Tag Archive | "WBC"

USA advances to semifinals of World Baseball Classic


Team USA advances to the semifinals with a 6-3 defeat of the defending champion Dominican Republic. It was an instant classic, and the first time the USA has beaten the DR in the World Baseball Classic.

It didn’t start well for Team USA falling behind 2-0 after an inning of play. Brandon Crawford didn’t help the American effort throwing a ball away in the first allowing 1 of the runs scored to be unearned. USA starter Danny Duffy pitched well despite giving up 6 hits in 4.0 innings of work. In the 2nd inning Duffy allowed a lead off single from Gregory Polanco. Then Welington Castillo doubled putting runners at 2nd and 3rd with no outs. Duffy, though, would work his way out of it without giving up a run. That was a huge boost for Team USA.

In the next half inning the USA would tie the game. The first run came around after Giancarlo Stanton singled to start the inning. With Stanton running, Johnathan Lucroy singled up the middle putting runners at the corners. Ian Kinsler would knock in the first run with a ground out, then two batters later Christian Yelich doubled in the gap to bring Kinsler around from first to tie the game.

But the big blow came an inning later. In what is clearly one of the hardest balls hit in recent memory, Giancarlo Stanton hit a 2-run laser of a home run to left giving the USA a 4-2 lead. And something you have to see.

But that may not have been the play of the game. Up 4-2 in the bottom of the 7th, Manny Machado led off for the Dominican Republic. He hit a blast to center field that was about to cut the lead in half, until the new Captain America Adam Jones made one of the most spectacular catches. Again, it is something you have to see.

Jones timed it perfectly and robbed a ball that was going a few rows deep. The next batter, Robinson Cano, did hit a solo home run that cut the lead to 4-3. Without Jones’ catch the game would have been tied.

The USA extended its lead in the 8th on a 2-run double by Andrew McCutchen, which is a player that the Americans really need to get going at the plate. His double really sealed the game for the USA.

Notable Performances:

Sam Dyson pitched 1.2 innings in relief shutting down the DR bats at a key time in the game.

Gregory Polanco quietly went 3-for-4 with a double.

Dellin Betances was unhittable once again. He pitched an inning in relief striking out 2.

Jumbo Diaz also struck out 2 in an inning of work.

Full Box Score

The USA will now face off with Japan in one semifinal game on Tuesday. The other semifinal match up will be the Netherlands and Puerto Rico on Monday. The winners will face each other for the 2017 World Baseball Classic Championship on Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

USA advances semifinals

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WBC: USA comes up short; Puerto Rico advances to semifinals


An late rally was not enough to overcome a huge error for Team USA as Puerto Rico advances to semifinals of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Puerto Rico is looking to do one better than its runner-up finish in the 2013 WBC, and now they have their chance.

Team USA and Marcus Stroman came out as flat as you could in the bottom of the 1st inning. At the same time, Puerto Rico came out rolling. Six straight singles to start the game led to a 4-0 lead after an inning. Angel Pagan, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina, and Javier Baez all singled to start the game. Eddie Rosario drove in the 4th run of the game with a sacrifice fly that turned into a double play. Molina over slide the bag at 3rd base and Nolan Arenado held the tag completing the double play which was huge in getting the USA out of the jam.

In the top of the 2nd the USA came right back. Arenado led off the inning with a double and was driven home almost immediately on a RBI single by Eric Hosmer. After a walk, Seth Lugo would pitch his way out of the inning with a double play ground ball helping his cause.

Stroman really settled down after the first inning. He didn’t give up another hit until Puerto Rico came through with 2 infield singles in the bottom of the 5th which prompted Jim Leyland to pull Stroman after 4.2 innings of work. Mychal Givens came into relieve Stroman and got out of the inning getting Molina to fly out.

Buster Posey cut the lead to 2 with a solo blast in the top of the 5th inning. The lead was cut further in the 6th on a Captain America, sorry Adam Jones, solo shot making it 4-3.

It got a bit more exciting in the 6th inning. Andrew Miller was called on to relieve Givens with no outs and 2 runners on. And Miller finally looked like Miller getting the first 2 hitters to strike out. Then with runners at 2nd and 3rd after a double steal, Miller got Angel Pagan to ground to 3rd base. Arenado made a great stop on a bad hop, but then threw the ball away allowing 2 runs to score for Puerto Rico.

The USA rallied in the top of the 9th. Arenado led off with a walk and was followed by an Eric Hosmer single. That brought up Buster Posey, who already homered, as the tying run. Edwin Diaz would get Posey swinging on a 3-2 count, but he wasn’t out of the inning. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch with Paul Goldschmidt at the plate. Diaz then sent Goldschmidt down swinging, and Brandon Crawford represented Team USA’s last hope. Crawford came up huge with a 2-run triple just beating the throw at 3rd.

Replay showed Crawford was out at third, but with no replay it was up to Josh Harrison to try and tie it up for Team USA. But Diaz got Harrison swinging to end the inning and put Puerto Rico in the semifinals.

With the win Puerto Rico earns a trip to Los Angeles. Team USA will have to defeat defending champion Dominican Republic on Saturday for a trip to L.A.

Full Box Score

Puerto Rico advances to semifinals

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Tiebreaker Rules at World Baseball Classic make for exciting times


Excitement is still alive thanks to the tiebreaker rules at the World Baseball Classic.

In Pool F in San Diego, everyone is still alive for a semifinal birth in Los Angeles.

Current Pool F Standings:

  1. United States 1-0
  2. Puerto Rico 1-0
  3. Dominican Republic 1-1
  4. Venezuela 0-2

Even without a win so far Venezuela is still alive, although they need a lot more help than others. There are 3 games remaining in the round robin pool play.

Remaining Schedule Pool F:

Friday March 17th 10 PM EDT
USA vs Puerto Rico

Saturday Marth 18th 3:30 PM EDT
Puerto Rico vs Venezula

Saturday March 19th 10 PM EST
USA vs Dominican Republic

Sunday March 20th 6 PM EDT
*Tiebreaker Game
*if necessary

Now I know just looking at this does not give you a clear picture of what might and can happen over the next 2 days of play. But thanks to Michael Liu and Twitter (follow him @liuchiahow), he has come up with this great little chart on what could happen. Of course this does not go into the tiebreaker rules of runs allowed, blah, blah, blah. But it is a little too early to get into all of that. Just look at what happened to Mexico when you do that prematurely.

So no matter what happens over the next 2 days of play, it is going to be exciting just like the rest of this WBC. You can catch all the action on MLB Network, MLB.tv, or ESPN Deportes. These last 2 days of Pool F are going to be exciting ones that I wouldn’t want to miss if I were you.

tiebreaker rules World Baseball Classic

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WBC: Dominican Republic downs Venezuela 3-0


Dominican Republic vs. Venezuela: DR Stays Alive at the WBC

The Dominican Republic bounced back after its first loss at a World Baseball Classic since 2009 with a 3-0 win over Venezuela. The win puts the Dominican Republic back in the hunt for a semifinal birth, but then thanks to the tiebreaker system so is Venezuela. But we will get to that later.

