World Baseball Classic Rosters are Out and They are Amazing

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World Baseball Classic Rosters are Out and They are Amazing

Baseball Is Fun

The 2017 World Baseball Classic might feature the most talented group of players from top-to-bottom in the history of the tournament.

There is no clear cut favorite and several teams have legit title chances – and they’ll have fun doing it.

Let’s meet our participants.

If any team is in position to take down the reigning WBC champs, it’s a United States crew that is loaded with stars in the lineup and on the mound. What doesn’t Team USA have? Giancarlo Stanton, Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt have the long ball covered. Chris Archer, Marcus Stroman and Danny Duffy anchor a pitching staff full of flame throwers. Alex Bregman, Michael Fulmer and Mychal Givens provide youthful enthusiasm, while Daniel Murphy, Andrew McCutchen, Jonathan Lucroy, and Matt Carpenter represent veteran leadership.

Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Eric Hosmer bring World Series championship experience to the table.

The defending champs have a roster worthy of bringing home the crown again. There will be no shortage of power in a lineup that features Robinson Cano, Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz, Manny Machado and Carlos Santana – among others. The pitching staff is as fun as it gets with the always-entertaining theatrics of Bartolo Colon, Johnny Cueto, Carlos Martinez, and Fernando Rodney.

If the Dominican Republic doesn’t win, it will at least be the most fun team on the field.

Looking to cement a WBC Dynasty with its third title in four classics, Japan is stocked with a championship-caliber roster. Unfortunately, Shohei Otani will not be available to pitch or hit because of an ankle injury.

Oh Canada, your team might be better off hopping in a time machine, as this WBC presents another shot for aging former stars such as 2003 NL Cy Young winner Eric Gagne, 2006 AL MVP Justin Morneau, and two-time All-Star Ryan Dempster. Freddie Freeman is the underrated star of Canada’s group, but he isn’t the story everyone will be talking about (not unlike his excellent 2016 season).

The Puerto Rican team is a darkhorse in this WBC, and if it takes the championship in 2016, it will likely be because of that star-studded infield with the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year (Carlos Correa), runner-up Francisco Lindor, and defensive Swiss Army Knife Javier Baez. Hard-throwing right-handers Jose Berrios and Edwin Diaz shouldn’t be overlooked by hitters who could be easily overmatched by 100-mph heat early in the year.

You can’t count out a team with an offense headlined by perennial MVP candidates like Miguel Cabrera and Jose Altuve, and a pitching staff headlined by Felix Hernandez with closers Francisco Rodriguez, Jeanmar Gomez and Hector Rondon lurking in the late innings.

Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli leads a mix of role players like Daniel Descalso, Rob Segedin, and John Andreoli along with Mets prospect Brandon Nimmo. Will we see a battery of Cervelli and Drew Butera – a catcher with four strikeouts in four innings of work?

Don’t sleep on Mexico, which features All-Star Gold Glove first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, power-hitting Khris Davis and young phenom pitcher Julio Urias. The Mexican team can pull a shocker or two if everything lines up.

If Colombia was a Major League team, pundits would say “this the kind of team you don’t want to run into in a short series” because Jose Quintana and Julio Teheran headline the rotation.

The Cuban team has a Cespedes! No, it’s not Yoenis, but his younger brother. So, you know this team will be fun to watch.

Liam Hendriks, Peter Moylan and Ryan Rowland-Smith are the Major Leaguers tasked with turning Australia into a WBC title contender.

Xander Bogaerts, Didi Gregorious, Andrelton Simmons and Jonathan Schoop on the same infield? With Kenley Jansen at the back of the bullpen? This team has legit sleeper status, especially if Jurickson Profar can ever live up to his prospect hype.

Former Yankees right-hander Chien-Ming Wang is the standout name for a Chinese Taipei roster that could pull a surprise or two at the tournament.

The Korean Baseball Organization always puts on a top-notch show, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see Team Korea bring the fun and the funk en route to some wins.

The Chinese baseball team isn’t littered with Major League talent, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be dangerous. Let’s see how China embraces the underdog status.

There are a handful of names here with Major League experience. Some even have postseason experience. Team Isreal definitely has darkhorse status entering the tournament. But who are you looking forward to seeing this spring?

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.