Team USA manager Jim Leyland will have his choice of All-Stars once the United States begins World Baseball Classic play in Miami against Team Colombia on March 10.The official tournament rosters, announced Wednesday on MLB Network, show the United States will compete in the fourth installment of the international tournament
Team USA manager Jim Leyland will have his choice of All-Stars once the United States begins World Baseball Classic play in Miami against Team Colombia on March 10.
The official tournament rosters, announced Wednesday on MLB Network, show the United States will compete in the fourth installment of the international tournament with a well-rounded, dynamic team littered with stars.
The World Baseball Classic runs from March 6-22. In the U.S., games will air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN will provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. will have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. Internationally, the tournament will be distributed across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.
Nearly every position player on the United States' squad features All-Star credentials, starting with former National League Most Valuable Player Award winners Buster Posey and Andrew McCutchen. The right side of the infield could feature the last two NL MVP runners-up, in Daniel Murphy and Paul Goldschmidt, while perennial NL MVP candidate Nolan Arenado handles the hot corner.
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And if, for some reason, Leyland wants to go with another alignment, he has elite options -- Eric Hosmer at first, Giancarlo Stanton in the outfield, Brandon Crawford and Ian Kinsler up the middle, exciting youngsters like the versatile Alex Bregman -- at nearly every position.
"Playing baseball, you hear the national anthem every game and it becomes routine," Arenado said. "But I'm guessing that when you put that USA uniform on and hear the national anthem, it might mean a little bit more."
On the mound, Rays star Chris Archer and Indians playoff hero Andrew Miller headline a talented mix of starters and relievers who could be joined by American League Rookie of the Year Award winner Michael Fulmer and 20-game winner J.A. Happ, if necessary.
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
Each team has the option of using the designated pitcher pool (DPP), which works like this: A team can use up to 10 designated pitchers but can't have more than two on its active roster at a time. Those "active" DPs can be replaced at the beginning of each of the next two rounds, but only by another DP. Once a DP has been replaced, he cannot return to the active roster for a subsequent round. Using Team USA as an example, Danny Duffy and Tanner Roark are the active DPs for the first round of pool play, so they can be replaced on the roster before the second round or the championship round, but only by one of the team's other DPs. And if a DP joins for the second round, he can be replaced for the championship round, but only by another DP.
The United States' full pool of designated pitchers looks like this: Brett Cecil, Duffy, Fulmer, Sonny Gray, Happ, Roark, Drew Smyly and Alex Wilson.
The roster includes five returning members from the 2013 World Baseball Classic, during which the United States was eliminated in the second round. Astros reliever Luke Gregerson, Hosmer, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy and Stanton will all make their second consecutive World Baseball Classic appearances.
The United States' best finish in the tournament came in 2009, when it placed fourth. This year, it is a favorite to at least advance out of Pool C, which also features Colombia, Canada and the Dominican Republic.
"It's a tough group. A lot of good teams, a lot of good players," said outfielder Christian Yelich. "But I like our chances as well. I feel like if we go in there prepared, ready to play the way we're supposed to, I think we're going to be all right and we should do well."
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic teams ::
Chris Archer, Rays
Brett Cecil, Cardinals
Tyler Clippard, Yankees
Danny Duffy, Royals*
Sam Dyson, Rangers
Michael Fulmer, Tigers
Mychal Givens, Orioles
Sonny Gray, Athletics
Luke Gregerson, Astros
J.A. Happ, Blue Jays
Nate Jones, White Sox
Jake McGee, Rockies
Andrew Miller, Indians
Pat Neshek, Phillies
Tanner Roark, Nationals*
Drew Smyly, Mariners
Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays
Alex Wilson, Tigers
* Active designated pitchers pool
** Designated pitchers pool
A.J. Ellis, Marlins
Jonathan Lucroy, Rangers
Buster Posey, Giants
Nolan Arenado, Rockies
Alex Bregman, Astros
Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
Brandon Crawford, Giants
Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
Eric Hosmer, Royals
Ian Kinsler, Tigers
Daniel Murphy, Nationals
Adam Jones, Orioles
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
Christian Yelich, Marlins
Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.