Classic World BaseballMonday, March 11, 2013
The World Baseball Classic has its share of flaws and might not capture the attention of the casual sports fan, but the event was action-packed this weekend and you won’t find anyone here at Rotoworld complaining about meaningful, exciting baseball games being broadcast amid the dog days of spring training.
Team Mexico and Team Canada brawling on Saturday. Team USA rallying back (with the help of the Orioles' Adam Jones and the Royals' Eric Hosmer) to defeat its neighbors from the north on Sunday. The improbable run from Team Italy. Team Venezuela’s flop. Dominican dominance. The WBC doesn’t offer much to analyze from a fantasy perspective because most of the players involved aren’t even major leaguers and because individual production -- both good and bad -- comes in too small of sample sizes in the short tournament. But pool play was plenty interesting and it should continue to make for great television as the stakes grow higher.
Second-round games will be played this week at the Tokyo Dome in Japan and at Marlins Park in Miami. The eight (out of 16) baseball federations remaining are Cuba, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Netherlands, Italy, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and the United States.
The World Baseball Classic’s official website does a good job laying out all the possible scenarios going forward.
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Carpenter Making Strides At Second
Word out of Jupiter, Florida is that the Cardinals’ decision to suddenly mold Matt Carpenter into a second baseman has gone exceptionally well. Carpenter dedicated his entire offseason to learning the position and has logged over 50 innings there this spring without committing a single error. He has also played a role in turning several double plays and drawn rave reviews from the St. Louis coaching staff for his natural-seeming footwork on those turns.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch says infield-instruction extraordinaire Jose Oquendo gave Carpenter an “A” in execution Sunday after studying images of some of Carpenter’s more difficult recent defensive plays.
Carpenter is also opening eyes at the plate, now with a .370/.469/.519 batting line through 10 Grapefruit League games. He batted .294/.365/.463 with six home runs and 46 RBI in 340 plate appearances -- about a half-season’s worth -- in 2012. If the guy can get regular playing time in 2013, he should carry significant fantasy value. Daniel Descalso is probably destined for a utility infield role.
Jeter Nearly Ready To Play The Field
Derek Jeter is on his way back from late-October ankle surgery and has yet to make an appearance at shortstop in a Grapefruit League game this spring. But that should change at some point over the next handful of days.
Jeter was given “final clearance” on Thursday from the specialist who performed his ankle procedure and was able to make his spring debut Saturday as the Yankees’ designated hitter. He will DH again on Monday but could grab a glove Tuesday or Wednesday. “If that’s what he feels he’s ready to do, then we’ll do it,” manager Joe Girardi told Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger on Sunday. “He has 100-percent clearance from the doctor.”
Jeter, who hit .316/.362/.429 with 15 homers, 58 RBI and 99 runs scored last season, is fully expected to be ready for Opening Day. And he remains a solid bet at the shallowest of fantasy positions despite his age. Draft him with confidence.
A’s Anderson Survives Injury Scare
There was quite a bit of panic across the fantasy baseball landscape on Sunday afternoon when injury-prone A’s left-hander Brett Anderson departed his Cactus League start against the Diamondbacks after just eight pitches. But he should be fine for his scheduled Opening Day outing -- April 1 -- versus the Mariners.
Anderson, who collided with the Diamondbacks’ Adam Eaton while trying to back up third base, has been diagnosed with a strained right trapezius muscle. That’s the non-throwing side of his body and it’s not a muscle he relies on while pitching, so the expectation is that he will be able to remain on track with his spring throwing program even if it means skipping one Cactus League start for precautionary reasons. Anderson told MLB.com’s Tyler Emerick on Sunday evening that his right trapezius “just spazzed up” and that he is not “too worried” about the ensuing recovery.
Anderson, 25, posted a 2.57 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 25/7 K/BB ratio over 35 innings last season after returning from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. He’s a major talent and well worth the risk in fantasy leagues.