Tuesday, February 14, 2017

2017 World Baseball Classic: Group A analysis

Group A will have its games at the Gocheok Sky Dome, home of the Nexen Heroes in Seoul, South Korea
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic upon us, we here at Graveyard Baseball will break down each group in both writing and on a future podcast episode. For this article, we will take a look at Group a

Where: Gocheok Sky Dome (Seoul, South Korea)

When: March 6-9

Who: South Korea, Israel, Chinese Taipei, Netherlands


South Korea

Best finish: Lost in Finals (2009)

Notable players: IF Dae-Ho Lee, P Seung-Hwan Oh, P Hyeon-Jong Yang, OF Sok-min Park

Analysis: This year's Korean team is not as much about who is on the team, but who isn't from a stateside standpoint. Jung-Ho Kang was taken off due to a DUI. Byung-Ho Park had an ineffective 2016 season with the Minnesota Twins and Hyun-Soo Kim is focusing on being with the Baltimore Orioles.

Dae-Ho Lee will re-join KBO after this tournament and Seung-Hwan Oh is coming off a solid season with the St. Louis Cardinals. Hyeon-Jong Yang is the most notable pitcher among the bunch, but the staff as a whole is viewed as above average and not elite. This team is capable of hitting, but the star power is lacking compared to other teams in this tournament.

Manager Kim In-Sik won the 2015 Premier 12 which included an upset against Japan in Tokyo Dome. His urgent managing helped Korea get within striking distance and they would eventually come back.  With this being teh host team, they are expected to advance, but aren't the top contenders compared to the field.



Best finish: 1st appearance

Notable players: P Scott Feldman, IF Ike Davis, P Dylan Axelrod, P Craig Breslow, P Jason Marquis

Analysis: Israel was able to qualify for this tournament by taking out Great Britain and Brazil along the way. Unfortunately, majority of this roster has players who have been bouncing up and down from MLB to MiLB. Marquis comes out of retirement to participate in this tournament and it appears that this team will have an uphill battle.


Chinese Taipei (Taiwan)

Best Finish: Second round (2013)

Notable players: P Kuan-Yu Chen, P Chun-Lin Kuo, P Wei-Chung Wang, P Chien-Ming Wang

Analysis: A total of 23 of the 28 players on the roster come from the CPBL in Taiwan. One notable Saitama Seibu Lions connection is Taigen Kaku, who will be managing this team. As a whole, the CPBL has gone through some tough times, where there are only four teams that exist. The level of baseball within the CPBL is around the Single-A level and its hitter dependent.



Best Finish: Lost in semi-finals (2013)

Notable players: P Kenley Jansen, P Rick Van Den Hurk, IF Xander Bogaerts, IF Jonathan Schoop, IF Andrelton Simmons, OF Wlaldimir Balentien

Analysis: The Dutch, sometimes known as the Oranje in soccer terms, have quite a share of MLB talent on this squad. They're coming of a solid run where they made the Final Four in San Francisco from 2013. As we've written, they're an underappreciated team who could make some noise in this tournament based on the talent they have.

Simmons is one of the best defensive shortstops in the game while Schoop is coming off a fine hitting season with the Orioles. Jansen is a great closer while Van Den Hurk has become a solid starter for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. Bogearts should also be fine at 3B.



Most will say that Korea will win this group with the Netherlands coming in second. The consensus is that both teams are all but a look to advance. The Dutch are capable of winning this group given their talent. Chinese Taipei and Israel are both on the outside looking to sneak up on the favorites.


Samurai Japan roster Analysis

Group B Analysis

Group C Analysis


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