Breakfast with the Americans is BACK, but this time for the World Baseball Classic. Aiming to defend their title, Team USA has the talent to go back-to-back. Their pool of games will include Great Britain, Mexico, Canada and Colombia (Pool C) before the playoff begins.
Here's a quick breakdown of what the team looks likes, what the rest of the competition is shaping up to be, and the expectations heading into the tournament.
What Does The Roster Look Like?
Now I understand there are a lot of players that should be on this roster, but opted to focus on their MLB careers and the upcoming season. Between injury concern and contracts, it makes sense. On the contrary, this is a high honor that shouldn't be taken lightly. This is the opportunity to represent your country at the highest level.
That's neither here nor there. Manager Mark DeRosa has plenty of talent to make a run. Mike Trout, JT Realmuto, Pete Alonso, Trea Turner, Nolan Arenado, Mookie Betts, Team USA is a very talented and very loaded roster. The offense and defense should have no problem succeeding, but the pitching staff is a question mark.
The roation will have a combination of guys like Lance Lynn, Adam Wainwright, and Miles Mikolas. It's not great, but it's serviceable. The bullpen has some better names, with Adam Ottavino, Ryan Pressly, and Devin Williams will hold down the fort on the back end.
Photo via Wikipedia
In my eyes, this Team USA roster is top five. You could make the argument that they are in the top three, maybe even the second best team in the tournament? They currently have the second best odds to win the WBC at +250 (odds via DraftKings)
Puerto Rico, led by manager Yadier Molina (which is awesome), has vast talent on the team. Their middle infield is Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez. They have some spark plugs in Kike Hernandez and Eddie Rosario. Elite closer Edwin Diaz (and his brother Alexis). They also have WBC Championship MVP who turn-coated to PR in Marcus Stroman.
Venezuela has a boat load of MLB talent. Jose Altuve, Ronald Acuna, Jose Abreu, Gleyber Torres, Luis Arraez, and Salvador Perez. Not to mention, Miguel Cabrera will be present on the squad too.
Japan is of course led by phenom Shohei Ohtani, and Yu Darvish will anchor the pitching staff. Alongside that duo, you have Yoshinobu Yamamoto (1.68 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 205 strikeouts in 193 NPB innings last season) and Roki Sasaki (2.02 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 173 strikeouts in 129 1/3 innings).
The team to beat is obviously the Dominican Republic. This is an All-Star, World Series, wet dream roster right here. NL CY Young Winner, Sandy Alcantara and Astros Ace Cristian Javier, lead the rotation. Then you have Rookie of the Year, Julio Rodriguez. Padre super-stars Juan Soto and Manny Machado. Young stars in Rafael Devers, Wander Franco, and Jeremy Pena. Plus formidable vets in Willy Adames, Teoscar Hernandez, and Ketel Marte. This team is LOADED.
March 11: United States vs. Great Britain, 9 p.m. ET, Fox
March 12: United States vs. Mexico, 10 p.m. ET, FS1
March 13: United States vs. Canada, 10 p.m. ET, FS1
March 15: Colombia vs. United States, 10 p.m. ET, FS1
March 17-18: Quarterfinals
March 19-20: Semifinals
March 21: Championship game
In the last WBC back in 2017, Team USA did the unthinkable and defeated the juggernaut Puerto Rico (who won all seven games played prior) in an 8-0 routing in the championship game. Ian Kinsler hit a two run homer. RBI's came from Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, and Andrew McCutchen. Marcus Stroman didn't allow a hit for six innings. It was a masterclass U-S-of-A performance for this team to claim the gold.
So it's not impossible, but is it probable?
Depending on how the players mesh chemistry wise, as well as how they adjust to post-spring training travel, Team USA should have no problem cruising through their pool. It seems that it should be eyeing for the finals against the DR.
House Enterprise will be here giving you recaps and news on all things Team USA this spring.
ROLL TEAM USA!