The 2017 World Baseball Classic brings expectations for a few squads. One of the top contenders will be in Group C.
Where: Marlins Park, Miami
Who: USA, Dominican Republic, Canada, Colombia
When: March 9-12
Best Finish: Lost in semi-finals in 2009
Notable players: P Andrew Miller, 1B Paul Goldschmidt, OF Andrew McCutchen, OF Giancarlo Stanton, OF Adam Jones (see full roster here)
Analysis: Some critics will claim this is the USA's most loaded roster in WBC tournament history. There is plenty of debate on that compared to past teams. Jim Leyland will be managing for USA and hopes to give the team more success than the past.
This tournament has been taken lightly by several Americans, fans and players alike. Those who are with the team in 2017 say they have pride and hope to make a statement. The question is, will they treat this event like it's preseason or postseason? This roster has several talented pitchers who are coming off a down season including Chris Archer, Sonny Gray and Marcus Stroman. It isn't the best possible group, but there is enough talent to compete with the rest. The're capable of being in the top tier of this tournament, but most will not take them seriously.
Best Finish: Won gold in 2013
Notable players: P Dellin Betances, P Johnny Cueto, 2B Robinson Cano, 3B Manny Machado, OF Starling Marte, 1B Carlos Santana (see full roster here)
Analysis: The infield of this team is ridiculous having riches everywhere. Machado, Cano, Sanatana and Jonathan Villar can be inserted as a starting infield, but there could be even better options. Adrian Beltre is also available and with all the talent on this roster, someone has to sit out. The pitching staff isn't the greatest in the world, but it might not need to be with Gregory Polanco and Marte providing offense in the outfield. Most analysts consider the Dominican Republic to be the favorites of the WBC and repeat.
Best Finish: First appearance
Notable players: P Julio Teherán, P José Quintana, P Guillermo Moscoso
Analysis: Quintana and Teherán are expected to carry the team. In the opener against the USA, both pitchers could create fits if their manager wants to combine them in one game. Otherwise, this pitching staff and roster is not capable of competing with the rest, but the two major leaguers can keep it interesting.
Best Finish: First round, 9th place in 2006
Notable players: P Scott Mathieson,
Analysis: Canada has individuals like Freeman who are stars, but it lacks a quantity of them as a whole. Former Dodgers pitcher Éric Gagné and ex Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster will both be playing for the country. With the lack of Major League talent on this squad, the expectations will be minimal.
The Dominican Republic should cruise to winning this group by a landslide. Second place is up for grabs, but the U.S.A. is expected to advance if the games were played on paper. Colombia could be an interesting spoiler for a game or two if Teherán or Quintana give them a chance.
Group A Analysis
Group B Analysis
Group D Analysis
Samurai Japan roster Analysis
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