The third edition of the World Baseball Classic begins this weekend and Pool D will take place in Arizona. The baseball betting favorite in that group is the United States, who is leading the way on the betting lines. They’ll be looking to finally add this title to their resume after it’s eluded them a
The Canadians’ highest finish in the WBC in ninth, but there is definitely some major-league talent on the roster that is managed by former Toronto Blue Jay Ernie Whitt. Joey Votto and Justin Morneau should power the lineup, provided Morneau can find his pre-injury MVP form. Don’t forget about Brett Lawrie, the young Blue Jay who is being touted to be a star in the majors, but pitching could be a problem for the Canadians and that’ll have to improve if they want to make it out of Pool D.
Manager Marco Mazzieri will be aided by Mike Piazza, Frank Catalanotto and Tom Treblehorn, and he has a roster that has a few solid major leaguers taking part in the WBC. Young Anthony Rizzo had a decent season with the Chicago Cubs in just 87 games and a big performance in this tournament could help his chances to play more in 2013. Nick Punto will provide veteran leadership for a team that hasn’t finished higher than 10th at the WBC, so they really don’t have anything to lose heading into this event.
The Mexicans are a nice little darkhorse to check out in a tournament where they finished sixth back in 2006. Manager Rick Renteria was a solid player in the majors and has a good staff backing him, but they player he will lean on most is Adrian Gonzalez, who was moved from Boston to the Los Angeles Dodgers in arguably the biggest trade of last season. Gonzalez was part of a group of players that were labeled as malcontents and then he struggled after his move, so he could look at this as a chance to show people that he is still capable of leading a team at age 30. If he goes off, Mexico could be a problem.
Where to start with the States, managed by Joe Torre? They finished fourth in 2006 and are loaded from top to bottom in the lineup. The only issue for Torre may be finding time for all the bats, powered by Ryan Braun, Adam Jones, Giancarlo Stanton and Joe Mauer, among others (those “others” are Mark Teixeira and David Wright). Starting pitching could be a problem if R.A. Dickey struggles, Gio Gonzalez doesn’t play due to a steroid issue and Derek Holland doesn’t step up. Still, with all the offense in the lineup, the United States should be able to win this pool easily and with the final set for San Francisco’s AT&T Park, you know they’d love to be there, taking part. Team USA could be a powerhouse if the pitching holds up.