Venezuela 0, Dominican Republic 3

The game was a pitcher’s duel for the first 4+ innings as it remained scoreless. Both starters went 4.1 innings. Starting for Venezuela was Jhoulys Chacin, who recently signed with the Padres. So getting his first start in Petco, Chacin gave up 1 run on 3 hits. The lone run came on a Gregory Polanco solo home run in the 5th giving the Dominican a 1-0 lead.

Edinson Volquez got the start for the Dominican Republic going 4.1 shutout innings. He gave up 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 6. The Dominican bullpen dominated the rest of the weay. Between Fernando Abad (W, 1-0), Hansel Robles, Dellin Betances, Jesus Colome, and Jeurys Familia (S, 1) the bullpen gave up 4 hits and struck out 8 to secure the much needed victory.

Robinson Cano made it a 2-0 game with a RBI single in the 7th. Then, Nelson Cruz helped extend the lead with his 2nd homer of the WBC, a solo shot in the 8th inning.

Notable Performers:

Ender Inciarte went 2-for-4 for Venezuela with a double from the lead off spot.

Yangervis Solarte came in for Odubel Herrera in the 7th and finished the game going 2-for-2 for Venezuela.

Full Box Score

Dominican Republic vs. Venezuela

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WBC: USA defeats Venezuela using a pair of homers in the 8th inning


In a match up full of MLB All-Stars using a 3-run 8th inning to mount a comeback in yet one more exciting game during the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Team USA defeats Venezuela

Felix Hernandez did just what everyone thought he would do. He shut down the USA bats for 5.0 innings of shutout ball. He gave up just 3 hits while striking out 3. In the bottom of the 3rd, the USA loaded the bases with just 1 out. Up to bat was Adam Jones (the new Captain America?). Hernandez fooled Jones on a 2-2 count  getting him to reach for a pitch and ground weakly to second baseman Jose Altuve who was quick to turn the double play ending the inning. The other four innings pitched by Hernandez went 1-2-3.

It took an error on Rougned Odor, playing out of position at third, for the USA to break through. A Jonathan Lucroy sacrifice fly cut the lead in half at 2-1.

A half inning earlier Odor gave Venezuela a 2-0 lead on a solo home run to right.

But the USA took over in the bottom of the 8th inning. Leading off the inning for Team USA was once again Adam Jones. This time he wasn’t fooled by a pitch and on a 2-2 pitch he tied the game up with a home run to left center. But they weren’t done.

Christian Yelich singled up the middle. Then with one out Eric Hosmer blasted one into the stands in right center field giving the USA a 4-2 lead.

Notable Performers:

Getting his first WBC start, Alex Bregman picked up a pair of hits and a walk in 4 plate appearances.

Ian Kinsler went 2-for-5 in the lead off spot for Team USA.

Drew Smyly pitched 4.2 innings getting the start for Team USA. He gave up 1 unearned run on 3 hits while striking out 8.

Pat Neshek picked up the win with a scoreless inning of relief while Luke Gregerson picked up the save.

Pool F Standings from San Diego:

  1. United States 1-0
  2. Puerto Rico 1-0
  3. Dominican Republic 0-1
  4. Venezuela 0-1

USA defeats Venezuela

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Adrian Gonzalez Slams WBC over botched tiebreaker decision


The only real negative news coming out of the World Baseball Classic comes to us from Los Angeles as Adrian Gonzalez slams WBC.

I get it. He was upset over what happened in Jalisco when the tournament officials misinformed some others that Mexico had made it into the tiebreaker game. But here is the thing, the situation was made right, and by the rules the right teams played in the tiebreaker.

One of the Tweets from Gonzalez taking a shot at the WBC.

Then it was followed by another.

However, unfortunately for Gonzalez and Mexico that original calculation was incorrect. I will not go into the details of the system. Instead I will leave that up to Gabriel Fidler over at ExtraInnings who did a nice blog post explaining. You can find that here.

But the most shocking Tweets came from a reporter from the LA Times.

And another shot at the WBC…

But here is the thing. First of all, Adrian you are 34 years old. In four years you will be 38. Let’s be honest with one another. You probably won’t be asked back for the 2021 WBC. Sure you could continue to be a pivotal player for Mexico, but chances are you are going to be at the tail end of your career. You are only signed through next year in LA, and you might want to worry about keeping your spot at first base with the youngster Cody Bellinger on the upswing.

And in case you have missed it, this edition of the WBC has been the best ever. More and more people are watching it and discovering how great the game is internationally. So, perhaps we could put out petty gripes behind us one day and do what needs to be done, grow the game. Sure the WBC isn’t the World Cup. Then again the World Cup has been going on for almost 90 years. The WBC has been around for just over a decade. Give it some time and for the love of baseball, help it grow. You are a legend in Mexico, and perhaps LA, and your support will only help it grow. Sometimes we have to put aside our differences and move forward like grown men to do what is best for the sport. Too often things do not change unless something goes wrong. Your situation will help the WBC grow not only internationally, but as an event.

With all that being said, good luck to the Dodgers this year and good luck to Mexico in the next go around of the WBC. With or without you. Hopefully, it will be with you.

Adrian Gonzalez Slams WBC

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WBC: Japan and Netherlands advance to semifinals


Japan and Netherlands advance to semifinals in Los Angeles at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Netherlands 14, Cuba 1

The Netherlands jumped on Cuba early and often scoring multiple runs in the 1st, 3rd, and 4th inning en route to a 14-1 drubbing that ended after 7 innings due to the run rule.

The Dutch hit 4 home runs in the victory. Two of those came from slugger Wladimir Balentien who hit a 3-run shot in the first inning and a solo shot in the 3rd inning. Yurendell Decaster hit a 2-run shot in the 3rd inning, and the final shot came in the 7th from Kailan Sams.

Decaster drove in 4 runs and Jurickson Profar chipped in with 3 hits scoring 2 runs. Despite all the offense, perhaps the best performance came from starter, Diego Markwell. Markwell went 6.0 innings giving up just 1 run on 4 hits. It was his first start in the 2017 WBC after giving the Netherlands 3 solid starts in 2013.

Shairon Martis finished off the game with a scoreless inning. There wasn’t much to write home about for Cuba in the loss. Willian Saavedra was the only Cuba hitter with more than 1 hit. He went 2-for-3 with a double.

The win combined with Japan’s win over Cuba gave the Netherlands and Japan a birth in the semifinals in Los Angeles. Both teams will travel to Los Angeles and wait to see who they will play out of the pool currently playing in San Diego. The single elimination championship round will begin on Monday March 20th with the Netherlands facing the winner from Pool F. Japan will play the next day against the runner up from Pool F with the winners from both games playing for the title.

