Monday, March 2, 2009

World Baseball Classic Preview

With Japan looking to repeat, Venezuela looking strong as always and the powerhouse that is the Dominican Republic, there is no shortage of capable teams in this year's classic. China, Australia and Italy should all get bounced before the first pitch is thrown.

There will be 16 teams broken up into four pools of four. The four brackets are:
Pool A - Japan, China, Chinese Taipei, Japan and Korea.
Pool B - Australia, Cuba, Mexico and South Africa.
Pool C - Canada, Italy, Venezuela and our country.
Pool D - The Netherlands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Panama.

Two years ago, Daisuke Matsuzaka was named MVP of the Classic and inked a lucrative contract afterwards.

Time will tell who becomes the can't-miss prospect this time around. My money is on Kwang-Hyum Kim catching the eye of spectators and scouts alike. The 20-year-old southpaw has plenty of talent and should make some hitters look foolish. Although he won't get Matsuzaka money, he should find his way to the majors. He has an incredibly long stride, but he hides the ball well and has no wasted motion.

Japan faces China on Thursday morning. I believe the first pitch is around 1 A.M. our time. So pick your team and enjoy yourself.