As a fan of baseball I’m excited to see how the World Baseball Classic pans out this year. I’m not super pumped about a specific team, but this is a time to see how players might perform this year and what new faces may crop up in the majors at some point. Round 1’s first game is that of China vs. Japan and I have to say the odds are stacked in Japan’s favor.
Japan, not only the current title holder, but a strong baseball nation. The lineup is stacked with some well known major leaguers but also a good deal of experienced professionals. Some players to watch:
Toshiya Sugiuchi – Pitched 10.2 innings in the 2008 Olympics with an ERA of 0.84.
Yu Darvish – Second youngest MVP in the Japan Pacific League, said to have more control than fellow countryman Matsuzaka according to past Met Masato Yoshii
As for China, while I can respect their baseball development…well, I wouldn’t put money on them…then again I wouldn’t have put money on the Rays last year and I always stand on a soft 17. Players to watch for:
Chenhao Li – In 10 innings in Beijeng threw a 1.80 ERA for a modest team.
Fenglian Hou – Batted .381 in the Olympics, the highest by far of team China, many of whom are playing in the WBC
It will be a good battle if only because it means baseball is back and the MLB season will be starting soon, however I’m guessing Japan will take this one quite easily.
Watch “The Zen of Bobby V” (ESPN), or watch Mr. Baseball and say you watched “The Zen of Bobby V”