Tag: World Baseball Classic

World Baseball Classic 2017: Projecting Tournament Favorites, Dark Horses

March is an important month for baseball fans. Not only does it signal the beginning of the exhibition season—and draw us ever closer to Opening Day—but every four years, it provides us the opportunity to see the best players in the world compete in a 16-team tournament, the World Baseball Classic.

While some fans bemoan the fact that the tournament cuts into spring training, there’s no denying that the action on the field is both exciting and entertaining. That’s especially true as teams advance into the later rounds, consummating with the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, which begins on March 20.

Final rosters aren’t due for another few weeks, so much can change between now and then. But based on the players we know are participating, the competition teams will be facing in their respective pools in the first round and how they’ve fared in the past, we can begin to affix labels to some of these clubs.

What follows is a look at four favorites—and four dark horses—in the fourth installment of the WBC.

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Who Is Cuban Free Agent Yasmany Tomas and Is He Worth Big-Money Risk?

Yasmany Tomas remains quite a mystery, or at least an unproven commodity, to many in and around Major League Baseball, but that could work in the Cuban defector-turned-free agent’s favor this offseason.

So much of the focus over the winter will be on the pitching market, headed by aces Jon Lester and Max Scherzer, as well as the consistent, durable James Shields and possibly Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda if he is posted.

But on the position-player front, there’s decidedly less high-end talent. Sure, third baseman Pablo Sandoval is positioned well to earn a big-money pact coming off his third World Series title at age 28. And Hanley Ramirez is going to get paid—probably even overpaid—by some team that’s willing to give the injury-prone soon-to-be 31-year-old occasional offensive force a chance to play shortstop.

Beyond those two, however, the biggest contracts could go to catcher Russell Martin and designated hitter Victor Martinez, two steady, proven veterans who stand out in their respective markets. But based on their ages—they’ll be entering their age-32 and age-36 seasons, respectively, in 2015—anything north of $60 million to $70 million for either would seem to be pushing it.

In light of that, just how much interest is there going to be in a soon-to-be 24-year-old, power-hitting outfielder with experience from a professional league that has funneled three other marquee major league hitters to the majors in recent years?

Try a lot.

That’s certainly the case given what’s been said and written about Tomas since he defected in June from Cuba, a country that has supplied ready-made stars like Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig and Jose Abreu the past three seasons.

And by many account, Tomas could be next in that line.

The 6’1″, 230-pound righty swinger and thrower worked out for all 30 big league teams in the Dominican Republic in September.

Tomas, who turns 24 on Nov. 14, played five seasons for the Havana Industriales in Cuba’s top pro league, the Serie Nacional, as Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com notes:

Overall, he hit 30 home runs with 104 RBIs in 205 regular-season games for the Industriales, starting in 2008. However, he never played more than 69 games during the Serie Nacional’s 90-game regular season and did not play during the 2010-11 season.

‘My dream was always to play with the best players in the world,’ Tomas said. ‘Everyone knows there is good baseball in Cuba, but Major League Baseball is the top level in the world. Everybody wants to play there.’

Despite not starting for Cuba in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, Tomas went 6-for-16 (.375) with a double and a pair of home runs, one of which came against two-time defending champion Japan and was smashed well over the fence in left-center field:

While there’s much intrigue and plenty of positives, there are concerns surrounding the outfielder, too.

For one, Tomas hasn’t necessarily been in the best shape, leading some to question what his physique will look like, especially as he ages, as Keith Law of ESPN Insider (subscription required) notes:

Tomas is a stout center fielder who’ll have to move to a corner outfield spot, as he’s a below-average runner with a stiff body who could probably stand to shed some weight before he signs.

What Tomas brings is plus power, and I don’t think it’s just BP power, as he’s very short to the ball—maybe even more so than Abreu—with good hip rotation and a very quiet approach. He keeps his head steady through contact and his back leg pretty strong. However, he has below-average bat speed, unlike Abreu (whose is average or better) or Puig (whose is just ridiculous), and I’ve had multiple scouts tell me they question Tomas’ ability to hit for average against major-league pitching.

A reasonable/optimistic projection for Tomas would be an average to slightly above-average regular in left field, with 25 to 30 homers, a low OBP and below-average defense.

That sounds an awful lot like the production provided by another, but less impactful, Cuban player: Dayan Viciedo of the Chicago White Sox.

