Archive for the 'Canada' Category

Top Ten Prospects from Canada

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

The only player from the top ten list from last year to make the major leagues was Jameson Taillon. He was considered Canadian based on his parent’s birth. The World Baseball Classic team seemed to lack some youth, relying on veterans who had long past their prime as major league players. Myworld is not sure if this is a testament to their lack of confidence in the younger players or they just went too long with veterans that rewarded them four years ago in international events, but found themselves past their prime this year. The Canadian team in the 2017 WBC reminded me too much of the team that took the bronze at the World Cup in Panama in 2011. That was six years ago.

Below is a new crop of Canadian players. There were some bad years from players who appeared on this list last year dropping them off the list for fresher faces with better results or more promise.

1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr 3B (Blue Jays) - He is the son of Vladimir. He doesn’t have the arm of his father nor the power but he has a little better patience at the plate. Just because he is not as good as his father at some of those skills does not mean he lacks them. Last year a 33/35 walk to whiff ratio shows he has the ability to make contact. He also slugged 8 homeruns as a 17 year old in rookie ball. A stocky body may force him to move from third base to first or try to fit in left field. Speed is not one of his strong tools but he had enough to steal 15 bases. It may not be enough to cover a lot of ground in the outfield. This year he is playing at Low A and he has already clubbed two homeruns. He still has an impressive 8/5 walk to whiff ratio.

2. Tyler O’Neill OF (Mariners) - Tyler was expected to win the Mariners right field job but Seattle decided to give him more time in the minors. In 2015 he hit 32 homeruns and last year he hit 24. When he makes contact the ball goes a long way. The arm is good enough to play right field and though he only has average speed he has the guile to steal 20 plus bases. The Mariners would like to see him cut down on his strikeouts, which hit 150 last year. More contact could result in a better average with more balls leaving the park. This year he has two homeruns, but his 11 whiffs in 10 games has kept his average down to .211.

3. Cal Quantril RHP (Padres) - The son of Paul was the Padres first round pick last year. The Padres were not deterred by his Tommy John surgery when he was a sophomore in college. His fastball shows some zip, hitting the mid-90s but his change up will get the swings and misses. Last year he struck out 11.2 hitters per nine innings with the command to throw strikes. He only got two starts in Low A with a 17.36 ERA but the Padres have decided to jump him to High A to begin the 2017 season. The California League can be harsh on pitchers and Cal has struggled in his two starts with a 5.40 ERA.

4. Josh Naylor 1B (Padres) - The Marlins drafted the burly first baseman in the first round. After a prank gone bad when he cut Stone Garrett with a knife the Marlins traded him to the Padres for Andrew Cashner. Josh has light tower power that does not come with a lot of whiffs. His bulky body makes first base or DH the only position he can play and his defense at first is not sterling. He needs to hit if he wants to play. The power has yet to show in games, with 12 last year at Low A and High A. The Padres have him playing in the California League where he is struggling to make contact (13 K’s in 10 games) which has resulted in a .178 average with no balls leaving the yard. The .244 slugging average will not last long.

5. Mike Soroka RHP (Braves) - Mike does not have overpowering stuff but that did not prevent the Braves from taking him in the first round with one of their two first round picks. His fastball sits in the low 90s but his secondary stuff (curve and change) are above average. His command is excellent with his pitches forcing hitters to make soft contact or hitting the ball on the ground. In two starts at AA he has only given up one run, a solo homerun in his second start. The opposition is hitting only .122 against him. The Braves have a lot of talented pitchers in their minor leagues, with most having greater velocity than Soroka, but it is those pitchers who can get outs who will make the rotation, not those pitchers who throw the hardest.

6. Nick Pivetta RHP (Phillies) - The Phillies achieved two objectives with Pivetta. They were able to trade Jonathan Papelbon and they got a pretty good pitcher in return. At 6′5″ Nick has the frame to come down on hitters. With his mid-90s fastball he can be intimidating on the mound. Nick has to show improvement on his secondary pitches if he does not want hitters to sit on his fastball. His command could use some improvement as well. Nick has gotten off to a good start at AAA with two victories in his first two starts, including a complete game seven inning shutout. His ERA shines at 0.69 with the opposition hitting him at a .167 clip.

