There will be no Justin Verlander in the World Baseball Classic, but there will be four players from the Detroit Tigers’ big league roster taking part in the tournament for two different teams. Most players shy away from playing in the Classic, but these guys embrace the chance to represent their country.
The reigning MVP of Major League Baseball and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera will be playing for Team Venezuela this March, and will be sure to add some power to a stacked lineup. The slugger hit .330 with 44 home runs and 139 RBI’s in 2012 which of course led all categories (hence the Triple Crown), all while leading his team to the World Series. He will be no doubt one of the featured players on the Venezuelan team which has no shortage of star names.
Along with Cabrera, Anibal Sanchez will be participating in the Classic with Team Venezuela. The starting pitcher for the Tigers started 12 games in Detroit with a record of 4-6 and an ERA of 3.74. He should be a great addition to the rotation that should be able to get a win or two for the Venezuelans. He did not have his best season in 2012, but he made strides at the end of the year to give the impression that he should perform well in 2013.
A late addition to the Venezuelan team is Omar Infante, who was also traded to the Tigers in the same deal that involved Sanchez from the Miami Marlins. Infante hit .257 with 20 RBI’s in 64 games for Detroit and will be another solid member to the already stacked squad formed from Venezuela. Set for a comeback year in his first full season with the Tigers, it should be interesting to see how he comes out of the gate this spring.
The Venezuelan team should be one of the favorites to win the tournament even after the loss of Felix Hernandez. They have great fielding and they still have a few pitchers that should do very well for them throughout the competition.
The last player from the Tigers is relief pitcher Octavio Dotel who will be playing for the Dominican Republic in the Classic. Dotel has made his rounds through Major League Baseball, but not because of a lack of talent. He posted a 3.57 ERA last year for the Tigers with a record of 5-3. He performed so well that they picked up his contract option for the 2013 season. He will be surrounded by other pitchers such as Alexi Ogando, former Tiger Fernando Rodney and Wandy Rodriguez. The Dominican Republic should fare well in the tournament with talent spread across the board.
It will be exciting to see these players play for their country and it will be interesting to see how it affects their play once the Classic is over and they get back to training camp.