A Comprehensive Guide To The 2013 World Baseball Classic

Chris Pondy

The third annual World Baseball Classic will be held March 2 through March 19. Who will be playing, and why should we care?

The 2013 World Baseball Classic provisional rosters have been submitted and made public. There is no shortage of big names representing their country and/or respective heritages. Team USA alone has fifteen All Stars on the roster, three former MVPs, and the reigning National League Cy Young winner. Team Venezuela is being represented by 11 MLB All Stars and Team Dominican Republic comes in third, with 10 All-Stars on its roster. Without further ado, the 2013 WBC rosters:

Team America

First Base

Player Bats/Throws 2012 Batting 2012 HR 2012 SB 2012 UZR
Mark Teixeira Switch/Right .251/.332/.475 34 2 +10.5

Second Base

Player Bats/Throws 2012 Batting 2012 HR 2012 SB 2012 UZR
Brandon Phillips Right/Right .281/.321/.429 18 15 +8.1
Ben Zobrist Switch/Right .270/.377/.471 20 14 -3.5

Third Base

Player Bats/Throws 2012 Batting 2012 HR 2012 SB 2012 UZR
David Wright Right/Right .306/.391/.492 21 15 +15.0

Shortstop

Player Bats/Throws 2012 Batting 2012 HR 2012 SB 2012 UZR
Jimmy Rollins Switch/Right .250/.316/.427 23 30 +4.4
Willie Bloomquist Right/Right .302/.325/.398 0 7 -3.6
Ben Zobrist Switch/Right .270/.377/.471 20 14 +0.5

Left Field

Player Bats/Throws 2012 Batting 2012 HR 2012 SB 2012 UZR
Ryan Braun Right/Right .319/.391/.595 41 30 +2.8
Shane Victorino Switch/Right .255/321/383 11 29 +6.0

Center Field

Player Bats/Throws 2012 Batting 2012 HR 2012 SB 2012 UZR
Adam Jones Right/Right .287/.334/.505 32 16 –6.7
Shane Victorino Switch/Right .255/321/383 11 29 -2.0

Right Field

Player Bats/Throws 2012 Batting 2012 HR 2012 SB 2012 UZR
Giancarlo Stanton Right/Right .290/.361/.608 37 6 +9.3
Ben Zobrist Switch/Right .270/.377/.471 20 14 +9.8

Catcher

Player Bats/Throws 2012 Batting 2012 HR 2012 SB 2012 UZR
Joe Mauer Left/Right .319/.416/.446 10 8 -3.9
Jonathan Lucroy Right/Right .320/.368/.513 12 4 +2.2
J.P. Arencibia Right/Right .233/.275/.435 18 1 -1.1

*Bold Denotes Projected Starter

Pitching Rotation

Player Throws IP ERA/FIP K/9 BB/9
R.A. Dickey Right 233.2 2.73/3.27 8.7 2.1
Ryan Vogelsong Right 189.2 3.37/3.70 7.5 2.9
Derek Holland Left 175.1 4.67/4.75 7.4 2.7
Kris Medlen Right 138.0 1.57/2.42 7.8 1.5

Bullpen

Player Throws IP ERA/FIP K/9 BB/9
Craig Kimbrel Right 62.2 1.01/0.78 16.7 2.0
Heath Bell Right 63.2 5.09/3.72 8.3 4.1
Chris Perez Right 57.2 3.59/3.34 9.2 2.5
Vinnie Pestano Right 70.0 2.57/3.42 9.8 3.1
Luke Gregerson Right 71.2 2.39/3.36 9.0 2.6
Glen Perkins Left 70.1 2.56/3.17 10.0 2.1
Steve Cishek Right 63.2 2.69/3.22 9.6 4.1
Jeremy Affeldt Left 63.1 2.70/2.73 8.1 3.3
Tim Collins Left 69.2 3.36/3.47 12.0 4.4
Mitchell Boggs Right 73.1 2.21/3.42 7.1 2.6

All rosters are subject to change, being provisional. Many teams do not have full rosters: Team USA, among others, has one more roster spot open. There's speculation that the spot will go to Justin Verlander, who will make his final decision when he starts throwing in Spring Training. February 20 is the deadline for formal rosters to be submitted.

