1. United States (1)- What’s the reasoning for splitting innings between Derek Jeter and Jimmy Rollins? I’d personally go with Rollins. They’re both similar hitters except he adds more speed and a significant upgrade in the field. Doesn’t seem to be having a negative effect on either though, Rollins is hitting .600 and Jeter is at .400.
2. Japan (4) – Daisuke Matsuzaka is now 4-0 all-time in the WBC, look for 22-year-old Yu Darvish to follow in his footsteps and become the next big Japanese pitcher.
3. Cuba (5) – Six homers in an easy win over South Africa.
4. Venezuela (3) – Not much pitching depth after Carlos Silva, Armando Galarraga, King Felix and K-Rod as shown by Team USA’s 13 runs off their bullpen.
5. Korea (6) – Dangerous team looking to get back to the semi-finals.
6. Puerto Rico (8) – Carlos Delgado (.917 OBP, 1 HR) and Ivan Rodriguez (.545 AVG, 2 HR) are tearing the cover off the ball.
7. Dominican Republic (2) – No comment other than Pedro looks good.
8. Mexico (7) – Hairston Brothers (Scott and Jerry Jr.) were a huge aide in advancing Mexico out of the first round.
9. Canada (9) – Seattle Mariners pitching prospect Phillippe Aumont is absolutely dirty.
10. Netherlands (12) – I’m sure the win means the everything back in Europe but don’t buy into this team. They are hitting .151 as a group, ranking dead last in the WBC and the Dominicans got 30 base runners as opposed to their 11 in the two games. They got lucky, very lucky. A hit here and a hit there mixed in with fewer than the six errors they made and D-R is obviously in Miami instead.
11. Australia (14) – Chris Snelling leads a team much improved from ’06 Classic when they ranked 13th in pitching (6.85 ERA) and dead last in hitting (.113 AVG).
12. Italy (11) – Upset Canada but not much else to show for ’09 Classic.
13. Panama (10) – Never had a chance, two and done without one run to show for it.
14. China (15) – They got their first victory, maybe this is the first stride in the development of Chinese baseball.
15. Taiwan (13) – 7.31 ERA would’ve been helped a bit if Chien-Ming Wang had been available.
16. South Africa (16) – Join Panama as the only countries yet to win a game, haha, country.
After taking a few weeks off to write my research paper, I’m back with a look at the World Baseball Classic. Lets get into it:
1. United States- Surprisingly their team doesn’t have the most stars in the tournament, but depth and an improved mindset is what should lead Team USA to its first WBC title.
2. Dominican Republic- You know your offense is good when it’s the best in the tournament while missing Albert Pujols, Alfonso Soriano, Miguel Tejada and Vladimer Guerrero.
3. Venezuela- Felix Hernandez will take the ace role from injured pitcher Johan Santana. Miguel Cabrera, Bobby Abreu, and Magglio Ordonez anchor the offense.
4. Japan- The defending champs will be back with a target on their shoulders. Player you’ve never heard of to watch out for: starting pitcher Yu Darvish. Also note that their pitchers are in mid-season form, a huge advantage.
5. Cuba- Electrifying shortstop Yulieski Gourriel and the Cuban national team aim to avenge their 10-6 loss in the championship.
6. Korea- Shin-Soo Choo is the lone major leaguer on a team that advanced to the semifinals in 2006.
7. Mexico- A team with plenty of major league experience that knocked Team USA out of the last Classic.
8. Puerto Rico- Carlos Beltran leads a team of aging stars that would have been title contenders a decade ago.
9. Canada- Eric Bedard was their only legitimate pitcher. They just won’t have enough arms despite an offense with Justin Morneau, Russell Martin and Jason Bay.
10. Panama- Carlos Lee and Manny Corpas outline a roster built with 15 minor leaguers.
11. Italy- Mike Piazza steps down from catcher to hitting coach.
12. Netherlands- Even Andruw Jones can’t help this team… then again he can barely help his regular teams.
13. Chinese Taipei- Chein-Ming Wang opted not to play, but there still is some unknown talent hidden on the Taiwan roster.
