2023 World Baseball Classic Pool C Preview
Manager: Ernie Whitt.
Previous WBC Results: 15th in 2017, 12th in 2013, 13th in 2009, 9th in 2006
Top Players: 1B Freddie Freeman, RHP Cal Quantrill, OF Tyler O’Neill, RHP Matt Brash,
Top Prospects: 2B Edouard Julien(Twins), SS/2B Otto Lopez (Blue Jays)
Hitting: Having Freeman in the middle of the lineup is a great place to start, and O’Neill gives Canada a power threat to pair with him. But the rest of the lineup is largely filled with young prospects who will be relied on to mature quickly. Defensively, the Canadians will be stretched. Most likely the team will go with Edouard Julien at second base and Abraham Toro at third, but both are stretched at those positions, while shortstop Otto Lopez is best at second base and in the outfield.
Pitching: Canada has the pitching staff to be very feisty for a game or two, but lacks the depth to handle the rigors of multiple games. Quantrill gives the team a reliable MLB veteran to depend on, while Brash can dominate as a reliever. But the Canadians also have a slew of pitchers like Andrew Albers, Phillippe Aumont, John Axford, Adam Loewen and Scott Mathieson who didn’t play anywhere in 2022 and are wild cards at best.
Bottom Line: A thin pool helps, but lack of depth is apparent.
Manager: Jolbert Cabrera.
Previous WBC Results: 11th in 2017.
Top Players: OF Harold Ramirez, C/OF Jorge Alfaro, C Elias Diaz, LHP Jose Quintana, 3B Gio Urshela.
Top Prospects: 3B/2B Jordan Diaz (Athletics), RHP Danis Correa (Cubs).
Hitting: There’s enough experience and talent here for Colombia to have a feisty lineup, although many of the team’s best hitters are very aggressive and can be enticed to chase pitches out of the strike zone. Ramirez is the team’s most polished hitter, but Jordan Diaz is a tough at-bat as well, and Colombia has a lot of players with experience in the majors or the upper levels of the minors.
Pitching: Colombia's pitching staff is deeper than you may expect. Quintana is the ace, but Danis Correa, Tayron Guerrero, Ezequiel Zabaleta, Guillermo Zuniga and Jhon Romero can all sit 94 mph or harder. That group will be able to simply blow away some hitters it faces in Pool C. Julio Teheran gives the team another veteran starter with plenty of savvy.
Bottom Line: Not likely to advance, but could play spoiler.
Manager: Drew Spencer
Previous WBC Results: Making first WBC appearance.
Top Players: OF Trayce Thompson, RHP Vance Worley, RHP Andre Scrubb
Top Prospects: C Harry Ford (Mariners), RHP Tahnaj Thomas (Pirates)
Hitting: The Brits are quite thin. Ford is a solid prospect, but he’s also the only catcher on the roster with any appreciable experience. Thompson will be relied on heavily. Fox is an athletic speedster and the outfield should be able to cover plenty of ground with Thompson, D’Shawn Knowles and Anfernee Seymour.
Pitching: In the qualifier, Vance Worley, McKenzie Mills and Akeel Morris were the starters, although Great Britain very much used an all-hands-on-deck approach as 13 different pitchers pitched in the team’s three games. Tahnaj Thomas and Ian Gibaut will likely serve as high-leverage relievers, but the team’s pitching depth ranges from an MLB veteran like Worley (who last pitched in the majors in 2017) to an ex-college star in Michael Roth to a few recent college arms.
Bottom Line: One win would be an excellent showing.
Manager: Benji Gil.
Previous WBC Results: 13th in 2017, 11th in 2013, 8th in 2009, 6th in 2006
Top Players: LHP Julio Urias, RHP Jose Urquidy, OF Alex Verdugo, OF Randy Arozarena.
Top Prospects: 2B Jonathan Aranda (Rays), RHP Javier Assad (Cubs).
Hitting: The Mexican team boasts a lineup full of big leaguers. The infield defense may be a little less than ideal, but a lineup that has Arozarena, Verdugo, Isaac Paredes and Rowdy Tellez should provide plenty of power, and there’s some speed and defense in the outfield with Alek Thomas and Jarren Duran.
Pitching: Urias is one of the better pitchers in the tournament and Urquidy gives the team an excellent No. 2 starter. Patrick Sandoval should be a solid contributor as well. Mexico’s bullpen is relatively deep as well with Giovanny Gallegos, Luis Cessa and the ageless Oliver Perez.
Bottom Line: Second place and a spot in the next round is within reach.
Manager: Mark DeRosa
Previous WBC Results: 1st in 2017, 6th in 2013, 4th in 2009, 8th in 2006.
Top Players: OF Mike Trout, OF Mookie Betts, 1B Paul Goldschmidt, C J.T. Realmuto.
Top Prospects: None
Hitting: The U.S. has perhaps the best lineup in the tournament, with a wealth of well-rounded hitters who can hit for average and power. Team USA also should stand out in the field, as the combination of Realmuto at catcher, Nolan Arenado at third, Goldschmidt at first and Betts and Kyle Tucker in the outfield gives the team a slew of Gold Glovers.
Pitching: While Team USA’s lineup can match up with anyone, the pitching staff is more solid than spectacular, especially after Clayton Kershaw had to withdraw. Adam Wainwright, Brady Singer, Merrill Kelly, Lance Lynn and Miles Mikolas provide a wealth of starting options, but there are few dominating aces here. The relief staff, led by Devin Williams, is top-notch.
Bottom Line: Championship contender.