Team Australia
Pitchers
Adam Bright
Tim Kennelly (MiLB)
Steven Kent
Peter Moylan (MLB)
Chris Oxspring
Ryan Rowland-Smith (MLB)
Andrew Russell (MiLB)
Dushan Ruzic
Warwick Saupold (MiLB)
Ryan Searle (MiLB)
Clayton Tanner
Brad Thomas
Matthew Williams
Brendan Wise
Catchers
Allan de San Miguel (MiLB)
Matt Kennelly (MiLB)
Infielders
James Beresford (MiLB)
Josh Davies
Brad Harman
Justin Huber
Luke Hughes
Mike Walker (MiLB)
Stefan Welch (MiLB)
Outfielders
Corey Adamson (MiLB)
Mitch Dening
David Kandilas (MiLB)
Joshua Roberts
Chris Snelling

Team Brazil
Pitchers
Gabriel Asakura
Noris Chacon
Rafael Fernandes
Luiz Gohara (MiLB)
Murilo Gouvea (MiLB)
Hugo Kanabushi
Kesley Kondo
Rafael Moreno (MiLB)
Oscar Nakaoshi
Andre Rienzo (MiLB)
Thyago Vieira (MiLB)
Carlos Yoshimura
Catchers
Bruno Hirata
Infielders
Felipe Burin (MiLB)
Alan Fanhoni
Iago Januario (MiLB)
Daniel Matsumoto
Pedro Okuda (MiLB)
Leonardo Reginatto (MiLB)
Lucas Rojo (MiLB)
Marcio Tanaka
Outfielders
Tiago Magalhaes
Mike Magario
JC Muniz
Paulo Orlando (MiLB)
Jean Tome

Team Chinese Taipei
Pitchers
Hung-Wen Chen (MiLB)
Hung-Chih Kuo
Yi-Hao Lin
Chia-Jen Lo (MiLB)
Ching Lung Lo
Wei-Lun Pan
Jen-Ho Tseng
Chien-Ming Wang (MLB)
Ching-Ming Wang
I-Cheng Wang
Yao-Lin Wang (MiLB)
Yao-Hsun Yang
Catchers
Ta-Hung Cheng
Chih-Kang Kao
Hung-Yu Lin
Infielders
Chiang-Ho Chen
Yung-Chi Chen
Yen-Wen Kuo
Chih-Shen Lin
Han Lin
Cheng-Ming Peng
Outfielders
Chien-Ming Chang
Szu-Chi Chou
Che-Hsuan Lin (MLB)
Wu-Hsiung Pan
Dai-Kang Yang

Team China
Pitchers
Tao Bu
Bruce Chen (MLB)
Kun Chen
Shuai Li
Wenming Li
Xin Li
Yu Liu
Jiangang Lu
Xia Luo
Qingyuan Meng
Song Ran
Haifan Yang
Yanyong Yang
Dawei Zhu
Catchers
Wei Dong
Weiqiang Meng
Wei Wang
Infielders
Xu An
Ray Chang (MiLB)
Fujia Chu
Xiaolei Du
Delong Jia
Yubing Jia
Lei Li
Shu Okamura
Outfielders
Xiao Cui
Jingfeng Lai
Zhenhong Lu

Team Canada
Pitchers
Andrew Albers (MiLB)
Phillippe Aumont (MLB)
John Axford (MLB)
Jesse Crain (MLB)
Mark Hardy (MiLB)
Jim Henderson (MLB)
Shawn Hill (MLB)
Chris Leroux (MLB)
Trystan Magnuson (MLB)
Scott Mathieson (MiLB)
Dustin Molleken
Scott Richmond
Jameson Taillon (MiLB)
Catchers
Russell Martin (MLB)
Chris Robinson (MiLB)
Infielders
Taylor Green (MLB)
Cale Iorg (MiLB)
Brett Lawrie (MLB)
Jonathan Malo (MiLB)
Justin Morneau (MLB)
Pete Orr (MLB)
Jimmy Van Ostrand (MiLB)
Outfielders
Tyson Gillies (MiLB)
Adam Loewen (MLB)
Michael Saunders (MLB)
Rene Tosoni (MLB)