14. Australia- Little to be excited about for the team down under.
15. China- One Billion people and 100 olympic medals but baseball has still yet to catch on.
16. South Africa- Have never produced a MLB player.
- Chinese Taipei
- South Africa
- United States
- Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico
- United States
- Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico
- United States over Japan
- Venezuela over Cuba
- United States over Venezuela
Bronze Medal Game
- Japan Over Cuba
The New York Yankees have certainly not had a quiet offseason by any means, dropping a near half billion dollars (441 million) in the winter months. What has now been established is a declaration that last year’s failure to make the play-offs will not be repeated. A huge splash was obviously not a surprise but no one knew it would be to quite this extent. After being handcuffed for years by busts and overpaid-underperformers such as Carl Pavano and Jason Giambi, the near 90 million dollars freed up from expiring contracts was obviously going to be spent somewhere. History may be repeating itself however. The three major signings–
Burnett, Sabathia, Teixeira– all look good now but what will we be saying in five years? You would have to be a complete moron if you can’t admit the Yankees will be a strong team with all the talent they have, but if these deals don’t work out, the Bronx Bombers could be in trouble for years to come.
Starting Rotation Questions
In his eight years since becoming a major league regular back in 2001, A.J. Burnett has made 30 starts only twice, coincidently both during contract seasons. Five-year contracts are a rarity for pitchers, especially one who has as many trips to the DL as he does major league seasons (10). He is clearly a dominant pitcher as he led the AL in strikeouts with 231 last season but the real question will be can he stay healthy over the length of the contract.
C.C. Sabathia got an even longer deal at seven years. Though he only has two brief stints on the DL over his career, you have to wonder how much stress an arm that has thrown 513 innings the past two seasons can take. He has a lot of guaranteed money coming for a long time and it will be scary to think what could happen if he has a major injury early on.
Chien-Ming Wang is another ace in himself as well and has proven himself to be a reliable pitcher but he too is coming off a major injury. The foot injury was a freak thing that happened while running the bases, but when opening day rolls around he will be nearly ten months removed from throwing a pitch in a major league game. In addition, Andy Pettitte will be 37 years old this year and Joba Chamberlain had arm issues last year as well.
A scary thought: If there is an injury, next in line is Phil Hughes, Alfredo Aceves and Ian Kennedy; all of whom are unproven. We’ve seen what 20-plus starts over a season from the likes of Sidney Ponson and Darrell Rasner can do and it certainly won’t be pretty if that were to happen this season.
Backup (Starting) Catcher
After Jorge Posada injured his right shoulder last season, he threw out only 3 of 35 runners before finally throwing in the towel and surrendering to surgery. Though he is supposed to be ready for opening day, it will remain a question as to weather he can still be an adequate major league catcher at 36 years old. Jose Molina is one of the elite defensive catchers in the game, throwing out more than 40% of runners last season, but that comes along with a .576 OPS. With the Yankees budget, it may be worth it to explore all options here or it could get there could be problems at an essential position..
.641, .582: What are these two numbers? They are the OPS’s of Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner. Manny Ramirez had a 1.232 by himself last year and these two couldn’t do that combined. Speaking of which there is no chance Manny will come home to New York with either team. Derek Jeter’s been rumored to be moving out there but we all know that there’s more of a chance of us hearing kanYe West say “Barack Obama doesn’t care about black people” at the next hurricane benefit. Mike Cameron was nearly swapped for Melky but it fell through. I think a position battle is likely in spring training with Gardner winning the majority of the playing time due to the fact there’s nothing Melky can do that he can’t. Plus he has a .389 career OBP in the minors and is equipped with an 80 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale. A quick fix is all that is needed however with highly touted prospect Austin Jackson just one year away.
-This was my first blog post, comment me and let me know how I did.