Top Ten World Baseball Classic Position Battles

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The World Baseball Classic starts tomorrow and one of the most interesting thing to look at is which perennial all star is sitting on the bench behind another perennial all star. So let's take a look at some of the major positional battles in the tournament.

10. Venzualan 3rd Baseman, Carlos Guillen vs. Melvin Mora: This comes in last of the ten mostly because Guillen likely will just wind up playing 1st base or shortstop instead.

9. Puerto Rican Ace, Ian Snell vs. Jonathan Sanchez vs. Javier Vazquez: This is probably a lock for Javy Vazquez, but Snell and Sanchez might be contemplated for a brief second.

8. Dominican Closer, Damaso Marte vs. Rafael Perez vs. Jose Arredondo vs. Juan Cruz: Not exactly an abundance of closing experience on the DR roster. Arredondo probably has the best talent, but they likely go with Cruz or Marte because they are a more veteran presence.

7. American Closer, JJ Putz vs. Jonathan Broxton vs. Heath Bell vs. Joel Hanrahan: America's closer would have been locked into Joe Nathan if he was still on the roster. Now we have 4 options, the one with the most closing experience is no longer a closer. The other 3 are locked into their teams roll for 2009. I bet they go to Putz.

6. Dominican Ace, Johnny Cueto vs. Edinson Volquez vs. Ubaldo Jimenez vs Pedro Martinez: 3 youngsters who are emerging and one of the greatest of all time way past his prime. Going with Pedro would be a mistake, but I wouldn't be surprised if they made that mistake. I'd give a very slight lean to Volquez over Jimenez.

5. American 3rd Baseman, Larry Jones vs. David Wright: David Wright is obviously the man here, but Larry when in the lineup is still fantastic. I'd be surprised if they didn't find some way to get Larry routinely involved.

4. American Ace, Roy Oswalt vs. Jake Peavy: Two squad aces coming of so-so by their standards seasons. This is a complete toss up to me. Peavy probably has better stuff than Oswalt right now, but Roy always gets it done. Give me a coin and then I'll decide.

3. Japanese Ace, Yu Darvish vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka: Matsuzaka is the player everyone in America knows. Darvish is the player everyone in America will know. I'm going with Darvish, 6-5 with heat and dominant stuff over the 130 pitches in 5 innings Matsuzaka.

2. American Shortstop, Derek Jeter vs. Jimmy Rollins: The Captain vs. the captain of the World Series Champs. Rollins is the better player at this part of their careers but my lean goes with Jeter. I think Jeter likely bats second behind Pedroia with the job of getting on base in front of Wright, Braun, etc.

1. Dominican Shortstop, Jose Reyes vs. Hanley Ramirez: By far the one position in the World Baseball Classic with the best talent. Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez are both top ten talents in MLB today and one of them is likely to ride the pine or shoot over to 2nd base and benching Robinson Cano. Jose Reyes is a pure speed leadoff man while Hanley gives a little bit of everything. I'd go with Hanley thanks mostly to the superior OBP and forego the added speed Reyes gives you.

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