In fact, that’s just the name Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs mentions in his scouting report: “Scouts on the low-end for Tomas mention Dayan Viciedo as a comparable while more scouts think Yoenis Cespedes is a better offensive comparison, though Cespedes is quicker-twitch athlete with more speed and defense value.”

As for the financial aspect, safe to say it’s going to require a hefty investment to land Tomas.

Here’s Ben Badler of Baseball America:

Media reports continue to assume that Tomas is asking for $100 million, which is wrong. I haven’t had a team yet tell me that Tomas is asking for $100 million, just that his camp is looking for more than what Rusney Castillo got from the Red Sox. That could mean topping Castillo’s $72.5 million total contract, or it could mean beating what essentially works out to a $12 million average annual value.

The market for Cuban players has exploded in the past few years, and the deal for Tomas, who is exempt from international bonus pools because he is at least 23 years old and has played at least five seasons in a professional league, is going to reflect as much.

Cespedes got a four-year, $36 million deal with the Oakland A’s. Puig signed with the Dodgers for $42 million over seven years, and Abreu landed a $68 million contract with the White Sox through 2019.

Additionally, there are a number of teams that either could use a corner outfielder or have shown a specific interest in Tomas, including the Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Some MLB higher-ups view the Phillies as the favorites, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News:

‘He makes a lot of sense for Philadelphia,’ said one rival executive, noting that that the Phillies have money, a thin farm system, and a desire to reverse their fortunes as quickly as possible. Plus, people around the game took note when GM Ruben Amaro Jr. flew to the Dominican Republic to personally scout Tomas.

The San Diego Padres, for what it’s worth, appear to be the club that has been most thorough in evaluating Tomas, as they have worked him out twice and seen him three times, according to Badler. Most recently, the Boston Red Sox held a private session with the outfielder over the weekend, per Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.

In other words, there may not yet be a clear front-runner to land Tomas, who can sign with any team at any time. But there sure as heck is a market for him—one with a number of aggressive, big-spending clubs at a time when offense, and especially power, is being valued at a premium.

Even with justifiable questions about Tomas’ physique, his readiness for the majors immediately and his ability to hit for average against big league pitchers, a contract near $100 million isn’t out of the question. And the likelihood is that Tomas will surpass the $72.5 million contract—a record amount for an international free agent from Cuba—that fellow outfielder Rusney Castillo landed from the Red Sox in August.

Speaking of Castillo, here’s what the 27-year-old had to say about his countryman back in September, per Rob Bradford of WEEI:

[Tomas is] a really high quality baseball player, and a really good person. He’s got a ton of power. For his physique, he actually moves pretty well. He’s pretty quick for a big guy.

I would compare the power to Abreu’s power. Tomas has a ton of power. Maybe not to that degree, but if you want a comparison, especially to another Cuban guy—especially when it comes to power—that’s the guy.

So at least in Castillo’s eyes, Tomas earns comparisons to Abreu, who only led all of baseball with a .581 slugging percentage as a rookie in 2014.

Evoking names like Abreu, Puig and Cespedes—each of whom have had undeniable and immediate success in the majors—for comparison purposes, even loosely, is only going to work in Tomas’ favor even more.

Same goes for the mystery and the unknowns surrounding Tomas. The allure, the potential is easy to dream on right now.

Ultimately, whether Tomas will net a near-nine-figure deal—and more importantly, whether he’ll be worth the total he does get—are, strangely, mutually exclusive questions.

The answer to the former likely is yes. The answer to the latter? Well, for the sake of whichever team inks Tomas, let’s hope he turns out to be as good as his predecessors have been.


Statistics are accurate through the 2014 season and courtesy of MLB.com, Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted.

To talk baseball or fantasy baseball, check in with me on Twitter: @JayCat11.

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Should the World Baseball Classic Be Moved to November?

For the first time since January, Major League Baseball fans are in the midst of a full month without baseball.

That’s right, folks. Since the World Series concluded, the 2013 baseball year has been more about the hot stove and potential moves than actual baseball. As the memories of a great 2013 start flooding back in, we remember how it began: With an incredibly competitive and entertaining World Baseball Classic in March.

If you are a fan of the hot stove and day-to-day rumors surrounding each embattled general manager, free agent and star on the trade block, the offseason is a very exciting time. In New York, the mere idea of Jay Z breaking bread with members of the Mets front office is enough to send shock waves and snickers throughout the five boroughs.

