WOW! Imagine a lineup that pits the Major League’s best contact and power hitters together with a rotation
saturated with aces. The United States roster for the 2013 World Baseball Classic does just that. The preliminary rosters became public on January 17, and managers still have time to make changes before the final rosters are due in mid to late February.
This year’s World Baseball Classic team is built to win. Any lineup that would have Ben Zobrist and Shane Victorino likely coming off the bench is pretty darned amazing. If R.A. Dickey can still dazzle hitters the way he did throughout 2012, then he, Derek Holland, Ryan Vogelsong, and Kris Medlen will make a fantastic rotation. Justin Verlander still has a chance to join the team. Again, I say, “WOW!”
I remember the criticism when the USA teams lost the World Baseball Classic in both 2006 and 2009. They were supposed to win. Every other team played for the honor of losing to the USA in the finals. Well, we have to remember something: the other teams also have numerous Major League stars combined with the best remaining talent from each country. In addition, the best players do not always make the best team. I believe that this year’s USA team will win, but the world will not end if they don’t.
Here is the lineup I would make from this roster:
- Jimmy Rollins, SS
- Adam Jones, CF
- Mark Teixeira, 1B
- Ryan Braun, LF
- Giancarlo Stanton, RF
- David Wright, 3B
- Ben Zobrist, DH
- Joe Mauer, C
- Brandon Phillips, 2B
Zobrist and Shane Victorino can both can also play all three outfield positions, and Zobrist can play most of the infield equally well, making them extremely valuable late in games. With Jeremy Affeldt, Steve Cishek, and Heath Bell among others in the bullpen, this team is prepared to make some noise.
The World baseball Classic runs on March 2 through March 19. As much I as I love Spring Training, I cannot wait to see competitive baseball a full month early.
Major League Baseball, USA Roster, mlb.mlb.com as of January 18, 2013
Major League Baseball, World Baseball Classic Schedule, mlb.mlb.com.
Raymond became a baseball fan at a very young age. He played baseball through high school and soon after became a varsity coach. Raymond previously produced radio sports talk shows and hosted a weekly MLB radio call-in show. His favorite teams are the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees. Follow Raymond on Twitter@RayBureau
Filed Under: Major League Baseball