7. Curtis Taylor RHP (Diamondbacks) - Curtis was a fourth round pick of the Diamondbacks last year. Curtis was a reliever in college his first two years, but pitched as a starter his last year. That is the role the Diamondbacks had for him last year. At 6′6″ his fastball hits the mid-90s when pitching in relief. He can also rely more on his fastball/slider mix, with his third pitches rather ordinary. He has yet to pitch this year, which indicates to myworld that he is still in extended spring training.

8. Andy Yerzy C (Diamondbacks) - Andy was drafted in the second round last year by the Diamondbacks, the first of four Canadians the Diamondbacks drafted. Yerzy is supposed to be a bat first catcher but last year he struggled to hit .216 with a .265 slugging average. His arm is not strong but he has the intangibles you want to see in a catcher. Myworld suspects he is with Curtis in extended spring training catching bullpen sessions for him.

9. Gareth Morgan OF (Mariners) - Gareth strikes out a lot and last year could not stay healthy. He was a second round pick in 2014. At 6′4″ he has the ability to hit for power. If he could cut down on his strikeouts and take a few more walks he could improve upon his career .203 average with 244 whiffs in just 146 games. The arm plays in right and there is some speed that he could fit in center, but if he doesn’t hit there will be no place for him. This year Morgan is hitting .179 with 17 whiffs in 28 at bats. The talent is there when he makes contact but that does not occur with great frequency.

10. Demi Orimoloye OF (Brewers) - Born in Nigeria but moving to Canada as a youth Demi was projected to be a first round pick in 2015. Because of some concerns with his ability to make contact he dropped to the fourth round. Demi could be a 30/30 player with excellent speed and the ability to hit the ball a long way once he makes contact. He also can cover a lot of ground in center field. His biggest challenge is that ability to make contact. This is his first year in full season ball and he is struggling with a .194 average and 11 whiffs in nine games. He has carried two balls over the fence and stolen a base. The Brewers will have to show a lot of patience with him.

Top ten Canadian Prospects 2016

Japan Retains Number One World Ranking

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Despite the United States first place finish in the World Baseball Classic tournament this month Japan has retained the number one ranking thanks to their third place finish. Over the course of the voting the United States has won four tournaments to one for Japan in tournaments both teams have competed in. Where Japan jumps ahead of the United States is their two championships that the United States chose not to enter.

Below is the top 12 teams and their points accumulated in parenthesis.

1. Japan (5699)
2. United States (5378)
3. South Korea (4789)
4. Taiwan (3901)
5. Cuba (3737)
6. Mexico (2961)
7. Venezuela (2804)
8. Australia (2433)
9. Netherlands (2071)
10. Canada (2020)
11. Puerto Rico (1759)
12. Italy 1708

You can see the complete list by going to World rankings

Extra Innings Galore in WBC; United States Advances

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Japan and the Netherlands were the first team to play past the tenth inning to initiate the extra inning rule. Japan pulled off a successful bunt followed by a two run single from Sho Nakata to give Japan an 8-6 lead. The Netherlands chose to have Jurickson Profar swing away and he popped to first. With no runners in scoring position Xander Boegerts grounded out and Kalian Sams popped out to end the game.

The two battled it out like punch drunk boxers with both teams scoring a run in the second and four runs in the third. Jonathan Schoop hit a solo homerun in the second and Wladimir Balentien hit a two run homerun in the third to spice up the Netherlands offense. Sho Nakata continued to stay hot with a three run homerun in the third. He finished the game 3 for 6 with 5 RBIs.

The Netherlands took the game into extra innings on a Jonathan Schoop RBI single in the ninth inning. With runners on second and third and two out and a chance to win the game Curt Smith struck out.

Japan threatened in the tenth, loading the bases with one out. Norichika Aoki grounded into a double play, with many thinking Curt Smith was off the base when he caught the relay throw from Andrelton Simmons.

While the starting pitching was disappointing for both teams the relief pitching was stellar. The Japanese bullpen allowed only the one run in the ninth inning. The Netherlands also limited Japan to one run until the eleventh inning. There were over 44,000 who attended the game.

Dominican Republic 10 Colombia 3

Colombia battled Dominican Republic to a 3-3 tie after 10 innings. The Dominican Republic exploded for seven runs in the eleventh inning with Jean Segura providing the big hit with a bases clearing three run double.