Of course, not everyone has the time or energy to keep up with news and notes. Some fans just want competitive baseball on television. Sure, MLB Network shows some Arizona Fall League games, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. For the fan that misses the intensity of October baseball and relaxing doldrums of play-by-play announcers, this idea is for you: The World Baseball Classic should be moved to November.

Yes, the tournament that brings baseball fans around the world together should be revamped before the next rendition of the event in 2017, starting with the drastic measure of moving the entire event from the preseason to after the conclusion of the World Series.
Why? Here are three reasons it would enhance the product and extend the viewing pleasure for fans starving for baseball in November.

1. The ratings might rebound.

According to Sports Media Watch, the 2013 WBC championship game between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic earned 843,000 viewers on MLB Network last March. To put that number in perspective, consider this: In 2009, the WBC final drew over 1.6 million viewers to ESPN. Despite an entertaining tournament and representative final, half of fans that tuned in in 2009 did not for the 2013 finale.

To put those numbers in perspective, take a look at some television numbers from Nielsen. For the week of Nov. 4, 2013, a Hallmark Original Movie—something called A Very Merry Mix Up—garnered over five times as many eye balls as the WBC final from March. Comparing and contrasting cable ratings, made-for-television movies and exhibition baseball isn’t the point here, but the numbers are startling when put in that context.

Simply put, Major League Baseball can’t use the soft scheduling landscape of March to enhance their reasoning for playing the WBC in that month any longer. Sure, the NFL and college football, along with regular season NHL and NBA, would dwarf WBC ratings in November, but it’s not exactly thriving in March.

Playing the WBC in November would extend the season. Plus, with the carryover excitement from October and the postseason, fans may stay tuned in to baseball in November, rather than having the sport thrust upon everyone in March.

2. Star players may be more apt to play.

One of the biggest complaints about the WBC centers around baseball’s best players choosing not to participate for fear of injury, unwillingness to miss critical spring training time with their parent club or concern from the player’s organization about letting a recently healed player back into competitive baseball without a full spring to get into shape. Playing in November, or any month for that matter, won’t ever totally alleviate concerns for professional athletes, but it could make some more apt to play.

Yes, the players that just wrapped up the World Series will be tired and ragged. In 2013, that would have potentially meant stars like Carlos Beltran, David Ortiz and Adam Wainwright choosing not to play and represent their respective countries. Yet, for every other player, November could just represent an extension of the season.

If an injury were to occur in a November-based WBC, it could leave enough time to heal before spring training or the regular season. Minor injuries would be a blip on the radar screen for parent clubs, unlike a scenario with Mark Teixeira last March. When the Yankees first baseman went down with a torn sheath in his wrist, the Yankees essentially lost one of their key players for the entire season, throwing water on the WBC.

When it comes to pitchers, workload and velocity in mid-March is a concern for pitching coaches around the sport. Furthermore, meaningful innings in WBC games are different than exhibition games in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues. Although young pitchers, like Zack Wheeler of the New York Mets, might have to skip a WBC due to reaching a team-imposed innings limit during the regular season, veteran pitchers wouldn’t have to worry about their arms for the following season.

It’s disheartening for pitching coaches to watch their pitchers have setbacks after the WBC in March, but affording them the opportunity to rest for months after the competition would help the Major League Baseball regular season product.

Not convinced yet? The NBA routinely sends over the best American-born players for the Olympics. Much like in this proposed change, the competition takes place in the aftermath of the NBA postseason and Finals. If athletes like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant can drag themselves off the mat after grueling and arduous postseason runs, play at a high level for Team USA and still be ready for NBA opening tip in October, Major League Baseball players could easily adapt to this change.

3. It affords fans more baseball!

Full disclosure: It’s hard for me to get into the WBC in March. Despite watching and covering baseball for a living, the process of getting locked into every pitch is hard to do in March. Spring training has really just begun, opening day isn’t until April, and, for those outside of warm climates, it’s winter.

On the other hand, I’m always disappointed to watch the World Series end, knowing that we are months away from meaningful baseball again. Bridging the gap during the offseason, even if it means pushing back the GM’s meetings and hot stove, would make the offseason much, much more enjoyable.

If you are still on the edge with this proposal, think of it this way: If the WBC was on right now, we would be watching the best players in the world on the diamond.

Agree? Disagree?

Comment below, follow me on Twitter or “like” my Facebook page to talk all things baseball.

