USA Baseball: Players Who Can Make Names for Themselves at WBC
The United States roster for the World Baseball Classic is full of plenty of household names. However, it also has a number of players looking to boost their profile.
Behind stars like David Wright, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Braun are younger guys without much Major League Baseball experience. This tournament is a great opportunity for them to show off their talent, which may not ordinarily be seen by the average baseball fan.
These players have had some success with their respective teams, but a continued good showing at the WBC could make all of them much more recognizable.
Eric Hosmer, 1B, Kansas City Royals
The only reason Eric Hosmer is on the roster is because Mark Teixeira injured himself shortly before the tournament began. Still, the first baseman has been taking advantage of the opportunity.
Hosmer had a bad sophomore slump last season, but he was one of the best rookies in baseball in 2011. He finished his first year with a .293 batting average with 19 home runs and 78 RBI.
If he can regain his hitting groove, the young Royals star could once again be on pace to be one of the best hitters in the game.
Considering he is only 23 years old, this goal is not too far-fetched.
Jonathan Lucroy, C, Milwaukee Brewers
With Joe Mauer and J.P. Arencibia on the roster, Jonathan Lucroy has been relegated mostly to pinch-hitting duty. When he plays, though, he has shown his elite hitting ability.
Last season was Lucroy's best in the majors, finishing with a .320 batting average with 12 home runs. He did not have enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title, but only Buster Posey and Carlos Ruiz had a better average among catchers with over 300 plate appearances.
He still needs work in the field and must improve his ability to throw out runners, but some time with Mauer will certainly help in these areas.
If he gets a full season behind the plate, he could end up being one of the best hitting catchers in the game. This ability to handle the bat could lead to a big hit at some point in the WBC.
Steve Cishek, RP, Miami Marlins
Although Steve Cishek has not pitched too much so far in the World Baseball Classic, fans should already have seen the talent that the young player possesses.
The Miami Marlins reliever finished his second full season in the majors last year and ended the year as the team's closer after Heath Bell failed miserably in that role. He finished with a 2.69 ERA, up only slightly from his 2.63 mark from his first season.
It is unlikely the Marlins allow Cishek to get too many save opportunities after the offseason fire sale, so his stats are not going to turn heads. However, pitching well on the USA roster would certainly allow him to make his mark.
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