World Baseball Classic: Team Venezuela Preview

By Eric Carlisle
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Team Venezuela could be one of the strongest teams in the World Baseball Classic this year. The Venezuelans are looking to build on their very strong 2009 appearance in the Classic and looking to knock off Team Japan for the first time in the tournament’s short history.

Team Venezuela started pool play in 2009 with an outstanding 3-1 record earning them a spot in round two where they won three more games to earn themselves a spot in the semifinals against Team Korea. They lost that game and were eliminated from the tournament but they played very well.

This year Team Venezuela has a strong roster full of big names from Major League Baseball. First off they have some strong starting pitching in the form of “King” Felix Hernandez from the Seattle Mariners and Anibal Sanchez of the Detroit Tigers. Not to mention Francisco Rodriguez or “K-Rod” coming out of the bullpen.

In the field is where it really starts to get impressive. At the catcher position the Venezuelans have Miguel Montero and young Salvador Perez. The infield is full of big names such as Miguel Cabrera the MLB MVP and Pablo Sandoval the World Series MVP. Filling out the infield will be Elvis Andrus and Asdrubal Cabrera.

If that wasn’t enough star power for you don’t worry… there’s more. Two of the three outfield positions will be occupied by Carlos Gonzalez, and Martin Prado. I think that this has to be one of the most stacked rosters in the tournament and I think they should fare pretty well against the rest of the world.

This is a team that could win it all in my eyes and I can’t wait to see them play come March. You have serious power with Miguel Cabrera and Sandoval along with guys like Andrus and Gonzalez that can get on base and even swipe a couple bags to get runners in scoring position for big bombers. They can get pretty far in this tournament but who knows if they can overtake Japan? No one has yet.

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