Full Box Score

Final Pool E Standings from Tokyo:

  1. Japan 3-0
  2. Netherlands 2-1
  3. Israel 1-2
  4. Cuba 0-3

 

Japan Netherlands advance semifinals

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WBC: Puerto Rico defeated Dominican Republic led by Yadier Molina


In the battle between two of the hottest teams in Pool F in San Diego, Puerto Rico defeated Dominican Republic 3-1 handing the Dominican its first loss dating back to the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

In a rematch of the 2013 Championship, Puerto Rico rewrote the ending led by the ageless Yadier Molina. Molina did it all in the game. He hit a solo home run in the 6th inning giving Puerto Rico a 3-1 lead that it would hold onto. He also drove in the first run of the game with a single to left, and he threw out a runner at a pivotal time late in the game.

With 2 outs in the top of the 8th inning, Nelson Cruz walked putting the tying run at the plate for the Dominican. At the plate would be Adrian Beltre. Perhaps trying to get things moving in the right direction, Beltre is hitting 0.091 during this WBC, Cruz set off for second base. The play will be one that will go down in WBC history as a fan favorite for a long long time. Cruz was out by so much that Javier Baez never even looked while making the tag and started celebrating before he made the tag. It is something you just have to see.

But that might not have been the biggest play of the game. In the top of the 1st inning, the Dominican Republic loaded the bases with nobody out. Jean Segura led off with a single. He was followed by a Manny Machado double, and then a Robinson Cano walk. It did not look good for Puerto Rico. After getting Jose Bautista to strike out, Carlos Santana lined into one of the best double plays of the WBC.

Santana flew out to right fielder Eddie Rosario who then threw a one hop strike to Molina at the plate to double up Segura trying to tag up and score. Molina and Puerto Rico erupted in celebration and the play seemed to not only excite the Puerto Rico dugout, but at the same time showed the Dominican Republic they were vulnerable.

Notable Performers:

Nelson Cruz accounted for the only Dominican run with a solo blast in the 2nd inning.

Carlos Martinez pitched well even though he took the loss. He went 4.0 innings giving up just 2 runs, 1 earned, on 3 hits.

Gregory Polanco was the only Dominican hitter with more than 1 hit. He doubled and stole a base.

Full Box Score

Puerto Rico defeated Dominican Republic

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How have our World Baseball Classic predictions been so far?


Back just before the start of the tournament, we made 2017 World Baseball Classic predictions. Today we want to take a look at how those are going and perhaps make some updates on Round 2.

Pool A

We predicted the Netherlands and South Korea would make it out of Pool A. We were half wrong. We expected South Korea to have a better showing, like most everyone else. We did say that Israel would come close to advancing, but I don’t think anyone saw them going 3-0. My feeling was they would come close to beating South Korea and be outs away from advancing. Turns out they would best South Korea and win the whole pool.

Pool B

I think this was the easiest pool to predict. We predicted this right down to the records for all teams. Japan and Cuba advanced. Australia missed out on Round 2 by a single run losing to Cuba 4-3.

Pool C

We got the top 2 right, but did not see Colombia putting up such a great fight. They nearly beat the USA in the first game, beat Canada, and then came inches away from defeating the Dominican Republic. We thought Canada would get by Colombia, but they did not. Canada was rather disappointing in the 2017 WBC and now will have to qualify for the 2021 edition.

Pool D

It almost came down to exactly how we thought it might. We predicted it would be Puerto Rico (although at 2-1 not 3-0) and Venezuela making it to Round 2. We also thought that this would be the pool that would need to play the tiebreaker game, check. This was perhaps the most exciting round, which says a lot with how exciting this tournament has been.

We are sticking to the rest of our predictions. So far we predicted 7 of the 8 in Round 2, and we are sticking to our predictions of the semifinals consisting of USA, Dominican Republic, Japan, Netherlands. That is going out on a limb saying that Puerto Rico will not advance since they have been one of the hottest teams.

It has been a fun WBC so far with so many exciting games and plays, and I have the feeling it will only get better from here on out.

World Baseball Classic predictions

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WBC: Japan defeats Cuba with help from error


Japan defeats Cuba in a thriller in Tokyo.

The game was tied at 5 in the bottom of the 8th inning when a simple play turned more difficult than expected resulting in an error by first baseman Willian Saavedra as he could not come up with a throw from shortstop Alexander Ayala.

The error allowed Nobuhiro Matsuda to reach with 1 out. The next batter, Shogo Akiyama, wasted no time in singling to left putting runners at the corners with 1 out. After a sacrifice fly to right by Seiichi Uchikawa put Japan up 6-5, Tetsuto Yamada hit the first pitch he saw into the left field stands for his second home run of the game and an 8-5 Japan lead.

Yamada had a huge game for Japan. He drove in 3 runs, scored 4 more, and finished the game 3-for-4 with a double and 2 homers.

It was a back and forth game all night long. Cuba took an early 2-1 lead in the 2nd inning on a Yurisbel Gracial home run. However, the top of the Cuba lineup went a combined 0-for-12. It wasn’t until the lineup got to the cleanup hitter Alfredo Despaigne that they started to see production. Despaigne went 3-for-4 scoring twice. But 8 of the 10 total hits from Cuba came from just 3 hitters, Despaigne(3), Gracial (2), and Yosvani Alarcon (3-for-4)

Neither started pitched well. Both gave up 4 runs in 4 innings of work. The difference was the error made by Cuba that opened the door for Japan.

The loss does not eliminate Cuba from a possible semifinal birth, but they do remain the only team in Pool E without a win. Cuba will need a win against the Netherlands in a rather quick turnaround in order to hope for a Japan win over Israel and a 3-way tie at 1-2. Then they just have to hope to win the run differential and make it into the tiebreaker game.

Full Box Score

Round 2 Pool E Standings:

  1. Japan 2-0
  2. Netherlands 1-1
  3. Israel 1-1
  4. Cuba 0-2

Japan defeats Cuba

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WBC: Mexico Snubbed; Venezuela defeats Italy in Tiebreaker


After a controversial situation went down on early Monday morning leaving Mexico out of Round 2, Venezuela defeats Italy in the only tiebreaker game of Round 1.

I will not get into the whole scenario with Mexico and why they did not make Round 2, or at least have a chance in the tiebreaker game. Instead I will let friend of the site, and former contributor Gabriel Fidler explain it. Gabriel was on site for the game and explanation that came early Monday morning.

