WBC Prediction - Taiwan Group

It will be a three team battle in Taiwan between Korea, Taiwan and Netherlands.  Australia is another talented team, but that talent falls a little short when compared to the other three teams.

Netherlands is the defending World Cup Champs, but the Korean team they played in Panama did not have any representatives from the KBO.  The Netherlands team is also more talented than the team that won the World Cup in Panama, with more talented major leaguers and ex-major leaguers and now current NPB players on their roster.

The Netherlands starting pitching will be relying more on Dutch mainlanders than major leaguers to shut down the opposition.  Don’t well them short.  They recently shut down Cuba 5-0, one of the better offenses in the WBC, getting five shutout innings from Diegomar Markwell.  Even though the Cuban lineup was without Alfredo Despaigne the rest of the big bats were there.  Rob Cordemans has an excellent changeup to neutralize offenses.  He has a bit of a vendatta to complete against Taiwan after being released after only half a season in the CPBL.

This Netherlands team should score more runs than the 2009 team with big bats in the outfield in Roger Bernadina and Wladimir Balentien, who led the NPB in homeruns last year.  Their infield is filled with promising prospects in Xander Bogaerts and Jonathan Schoop.  Jurickson Profar chose to instead stay with the Rangers in the spring, but the Netherlands still have Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons to play the position.  The one position the Netherlands may see as their achilles heel is catching.

Korea has lost their top three starters, one to the major leagues and two to injuries.  Hyun-jin Ryu decided to stay with his new team the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Two of their other top pitchers Kwang-hyun Kim and Jung-Keun Bong were not available because of injuries.  They also will not have the big bat of Shin-Soo Choo to supplement a powerful offense.  That is four critical players missing from a roster who could make a significant impact.

It will be a veteran team with the big bats of Dae-ho Lee, Seung-yeop Lee and Tae-kyun Kim.  The problem with the three is for all of them their best position is first base.  At one point Lee and Kim played third base but both would hurt the team defensively if moved there now.

Most expect the host Taiwan team to make the final two.  They seem to be relying a lot on ex-major leaguers Chien-ming Wang and Hong-chih Kuo, but both have not pitched effectively in awhile.  That could prove disasterous in a short series if they continue to be ineffective.

The key game will be the opener when Korea takes on Netherlands.  The winner of that game may end up winning the pool.  Myworld predicts Netherlands will win the Tawian pool with Korea in second.  The home crowd will not be able to push Taiwan into the second round.  Australia will finish in fourth, competetive, but not good enough to win a game.  In the Asian Series the Australian teams still get dominated by the best teams of Korea and Taiwan.

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