Colombia had an opportunity to win the game in the ninth. After Jorge Alfaro hit a solo shot in the eighth to tie the game at 3-3 Colombia put their first two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth. Donavan Solano grounded out to put runners on first and third with one out. Reynaldo Rodriguez lined a shot to Jose Bautista in left field. Pinch runner Oscar Mercado tagged from third but Bautista threw a strike home to cut off the winning run. Myworld would have liked to have been there to hear the roar from the Dominicans after that play.

Close to 37,000 watched the Dominican Republic advance to the second round. Colombian fans can take satisfaction that their win over Canada automatically qualifies them for the 2021 WBC, or whenever the next WBC is played.

United States 8 Canada 0

The United States advanced to the second round with another opportunity to play the Dominican Republic in their future with their win over Canada. Canada will have to qualify to play in the next WBC after their last place finish. The United States put the game away with seven runs in the first two innings. Nolan Arenado hit a three run homer in the second. Eric Hosmer hit the first of his two doubles in the first to drive in two runs.

Danny Dufy got the start for the United States throwing four shutout innings, allowing just two hits. Ryan Dempster had his second poor start of the WBC failing to get out of the first inning before allowing three walks and two hits in the three run first. Only 22,000 showed up to watch the game between the two North American teams, evidence the WBC is being financed by the party atmosphere of the Dominican Republic.

Puerto Rico 9 Italy 3

Puerto Rico scored all their runs in the first five innings to romp over Italy and advance to the second round undefeated. Italy will have to wait until the results of the Mexico/Venezuela game to determine their fate. Puerto Rico will also get another opportunity to play the Dominican Republic after losing to them in the finals of the 2013 WBC.

Carlos Correa hit a three run homer in the fourth to fuel the offense. Jose Berrios worked five innings to get the win. The only two hits he allowed were solo shots from Drew Butera and John Andreoli. The bullpen of Hiram Burgos and Miguel Mejia shutout the Italians on one hit the remaining four innings.

Israel Rolls Past Cuba; Venezuela Wins Wild Game

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

Israel proved they are a team to contend with after their 4-1 win over Cuba, keeping them undefeated in WBC play. Jason Marquis went 5.2 innings, allowing just one run in taming the Cuban bats with his assortment of breaking pitches. Cuba scored their only run off him when Alfredo Despaigne lined one of his pitches over the centerfield wall in the second inning to give Cuba an early 1-0 lead.

Israel tied the game in the fourth when Ryan Lavarnway doubled into left field. Despaigne took long enough getting to the ball to allow Ike Davis to score from first. Noelvis Entenza would retire the next hitter, but the Lavarnway double was the first hit he had given up in the game. He left after the fourth inning with three walks, the third one costing him a run.

Israel scored two more in the sixth. Walks again hurt the Cubans. A Ty Kelly single and Nate Freiman walk set the stage for Zach Borenstein, who broke the tie with a single to right field, scoring Kelly. Blake Gailen doubled to increase the score to 3-1. The Israelis managed to load the bases but Livan Moinelo got Scott Burcham to fly out to end the inning.

A lead off walk in the eighth led to the fourth Israeli run. Zach Borenstein advanced to third on a Ryan Lavarnway single. Blake Gailen laid down a bunt to score Borenstein.

Cuba did not really mount much of an offensive threat until the eighth inning. They loaded the bases on a single and two walks, Despaigne walking to load the bases. Josh Zeid came on to pitch and retired William Saavedra on a ground out to end the threat. The Cubans were retired in order in the ninth, Josh Zeid picking up the save.

Venezuela 11 Italy 10

It took 10 innings but Venezuela made up for their disaster of a game against the Puerto Ricans. Jose Altuve stroked a one out single in the tenth and Martin Prado drove him in with a double. For Prado it was his fifth hit of the game. Jose Castillo retired the Italians in order in the tenth to cap the win.

It was not easy. The Venezuelans thought they had the game won after scoring two in the ninth to take a 10-8 lead. Salvador Perez hit a two run homer for what appeared to be a victory.

The pesky Italians who scored five runs in the ninth the previous night to beat Mexico again proved formidable. Rob Segedin reached second on a throwing error by Alcides Escobar. He scored after two ground outs but still Venezuela had a one run lead. An Alex Liddi single and walk to Drew Butera put two runners on. Gavin Cecchini singled to score pinch runner Drew Maggi. Butera was not pinch run for and he tried to score on the hit but was thrown out at home. Myworld wonders where the pinch runner was for Butera. The game went to extra innings.

