It is hard to believe that Team USA has never played in the WBC finals, especially with the championship games being held on American soil. But the 2017 red,white, and blue roster is showing signs of greatness with it being filled with a slew of household names, from Golden Glove winners to World Series pitchers. So far, the lineups are showing no signs for easy outs for the opposing defenses and the pitching and defense for Team USA will definitely be intimidating for opponents stepping into the batter’s box.
With the lineup like Manager Jim Leyland’s, there isn’t a name any baseball fan hasn’t heard. The infield will be covered by Nolan Arenado, Brandon Crawford, Paul Goldschmidt, Eric Hosmer, Ian Kinsler, Jonathan Lucroy, Daniel Murphy, and Buster Posey. The outfield will be dominated by Adam Jones, Andrew McCutchen, Christian Yelich, and the 2016 Home Run Derby Winner, Giancarlo Stanton. The outfield could reach an elite level if Leyland adds Red Sox stand out stars Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr.
The lineup not only has the strength of batting with mixing up the right handed bats of Kinsler, Jones, and McCutchen, and with left handed batters like Crawford, Hosmer, and Yelich, defenses will be struggling through all 9 innings. If this was a Fantasy Baseball lineup, someone would be winning a lot of money.
As of right now, the team does have holes in their pitching rotations due to their being an abundance of right handed pitchers and currently lacking left-handed pitchers in the rotations. Although they lack lefties, they do not lack talent with right-handed pitchers Chris Archer and Marcus Stroman. And the only left-handed pitcher in their rotation is definitely a well known name. Andrew Miller was on the World Series Runner-Ups Cleveland Indians and has been confirmed by the team. With a rumored new rule introduced to the 2017 WBC for teams to reset rotations for subsequent rounds in the tournament, confirming pitchers Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw would for sure add the needed final touches to the pitching rotation for the red, white, and blue.
Currently, Team USA is neck-and-neck with the Dominican Republic--the defending champions--as favorites to bring home the gold. But this year does not lack a challenge with Japan who has won it all two times and Venezuela has the veteran talent of José Altuve, Miguel Cabrera, and Victor Martinez. Also Puerto Rico boasts the young infield talents.
But with these bumps in the road for the United States, no team measures up to the talent of Team USA in all three important parts of baseball; pitching, hitting, and defense.