Detroit Tigers fans certainly have a good reason to watch the World Baseball Classic. According to the latest roster releases from the WBC and MLB.com, 15 Tigers are filling rosters spots on several teams.
The majority of Detroit Tigers representatives are from the minor leagues, but fans will certainly recognize a few of the All-Stars who will compete against each other on these power-house teams.
Big Leaguers on the USA and Venezuelan Rosters
The United States team includes a few Tigers.
will be a part of the designated pitcher pool.
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The Venezuelan team includes a few notable names, too. Miguel Cabrera will be the only official first baseman. Victor Martinez will act as the team’s designated hitter and the only player on any team who will serve as only a DH. A pair of pitchers, Francisco Rodriguez and Bruce Rondon will fill spots as relief pitchers. Lastly, minor leaguer Arcenio Leon will be a member of the designated pitcher pool.
Minor Leaguers Around the World
The rest of the Tigers are all minor league players who could potential play big roles on their national teams. Joe Jimenez is the only Tiger on the Puerto Rican team and it is safe to say he will show up on the mound. He will get to play alongside Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, and Javier Baez. Mike Aviles, the former Tigers utility player, is also a part of the Puerto Rican team.
Other minor league players with the Tigers organization will join the Canadian (Dustin Molleken and Daniel Pinero), Australian (Warwick Saupold and Travis Blakely), Colombian (William Cuevas), and Mexican (Efren Navarro) teams.
Stacked Teams Promise Exciting Baseball
After looking over the rosters, there are bound to be some exciting games. Venezuela, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the United States teams are loaded with All-Stars – 63, to be exact. After several months of no baseball, the World Baseball Classic will be a sight for sore eyes.
Qualifying games were played one year ago. Out of those games, Australia. Columbia, Mexico, and Isreal earned their way into the Classic. In March, the first pitch will be thrown on March 6, when Isreal and Korea face off in Pool A In Seoul. The rest of the pools, B, C, and D follow on consecutive days. Pool C and D promise to include some amazing baseball. Pool C includes Canada, Dominican Republic, USA, and Colombia; these teams will play round-robin style games at Marlins Park in Miami. Pool D includes Mexico, Italy, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela playing the same style, but in Estadio Charros de Jalisco.
Winning Pool Play is Key
Once pool play is over, the C and D pool winners and runners-up will play each other at Petco Park in San Diego. These promise to be the best games of the series – especially if Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and the USA end up dominating their pools. The final series is a single-elimination series with four semi-finalists leading to a final game. Wouldn’t it be something to see the USA and Venezuela competing against each other at the very end?
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Wouldn’t it be something to see the USA and Venezuela competing against each other at the very end? I, for one, would love to see Miguel Cabrera face Michael Fulmer, and Ian Kinsler face-off against K-Rod. The potential for serious excitement is palpable.
For those of us who have been eagerly awaiting baseball, it is good to know that real ball will be played in one month – March 9. And, if that’s not enough, don’t forget that Spring Training will be happening simultaneously in Lakeland, Florida. Fox Sports Detroit will broadcast seven games. Those will air on March 11, 12, and 17 at 1:00 PM; March 23 t 6:00 PM, and March 24, 26, and 29 at 1:00 PM.
Then, the Big Show begins on April 3. Soon…very soon.