Italy had taken an early 5-0 lead after four innings. Daniel Descalso had driven in three runs with his two hits. Alex Liddo and Brandon Nimmo blasted solo homeruns in the fourth.

Venezuela stormed back, led by the 5 for 5 night from Martin Prado. He drove in three runs. The Venezuelans tacked on eight runs in the fifth through seventh innings. Italy scored one in the seventh and two in the eighth to send it into the ninth tied 8-8. There were 12,187 in attendance enjoying the slugfest.

Colombia 4 Canada 1

Julio Teheran pitched five innings of two hit ball to lead the Colombians to an upset win over the Canadians. Now all they have to do is beat the Dominicans for an opportunity to advance to the second round, or a Canadian win over the United States team. Canada has shown you can’t use the success of a 2011 roster to fill your 2017 roster if those players have taken off a couple years from playing.

The game did not start out well for Teheran. In the first inning a walk and two singles, the last by Freddie Freeman gave the Canadians an early run. Freedie Freeman was then caught stealing second as Tyler O’Neil struck out on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning. Teheran settled down after that, allowing just one hit over the next four innings.

Colombia scored their first run in the third when Donavan Solano drove in his brother Jhonatan with a single. Donavan was thrown out at second trying to advance a base on the throw home. For the Colombians it was the Solano show on offense.

Colombia added another run in the fifth to take the lead. Tito Polo slapped a two out single to center, stole second and scored on another Donavan Solano single. The Solano brothers struck again in the sixth with Jhonatan taking a walk with the bases loaded to drive in the third run. Jhonatan ended his day in the ninth with a leadoff double. Oscar Mercado pinch ran for him and scored on a Tito Polo bunt single after Scott Mathieson threw the ball away.

Canada could not mount any kind of offense against the under rated Colombian pitching staff. Yohan Pino came in to replace Teheran and tossed three innings of one hit shutout relief. Dayan Diaz gave up two back to back singles after striking out the first two hitters, but ended the inning and the game with a strikeout to secure the victory.

Puerto Rico 9 Mexico 4

In two games Mexico has now given up 9 runs in the ninth inning. Puerto Rico scored four in the top of the ninth to turn a close 5-4 game into a 9-4 rout. Javier Baez had the big hit with a three run homer. Francisco Lindor hit two homeruns for Puerto Rico, a two run homer in the first and a solo shot in the seventh that gave Puerto Rico a 5-1 lead. Mexico bounced back scoring three runs in the bottom half to make the game close.

Jorge Lopez got the start and the win for Puerto Rico allowing just one run on two hits in his 4.1 innings of work. A crowd of over 15,000 showed up to watch Mexico get almost eliminated from any shot of advancing to the second round. They have to beat Venezuela and hope Puerto Rico is fired up enough to beat the Italians to create a three way tie for second. Puerto Rico guaranteed themselves an opportunity to advance, but they must still beat Italy to advance as the first seed.

Major leaguers by Country

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

Baseball America broke out the top countries who have players in the major leagues. The top ten is listed below.

1. United States - 5,043 (67.34%)
2. Dominican Republic - 1,117 (14.92%)
3. Venezuela - 628 (8.39%)
4. Puerto Rico - 163 (2.18%)
5. Canada - 92 (1.23%)
6. Mexico - 91 (1.22%)
7. Cuba - 82 (1.09%)
8. Panama - 52 (0.69%)
9. Colombia - 38 (0.51%)
10. Australia - 29 (0.39%)

If you combined Curacao and Aruba, both colonies of the Netherlands and included them with the players from the Netherlands that count would also be 38, putting the Netherlands in tenth place.

You can go to the International section of Baseball America to see the complete list.

Dominican Republic Overwhelms Canada

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Myworld is not too sure if we went to a party while a baseball game was being played in Miami, or if we went to a baseball game and a party erupted. It was a bit wild at Marlins park last night with the Dominican Republic overwhelming Canada 9-2 and at least 20,000 Dominican fans enjoying it. Now we have a sense of what the Series del Caribe must have been like when many of the stars still played in the event.

Getting to the stadium from West Palm Beach was a real challenge. Traffic was stop and go for much of the way as we arrived closer to Miami and parking seemed chaotic. A neighborhood took advantage of the lack of parking choices offered, charging $15 for you to park in their back yard or on their front lawn. Myworld did not get into the game until the second inning. There were also hundreds of Dominican fans arriving late to the ballgame.