Team Cuba
Pitchers
Freddy Alvarez (MiLB)
Odrisamer Despaigne
Vladimir Garcia
Norberto Gonzalez
Yander Guevara
Raciel Iglesias
Ismel Jimenez
Darien Nunez
Vicyohandrys Odelin
Wilber Perez
Alexander Rodriguez
Catchers
Yulexis La Rosa
Frank Morejon
Erier Sanchez
Infielders
Jose Abreu
Erisbel Arruebarruena
Danny Betancourt
Jose Fernandez
Yulieski Gonzalez
Yulieski Gourriel
Andy Ibanez
Luis Rivera
Outfielders
lexei Bell
Rusney Castillo
Frederich Cepeda
Alfredo Despaigne
Guillermo Heredia
Yadiel Hernandez

Team Dominican Republic
Pitchers
Santiago Casilla (MLB)
Octavio Dotel (MLB)
Pedro Figueroa (MLB)
Kelvin Herrera (MLB)
Alexi Ogando (MLB)
Joel Peralta (MLB)
Fernando Rodney (MLB)
Wandy Rodriguez (MLB)
Esmil Rogers (MLB)
Pedro Strop (MLB)
Edinson Volquez (MLB)
Catchers
Miguel Olivo (MLB)
Carlos Santana (MLB)
Infielders
Erick Aybar (MLB)
Adrian Beltre (MLB)
Robinson Cano (MLB)
Edwin Encarnacion (MLB)
Hanley Ramirez (MLB)
Jose Reyes (MLB)
Miguel Tejada (MLB)
Outfielders
Melky Cabrera (MLB)
Nelson Cruz (MLB)
Carlos Gomez (MLB)

Team Italy
Pitchers
Chris Cooper
Yovany D'Amico
Tiago Da Silva
Jason Grilli (MLB)
Alex Maestri
John Mariotti
Luca Panerati
Nick Pugliese
Dan Serafini
Brian Sweeney
Matt Torra
Catchers
Drew Butera (MLB)
Francisco Cervelli (MLB)
Tyler LaTorre (MiLB)
Infielders
Jeff Bianchi (MLB)
Chris Colabello (MiLB)
Anthony Granato
Alex Liddi (MLB)
Nick Punto (MLB)
Anthony Rizzo (MLB)
Alessandro Vaglio
Outfielders
Lorenzo Avagnina
Mario Chiarini
Chris Denorfia (MLB)

Team Japan
Pitchers
Takuya Asao
Takeru Imamura
Kenta Maeda
Kazuhisa Makita
Masahiko Morifuku
Atsushi Nomi
Kenji Otonari
Hirokazu Sawamura
Tadashi Settsu
Toshiya Sugiuchi
Masahiro Tanaka
Tetsuya Utsumi
Hideaki Wakui
Tetsuya Yamaguchi
Daisuke Yamai
Catchers
Shinnosuke Abe
Ryoji Aikawa
Ginjiro Sumitani
Infielders
Kazuo Matsui (MLB)
Shuichi Murata
Hayato Sakamoto
Takashi Toritani
Outfielders
Atsunori Inaba

Team Korea
Pitchers
Woo-Chan Cha
Won Jun Chang
Tae-Hyon Chong
Won-Sam Jang
Yong-Chan Lee
Kyung Eun Noh
Seung Hwan Oh
Heesoo Park
Jae Weong Seo (MLB)
Seung-Lak Son
Wonsang Yoo
Hi-Sang Yoon
Suk-Min Yoon
Catchers
Kab-Yong Jin
Min-Ho Kang
Infielders
Jeong Choi
Keun-Woo Jeong
Jung-Ho Kang
Sangsu Kim
Tae-Kyun Kim
Dae-Ho Lee
Seung-Yeop Lee (MLB)
Si-Hyun Son
Outfielders
Jun-woo Jeon
Hyun-Soo Kim
Jin-Young Lee
Yong-Kyu Lee
Ahseop Son

