WBC Qualifying Rosters

You can get the rosters for the qualifying matches in Taiwan and Panama here: http://web.worldbaseballclassic.com/wbc/2013/teams/index.jsp?team=phi&team_id=894

Some of the players to watch:

Philippines

They have some pitchers on the smallish side if their height is accurate.  Three pitchers stand between 5′4″ and 5′6″.  Only three pitchers stand six feet or over and one of those is ex-major leaguer Geno Espinelli, who pitched in 15 games for the San Francisco Giants.  No other players stand out.

Thailand

They have a pitcher who stands 5′3″.  The highlight for this team is Johnny Damon, who starred with the Yankees and Red Sox for a number of years.  At 6′2″ he is the tallest player among the Thais.  He should have some fun teaching the Thais the right way to play the game.

Taiwan

They will be the overwhelming favorites to win this division with a number of minor league players and veterans who played in the CPBL.  They had a three game series with the Cubans in which they won the first game 2-1 but lost the next two.  Myworld will provide more details on those games tomorrow.

New Zealand

A bit of a surpise selection here.  Last year they weren’t even ranked by the IBAF as one of the top countries in baseball.  They have a large youth following with a huge uptick in little league participation.  They have some height on this team.  You can read more about what I say about them here: http://myworldofbaseball.com/wordpress/?cat=71

Panama

They are hosting the other WBC qualifier.  Manuel Corpas has some major league experience.  Last year he was recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he pitched some in the majors in 2012 for the Cubs.  Ramiro Mendoza used to be a type flight reliever and is coming out of retirement.  Pablo Espino was their best pitcher in the World Cup a couple years ago and his slow stuff was quite effective against World Cup hitters.  Carlos Ruiz will provide a big bat.  It will be interesting to see how many games he actually catches.  Other solid players include Carlos Lee and Ruben Tejeda and the cousin of Mariano Rivera, Ruben Rivera, who was blackballed from the major leagues after stealing a Derek Jeter glove.  The only foul ball myworld has ever caught was hit by Jose Macias.  He has played in both Japan and the major leagues.

Nicaragua

Erasmo Ramirez and J.C. Ramirez should be their two aces, since among the pitchers they have the most major or minor league experience.  Everth Cabrera is a smooth fielding shortstop short on the bat.  Cheslor Cuthbert is a top prospect in the Royals system who should be playing third base.  Having Dennis Martinez as a coach does not hurt.

Colombia

Some of their better minor league pitchers decided to sit this series out, or their major league teams did not want them to play.  Edgar Renteria is their hero.  It will be interesting to see if he plays shortstop.  He has been a hero in two World Series, one with the Giants and another with the Marlins.  The Onion Jhonatan Solano should see most of the catching time.  His brother Donavan Solano had a good year for the Marlins last year in his rookie season.

Brazil

Andre Rienzo got a slow start to his minor league season in 2012, but made a nice recovery.  He should be the ace and could be the first pitcher from Brazil to make the major leagues in 2013 with the White Sox.  Yan Gomes can play a number of positions, but is primarily a catcher.  Last year he became the first Brazillian to play in the major leagues.  Paulo Orlando is an outfielder who everyone thought would be the first, but his career has been slowed.

The games begin tomorrow.

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