Needless to say Marlins Park is a different park. Perhaps we arrived from the wrong side of the stadium but there was a lot of walking before we could find the correct entrance. The security was conducted about 100 yards from the ticket entrance. Once we arrived at the ticket entrance we still had to walk along a long concrete path to actually get to the actual stadium entrance. It seemed endless and by the time we arrived the Dominicans seemed to have the game under control 4-0.

When you compare the teams position by position the only area Canada had an advantage was first base, where you would take Freddie Freeman over Carlos Santana. Otherwise it was Robinson Cano advantage over Pete Orr, Jose Reyes advantage over Jonathan Malo (his last name being bad in Spanish), Manny Machado over Eric Wood at third base and the list goes on. It is no wonder the Dominicans won 9-2.

In the second inning the Dominicans seemed to exploit the open area on the right side of the infield. Pete Orr was playing just a shade to the right of second base and the Dominicans slapped two singles through that hole. We just missed the Wellington Castillo two run homer but we heard the roar as we trudged up the long concrete pathway to get to the entrance to the park.

The Canadians stayed in the game thanks to some poor fielding by the Dominicans, specifically Carlos Santana at first base. In the third inning Jonathan Malo bounced a ball up the middle. Jose Reyes fielded it but his throw was off the base. Carlos Santana tried to make a sweep tag but the ball escaped from his glove and rolled into right field. Malo ended up at second base where he would eventually score on a balk.

In the top of the fifth the Canadians would add one more run to pull to within two. Pete Orr bounced a single up the middle. Manny Machado made a nice play on a Jonathan Malo grounder but failed to turn two when Carlos Santana could not scoop the one bounce throw to first. Dalton Pompey bounced a ball to the left centerfield warning track where Malo was able to turn on the after burners and score his second run of the game. Hansel Robles was able to strike out Justin Morneau and Tyler O’Neil to limit the damage.

In the bottom frame the Dominicans ran themselves out of a potential big inning. Jose Bautista lined a single into centerfield. Carlos Santana drilled a ball over the centerfielder’s head. Bautista was waved home, appeared to be losing gas as he rounded third and Malo rifled a perfect throw home to nail the now chugging Bautista by five feet. Jim Henderson walked Nelson Cruz and gave up a RBI single to left field to Adrian Beltre, departing the game without really retiring a batter. Kevin Chapman retired the next two hitters to limit the damage to 5-2.

Kevin Chapman came on to start the sixth and gave up a leadoff single to Jose Reyes. Reyes stole second but had to hold there after an infield single by Manny Machado on a nice stop by Malo in the hole. A wild pitch advanced them but it did not matter when Jose Bautista drove a pitch from the recently arrived Dustin Molleken deep into the left field bleachers. He did a bit of admiring the shot from home plate. That about iced the game 8-2.

The Dominicans scored their last run in the seventh. The inning should have ended with runners on first and third with one out and Jose Reyes lined out to second. Castillo had wandered too far off second and the throw from Orr to first went past Freeman and into the Canadian dugout for an error to allow the runner on third to score.

In the ninth Fernando Rodney came on to start the inning and struck out the first two hitters he faced. He was replaced on the mound but before departing he did his patented bow and arrow pose at least twice before heading to the dugout, to the delight of the Dominicans in the crowd. Jeurys Familia struck out pinch hitter Josh Naylor to end the game.

Game Notes: You have to love the enthusiasm of the Dominicans at the game. The attendance was announced at 27,388. Over 20,000 had to be Dominicans with about 100 Canadians. The rest were neutral observers like me enjoying the party atmosphere put on by the Dominicans…The Dominican women dressed to the game as if this was an Oscar ceremony. There were no fashionable gowns, but some of the jeans looked like they were painted on and the cleavage was showing. Sometimes it was very hard for myworld to focus on the game…Only the top rows seemed not filled at the stadium. Hopefully myworld will arrive a little earlier on Saturday to explore the stadium…What we did notice was the food prices at the concessions seemed extremely expensive, but the wait lines were at least one inning, so the people were buying at the prices that were being offered.

Baseball World Cup Under 18 Pools Determined

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

The Baseball World Cup Under 18 tournament will be held in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada from September 1-10. Nine of the top ten ranked countries will be participating in the event, with only Venezuela the lone top ten country not participating.