Team Mexico
Pitchers
Alfredo Aceves (MLB)
Luis Ayala (MLB)
Marco Estrada (MLB)
Yovani Gallardo (MLB)
Miguel Gonzalez (MLB)
David Hernandez (MLB)
Rodrigo Lopez (MLB)
Luis Mendoza (MLB)
Oliver Perez (MLB)
Sergio Romo (MLB)
Fernando Salas (MLB)
Catchers
Rod Barajas (MLB)
Ali Solis (MLB)
Infielders
Alfredo Amezaga (MLB)
Jorge Cantu (MLB)
Luis Cruz (MLB)
Danny Espinosa (MLB)
Adrian Gonzalez (MLB)
Edgar Gonzalez
Ramiro Pena (MLB)
Outfielders
Karim Garcia (MLB)

Team Netherlands
Pitchers
David Bergman
Robbie Cordemans
Bayron Cornelisse
Jonatan Isenia (MiLB)
Jair Jurrjens (MLB)
Diegomar Markwell
Shairon Martis (MLB)
Tom Stuifbergen (MiLB)
J.C. Sulbaran (MiLB)
Berry Van Driel
Loek Van Mil (MiLB)
Orlando Yntema
Catchers
Spencer Kieboom (MiLB)
Infielders
Xander Bogaerts (MiLB)
Yurendell de Caster
Jurickson Profar (MLB)
Jonathan Schoop (MiLB)
Andrelton Simmons (MLB)
Curt Smith
Hainley Statia (MiLB)
Nick Urbanus (MiLB)
Outfielders
Wladimir Balentien (MLB)
Roger Bernadina (MLB)
Andruw Jones (MLB)
Randolph Oduber (MiLB)
Kalian Sams (MiLB)

Team Puerto Rico
Pitchers
Giancarlo Alvarado
Jose Berrios (MiLB)
Hiram Burgos (MiLB)
Fernando Cabrera (MLB)
Xavier Cedeno (MLB)
Jose De La Torre (MiLB)
Nelson Figueroa (MLB)
Dicky Gonzalez (MLB)
Javier Lopez (MLB)
J.C. Romero (MLB)
Hector Santiago (MLB)
Giovanni Soto (MLB)
Javier Vazquez (MLB)
Catchers
Martin Maldonado (MLB)
Jose Molina (MLB)
Yadier Molina (MLB)
Infielders
Mike Aviles (MLB)
Ivan De Jesus (MLB)
Irving Falu (MLB)
Luis Figueroa
Andy Gonzalez (MLB)
Carlos Rivera
Pedro Valdes
Outfielders
Carlos Beltran (MLB)
Jesus Feliciano
Angel Pagan (MLB)
Alex Rios (MLB)
Eddie Rosario (MiLB)

Team Spain
Pitchers
Richard Castillo (MiLB)
Jose Cruz
Rhiner Cruz (MiLB)
Eric Gonzalez
Ivan Granados
Ricardo Hernandez
Chris Manno (MiLB)
Eddie Morlan
Leslie Nacar
Antonio Noguera
Paco Rodriguez (MLB)
Richard Salazar
Nick Schumacher
Catchers
Salomon Manriquez (MiLB)
Adrian Nieto (MiLB)
Infielders
Barbaro Canizares
Paco Figueroa
Jesus Golindano
Jesus Merchan
Yunesky Sanchez
Outfielders
Engel Beltre (MiLB)
Daniel Figueroa
Yasser Gomez
Fernando Martinez (MLB)
Gabe Suarez (MiLB)

Team Venezuela
Pitchers
Henderson Alvarez (MLB)
Ronald Belisario (MLB)
Enrique Gonzalez
Felix Hernandez (MLB)
Cesar Jimenez (MLB)
Jose Mijares (MLB)
Francisco Rodriguez
Anibal Sanchez (MLB)
Carlos Zambrano (MLB)
Catchers
Ramon Hernandez (MLB)
Miguel Montero (MLB)
Salvador Perez (MLB)
Infielders
Elvis Andrus (MLB)
Asdrubal Cabrera (MLB)
Miguel Cabrera (MLB)
Pablo Sandoval (MLB)
Marco Scutaro (MLB)
Outfielders
Carlos Gonzalez (MLB)
Gerardo Parra (MLB)
Martin Prado (MLB)

How does Team USA compare to other teams in the tournament? Team Japan will be suffering from a lack of marquee star power; Yu Darvish, Ichiro Suzuki, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and other past stars will not be playing for their homeland, opting to prepare for the upcoming MLB season instead.