For more see his post – BREAKING: México Will Protest MLB Tiebreaker Decision You can also contact him on Twitter @extrainnings_bb

Back to Venezuela and Italy in the tiebreaker. It was a whale of a game. Italy came 3 outs away from advancing to Round 2, but Miguel Cabrera came up huge. Leading off the inning Cabrera homered off of Mike DeMark to tie the game at 2. Cabrera’s shot was a no-doubter just to the right of dead centerfield. But Venezuela wasn’t done. Victor Martinez was up next and walked on four pitches. Rougned Odor then hit a blast, which he thought was gone, to centerfield just off the top of the wall. Yangervis Solarte, who came into run for Martinez, scored from first. However, Odor’s slow trot admiring his homer single left him at only first base.

Carlos Gonzalez then singled to center moving Odor to third. Gonzalez was thrown out at 2nd trying to stretch it into a double. Then the final run for Venezuela would come on an Alcides Escobar squeeze bunt giving Venezuela a 2-run lead heading into the bottom of the 9th.

Like Italy did all tournament, it made a comeback. Alex Liddi led off the bottom of the 9th with a solo home run making it 4-3. Unfortunately for Italy that was all they could muster. Francisco Rodriguez would finish off Italy to pick up the save.

Notable Performers:

A.J. Morris pitched great in the start for Italy. He tossed 5.0 shutout innings giving up just 1 walk and no hits. He struck out 5.

John Andreoli had another huge game. He moved over to centerfield after Brandon Nimmo was hurt the day before. He hit his 3rd home run of the WBC going 2-for-5.

With the win Venezuela advances on to Round 2 with Puerto Rico out of Pool D. Advancing to San Diego, Venezuela will face off with the USA tomorrow at 9 PM EST.

Full Box Score

Venezuela defeats Italy

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Japan Defeats Netherlands in 11 at World Baseball Classic


Japan Wins Extra Inning Affair Against Netherlands

Every time Japan scored, the Netherlands answered except one as Japan defeats Netherlands in extra innings. Japan jumped into the lead in the top of the 2nd inning with a sacrifice fly from Shogo Akiyama. But in the bottom half of the inning the Dutch scored one of its own to tie the game on a solo home run from Jonathan Schoop.

Then in the top of the 3rd inning Japan would put up 4 runs. The big blow was a 3-run home run from Sho Nakata off of Dutch starter Rick van den Hurk who almost got out of the inning. Nakata’s homer just cleared the left field wall landing in the first row of seats. Akiyama continued the scoring with a RBI single, but the lead was short lived.

As they did the first time, the Netherlands quickly came right back with 4 runs of its own in the bottom of the 3rd. Simmons got the scoring going with a RBI single bringing home Randolph Oduber after he doubled. After a Jurickson Profar single and a Xander Bogearts sacrifice fly put the game at 5-3, Wladimir Balentien damaged a ball hitting a hard line drive off the left field foul pole for a 2-run homer to tie it at 5.

Profar was right back in the mix again in the bottom of the 5th. Simmons led off the inning by tomahawking a single to center. Profar followed with a line drive double, his 3rd of the WBC, down the right field line setting up the Dutch with runners at 2nd and 3rd. Kodai Senga got Bogaerts to go down looking for the first out, and then got Balentien swinging. Senga got out of the inning by getting Didi Gregorius out on a grounder to first.

The Netherlands threatened again in the bottom of the 8th loading the bases with 1 out. Gregorius and Schoop led off the inning with back-to-back singles. After a strikeout of Curt Smith, who didn’t look comfortable bunting, Dashenko Ricardo walked to load the bases. Japan made the call to the pen to bring on Hirotoshi Masui with Oduber up. Masui simply overpowered Oduber for the 2nd out in the 8th, then faced Andrelton Simmons. On a 2-0 count, Simmons checks his swing but fouls off the ball inside that appeared to have hit him at first sight. Either way it was an important pitch because it made the count 2-1 and not 3-0. On the next pitch Masui got Simmons to ground out ending the threat.

The Dutch sent up its best hitters in the bottom of the 9th. Profar went down looking at a perfect pitch knee high on the outside corner. Bogaerts followed with a walk before Balentien lined a single in the right-centerfield gap putting runners at the corners with 1 out for Gregorius. With so much tension in the air, Gregorius ripped a 1-0 pitch just foul down the right field line that might have ended the game had it been fair. Gregorius wound up flying out to left but it was not deep enough to score Bogaerts from third. Jonathan Schoop delivered the game-tying hit with a single up the middle off the glove of a diving Ryosuke Kikuchi who made an amazing diving play earlier in the game. Curt Smith would go down swinging to end the inning but not before the Netherlands tied it up at 6.

Japan started the 10th inning with a Shogo Akiyama ground out. Then the fun began. Seiji Kobayashi singled and was followed by a Seiichi Uchikawa double setting up Samurai Japan with a pair of runners in scoring position with just 1 out. That is when the Dutch went to Tom Stuifbergen replacing Loek Van Mil on the mound.

Stuifbergen immediately issued an intentional walk to load the bases and set up the double play, which brought up Norichika Aoki who then grounded into a double play ending the inning and threat. The throw to Smith at first appeared to pull him off the bag, and with MLB replay the call might have been overturned.

In the 11th the tiebreaker rules came into play where the last two batters were placed at 1st and 2nd base to start the inning. Japan immediately sacrificed them over, and Sho Nakata came through again with a 2-run single.

Kazuhisa Makita shut the door on the Dutch in the bottom of the 11th ending the nearly 5 hour game in Tokyo.

Full Box Score

Pool E 2nd Round Standings:

  1. Japan 1-0
  2. Israel 1-0
  3. Netherlands 0-1
  4. Cuba 0-1

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Israel upsets Cuba at 2017 World Baseball Classic


Israel upset Cuba 4-1 at the 2017 World Baseball Classic on Saturday at the Tokyo Dome. Israel just continued to roll with good pitching and timely hitting, just how they did in Seoul going 3-0 in Pool A to make it to Round 2.

Cuba 1, Israel 4

Cuba jumped out on top in the 2nd inning on an Alfredo Despaigne home run, it was his second of the WBC. But that was all Cuba could muster against the Israel staff managing just 5 hits.

Jason Marquis pitched well for Israel getting the start. He went 5.2 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits. His experience has really helped Israel in this WBC, and despite not having pitched in a few years his stuff has been good. The Israel bullpen gave up just 1 hit the last 3.1 innings.

Many on Twitter seem to have the take that this was the biggest upset in the history of the WBC. I disagree and feel this just takes away from some of their careers. The top 4 hitters in the Israel lineup have big league experience. Not to mention the starting pitcher was a big leaguer for more than a decade. Sure there is a good bit of young players in the low minors, but even that I feel is more than China had when it defeated Chinese Taipei. To me that is the biggest upset so far in the history of the tournament.

With the win, Israel sets itself up nicely for a possible run into the semifinals. It will take a win against the no. 1 world ranked Japan and/or a second win against the Netherlands. Either way, this pool is still wide open.

Notable Performers:

Ryan Lavarnway doubled, drove in a run, and played some great defense behind the plate.