There will be two groups of six, who will play a round robin. The top three finishers will then advance to the second round, where each of the three teams will carry their record with them to the new pool and play the three teams advancing from the other pool. The two teams with the best record will play for the gold medal while the third and fourth best record will battle for the bronze.

Group A

Canada (9), South Korea (3), Taiwan (4), Australia (10), Italy (11), Nicaragua (16)

Group B

United States (2), Japan (1), Cuba (5), Mexico (6), Netherlands (9), South Africa (28)

The United States has won this event the last three years. The All tournament team from the last Under 18 tournament included first round draft pick Josh Naylor from Canada and the recently defected potential superstar from Cuba Luis Robert. Blake Retherford, the first round pick of the Yankees made the team as an outfielder. There was a Cuban player named Jose Garcia who made it as a second baseman, but do not know if that was Jose Adolis Garcia, the brother of Adonis who recently defected.

Luis Robert hit .406 with two homeruns and 11 RBIs with three doubles, three triples and four stolen bases at the event.

Canada 2017 WBC Preview

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Overview - Canada has never advanced past the first round in the WBC. Their best opportunity was the first WBC in 2006 when they finished in a three way tie for second at 2-1 but were eliminated in a tie breaker formulae with the United States and Mexico advancing. In 2009 they hosted a WBC event in Toronto and in a double elimination format lost to the United States and were upset by Italy. In 2013 the tournament went back to a pool format and Canada finished 1-2, again being upset by Italy and losing to the United States. The only team they beat was Mexico. For 2017 Canada just wants to advance past the first round.

The year 2011 was perhaps the best international year performance wise for Canada in baseball. They finished third in the World Cub ahead of the United States. In 2009 they also finished third but they finished behind the United States and Cuba. The two third place finishes were the only time Canada has ever medaled in World Cup history. A couple weeks later they also went out and won the Pan Am games finishing ahead of the United States and Cuba. Canada was also the winner of the Pan Am games in 2015.

Canada looked poised to do well in the Premier 12 in 2015, which is the current iteration of the World Cup, finishing pool play undefeated at 5-0. Their hopes of a medal finish were dashed by Mexico, who beat them in the first game of a double elimination tournament to get to the medal round. Mexico later lost to the United States and then lost to Japan in the bronze medal game.

For 2017 Canada will not have to deal with their two nemesis Italy and Mexico. They will have to deal with the United States and the defending WBC champion Dominican Republic to make it to the second round. Colombia is the third team in their pool.

Current World Ranking - Canada is currently ranked 8th in the international baseball rankings. Only the United States at number two is ahead of them. The Dominican Republic is ranked 13th but they do not normally do well in international tournaments because they lack major league quality when those tournaments are played. For the WBC they are the defending champions and they will be bringing their best. Colombia is becoming a bit of a baseball hot bed and are ranked 19th. They were the upset winner in a qualifying game to make their first appearance in a WBC tournament.

Roster

Pitchers - Andrew Albers, John Axford, Kevin Chapman, Shane Dawson, Ryan Dempster, Eric Gagne, Jim Henderson, Chris Leroux, Adam Loewen, Scott Mathieson, Dustin Molleken, Nick Pivetta, Scott Richmond, Rowen Wick

Catchers - Kellin Deglan, George Kottaras

Infielders - Freddie Freeman, Jonathan Malo, Justin Morneau, Josh Naylor, Pete Orr, Daniel Pinero, Jamie Romak, Eric Wood

Outfielders - Michael Crousse, Tyler O’Neil, Dalton Pompey, Rene Tosoni

Strengths - They do not have Joey Votto but he won’t be really missed. They will have a collection of Freddie Freeman, Justin Morneau and Josh Naylor who can rotate around the first base and DH spot. Naylor as the youngster of the group may not see a lot of time but he has some impressive pop. The bullpen could be interesting, especially who they use as their closer. Scott Mathieson has had success in Japan but mainly as a set up guy. Eric Gagne was once a closer but he has been out of action for a couple years, getting most of his pitching opportunities as the coach of the French national team. Jim Henderson and John Axford have had opportunities as closers in the major leagues but with little success. Overall, this could be a good group of relievers to rely on to close out the latter innings.

