In yesterday’s blogpost, I wrote about several players that can be put on the roster of the Kingdom of the Netherlands for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. But later I realized that I forgot a few and that I may have made a mistake a couple of players.
This morning I saw this possible WBC lineup pass by on Twitter:
When I saw this lineup I realized that I overlooked someone and that I made a mistake on a player’s field position.
Jurickson Profar is very well able to play first base, so he may keep Curt Smith and / or Yurendell De Caster out of the lineup/roster.
This lineup speaks about Didi Gregorius as DH. Sure his bat has some pop and his hitting improved a lot over the 2016 season, but it would be a waste of his talent not to let him play at short. This is what I meant with a surplus of shortstops / infielders.
On the other hand, benching Andrelton Simmons seems to be a weird move as well as he is one of the premier shortstops in the Majors. Perhaps the guy who put together the lineup is right about the position of shortstop. After a very slow start, Simmons finished the season with a .281 BA and a .982 fielding percentage; in both categories Simmons was better than Gregorius (.276 and .974). In that case the DH spot may go to Didi as he had a better batting average in the MLB (.276) than Wladimir had in the NPB (.269) in 2016.
Perhaps playing Wladimir Balentien in left field isn’t the best option. His 2016 team, the Yakult Swallows of the NPB, does not hesitate to re-sign him for nothing as they are not too happy with his defense. His bat is still good, so he may be used as DH if he will get a call up.
A player that I mentioned as a possible candidate for a (backup) spot in the outfield was Christian Diaz. Last night I got into a discussion with a friend about him. Even though Diaz was the best hitter of the Dutch hoofdklasse again, he has one weakness, he has aproblem with hitting 90+mph fastballs and during a WBC he will see a lot of pitches like that. So taking that into consideration, it is likely that Diaz will not get a call up.
With the outfield that was fielded in Tokyo in the past weekend, Christopher Garia, Kalian Sams and Randolp Oduber, a possible addition of Roger Bernadina will cost Garia or Oduber their spot. Kalian Sams is a fix IMHO. And with Sams, Bernadina and Oduber or Garia, Wladimir Balentien may only get a backup role.
The given linup is still up in the air. It all depends on the willingness of players to participate and the permission of their clubs. If one or more players declines to participate the roster of the Kingdom of the Netherlands will look different.
There will be a lot of speculation in the coming months. It will also be an exciting time as more names of WBC participants will be announced.