Blake Gailen had a big RBI double and a successful squeeze bunt in the 8th to extend the lead to 3.

Out of the bullpen, Zack Thornton picked up the win pitching 1.1 innings of scoreless relief.

Picking up the save was Josh Zeid who tossed 1.1 innings of ball coming into the 8th to stop a rally Cuba had going.

Full Box Score

Israel upsets Cuba

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WBC: Dominican Republic shocks USA with 7 run rally


There was no joy in Miami as the mighty Miller gave up a 3-run blast to Nelson Cruz and the Dominican Republic shocks USA. Well no joy unless you are rooting for the Dominican Republic, who so far look like the best team in the tournament with all due respect to Japan.

USA 5, Dominican Republic 7

Team USA gave up a 5 run lead after 5.5 innings of play. The USA jumped on the board with a pair of runs in the 3rd inning with the first run coming on an error by Dominican centerfielder Sterling Marte, with an assist from Nelson Cruz who almost collided with Marte on a fly ball from Adam Jones. Instead the ball fell scoring Ian Kinsler. Jones would score the 2nd run on a Christian Yelich sacrifice fly.

An inning later Brandon Crawford singled sharply to center to score Paul Goldschmidt. Then a few innings later Team USA would score two more as Giancarlo Stanton and Crawford both picked up RBI doubles. Then the offense sputtered.

Manny Machado got the scoring started for the Dominican in the 6th inning. He hit an absolute blast to left off of Tanner Roark. The home run was estimated at 435 feet with an exit velocity of 109.4 mph, which means it was absolutely crushed.

The big blow came in the bottom of the 8th. On an 0-2 pitch, Nelson Cruz crushed an Andrew Miller slider, that didn’t slide far enough, into the left field stands for a 3-run home run putting the Dominican on top 6-5. Two batters later Sterling Marte would take Miller deep with an opposite field shot finishing off Team USA 7-5.

Both Tanner Roark and Andrew Miller did not pitch up to snuff. USA manager Jim Leyland was a little hesitant to pull Roark which would come back to bite him as he gave up 3 runs in 1.1 innings pitched. Miller had a terrible night giving up 4 runs on 3 hits in just 0.2 innings.

On the flip side, the Dominican bullpen shutdown the USA bats for the final 3 innings not allowing a hit. Hansel Robles, Jesus Colome (W, 1-0), and Jeurys Familia (S, 1) finished the game off allowing just a single walk.

The win puts the Dominican in Round 2, and makes the USA/Canada match up a must win to advance for Team USA.

Full Box Score

WBC Pool C Standings:

  1. Dominican Republic 2-0
  2. Colombia 1-1
  3. USA 1-1
  4. Canada 0-2

Dominican Republic shocks USA

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WBC Pool C: Team USA with Walk-Off Win


The Dominican Republic pounds Canada; Team USA walk-off win.

Pool C in Miami, Florida began on Thursday in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Participating in the pool will be the USA, Canada, Dominican Republic, and Colombia. The Dominican Republic is the defending WBC champion after going undefeated in 2013.

Canada 2, Dominican Republic 9

The Dominican got the pool off with a bang and a huge 9-2 win over Canada. The bats really came alive early for the defending champs, which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the pool With 4 runs in the 2nd inning, everything after that was just gravy. Right fielder Jose Bautista hit a 3-run home run in the 6th inning giving the Dominican an 8-2 lead.

Welington Castillo got the big bats going with a 2-run shot in the 2nd inning making it 3-0. The Dominican would pound out 15 total hits, including 5 for extra bases. Bautista finished 3-for-4 with 4 RBI. Jose Reyes set the table from the lead off spot going 3-for-5 with a double, stolen base, and 2 runs scored.

As good as the bats looked for the Dominican, the arms were just as overwhelming. Carlos Martinez started and went 4.0 innings giving up just a single unearned run. After that it was a steady stream of great arms from the bullpen that shut down Team Canada.

Full Box Score

Colombia 2, USA 3 (10)

Team USA needed an extra frame to hold off Colombia in its first game of the tournament. Chris Archer got the start for the USA and pitched great. He tossed 4.0 scoreless innings. He didn’t give up a hit or a walk and struck out 3. Tyler Clippard picked up the win in relief, but the biggest problem, other than the cold bats, for Team USA was that they used 6 relief pitchers and now they have to bounce back to face the defending champs.

Both teams combined for only 11 total hits. Adam Jones and Ian Kinsler both had 2 hits for Team USA, but Jones would be the hero in the 10th inning with an RBI single to finish off Colombia.

Colombia played really well in the game. Jose Quintana pitched great going 5.2 innings. He gave up just 1 run on 1 hit, and he struck out 4. Guillermo Moscoso took the loss in relief.

Full Box Score

Colombia 4, Canada 1

With the loss Canada is all but eliminated after starting off 0-2. Colombia got a good start from Julio Teheran who went 5.0 innings allowing just 1 run on 2 hits. Yohan Pino pitched great in relief as well going 3.0 scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit.

The Canada bats were cold once again. The team combined for just 5 hits, 2 of which came from Freddie Freeman. He also had the lone RBI for Team Canada.

Colombia now has a must win game coming up against the defending champion Dominican Republic on Sunday. Canada will finish up with Team USA on Sunday evening. While Canada might not advance, they could get hot and ruin any plans the USA has to make it to Round 2.

Full Box Score

Pool C Standings:

  1. Dominican Republic 1-0
  2. USA 1-0
  3. Colombia 1-1
  4. Canada 0-2

Team USA Walk-Off Win

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WBC: Pool E Preview from Tokyo


As Round 1 finishes up in North America, Round 2 begins in Asia at the 2017 World Baseball Classic and we are here with a Pool E Preview from Tokyo.

Pool E consists of the top two finishers in Pools A and B from Seoul and Tokyo. In Pool A, Israel shocked everyone by going 3-0 and winning the pool. The Netherlands picked up the no. 2 seed out of Pool A after going 2-1. Both South Korea and Chinese Taipei did not advance.

Coming out of Pool B are two of the top favorites in the tournament, Japan and Cuba. Japan won the pool finishing with a perfect 3-0 record, and they look to be the top of the heap going into Round 2. Cuba finished 2-1 defeating Australia 4-3 to advance to the next round.

Round 2 will be another round robin. The two no. 1 seeds from Round 1 will have an easier schedule simply because they will not play on back-to-back days. The no. 2 seeds will have games on back-to-back days.

Israel will have to keep its hot hand going, and they have the talent to do just that. Do not count them out of advancing to the semifinals. Japan is the clear favorite in the pool. The rest should be interesting to watch. This pool is up for grabs and could make for some interesting baseball.