Weaknesses - Myworld does not see a pitcher on the roster who I would call an ace. Not a lot of major league success here, which is important in this pool with a roster of major league All Star bats on at least two rosters. Nick Pivetta is a promising prospect in the minor leagues, but that won’t cut it here. Canada was hoping for approval for Russell Martin to play the catching position, but since he is not listed on the roster that did not happen. They will go with Kellin Deglan, whose claim to fame is the homerun record in the Australian Baseball League and George Kottaras who is mainly a backup. Other than first base the infield is weak all around with no established major league veterans. Pete Orr could fit at second base but he has been absent from the major leagues for a couple years now. The outfield is young and has some promise. Tyler O’Neil could win the starting outfield spot for the Seattle Mariners by mid-season and Dalton Pompey hopes for another opportunity from the Blue Jays to get a starting outfield role. They both should win two of the outfield spots for Canada. Michael Crousse was once a top prospect and did play for the 2011 World Cup team that won the bronze medal, but his days of playing in the major leagues has passed.

Prospects to Watch - The two best prospects are probably Josh Naylor, who may have more power than any minor league hitter except Joey Gallo. There will not be a lot of playing time for him since he has Freeman and Morneau ahead of him. Tyler O’Neil will get a starting outfield nod. He lacks the power of Naylor but has a better hitting tool and is smoother on defense. Nick Pivetta is the top pitching prospect on this team but he does not have overpowering stuff. He is better suited to the back end of the rotation.

Expected Finish - It will be a tough pool to advance out of with the defending champions of the WBC and the number two ranked team in the world in the pool. Canada will again fail to advance, finishing third.

Calendar of International Events for 2017

Monday, December 19th, 2016

Below is the calendar of events for baseball in many different geographical areas. If myworld had the time we would try to hit all of them. We’ll be at a few.

February 1-7 - Series del Caribe in Culican, Sinoaloa,Mexico - home of the Tomateros

March 6-10 - World Baseball Classic, Pool A Seoul, Korea

March 7-11 - World Baseball Classic, Pool B, Tokyo Japan

March 9-13 - World Baseball Classic Pool C, Miami, Florida, United States

March 9-13 - World Baseball Classic, Pool D, Jalisco, Mexico

March 12-16 - World Baseball Classic, Pool E, Tokyo, Japan

March 14-19 - World Baseball Classic, Pool F, San Diego, California, United States

March 20-22 - World Baseball Classic Finals, Los Angeles, ,California, United States

March - Florida for Spring Training, Palm, Florida, New Home of the Astros and Nationals

April 3 - Washington D.C. opening day for game versus the NL East Miami Marlins

June 16-28 - NCAA College World Series, Omaha, Nebraska

July 1- 9 - World Port Tournament, Rotterdam, Netherlands

July 2-7 - Cuba versus United States Series, Cary, Durham and Charlotte,, North Carolina

July 28 - August 6 - IV U-12 Baseball World Cup, Tainan, Taiwan

August 17-27 - Little League World Series, Williamsport, Pennsylvania

September 1 - 10 - Under 18 Baseball World Cup, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

30 Players Confirm for WBC

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Final rosters are not due until February with games beginning in March, but as a fan before you buy those tickets you want some assurances you will be seeing a quality product out on the field. These are some of the names of players who the WBC state have committed to participating in the WBC. Japan, Korea and Cuba already have 30 to 50 man rosters that they can choose from that are not affiliated with major league baseball.

United States - Andrew McCutchen, Max Scherzer, Nolan Arenado, Chris Archer, Adam Jones, Buster Posey
Venezuela - Miguel Cabrera, Jose Altuve, Carlos Gonzalez, Felix Hernandez, Salvador Perez
Puerto Rico - Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Correa, Yadier Molina
Dominican Republic - Manny Machado, Dellin Betances, Adrian Beltre, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz
Mexico - Roberto Osuna, Adrian Gonzalez, Oliver Perez
Netherlands - Xander Bogaerts, Jonathan Schoop, Andrelton Simmons
Canada - Russell Martin
Colombia - Jose Quintana, Julio Teheran

Make a 25 man roster from this 30 and you would have a championship team. Add in the names of the Japanese, Taiwan and Korean allstars such as Shohei Otani (perhaps the best player in baseball now), Shin-Soo Choo and Hyun Soo Kim and you should have some competitive baseball. Japan is the number one rated team in baseball with Korea rated number three.

The down side is the Cuban talent will be watered down with most of their players in the United States not eligible to play on the Cuban team. Yasiel Puig is talking about playing for Mexico since that is the country Puig chose as residency once he left Cuba.