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World Baseball Classic 2013: Dominican Republic Wins Championship, Defeat PR 3-0

The Dominican Republic is your new World Baseball Classic champion.

The island nation just defeated Puerto Rico 3-0, in what was a Caribbean showdown for the WBC championship at San Francisco’s AT&T Park.

The Dominican Republic drew first blood right away in the bottom of the first inning. Jose Reyes led off with a double, high off the right field wall. Then, Erick Aybar laid a sacrifice bunt advancing Reyes to third base.

Puerto Rico walked WBC hits leader, Robinson Cano, with the intention of looking for a double play against cleanup hitter Nelson Cruz.

But Cruz made the Puerto Rican team strategy’s backfire. He hit a double to deep center field, scoring Reyes and Cano for the Dominican Republic’s lead 2-0.

Puerto Rican starter Giancarlo Alvarado looked shaky and young Milwaukee Brewers prospect Hiram Burgos was sent to loosen up in the bullpen. Alvarado was able to retire the next two outs, but his night was done as Puerto Rico’s manager didn’t waste any time and Burgos came in for relief in the second inning.

The Dominican Republic scored its third run on the bottom of the fifth. Alejandro De Aza reached base after he laid down a bunt towards the third base line and beat out the throw to first. Then, Reyes hit a slow roller to second base and Irving Falu had a moment of indecision and decided to throw out Reyes at first, instead of the lead runner De Aza.

With De Aza in scoring position, Aybar hit a double down the line to right field, scoring De Aza easily, giving a 3-0 lead to the Dominicans.

Puerto Rico had its fair chances to score. The team went hitless in 14 at bats with runners on base, leaving six runners in scoring position stranded.

It was another dominating performance for the Dominican Republic, who didn’t allowed Puerto Rico to score another giant kill, after Puerto Rico had eliminated Venezuela, USA and Japan in the  previous two rounds.

Dominican starting pitcher Samuel Deduno got the win after he went five innings and struck out five. The dominating Dominican bullpen took over where he left off in the sixth.

He was followed by Octavio Dotel (sixth), Pedro Strop (seventh), Santiago Casillas (eight) and “Mr. Untouchable”, Fernando Rodney, closed out the ninth for his tournament -igh seventh save.

With 100 players in the major leagues, the Dominican Republic cements its position as the top baseball power in Latin America, and now probably the world.

The Dominican Republic went 8-0 in the tournament and became the first team to win the WBC unbeaten, beating Puerto Rico once in each round of the tournament.


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Dominican Republic vs. Puerto Rico: World Baseball Classic Live Score, Analysis


Dominican Republic 3 Puerto Rico 0

W: Deduno

L: Alvarado

S: Rodney

Dominican Republic WINS the 2013 WBC.

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WBC 2013: Yadier Molina Must Start Hitting for Puerto Rico to Beat the Dominican

If Puerto Rico is going to win the World Baseball Classic, it needs prime production from every member of its lineup, especially cleanup hitter Yadier Molina.

After taking care off business against Team USA and Japan, the only thing standing between Puerto Rico and the World Baseball crown is the undefeated Dominican Republic. 

The two teams met not too long ago on Saturday, March 16. The Puerto Rican bats were cold as ice and could not produce any runs on simply three hits. The Dominicans, on the other hand, had two runs on six hits. 

With this game fresh in mind, it’s not impossible to foresee a scenario where the Puerto Ricans are able to squeeze past the Dominican Republic. 

Absent from Saturday’s game was Molina. He’s the team’s third best hitter with .333/.375/.481 behind Angel Pagan and Mike Aviles

Molina came back for the semifinal game against Japan but failed to impress in Puerto Rico’s 3-1 victory. He went 0-for-4 and was the only player on the team besides Andy Gonzalez to not come up with a hit. 

When Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic clash on Tuesday, March 19, the Puerto Ricans can’t have someone in the cleanup spot that doesn’t hit the ball.

Molina needs to have the game of his life. 

In three out of their last four games, the Dominican Republic has come from behind to win.

Against the United States, the Dominicans broke up a tie game in the top of the ninth inning to win 3-1.

In the semifinals against the Netherlands, the Dominican Republic was down by one run but turned the tables after a monster performance in the fifth inning that saw the team score four runs.

But the most impressive turnaround came against Italy, where the Dominican Republic came back from four runs down to win 5-4. 

