Predicting Joe Torre's Entire USA Roster for the 2013 World Baseball Classic

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2012

Predicting Joe Torre's Entire USA Roster for the 2013 World Baseball Classic

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    The announcement was made yesterday that Joe Torre would manage the United States in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

    He is by far the biggest name to hold the position, as he follows Buck Martinez (2006) and Davey Johnson (2009) in holding the post.

    Torre is a logical choice, as he is now working in the MLB front office and will not be tied down with getting a team prepared during spring training when the Classic takes place.

    He has plenty of experience managing All-Star games, and it seems like he has as good a chance as anyone of bringing a group of All-Star caliber players together as a team to make a run at winning the tournament this time around.

    While it is still a ways off, here is a look at what the United States roster of 28 players could look like with Torre at the helm.

CF Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    One of the most exciting all-around players in the game today, McCutchen would provide some much-needed speed to a roster that will likely be made up of an assortment of sluggers.

    His superior defense would also give the team flexibility in terms of who plays where in the outfield on any given day.

2B Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox

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    With Chase Utley no longer the player he once was, and Robinson Cano a native of the Dominican Republic, Pedroia becomes the choice as the premier second baseman for this team.

    He has as complete a game as anyone at the position; he is a perennial 20-20 threat, a .300 hitter and a two-time Gold Glove winner on top of that.

RF Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    When healthy, which he currently is not, Kemp is arguably the most dangerous player in the game today and a legitimate contender for a 40-40 season and more.

    The Dodgers may not like their eight-year, $160 million investment playing in an exhibition series, but unless he is forbidden from doing so, expect him to anchor the U.S. lineup.

LF Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers

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    Hamilton currently leads the AL with 22 home runs and 62 RBI to go along with a .330 average. He has been phenomenal all season for the Rangers.

    There is no better player to represent his country, and while his impending free agency could get in the way of things, he would be an obvious choice if he does end up interested in participating.

DH Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers

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    His reputation took a big hit this offseason when he tested positive for PEDs, and while it was inevitably overturned (albeit under shady circumstances), he has still not entirely won back the MLB world.

    Nonetheless, he remains a shoe-in to make the team as he continues to be one of the game's most complete offensive players. He is off to a terrific .309 BA, 16 HR, 42 RBI, 11 SB start again this season.

1B Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers

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    First base is a deep position, and seeing as it is a safe bet that one of the two players who participated in the last WBC get the position (Kevin Youkilis and Adam Dunn), Fielder seems like the best choice.

    Seeing him hit after Ryan Braun again will no doubt make more than a few Brewers fans long for the good ole' days and would be a ridiculous 5-6 in the order.

3B Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays

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    Last time around, Longoria was just 23 years old with two big league seasons under his belt, but he still managed to make the roster alongside Chipper Jones and David Wright at the position.

    Since then, he has emerged as the clear-cut choice for best third baseman, provided he is healthy. He should have no problem locking up the starting third base job this time around.

SS Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies

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    With an average line of .304 BA, 30 HR, 97 RBI over the past three seasons, Tulowitzki is in a league of his own at the shortstop position. He is one of the game's true superstars.

    Health is a constant issue, however, and that could be reason enough for him to decline to participate. If he does throw his hat in the ring though, he'll undoubtedly be the starting shortstop.

C Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants

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    Posey burst onto the scene to lead the Giants to the World Series in 2010, but he missed most of last season with an injury leading to some discussion of him moving out from behind the plate.

    For the time being though, he is a catcher, and while veterans like Joe Mauer and Brian McCann could give him a run, I think he is the choice for starting catcher.

Bench

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    C Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles

    A switch-hitter, Wieters would give the team some options as far as playing matchups. I expect him to be the backup over McCann and Mauer, as the veteran catchers will likely pass on the Classic.

     

    2B Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers

    Short on speed, Kinsler gives the team plenty of that "to go" along with some terrific power as he has twice been a 30-30 player.

     

    SS Derek Jeter, New York Yankees

    Jeter is one of just three player to play in each of the first two Classics (Jake Peavy and Chipper Jones), and if he wants on the team, expect Torre to oblige him. A true ambassador to the game, he belongs on the roster even if he isn't starting.

     

    UT Michael Young, Texas Rangers

    Young swings a great bat and can play all four infield positions, making him that much more valuable. Mark DeRosa made the roster last time around, and Young could serve a similar utility role.

     

    OF Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

    Without a true lead-off hitter, Trout could play his way into the starting lineup over McCutchen if he makes the team. He's one of the game's future superstars, and this would just be another step along the way for him.

     

    OF Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

    An argument can be made that Harper is the biggest star in the game right now,, and that even without all of the hype, he would make the team on talent alone over guys like Shane Victorino and Matt Holliday.

Starting Rotation

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    RHP Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

    The best pitcher in the game today, Verlander would front any staff you could assemble, and this collection of All-Stars is no different.

     

    LHP Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

    Considering starting pitchers are put on a pitch limit, Kershaw may in fact be the most dangerous pitcher out there. Guys like Verlander and Halladay are horses, but for five innings, Kershaw may have the best stuff out there.

     

    RHP Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants

    Cain has emerged from the shadow of Tim Lincecum and is unquestionably one of the best pitchers in the game today and worthy of a rotation spot.

     

    LHP Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies

    The rotation would benefit from having a second left-hander, and Lee is as close a second as there is to Kershaw. A fierce competitor who has stepped his game up on the big stage in the past, he'd be a welcome addition.

     

    RHP Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels

    Lots of choice for the fifth spot as it's tough to pick just five, but Weaver is as good an option as any. He is the definition of a strikeout pitcher. This spot would belong to Stephen Strasburg if the Nationals weren't so careful with him, and I can't see them letting him participate.

Bullpen

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    LHP Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox

    LHP Sean Marshall, Cincinnati Reds

    Sale has some of the most electric stuff in baseball, and while I don't think he earns a rotation spot, he won't be left off the team. Marshall is capable of pitching to both right and left-handed batters with equal efficiency, so he profiles as more than just a lefty specialist. 

     

    RHP Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves

    RHP Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia Phillies 

    RHP Tyler Clippard, Washington Nationals

    RHP Mike Adams, Texas Rangers

    RHP Jim Johnson, Baltimore Orioles

    RHP Drew Storen, Washington Nationals

    There are a bevy of right-handed relievers to choose from for these spots, but I think these six guys are the best of the bunch There is a good mix of closers and setup guys, and this is a group that could significantly shorten games.

Complete Roster

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    Pitchers

    RHP Mike Adams, TEX
    RHP Matt Cain, SF
    RHP Tyler Clippard, WAS
    RHP Jim Johnson, BAL
    LHP Clayton Kershaw
    RHP Craig Kimbrel, ATL
    LHP Cliff Lee, PHI
    LHP Sean Marshall, CIN
    RHP Jonathan Papelbon, PHI
    LHP Chris Sale, CWS 
    RHP Drew Storen, WAS
    RHP Justin Verlander, DET 
    RHP Jered Weaver, LAA 

     

    Catchers

    C Buster Posey, SF
    C Matt Wieters, BAL

     

    Infielders

    1B Prince Fielder, DET
    SS Derek Jeter, NYY
    2B Ian Kinsler, TEX
    3B Evan Longoria, TB
    2B Dustin Pedroia, BOS
    SS Troy Tulowitzki, COL
    UT Michael Young, TEX

     

    Outfielders

    LF Ryan Braun, MIL
    LF Josh Hamilton, TEX
    CF Bryce Harper, WAS
    CF Matt Kemp, LAD
    CF Andrew McCutchen, PIT
    CF Mike Trout, LAA