RP Paul Mildren (Marlins)
RP Scott Mitchinson (Phillies)
RP Peter Moylan
RP Wayne Ough
RP Glen Richards (Braves)
RP Ryan Rowland-Smith (Mariners)
RP John Stephens (Red Sox)
RP Phil Stockman (Diamondbacks)
RP Rich Thompson
RP Brendan Wise (Tigers)

Moss was once a rising star in Atlanta. Now he's trying to resurrect his career in the Mariners system. A familiar face for him is Travis Blackley, a Seattle farm prospect.

Dominican Republic

SS Miguel Tejada (Orioles)
LF Moises Alou
1B Albert Pujols (Cardinals)
DH David Ortiz (Red Sox)
2B Alfonso Soriano (Rangers)
3B Aramis Ramirez (Cubs)
CF Jose Guillen (Nationals)
RF Sammy Sosa
C Miguel Olivo (Mariners)

C Juan Brito (Diamondbacks)
C Alberto Castillo (Athletics)
C Sandy Martinez (Tigers)
C Ronny Paulino (Pirates)
2B/3B Ronnie Belliard (Indians)
3B Adrian Beltre (Mariners)
2B Robinson Cano (Yankees)
IF Pedro Feliz (Giants)
1B Julio Franco (Mets)
SS Rafael Furcal (Dodgers)
SS Julio Lugo (Devil Rays)
SS Jhonny Peralta (Indians)
IF Neifi Perez (Cubs)
IF Placido Polanco (Tigers)
SS/2B Jose Reyes (Mets)
SS Juan Uribe (White Sox)
2B/OF Victor Diaz (Mets)
OF Juan Encarnacion (Cardinals)
OF Wily Mo Pena (Reds)
OF Luis Polonia
CF Willy Taveras (Astros)

Even without Manny Ramirez and Vlad Guerrero, this is a lethal lineup. This team has some options, too. Aramis Ramirez and Beltre are virtually interchangeable, and I'm still not convinced that Guillen and Encarnacion are different people. The 60-man roster has 9 starting Major League shortstops, so it will be a tough task to juggle playing time. In fact, every batter on this team except Polonia saw time in the Majors last year. Polanco led the AL in batting average, and he may not even start. With the thinned outfield, the Dominicans will rely on Pena for some pop off of the bench, and Tavarez for some speed.

SP Bartolo Colon (Angels)
SP Odalis Perez (Dodgers)
SP Daniel Cabrera (Orioles)
SP Jose Lima
SP Claudio Vargas (Diamondbacks)
SP Ervin Santana (Angels)

RP Armando Benitez (Giants)
RP Jose Mesa (Rockies)
RP Yhency Brazoban (Dodgers)
RP Miguel Batista (Diamondbacks)
RP Jose Valverde (Diamondbacks)
RP Julian Tavarez (Red Sox)
RP Damaso Marte (Pirates)
RP Guillermo Mota (Indians)
RP Jose Acevedo (Rockies)
RP Eude Brito (Phillies)
RP Francisco Liriano (Twins)
RP Fernando Rodney (Tigers)
RP Felix Rodriguez (Nationals)
RP Wandy Rodriguez (Astros)
RP Duaner Sanchez (Mets)
RP Jorge Sosa (Braves)
RP Salomon Torres (Pirates)

Like the Dominican batters, everyone on the pitching staff was in the Majors last year. Pedro Martinez won't be participating, so the DR will have to make due with just one Cy Young winner in Colon. Perez has turned himself into a solid starter, and Cabrera is just another member in a long line of young breakout starters in Baltimore. The bullpen features five players with closer experience. Brazoban filled in for Eric Gagne last year, and Batista has both started and closed games in his career. Valverde is the other closer. My advice, looking at those first two names? Build a big lead and use your middle relievers to hold it. With established middle men like Tavarez, Marte, and Mota, and rising starts Liriano, Sanchez, and Sosa, that shouldn't be too much of a problem.


SS Marco Scutaro (Athletics)
3B Mark DeRosa (Rangers)
1B Joe Vitiello
C Mike Piazza (Padres)
RF David Dellucci (Rangers)
LF Frank Catalanotto (Blue Jays)
2B Frank Menechino (Blue Jays)
DH Jairo Ramos Gizzi
CF Jim Buccheri

C Luca Bischeri
C Matt Ceriani
C Mike DiFelice (Mets)
C Thomas Gregorio (Angels)
IF Phil Barzilla (Astros)
IF Marc Cerbone
1B Vito Chiaravalloti (Blue Jays)
IF Mario Chiarini
IF Davide Dallospedale
IF Maximiliano De Biase
IF Riccardo De Santis
SS Tony Giarratano (Tigers)
IF Todd Incantalupo
IF Seth David La Fera
IF Claudio Liverziani
IF Gino Lollio
IF John Mangieri
IF Nick Mattioni (Athletics)
3B Guiseppe Mazzanti
IF Greg Montalbano
IF Ivan Naccarata (Mets)
IF Giuseppe Norrito (Dodgers)
IF Orlando Oberto
IF Kasey Olenberger (Angels)
2B Jay Pecci
IF David Rollandini
3B Mark Saccomanno (Astros)
SS Jack Santora
IF Igor Schiavetti
1B Vince Sinisi (Rangers)
OF Frank Candela
OF Dustin Delucchi (Mariners)
OF Gabriele Ermini
OF Giovanni Pantaleoni
RF/1B Val Pascucci
OF Peter Zoccolillio

Like the Netherland, Italy greatly benefits from the lax eligibility rules. However, Piazza and Catalanotto aren't young any more, and Scutaro, DeRosa, and Menechino are career utility players. Dellucci, on the other hand, may just be hitting his prime. This lineup, chock full of slap hitters, would be a decent day-to-day team in the Majors, but it will struggle against the talent-laden rosters in the Classic.