On the flip side, these results show that it is possible to get ahead of the Dominicans in the early innings. The problem is that it’s hard to stop them from rallying. 

Puerto Rico has especially had problems with Robinson Cano and Edwin Encarnacion during this tournament. In the two meetings between these two countries, the sluggers have gone 7-for 15

That’s why Molina is going to be so crucial to Puerto Rico’s title hopes.

If he picks up his performance from the semifinal, then we might have a ball game on our hands. If not, then it looks like the Dominican Republic will keep dancing.

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3 Key Matchups in Tonight’s World Baseball Classic Final

Looking to complete an undefeated run through the 2013 World Baseball Classic and make history, the Dominican Republic will have its sights set on a perfect 8-0 when it faces Puerto Rico in the WBC finale on Tuesday night.

The D.R. has already beaten the Puerto Ricans twice, including a 2-0 victory on March 16 that helped push the Dominicans into the semifinals.

In front of what’s likely to be a sellout crowd at AT&T Park at 8 p.m. ET, the baseball world will see a new champion crowned in the WBC.

Here are three matchups to keep your eye on during Tuesday night’s championship game.

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World Baseball Classic 2013: Day 15 Results, Recap and Analysis

Thanks to six innings from southpaw Wandy Rodriguez and a home run from Carlos Santana, the Dominicans were able to pull off a 2-0 victory against Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic and earn a trip to San Francisco.

The game was destined to be a close one from the get-go. A pitcher’s duel was in full swing until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Santana cranked a homer to right field off of Puerto Rico’s Orlando Roman.

The Dominican Republic got some insurance in the bottom of the eighth inning as well, when catcher Francisco Peña’s single scored Erick Aybar from third base.

The closest Puerto Rico got to scoring a run was when infielder Irving Falu stole second and advanced to third on a Santana throwing error in the third inning. Falu, who replaced an injured Carlos Rivera, was thrown out at home by Aybar when Jesus Feliciano grounded into a fielder’s choice.

The Puerto Ricans almost had a rally going when Mike Aviles hit a two-out double off of Fernando Rodney in the ninth, but the big right-hander got Eddie Rosario to ground out to second to seal the deal.

The Dominican Republic will now head to San Francisco and play the Netherlands for a spot in the WBC Finals, while Puerto Rico will play defending champion Japan. While the Dominican Republic is undefeated and the easy favorite, the Dutch are not to be counted out.

Team Netherlands defeated a heavily favored Cuban squad not once, but twice this tournament, on March 8 and March 11. It may not be done slaying giants yet, so the Dominican Republic had better be ready to face the same team that beat it twice and bounced it from the 2009 WBC.

This means working around Jonathan Schoop and Andrelton Simmons, who have been the two best hitters for the Netherlands in the WBC.

Defeating Puerto Rico is something to celebrate, but the Dominican Republic’s WBC is really just beginning now that the semifinals are about to take place.

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WBC 2013: Timing of Classic Needs to Change for Team USA to Be Successful

Another year, another disappointment for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

After advancing to the second round and beating Puerto Rico in its first second-round matchup, Team USA dropped two straight games to the powerhouse Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, resulting in an early exit from the WBC.

While there’s no doubting that countries like Japan and the D.R. take more pride in representing their countries in the Classic, it’s also clear that the U.S. is at a disadvantage given the timing of the event.

With the WBC kicking off less than a month before the grueling 162-game MLB season begins, a number of U.S. stars choose not to take part in the national tournament in favor of staying healthy and getting in shape for the MLB season.

The United States’ pitching staff was anchored by R.A. Dickey, Ryan Vogelsong and Gio Gonzalez.

Wouldn’t it be better if the U.S. was giving the ball to guys like Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw and Jered Weaver?

Of course it would, but the big arms choose to skip the WBC due to saving themselves for the MLB season and not having to adjust their training schedule, which is something Jorge Ortiz of USA Today touched on.

With MLB organizations investing so much time and money into their stars, often times it’s not even up to a big league player if he’s going to play in the WBC—the decision comes from above.

That said, having the tournament a mere three weeks before the start of the MLB season doesn’t favor the U.S.

Perhaps if the WBC took place during the early winter in indoor stadiums and warmer climates, some of the best Americans would feel more comfortable playing, knowing they had more time after the Classic to prepare for the upcoming MLB season.

