The 27-man provisional roster that will represent the United States at this year’s World Baseball Classic was released early Thursday morning and, to the surprise of some, the roster is filled with a collection of talented players but not entirely made up of household names. The group of players is certainly a solid one, however, despite some obvious omissions from across the Major League landscape.
John Manuel of Baseball America happens to think that the U.S. team should be considered among the favorites in this year’s tournament, despite the numerous star-caliber players who will not be participating. Each of the first two WBCs has been won by Japan, in part thanks to superior pitching performances by Daisuke Matsuzaka and Yu Darvish (neither of whom will be participating in this year’s event). The U.S. hasn’t fared very well in either of the first two events, but this year could be different if things fall together well.
The U.S. squad will be led and managed by Joe Torre, who’ll have the enviable task of utilizing a roster more stacked than the Yankee teams he led to multiple World Series victories. Greg Maddux is reportedly going to serve as Torre’s pitching coach.
There is one more addition that will need to be made to this group before February 20th. The team’s first game is scheduled for March 8th.
Players on this year’s roster include:
Pitchers: Jeremy Affeldt (Giants), Heath Bell (Diamondbacks), Mitchell Boggs (Cardinals), Steve Cishek (Marlins), Tim Collins (Royals), R.A. Dickey (Blue Jays), Luke Gregerson (Padres), Derek Holland (Rangers), Craig Kimbrel (Braves), Kris Medlen (Braves), Chris Perez (Indians), Glen Perkins (Twins), Vinnie Pestano (Indians), Ryan Vogelsong (Giants)