Team Cuba has lost numerous past stars to defection, notably Aroldis Chapman and Yoenis Cespedes. The reigning WBC champions and the number one ranked international baseball team are seemingly weakened while Team USA, at least on paper, appears stronger. Other teams, such as Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela appear stronger, too, addressing what was cited as their biggest problems in the 2009 competition: pitching. Overall, anything can happen — the odds of Team Netherlands sweeping the much stronger Dominican Republic team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic were slim, but they did.

The first round of the WBC is a round robin, featuring four pools. Pool A — Japan, Brazil, Cuba, China — will be playing six games against each other in the Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome in Fukuoka, Japan between March 2 and March 6.

Pool B — Australia, Chinese Taipei, Korea, The Netherlands — will be playing six games against each other at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan between March 2 and March 5.

Pool C — Venezuela, The Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spain — will be playing six games against each other at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico between March 7 and March 10.

Pool D — Italy, Mexico, Canada, The United States — will be playing six games against each other at Salt River Fields in Phoenix, Arizona and Chase Field between March 7 and March 10.

The second round of the WBC is a modified double elimination featuring two pools. Pool 1 takes place between March 8 and March 12, and features six games played at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. Pool 2 takes place between March 12 and March 16, and features six games played at Marlins Park.

The final round of the WBC is a single elimination game to be played at AT&T Park.

Why Does the WBC Matter?

Japan staff ace Masahiro Tanaka is expected to be posted in 2014, and the 2013 WBC gives us a venue to see him ply his trade. The 2007 Rookie of the Year, 2011 Eiji Sawamura Award Winner, and five-time All Star went 10-4 in 2012 with a 1.87 ERA, 169 strikeouts, and 19 walks in 173 innings. He owns a career record of 75-35 in 1,103 innings pitched with a cumulative 2.50 ERA and a staggering 1055 strikeouts to 243 walks.

Tanaka's teammate, Hideaki Wakui, anchor of the Saitama Seibu Lions, also is a potential posting candidate. Team Korea’s Suk-Min Yoon, a Scott Boras client, has been tied to North American baseball for two years, and a high profile performance on the international stage might be the impetus that finally propels him to MLB. Moon, profiled back in December, went 9-8 with a 3.12 ERA, 137 strikeouts, and 33 walks in 153.0 innings in 2012.

Yoenis Cespedes and Aroldis Chapman both made their first appearances to most baseball fans during the 2009 WBC and showed the world why they were worth signing. Cespedes hit .458/.480/1.000 in 24 at-bats (11 singles, 1 double, 3 triples, 2 home runs) during the competition, and Chapman wowed the world with his triple-digit fastball and devastating slider. Both have since become premier players in MLB, with Cespedes hitting .292/.356/.505 in his rookie year and Chapman dominating out of the bullpen with 212 strikeouts in 135.0 innings pitched.

The inclusion of Brazil in the tournament marks an intriguing paradigm shift. It is widely said that the emerging market of Brazil will make the country an economic powerhouse in the future. The same can be said for baseball. As of right now, only a single Brazilian has made it to MLB: Yan Gomes. Fourteen other Brazilians, as of January 2013, are under contract by MLB teams. As the popularity of baseball increases in the country, more Brazilian talent will come to MLB.

It also gives us all a stage to watch baseball, and see the different forms that it takes across the world. As is well documented, baseball in Asia is fairly different from baseball here in North America, with more of an emphasis on small ball, defense, and fundamentals. The Cuban National Team rarely makes appearances at MLB-headed baseball ventures because of lingering political issues between the U.S. and Cuba. It is only once in a blue moon that we North American baseball fans get to see our stars go head-to-head with the legendary players of Cuba.

In the end, everything else aside, the WBC gives us a chance to watch baseball, cheer for our country, and be proud of our heritages.

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