SP Jason Simontacchi (Cubs)
SP Ron Villone (Yankees)
SP Lenny DiNardo (Red Sox)
SP Brady Raggio
SP Tony Fiore (Orioles)

RP Matt Mantei (Red Sox)
RP Dan Miceli (Devil Rays)
RP Mike Gallo (Astros)
RP Jason Grilli (Tigers)
RP Marc Lamacchia (Rangers)
RP Alessandro Maestri
RP Mike Marchensano
RP Fabio Milano
RP Sandy Patrone
RP Mattia Salsi

Well, it's not great, but it will have to do. Simontacchi is decent. Villone hasn't started in a decade or so, so it will be interesting to see if he does so in this tournament. DiNardo has only started one game in The Show, but he's put up good numbers as a reliever. Mantei is a former closer, so he should be able to handle that role. Miceli is a cagey veteran that seemingly has been around forever. If he actually speaks Italian, he'll be a good tutor to some of these younger players.


3B Carlos Guillen (Tigers)
SS Omar Vizquel (Giants)
LF Miguel Cabrera (Marlins)
CF Bob Abreu (Phillies)
DH Magglio Ordonez (Tigers)
RF Juan Rivera (Angels)
C Ramon Hernandez (Orioles)
1B Edgardo Alfonzo (Giants)
2B Cesar Izturis (Dodgers)

C Henry Blanco (Cubs)
C/LF Alex Delgado
C Wiki Gonzalez (Mariners)
C Victor Martinez (Indians)
C Eddie Perez (Braves)
C Humberto Quintero (Astros)
C Guillermo Quiroz (Blue Jays)
1B/RF Alex Cabrera
IF Miguel Cairo (Yankees)
2B Jose Castillo (Pirates)
IF Alex Gonzalez (Red Sox)
IF Luis Gonzalez (Rockies)
2B Omar Infante (Tigers)
IF Cesar Jimenez (Mariners)
SS Jose Lopez (Mariners)
3B Victor Moreno
2B/SS Tomas Perez (Phillies)
1B Roberto Petagine (Red Sox)
IF Luis Rodriguez
IF Marco Scutaro (Athletics)
OF Tony Alvarez (White Sox)
CF Endy Chavez (Mets)
OF Franklin Gutierrez (Indians)
OF Richard Hidalgo (Rangers)
LF/RF Robert Perez
OF Alex Ramirez

This is the lineup Baseball America projected. OK, let's go with it. Hernandez is a Gammonsesque veteran catcher with a decent bat. I see him splitting time with Vic Martinez, both for talent reasons and to make sure neither overexert themselves. Martinez could theoretically see some time at first, too. Three MLB starting shortstops in the infield, plus a 3B/2B at first, should be great infield defense. Izturis, Guillen, and Vizquel will have five Major League starters ready to back them up (Cairo, Castillo, both Gonzalezes, and Infante). Scutaro is of Italian descent, but he shows up on the Venezuelan roster as well since he was born in the town of Yaracuy. Where was the big todo over which team he'd choose to play for? The outfield has some options. Abreu isn't a true centerfielder, but Chavez is, and top prospect Franklin Gutierrez is athletic enough to play all three outfield positions. Rivera may also be the same person as Jose Guillen and Juan Encarnacion. Ordonez isn't a textbook example of health, so DH may be the perfect role for him. Hidalgo is money in small ballparks, so he'll be a suitable backup.

SP Johan Santana (Twins)
SP Carlos Zambrano (Cubs)
SP Freddy Garcia (White Sox)
SP Kelvim Escobar (Angels)
SP Carlos Silva (Twins)
SP Gustavo Chacin (Blue Jays)
SP Victor Zambrano (Mets)
SP Tony Armas (Nationals)

RP Francisco Rodriguez (Angels)
RP Rafael Betancourt (Indians)
RP Giovanni Carrara (Dodgers)
RP Marcos Carvajal (Rockies)
RP Jeremi Gonzalez (Red Sox)
RP Felix Hernandez (Mariners)
RP Jorge Julio (Mets)
RP Wilfredo Ledezma (Tigers)
RP Juan Rincon (Twins)
RP Francisco Butto (Phillies)
RP Carlos Hernandez (Astros)
RP Fernando Nieve (Astros)
RP Ricardo Palma
RP Yusmeiro Petit (Mets)
RP Reynel Pinto (Cubs)
RP Anibal Sanchez (Red Sox)

The US will go with a normal starting rotation (minus CC Sabathia, who just pulled out) and then rely on seven closers to finish the game. Venezuela is going with a different approach. Three starters will each pitch three innings in the first game. Then, three more starters will each throw three innings in the second game. Three more starters will handle the third game, and then its back to the original trio. As you can see, this team certainly has the arms to pull that off. They also have just enough of a bullpen to help out, especially with K-Rod, Betancourt, Julio, and Rincon.