Schedule for Round 2 in Tokyo, Japan:

Game 1 Saturday March 11th 10PM EST
Cuba vs Israel

Game 2 Sunday March 12th 6AM EST
Japan vs Netherlands

Game 3 Monday March 13th 6AM EST
Netherlands and Israel

Game 4 Tuesday March 14th 6AM EST
Cuba vs Japan

Game 5 Tuesday March 14th 11PM EST
Netherlands vs Cuba

Game 6 Wednesday March 15th 6AM EST
Israel vs Japan

Game 7 Thursday March 16th 6AM EST
Tiebreaker if necessary

All games will take place at the Tokyo Dome. More information on Pool E.

Pool E Preview Tokyo

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Puerto Rico WBC Roster Announced


The Puerto Rico WBC roster for 2017 has been announced, and they will look to improve on their silver medal from 2013.  The small island is hoping to build on its 2017 Caribbean Series title and bring home another championship in March.

The Puerto Rico lineup will be filled with some of the youngest superstars in the game right alongside some veterans.

Returning to the infield for Puerto Rico will be Mike Aviles who hit .329 with a home run and 9 RBI in 2013. He will be right alongside newcomers to the WBC in superstars Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor. Rounding out the infield are some promising young talents in Javier Baez, who got hot for the Cubs in the playoffs, the Twins Kennys Vargas, and the Mets T.J. Rivera.

While the infield is full of young talent, the outfield features to tried and true veterans that will be big contributors to the club. Led by future Hall of Fame inductee Carlos Beltran the outfield will be a formidable one. However, Beltran struggled last go around in the WBC hitting just .188 as the DH. His fellow outfielder Angel Pagan led the offense for Puerto Rico in 2013 hitting .364 with a team lead 12 hits and 2 stolen bases.

Calling the pitches and shutting down the running game will be perennial all-star Yadier Molina. Molina is returning after a decent 2013 WBC. He will be looked upon to handle the pitching staff more than anything.

That pitching staff will consist of several back after a successful 2013 WBC including Hiram Burgos, Orlando Roman, and Giovanni Soto.

Roman is coming off a stellar winter season where he lead the Criollos de Caguas to the Caribbean Series title. During the Caribbean Series he pitched 10.0 innings allowing just 1 run.  If he can repeat this, Puerto Rico will make another run at the title.

Texas Rangers’ reliever Alex Claudio will be a big lefty arm in the bullpen for Puerto Rico. Seattle revliever Edwin Diaz looks to hold down the 9th for Puerto Rico. Diaz had 18 saves a season ago for the Mariners. The elder statesman in the pen will be J.C. Romero. The 40-year old last pitched in the big leagues in 2012. He has continued pitching in independent leagues and with different AAA teams up until 2015. He did pitch this winter in Puerto Rico.

2017 Puerto Rico WBC Roster:

Pitchers:

Jose Berrios
Hiram Burgos
Alex Claudio
Joseph Colon
Edwin Diaz
Joe Jimenez
Jorge Lopez
Seth Lugo
Miguel Mejia
Emilio Pagan
Orlando Roman
J.C. Romero
Hector Santiago
Giovanni Soto

Catchers:

Yadier Molina
Roberto Perez
Rene Rivera

Infielders:

Mike Aviles
Javier Baez
Carlos Correa
Francisco Lindor
T.J. Rivera
Kennys Vargas

Outfielders:

Carlos Beltran
Reymond Fuentes
Enrique Hernandez
Angel Pagan
Eddie Rosario

Designated Pitcher Pool:

Andrew Barbosa
Jose De La Torre
Jose De Leon
Rayan Gonzalez
Joel Pineiro
Dereck Rodriguez
Andres Santiago
Mario Santiago

Puerto Rico WBC roster

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Netherlands WBC roster has been announced


The Netherlands WBC roster has been announced, and it is full of talent. Highlighting the roster will be the Dutch infield which is stacked with MLB talent. However, up and down the roster there is talent and they will compete for a spot in Round 2 and possibly further.

Late in January we spoke about the stacked Dutch infield. It will include the likes of Xander Bogaerts, Didi Gregorius, Jurickson Profar, Andrelton Simmons, and Jonathan Schoop. But along with those MLB players are some very experienced international players.

Curt Smith is back again for Team Netherlands. He has a lot of international experience and even hit .321 in the 2013 WBC as the Dutch ran off to a semifinal appearance. Also back from 2013 is Yurendell de Caster who hit .400 in limited action. He provides experience off the bench with a quality right handed bat that can play multiple positions.

Bringing power to the outfield is Wladimir Balentien. While he might not be a household name in the USA, he did play parts of 3 seasons with the Mariners and Reds, he is a star in Japan in the Nippon Professional Baseball league. After leaving the USA for the 2011 season, Balentien has gone on to hit 30+ home runs 5 times, including 60 in 2014 which broke the all-time record in Japan.

On the bump the Dutch have some talent as sell. Diegomar Markwell is back after a stellar 2013 WBC where he went 2-1 with a 3.07 ERA in 3 starts. While he is inching up in age (36) he still has a quality arm that should be able to get the Dutch some good starts. Also back is Orlando Yntema who had a good 2013 WBC pitching twice and making one start. In the bullpen they will return Loek Van Mil (0.00 ERA in 2013).

The most intriguing player for the Netherlands this go around is Jair Jurrjens. The former MLB starter with Atlanta, Baltimore, and Colorado pitched the 2016 season in Taiwan. Still only 31, but far past his prime, he could still give the Dutch some solid innings either out of the bullpen or perhaps in a spot start.

2017 Netherlands WBC Roster:

Pitchers:

Mike Bolsenbroek
Rob Cordemans
Tom de Blok
Lars Huijer
Jair Jurrjens
Diego Markwell
Shairon Martis
Jim Ploeger
Tom Stuifbergen
J.C. Sulbaran
Rick van den Hurk
Loek Van Mil
Orlando Yntema

Catchers:

Dashenko Ricardo
Shawn Zarraga

Infielders:

Xander Bogaerts
Yurendell de Caster
Didi Gregorius
Dwayne Kemp
Jurickson Profar
Jonathan Schoop
Sharlon Schoop
Andrelton Simmons
Curt Smith

Outfielders:

Wladimir Balentien
Christopher Garia
Randolph Oduber
Kalian Sams

Designated Pitcher Pool:

Nelmerson Angela
Kevin Heijstek
Kenley Jansen
Kevin Kelly
Ruderly Manuel
Ryan Oduber
Mark Pawelek
Berry van Driel

Netherlands WBC roster

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2017 World Baseball Classic Rules Announced


World Baseball Classic, Inc. today announced the rules and rule modifications for the 2017 World Baseball Classic, which will begin on Monday, March 6th when Korea hosts Israel at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea. Final rosters for each of the 16 participating countries will be unveiled tomorrow evening at 6:00 p.m. (ET) on MLB Network.

