By now, everyone knows how lethal Team USA’s lineup will be in this year’s World Baseball Classic.
The star-studded group, headlined by Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, and Nolan Aranado, will undoubtedly be able to score with any team in this tournament.
The question that remains is…
“What about their pitching?”. Can the Team USA pitching staff be enough for them to defend their title and home turf in 2023?
Many kids my age use the word “Mid” to describe things that aren’t good but also not bad or, as some would say, “mediocre.”
The staff for the stars and stripes is certainly not loaded with superstars like the team on the other side of the ball. However, it’s also not completely terrible.
Before we start naming off players, it’s very important that we establish that with the WBC being played in the middle of Spring Training – you never know who will heat up and lead a team to the gold, especially when it comes to pitching.
With that being said, Mark DeRosa should try to shorten games with my bullpen. Since it is only March, the possibility of starters going super deep in games is next to none. However, this tends to favor the Americans in this tournament.
Three players who are absolutely pivotal in the US’ pursuit of back-to-back titles are Devin Williams, Ryan Pressly, and Kendall Graveman. Those are going to be the back-end guys for the Americans, and if they can perform at full potential, the back-end of Team USA’s bullpen will be amongst the best in the tournament.
The rest of the American bullpen is less than stellar.
Someone like Nick Martinez, Daniel Bard, or Jason Adam is going to have to step up and give Mark DeRosa another reliable option out of the pen.
Before the full roster release, not many thought that the starting rotation for the stars and stripes was that bad. Now as we sit here a week away from the tournament with both Nestor Cortes and Clayton Kershaw having to pull out, I’m a little bit concerned.
The remaining starters on Team USA are decent but not great players. Guys like Merrill Kelley, Lance Lynn, Adam Wainwright, and Kyle Freeland are going to have to step up big-time for the Americans.
With that being said, some of the biggest games for Team USA in the 2017 WBC were started by guys like Chris Archer and Drew Smyly. The fact of the matter is, it’s just really hard to get big pitchers on board with playing a playoff style of baseball in mid-March.
At the end of the day, the American Pitching Staff can hold up this tournament, but a large part of that is because the offense is so good.
It’ll be very interesting to see which pitchers step up for the Stars and Stripes.
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