World Cup Rosters Projection: Pool Four



This is Baseball America's take on what the starting lineups will look like for the 16 teams expected to be involved in the World Baseball Classic next spring, and how each of the teams can be expected to perform. Teams will be divided into four pools, with two teams advancing from round-robin play out of each pool. The eight remaining teams will play another set of round-robin competition, with four teams advancing to a winner-take-all semifinal and final. Rosters were determined by the staff of Baseball America with the help of our correspondents. The organizations of players who are in the American major or minor leagues are listed in parentheses.




AUSTRALIA

C—Dave Nilsson
1B—Justin Huber (Royals)
2B—Trent Durrington (Brewers)
3B—Adam Morrissey (Athletics)
SS—Glenn Williams (Twins)
LF—Chris Snelling (Mariners)
CF—Trent Oeltjen (Twins)
RF—Brett Roneberg
DH—Ben Risinger (Padres)
SP—Chris Oxspring (Padres)
SP—Grant Balfour (Twins)
SP—Travis Blackley (Mariners)
SP—Craig Anderson (Mariners)
RP—Jeff Williams
Manager: John Diebel (Phillies)

Skinny: Baseball has grown significantly in Australia in the last 20 years, with a boost coming from the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. A major push to win a medal at home, following a gold medal in the 1999 Intercontinental Cup, resulted in a disappointing seventh-place finish, but the Aussies came back in Athens to win silver after upsetting Japan in the semifinals behind Chris Oxspring and Jeff Williams. They'll struggle to get out of this pool, however.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

C—Miguel Olivo (Mariners)
1B—Albert Pujols (Cardinals)
2B—Alfonso Soriano (Rangers)
3B—Aramis Ramirez (Cubs)
SS— Miguel Tejada (Orioles)
LF—Manny Ramirez (Red Sox)
CF—Jose Guillen (Nationals)
RF—Vladimir Guerrero (Angels)
DH—David Ortiz (Red Sox)
SP—Pedro Martinez (Mets)
SP—Bartolo Colon (Angels)
SP—Odalis Perez (Dodgers)
SP—Daniel Cabrera (Orioles)
RP—Francisco Cordero (Rangers)
Manager: Felipe Alou (Giants)

Skinny: Though they're thin at catcher, the Dominicans match up with Team USA as well as anyone. Like Puerto Rico and Venezuela, the Dominican has never made a splash on the international scene before now because of disorganized national baseball federations. That all changes with this tournament, where the talent comes out. Anyone want to bet against Pedro in one game for all the marbles?

NETHERLANDS

C—Chairon Isenia
1B—Randall Simon (Devil Rays)
2B—Evert Jan t'Hoen
3B—Vince Rooi (Nationals)
SS—Raily Legito
LF—Eugene Kingsale
CF—Andruw Jones (Braves)
RF—Rikkert Faneyte
DH—Sharnol Adriana
SP—Sidney Ponson (Orioles)
SP—Calvin Maduro
SP—Alexander Smit (Twins)
SP—Rob Cordemans
RP—Ferenc Jongejan
Manager: Robert Eenhoorn

Skinny: The national team usually has a complement of players from Holland’s protectorates in the West Indies. Braves outfielder Andruw Jones (of Curacao) and former Orioles hurler Calvin Maduro (of Aruba) would certainly help the Dutch squad. But baseball's preeminent European power will find the going tough in this competition, with a win against Australia serving as a major victory.

VENEZUELA

C—Ramon Hernandez (Padres)
1B—Edgardo Alfonzo (Giants)
2B—Cesar Izturis (Dodgers)
3B—Carlos Guillen (Tigers)
SS—Omar Vizquel (Giants)
LF—Melvin Mora (Orioles)
CF—Bob Abreu (Phillies)
RF—Miguel Cabrera (Marlins)
DH—Magglio Ordonez (Tigers)
SP—Johan Santana (Twins)
SP—Carlos Zambrano (Cubs)
SP—Freddy Garcia (White Sox)
SP—Kelvim Escobar (Angels)
RP—Francisco Rodriguez (Angels)
Manager: Ozzie Guillen, White Sox

Skinny: If you're looking for a darkhorse pick to win it all, check out this lineup, which is strong at almost every position, and a pitching staff that will have few rivals. Yet another nation with virtually no international baseball resume--zero Olympic appearances with this kind of talent?--Venezuela will set off national fervor in this tournament. Will Ozzie Guillen pitch Johan Santana in the finals or semifinals? And will he make up with Magglio Ordonez before the tournament?