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Picking MLB's All-World Baseball Classic Team for 2013

Robert KnapelCorrespondent IJanuary 30, 2013

Picking MLB's All-World Baseball Classic Team for 2013

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    When the 2013 World Baseball Classic begins in March, some of the game's top talent will be on display as they represent their home countries.

    A number of All-Stars are playing in the tournament, and an outstanding team could be put together with these elite players.

    Some positions are deeper than others in this tournament, and some great players will miss out on being selected for the All-World Baseball Classic team.

Catcher: Yadier Molina

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    Not only does Yadier Molina do a great job of calling games behind the plate, but his offensive production has also increased significantly over the past few seasons.

    Molina is one of the top catchers in the game right now, and he is the type of leader every team looks for. The St. Louis Cardinals catcher finished fourth in the NL MVP voting last season and is an elite talent.

First Base: Edwin Encarnacion

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    Even though he does not have a long track record of playing at an elite level, Edwin Encarnacion earns the spot as the first baseman on the All-WBC team based on his 2012 performance.

    Encarnacion slugged 42 home runs and had 110 RBI during the 2012 season, both good enough to place him in the top five in the American League. That type of production would fit in great in the middle of the All-WBC team's lineup.

Second Base: Robinson Cano

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    Few second baseman around the league have the power that Robinson Cano possesses. Combine that with his ability to hit for a good average and to play solid defense, and it is no surprise that Cano is one of the game's best second basemen.

    Cano is an easy selection for this spot. While Brandon Phillips is playing on the United States team, he is not in the same category as Cano.

Shortstop: Jose Reyes

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    Every team needs a table setter, and Jose Reyes is that player for the All-WBC team. His game-changing speed allows him to take extra bases and swipe bags in big situations.

    Reyes won the National League batting title in 2011 and then stole 40 bases in 2012. The Toronto Blue Jays shortstop is also very solid defensively and demonstrates great range.

Third Baseman: Adrian Beltre

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    Without a doubt, third base is the deepest position at the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Players who will represent their nation at the hot corner include Miguel Cabrera, David Wright, Adrian Beltre and Pablo Sandoval.

    The edge here goes to Adrian Beltre because of his defensive abilities. To go along with his impressive offensive production, Beltre also won a Gold Glove in 2012.

Left Field: Ryan Braun

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    It was big win for the United States when they found out that Ryan Braun would be participating in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

    Braun's sweet stroke has helped him to be one of the best players in the MLB. In six major league seasons, Braun has been named an All-Star five times, and has won both the Rookie of the Year award and MVP award.

Center Field: Carlos Gonzalez

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    Over the past three seasons Carlos Gonzalez has emerged as one of the game's top center fielders. During that time, he has posted three 20/20 seasons, won two Gold Gloves and led the league in batting average once.

    Gonzalez is a five-tool player who makes a very strong case for inclusion on the All-WBC team.

Right Field: Giancarlo Stanton

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    He spends his time patrolling right field for the Miami Marlins, and Giancarlo Stanton will also do the same for the All-WBC team for 2013.

    Stanton has immense power and hits some massive home runs. With 37 home runs and a .608 slugging percentage last year, Stanton has earned a spot on the team, even if it is not in his natural position.

Designated Hitter: Miguel Cabrera

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    Although he did not make the All-WBC team as the starting third baseman, there is no way that Miguel Cabrera is not making the team's starting lineup.

    The reigning AL MVP and Triple Crown winner could be considered the best player in the game right now.

Starting Pitcher: Felix Hernandez

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    When it comes to picking an ace for the All-WBC staff, the choice comes down to two players. Felix Hernandez gets the nod for the spot though.

    Hernandez has been dominant since debuting in the major leagues at age 19. The righty has the fourth-lowest ERA among active starters and also owns the 10th-highest strikeout rate for active starters.

Starting Pitcher: R.A. Dickey

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    Since joining the New York Mets starting rotation in 2010, R.A. Dickey has been one of the best pitchers in baseball. Over that three-year span, he has 39 wins and a 2.95 ERA.

    Last season, Dickey earned the NL Cy Young award after posting a 2.73 ERA and accounting for over 27 percent of Mets wins.

    Dickey would also serve as a nice change of pace from Felix Hernandez and would make a solid No. 2 starter.

Starting Pitcher: Yovani Gallardo

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    The Milwaukee Brewers have been very fortunate to have Yovani Gallardo on their pitching staff since 2007. He has been very consistent, and in his worst season, he posted a 3.84 ERA.

    Gallardo probably deserves more recognition than he gets and his placement as the No. 3 starter on the All-WBC team would be the start of it.

Starting Pitcher: Anibal Sanchez

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    The All-WBC team's pitching staff is loaded with right-handed pitchers, and they have another one in the No. 4 spot.

    Anibal Sanchez is yet another pitcher who can shut down opponents. He has gotten better over the years, and that earned him a huge contract this offseason.

Starting Pitcher: Wandy Rodriguez

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    Since the 2008 season, Wandy Rodriguez has demonstrated that he has what it takes to pitch at a high level in the MLB.

    He has a 115 ERA+ and 57 wins during that time frame. Rodriguez has pitched better than a number five, but that is the spot that he gets on this team.

Closer: Fernando Rodney

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    One would be hard pressed to find a relief pitcher who performed better than Fernando Rodney in 2012. He had a 0.60 ERA for the year and recorded 48 saves.

    Rodney's dominant performance from last season makes him an easy choice for the All-WBC team.

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