Going For Gold: American Outfielders
Ryan Braun, Adam Jones, Giancarlo Stanton and Shane Victorino. They are the four outfielders on the United States Team. Braun and Victorino are two of the other players that were on the team in 2009. I am guessing that Braun, Jones and Stanton are probably going to be the starting outfielders for this years United States team. Braun, Jones, and Stanton are all blessed with power and speed while Victorino has exceptional speed.
The corner outfielders, as they should, will be bringing most of the power from the outfield. Braun is going to be the left fielder, he is a former NL MVP and a 5 time Silver Slugger. He has won the NL batting title in 2009 and also was the NL home run leader in 2012. He is right handed with a .313 career batting average and has had 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same year the last two years. Stanton is probably going to be the starting right fielder. He has hit 93 home runs in 3 years while obtaining a .270 batting average. He has exceptional power and is a 5 tool athlete that, at 23, has just started to show what he can do on the baseball diamond.
Jones is my guess to be the starting centerfielder. He is a better player at this point in his career than Victorino is. I really do wish that Torre had picked a different style of centerfielder who could hit in the lead off spot or second in the order. One player that comes to my mind is Michael Bourn. Bourn is a great lead off hitter who has arguably the best range out of every centerfielder in the league and can steal any base at any time. Another guy I thought could have made the team that made a huge splash last year in the league was Mike Trout. Trout is a 5 tool player that showed he deserves to be in the league. I would rather have Bourn at this point in their careers, especially for 8 or 9 games in a tournament. I think that Trout might have over achieved in his rookie campaign. I’m not saying that Trout will not put up numbers like he did last year but I think that it will be a few years down the road until he does it again. Bourn is also a left handed hitter that is lacking in this lineup.
Victorino is a lot like Jimmy Rollins, who will either hit 1, 2 or 9 when he is playing. I think he will be a backup for this team and a pinch runner. He was a backup for part of the season last year with the Dodgers and I think that being able to come off the bench will be a big asset to have on a team. Another reason I think that he will be the fourth outfielder is because he can play any of the outfield spots unlike the rest of the bunch.
Bloomquist and Zobrist from the infielders section will also be able to play in the OF too in case someone gets injured or if they have some match ups they like. Zobrist will likely play in RF when he is in the OF and Bloomquist is more of a Leftfielder and Centerfielder.
We will talk about starting pitchers for tomorrow’s blog. Also, if you have missed previous blogs about the US WBC Team make sure you stay updated on them.