World Cup Rosters Projection: Pool Two

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.


C’"Ivan Rodriguez (Tigers)

1B’"Carlos Delgado (Marlins)

2B’"Jose Vidro (Nationals)

3B’"Mike Lowell (Marlins)

SS’"Alex Cora (Indians)

LF’"Alexis Rios (Blue Jays)

CF’"Carlos Beltran (Mets)

RF’"Jose Cruz Jr. (Diamondbacks)

DH’"Javy Lopez (Orioles)

SP’"Javier Vazquez (Diamondbacks)

SP’"Joel Pineiro (Mariners)

SP’"J.C. Romero (Twins)

SP’"Kiko Calero (Athletics)

RP’"Roberto Hernandez (Mets)

Manager: Jose Cruz Sr. (Astros)

Skinny: Puerto Rico is the epitome of a team with little
international baseball history that suddenly becomes a major power. If
the Puerto Ricans could trade their catching depth (Javy Lopez, Jorge
Posada, the Molina brothers) for more starting pitching, they would be
a legitimate title contender, though they’ll certainly get out of the
first round. They’ll be formidable when Vazquez and Pineiro are on the
mound and will have to outslug opponents in the other games.


C’"Ariel Pestano

1B’"Danny Miranda

2B’"Yulieski Gourriel

3B’"Michel Enriquez

SS’"Eduardo Paret

LF’"Frederich Cepeda

CF’"Carlos Tabares

RF’"Alexei Ramirez

DH’"Eriel Sanchez

SP’"Norge Vera

SP’"Vicyohandri Odelin

SP’"Adiel Palma

SP’"Danny Betancourt

RP’"Pedro Luis Lazo

Manager: Higinio Velez

Skinny: Assuming organizers can make it through all the
necessary diplomatic hurdles, Cuba could be the most intriguing team in
the tournament. People thought the Cubans would take a step back when
professionals joined international baseball, but it hasn’t really
happened’"only Ben Sheets has beaten Cuba when it counts. So
underestimate this team at your peril, especially if Cuba gets to the
win-or-go home stage of competition. Obviously the team would look
different if Cuban defectors playing in the U.S.’"such as Jose
Contreras, Livan Hernandez and Orlando Hernandez’"were available, not to
mention Cuban-Americans such as Rafael Palmeiro.


C’"Carlos A. Patrone

1B’"Claudio Liverziani

2B’"Francesco Imperiali

3B’"Igor Schiavetti

SS’"Seth la Fera

LF’"Daniel di Pace

CF’"Daniele Frignani

RF’"Jim Buccheri

DH’"Jairo Ramos Gizzi

SP’"Jason Simontacchi

SP’"David Rollandini

SP—Silvio Censale

SP’"Ilo Bartolucci

RP’"Juan Carlos Vigna

Manager: Giampiero Faraone

Skinny: Italian teams often include oriundos,
players who were not born or raised in Italy but who are eligible for
Italian citizenship through their ancestry. The most notable player in
recent years has been former Cardinals pitcher Jason Simontacchi. There
tends to be a high turnover of oriundos, making it difficult to
predict what the team will look like next spring. A few of the players
who were born and raised in Italy have minor league experience, like
Claudio Liverziani, who played in the Mariners system.


C’"Einar Diaz (Cardinals)

1B’"Olmedo Saenz (Dodgers)

2B’"Jose Macias (Cubs)

3B’"Damaso Espino (Royals)

SS’"Vicente Garabaldo

LF’"Carlos Lee


CF’"Ruben Rivera

RF’"Fernando Seguignol

DH’"Julio Zuleta

SP’"Bruce Chen


SP’"Roger Deago (Padres)

SP’"Ramiro Mendoza (Yankees)

SP’"Len Pecota

RP’"Mariano Rivera (Yankees)

Manager: Omar Moreno

Skinny: Just getting into this tournament is a victory
for Panama, which has few milestones in its international baseball
history. The highlights have been hosting the Americas Olympic
qualifier in 2003 (when Team USA was upset) and winning a silver medal
at the 2003 World Cup tournament in Cuba. There’s enough talent here to
beat Italy, but wins over Puerto Rico or Cuba would be big upsets.