Please see the attached document for 2017 WBC rules and rule modifications. Notable rules include:

  • Tie-Breaker Game: If at the end of pool play in the First and Second Rounds of the Tournament, teams within a pool are tied with an identical winning percentage, then the tie shall be broken in the following order of priority with the higher ranked Federation Team serving as the home team.
    • First and Second Place Teams Tied: In the event that the first and second-place teams are tied for Pool Winner designation, the Team that defeated the other tied Team in that Round shall be ranked higher in the pool standings for that Round.
    • Three Teams Tied 2-1: If there are three teams 2-1, then the tiebreaker rules would be applied to rank the three, and the first-ranked team would advance. The second and third-ranked teams would play an additional game to determine who the second-place team is. The tiebreaker rules applied would be as follows:
      • Step 1: The tied Teams shall be ranked in the standings for that Round according to fewest runs allowed divided by the number of innings (including partial innings) played in defense in the games in that Round between the Teams tied.
      • Step 2: The tied Teams shall be ranked in the standings according to fewest earned runs allowed divided by the number of innings (including partial innings) played in defense in the games in that Round between the Teams tied.
      • Step 3: The tied Teams shall be ranked in the standings according to highest batting average in games in that Round between the Teams tied.
      • Step 4: Standings shall be determined by the drawing of lots, conducted by WBCI.
    • Three Teams Tied 1-2: If there are three teams tied 1-2, then the tiebreaker rules would be applied to rank the three, and the first two ranked teams would play a tiebreaker game, the winner of which would advance. The tiebreaker rules will be applied using the same four steps listed above.
    • Championship Round: The Semi-final game and Final game of the Tournament shall be conducted in a single elimination format. Each Semi-final game shall match a winner of a Second Round pool against a runner-up of the other Second Round pool. The winners of each Semi-final game shall meet in the Championship game of the Tournament.
  • Extra Innings: For any inning beginning with the 11th inning, the Federation Team at bat shall begin the inning with runners on first and second base. The batter who leads off an inning shall continue to be the batter who would lead off the inning in the absence of this extra-innings rule. The runner on first base shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding the batter who leads off the inning. The runner on second base shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding the runner on first base.
  • Designated Pitcher Pool: Each Federation Team may identify a designated pool of 10 pitchers who are eligible to participate in one or more consecutive rounds. The list is submitted to WBCI at the time the Provisional and Final rosters are due. For the Federation Team to utilize the Designated Pitcher Pool, the Federation Team’s Final Roster shall include one or two pitchers from the pool. If no pitcher is listed from the pool, on their submitted roster to WBCI, the Federation Team is prohibited from using the Designated Pitcher Pool for the remainder of the Tournament. Once the pool pitcher is named on a Tournament roster and subsequently removed prior to the next round, the pitcher is no longer eligible to participate. After each round of the Tournament, any pitcher from an advancing Federation’s Designated Pitcher Pool may be replaced on the Federation’s Final Roster with another pitcher from that Federation’s Designated Pitcher Pool, provided that no member of the Designated Pitcher Pool may be added back to his Federation’s Final Roster once he has been replaced by another member of the Designated Pitcher Pool. Affiliated members of the Designated Pitcher Pool who are not included on their federation’s Roster for a given round of the Tournament should report to or remain with their Major League Club, as directed by the Club. If the pitcher being replaced is an affiliated pitcher, he must return to his Major League Club’s spring training camp once he is no longer an active member of the Federation’s 28-man roster.
  • Video Replay Review: In the First and Second Rounds, video replay review by umpires shall be available to assist the umpires only in regard to plays involving home runs or potential home runs. If the umpire crew chief determines that video replay review is appropriate, the umpire crew chief shall conduct the review himself with participation from at least one other member of the umpire crew. For the Championship Round, video replay review by the umpires shall be available to assist the umpires in the same manner as used during the Major League Baseball championship season, with the exception of manager challenges.

Tickets for the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, which includes two semi-final games and the final game, are available at www.worldbaseballclassic.com. Tickets for WBC games played at Marlins Park in Miami, Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Jalisco and Petco Park in San Diego are also available at www.worldbaseballclassic.com. In addition, a special three-game ticket pack is available for Pool F in San Diego, and individual team ticket packs are available for Pool C in Miami.

In the United States, tournament games will air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch; while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN will provide the exclusive Spanish language coverage. Internationally, leading global media rights agency, MP & Silva has teamed with WBCI to distribute the tournament across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio – all territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan.

World Baseball Classic Rules

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Dominican Republic 2017 World Baseball Classic roster


The defending champion Dominican Republic 2017 World Baseball Classic roster has been announced, and they may be on track to make it two in a row.

The Dominican will be led by the likes of Robinson Cano, Adrian Beltre, and Manny Machado in the infield. They have just as much talent everywhere else.

In 2013 starting pitcher Sam Deduno went 2-0 in 3 starts with a 0.69 ERA. He is back for more and should figure into the rotation for the team. Edison Volquez is also back after starting 3 times in 2013. Following up the starters is a bullpen that is full of strong arms. Santiago Casilla and Fernando Rodney are both back after pitching in 2013. Joining those two will be the likes of Jeurys Familia who had 51 saves a year ago with the Mets.

Another big arm in the bullpen will be Alex Colome. The young hard throwing righty savd 37 games for Tampa Bay a season ago. Dellin Betances saved 12 games a year ago for the Yankees pitching in 73 games. Over his 73 innings he struck out 126 or 15.5 per 9.

The defending champions will face off with Canada, Colombia, and the United States in Pool C in Miami, Florida. Their first game will come on Thursday March 9th at 6 PM EST versus Team Canada.

Dominican Republic 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster:

Pitchers:

Fernando Abad
Dellin Betances
Santiago Casilla
Alex Colome
Bartolo Colon
Johnny Cueto
Sam Deduno
Jumbo Diaz
Jeurys Familia
Edgar Garcia
Carlos Martinez
Hector Neris
Ivan Nova
Wily Peralta
Alex Reyes
Hansel Robles
Fernando Rodney
Bryan Rodriguez
Enny Romero
Luis Severino
Cesar Valdez
Edinson Volquez

Catchers:
Welington Castillo
Alberto Rosario

Infielders:
Adrian Beltre
Robinson Cano
Manny Machado
Hanley Ramirez
Jose Reyes
Carlos Santana
Jonathan Villar

Outfielders:
Jose Bautista
Nelson Cruz
Starling Marte
Gregory Polanco
Mel Rojas

 Dominican Republic 2017 World Baseball Classic roster

Other Rosters:
Team USA

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Team USA 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster Announced


Team USA 2017 World Baseball Classic roster was announced today, and it looks good at first glance. The team that manager Jim Leyland will be leading this go around will feature a lot of great young talent from the big leagues.

