So does Team USA suck or what?

Ranking the starters against the players who apparently had better things to do.

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With Team USA’s first WBC action kicking off tomorrow before a internationally televised crowd of hundreds, nobody knows quite what to expect from the historically disappointing American squad. A lot of people—myself included—seem to be bummed out that we’re not sending our absolute best players. “Where’s Trout?!” they cry; “wtf Kershaw” they type angrily. But alas, be it team, player, or insurance agency, dark forces have kept us from truly fielding America’s Best™. But just how bad is it? Let’s rank all the eligible American-born players at each position, and see if it’s as much of a NATIONAL DISGRACE as some people say.

First base:

1. Paul Goldschmidt
2. Anthony Rizzo
3. Freddie Freeman (playing for Cananda, presumably because of Trump)
4. Wil Myers
5. Eric Hosmer

[WBC Roster: Goldy, Hosmer] So out of the gate we’re sending our best first baseman, backed up by the fifth-best. Sure #2 would have been nice but I guess Big Tony Rizzo is still nursing that World Series hangover.

Second base:

1. Daniel Murphy
2. Dustin Pedroia
3. Jason Kipnis
4. Ian Kinsler
5. DJ LeMahieu

[WBC Roster: Murph, Kinsler] Possibly the WHITEST position on the team. Still, nothing to complain about here since the top 5 are more or less interchangeable. Unless you want to argue that Kinsler should be even higher, I don’t have a problem with Team USA’s keystone.

Shortstop:

1. Corey Seager
2. Brandon Crawford
3. Addison Russell
4. Trea Turner
5. Trevor Story

[WBC Roster: Crawford] Old Jimmy Leyland is only carrying one true shortstop and it ain’t the best, most exciting guy available. (Which may refer to Trea Turner by season’s end.) Still, while Crawford lacks the excitement of some of the other guys on this list, ask Japan if it’s Star Power or hard-nosed baseball that wins World Baseball Classics.

Third base:

1. Kris Bryant
2. Nolan Arenado
3. Josh Donaldson
4. Justin Turner
5. Kyle Seager

[WBC Roster: Arenado, Matt Carpenter] So now that the Cubs finally broke the curse they’re better than America, huh? I see how it is. I hope you go another 107 years you team-over-country jerks. Arenado is sexier anyway.

Catcher:

1. Buster Posey
2. Jonathan Lucroy
3. Gary Sanchez
4. JT Realmuto
5. My grandmother

[WBC Roster: Posey, Lucroy] Are you from America? Can you play catcher? Good, suit up. Catcher is a moist pile of diapers in any format, and the U.S. of A. is sending the best.

Outfield:

1. Mike Trout
2. Mookie Betts
3. Bryce Harper
4. Giancarlo Stanton
5. George Springer
6. Charlie Blackmon
7. AJ Pollock
8. Ryan Braun
9. Adam Jones
10. Justin Upton

[WBC Roster: Stanton, Jones, McCutchen, Yelich] Welp, here it is. This is where we let the air out of your inflatable clapping thing. America’s top 3 outfielders are also the world’s best outfielders, and maybe the best three players in the game. To a man, they have heard their country’s call and responded with a rousing “nah, I’m good.” Captain David Wright is spinning in his grave.

ArcherStarting Pitcher:

1. Clayton Kershaw
2. Max Scherzer
3. Madison Bumgarner
4. Chris Sale
5. Noah Syndergaard
6. Jake Arrieta
7. Justin Verlander
8. Corey Kluber
9. Jon Lester
10. Chris Archer

[WBC Rotation: Archer, Duffy, Fulmer, Sonny Gray, Happ, Roark, Smyly, Stroman] Say it with me baseball fans: PITCHING. WINS. CHAMPIONSHIPS. Ask Mets fans if having a dominant starter in a one-game playoff means anything. But I get it. Pitchers are fragile. And expensive. And they take their sweet time in spring training stretching their arms out so they can execute a physically unnatural and damaging arm motion thousands of times, over and over, under extreme mental and physical stress. But looking at this roster and seeing our staff anchored by Chris Archer—no disrespect—sucks. And that’s reason #1 through 100 why the WBC needs to change something in order to become more than just a niche event for hardcore baseball nerds (and the Dutch.)

Relief Pitcher:

1. Andrew Miller
2. Zach Britton
3. Dellin Betances (playing for The Dominican Republic, presumably because he wants to win)
4. Craig Kimbrel
5. Mark Melancon

[WBC Bullpen: Cecil, Clippard, Dyson, Givens, Gregerson, Jones, McGee, Miller, Neshek, Robertson, Wilson] I can’t imagine the passive aggressive texts Leyland is already getting from managers concerned about their pitchers’ workloads. But goddamn; hats off to Andrew Miller for signing up even after carrying the Indians all the way through seven games of the World Series. He’s not sitting at home resting like some other 2016 World Series participants I could name. **Rizzo! cough Bryant! cough** See, now that’s exactly the kind of good old fashioned American GRIT™ that’s gonna win this thing for the boys in red, white and blue!

Or, you know, come in 4th place again. Either way, for the love of god, nobody get hurt or they’ll shut this whole thing down once and for all.

 

 

Author: Homer H.W. Bush

Former Major League Baseball second baseman, 41st President of the United States of America, dog lover.

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