As a result of the WBC, David Wright—who was largely the only offense for Team USA—could be forced to miss opening day for the New York Mets due to an injury he aggravated during the Classic, according to the New York Daily News.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s no excuse for how poorly the U.S. played in the WBC.

Ryan Braun, Brandon Phillips, Giancarlo Stanton, Adam Jones and Shane Victorino all hit under .300 and only Jones contributed more than one RBI out of the aforementioned players.

The fact of the matter is that the timing of the event isn’t set up for the U.S. to field its best players, and as long as this timeframe for the WBC continues, Team USA will never be successful.


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Grading Team USA’s Shane Victorino at the 2013 World Baseball Classic

Shane Victorino was one of the lucky players to be selected to play for Team USA in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Victorino signed a three-year deal with the Boston Red Sox over the winter and departed from spring training early to go represent his country. In five games with Boston during camp, he went 0-for-11 with a pair of runs, four walks and three strikeouts.

One of four outfielders on manager Joe Torre’s United States roster, Victorino played a variety of roles. Ryan Braun, Adam Jones and Giancarlo Stanton were more dangerous threats, so Victorino didn’t see much time in the outfield. He did get his fair share of playing time, though.

Unfortunately for Victorino and Team USA, the Americans’ dream of winning the WBC came up short. The United States went 2-1 in Pool D play, but later lost two of three in Pool 2 and were eliminated from further contention. It’s the third straight year Team USA failed to make the semifinal round.

But let’s focus in on the play of Boston’s newest right fielder, examining how he did in the World Baseball Classic.


Patriotism: A+

I’ll give credit to any player that wants to play for their country. There seems to be a big disconnect between some of the top players in Major League Baseball and their desire to play in the World Baseball Classic, a topic that’s been widely discussed since the rosters were announced.

But that can’t be said for Victorino, who took part in his second WBC. It was an interesting decision considering he was new with Boston and decided that instead of developing close ties with his new teammates that he should take advantage of an opportunity that doesn’t come around too often.

Victorino is no longer in his prime, but he was more than proud to accept the offer. According to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston, Victorino said:

To represent your country is something you dream of as a child. Putting on a USA jersey, I never thought growing up in Hawaii I’d wear a USA jersey and put on No. 50, to represent my state. I’m excited to wear 50 again. I’m pumped.

It’s encouraging to know that he so was excited to play for Team USA. Hopefully he’s just as excited to play for the Red Sox the next three years.


In-Game Results: F

I hate to say it, but Victorino was a major disappointment in my eyes at the World Baseball Classic. I understand that it’s a little early in the year to be playing such meaningful games and maybe he wasn’t as prepared as he could’ve been, but he was a non-factor for Team USA.

Here are Victorino’s game-by-game results:

Mexico vs. USA: 0-for-1 (PH)

USA vs. Italy: DNP

USA vs. Canada: 1-for-5, RBI, 3 K (LF)

Puerto Rico vs. USA: DNP

Dominican Republic vs. USA: 0-for-1 (PH)

Puerto Rico vs. USA: 0-for-4, 2 K (DH)

As you can clearly tell, Victorino didn’t see a lot of time on the field. He started just twice and came off the bench twice, sitting the remaining two games. Even still, he didn’t make much of an impact. Combined, he went 1-for-11 with one RBI and five strikeouts.

Now, we can’t just throw out the excuse that the other pitchers were just better than the Americans because some players on Team USA played very well. Take David Wright, for instance. Even though he missed the final game due to injury, he went 7-for-16 in the WBC with three extra-base hits and 10 RBI.

I’m not trying to compare Victorino to Wright; I’m just stating that hitting in the international competition was possible. In fact, Victorino was the only player on Team USA with at least 10 at-bats not to hit at least .200. His bat just wasn’t there during the WBC.


Overall: C-

Once again, I love that Victorino decided to play. Since spring training started, he’s had just as many total at-bats as many other Red Sox players despite leaving camp to play in the World Baseball Classic. You can’t blame a guy for wanting to play for his country instead of playing exhibition games with the team he recently signed with.

But as I’ve stated, despite the experience, Victorino was horrible for Team USA. The United States as a whole played poorly at times and Victorino certainly was one of the reasons why. Does he deserve all of the blame? Absolutely not, but he deserves some of it. He only had one hit in 11 at-bats. That’s not good no matter which way you spin it.

Victorino couldn’t help Team USA win the WBC title, but here’s to hoping he makes a difference with the Red Sox in 2013.

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