Catchers

Former NL MVP Buster Posey leads the catching crew this year, but he is paired up with two other strong guys behind the plate. This will be a key position because not only will they be looked to for some offensive punch, but they will be looked upon to lead this talented but young and diverse pitching staff. Joining Posey will be Jonathan Lucroy, who played in 2013, although sparingly. A.J. Ellis will be the eldest statesman behind the plate.

Infielders

This is the group that really excites me when I look at the group as a whole. Led by some established stars like Paul Goldschmidt and Ian Kinsler the infield features some of the great young talent in the game from the USA. Nolan Arenado to me will be one to watch. The 25-year old is one that will show off his power and defense, but he will have big shoes to fill since David Wright really led the offense for Team USA in 2013 from the third base spot.

Another exciting player to watch from the infield will be Alex Bregman. He is a huge young talent, but with the breakdown of the roster it will interesting to see just how much playing time he will see.

Outfielders

This is an exciting group as well. Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones, and Christian Yelich will be the guys patrolling the outfield for Team USA. Stanton and Jones both played in 2013, but neither was a huge impact for Team USA although they had good tournaments in different areas. Yelich might not be a name that many outside of Miami know, but the Marlins outfielder will show his talent come March. He can hit, hit for power, and can play multiple positions including centerfield if necessary.

Pitchers

The pitching staff will include some of the best young arms in the game with a mix of veterans. Chris Archer is one to watch for me. The young hard throwing righty could be a force to reckon with if he shows up sharp. The back end of the bullpen will be a strong point for Team USA as well with the likes of Sam Dyson, Luke Gregerson, Andrew Miller, and David Robertson. Miller has already said he wants to be available for the entire tournament. Each team will have a pool of pitchers that they can choose from for each round which is why you will see so many names.

Team USA 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster:

Pitchers:

Catchers:

Infielders:

Outfielders:

Manager:

USA 2017 World Baseball Classic roster

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Netherlands will Feature Stacked Infield for 2017 World Baseball Classic


The Netherlands will feature some of the best young talent in Major League Baseball when they suit up during the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

The Red Sox Xander Bogaerts, the Rangers’ Jurickson Profar, the Orioles’ Jonathan Schoop, the Yankees’ Didi Gregorius, and the elder statesman at just 27 the Angels’ Andrelton Simmons will all play for the Netherlands. All but Gregorius played with the team in 2013, but now they are established major league talent.

Simmons has ranked as one of the best defensive players in the game over the past four seasons. He has led the MLB in Defensive Runs Saved with 112 since his first full season in 2013.

Bogaerts had a break out season in 2015 when he hit .320 for the Red Sox. He then turned himself into an offensive force in 2016 hitting .294 and slugging 34 doubles and 21 home runs.

Gregorius had his best season at the plate in 2016, his second in New York taking over for Derek Jeter. In 2016 he clubbed 20 home runs, 32 doubles, and hit .276.

Schoop stayed healthy last year and had his first complete season playing all 162 games for the Orioles. He hit .267 with 25 home runs, 38 doubles, and drove in 82.

Profar played in 90 games for the Rangers. He played every infield position and left field over the course of the year. He batted .239 with 5 home runs and 3 triples.

In 2013 the Netherlands made it to the semifinals eventually losing to the eventual champion Dominican Republic. This year they will begin in Pool A in Seoul, South Korea. There they will battle the host country, Chinese Taipei, and Israel for a spot in Round 2.

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Three More Players Confirmed for Team USA


Three more players have been announced to pitch for Team USA in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. The Colorado Rockies Jake McGee has been confirmed to play alongside teammate Nolan Arenado.

The 30-year old lefty had 15 saves in 19 attempts a year ago for the Rockies. He wound up moving out of the closer’s spot after a few rough outings and stint on the disabled list.

Joining McGee on the Team USA pitching staff will be Chicago White Sox closer David Robertson. Last season the 31-year old hurler saved 37 games in 44 attempts. That was the third straight year he had 30+ saves in a season.

And finally Giancarlo Stanton has been confirmed to play for Team USA. This will be the second time Stanton will suit up for Team USA in the WBC. He was apart of the team in 2013 as well.

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Japan Announces Most of 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster


Japan has announced most of its roster for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. According to Japan Times reporter Jason Coskrey, Japan has filled 27 of its 28 roster spots as they look to reclaim the title they lost four years ago.

Japan added eight players to the 19 they released in December. So far there is only one MLB player on the roster in the Houston Astros outfielder Norichika Aoki. However, even without the likes of Yu Darvish, Masahiro Tanaka, or Kenta Maeda that many in the USA will know, Samurai Japan will be loaded with talent starting with super-star Shohei Otani of the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Otani, the 22-year old pitcher/slugger is definitely one to watch. Last season he pitched in 21 games, starting 20, and went 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA over 140.0 innings. He struck out 174 and only walked 45 tossing 4 complete games. He did all of this while slugging 22 home runs and hitting .322 over 323 at bats. He is the rare phenom that not only hits, but is also a lights out pitcher on the hill.

Rounding out the rest of the roster are:

Pitchers:

Hiroki Matsui Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
Tomoyuki Kanno Yomiuri Giants
Akiyoshi Ryo Tokyo Yakult Swallows
Norimoto Nakayama Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
Naoki Miyanishi Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters
Shohei Otani Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters
Shintaro Fujinami Hanshin Tigers
Hiroshi Masui Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters
Ishikawa Ayumu Chiba Lotte Marines
Toshiya Okada Chunichi Dragons
Kazuhisa Makita Saitama Seibu Lions
Sengaku Chika Fukuoka Softbank Hawks
Hirano Hirano Orix Buffaloes

 Catchers:

Seiji Kobayashi Yomiuri Giants
Ryota Ono Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters
Kimihiro Shima Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles

 Infielders:

Norihiro Matsuda Fukuoka Softbank Hawks
Ryosuke Kikuchi Hiroshima Toyo Carp
Hayato Sakamoto Yomiuri Giants
Sho Nakada Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters
Tetsuto Yamada Tokyo Yakult Swallows

 Outfielders:

Seiichi Uchikawa Fukuoka Softbank Hawks
Norichika Aoki Houston Astros
Ryosuke Hirata Chunichi Dragons
Yoshi Tsuyoshi Yokohama DeNA Baystars
Seiya Suzuki Hiroshima Toyo Carp
Shogo Akiyama Saitama Seibu Lions

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Polls

Who will win the 2017 World Baseball Classic?

  • Puerto Rico (31%, 27 Votes)
  • Dominican Republic (13%, 11 Votes)
  • USA (13%, 11 Votes)
  • Mexico (11%, 10 Votes)
  • Other (8%, 7 Votes)
  • Cuba (8%, 7 Votes)
  • Venezuela (6%, 5 Votes)
  • Netherlands (5%, 4 Votes)
  • Japan (5%, 4 Votes)
  • Chinese Taipei (1%, 1 Votes)
  • South Korea (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Canada (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 88

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