2013 World Baseball Classic: Preview of the Upcoming Qualifying Tournament Starting in September- Qualifier Group 2

Wednesday September 5th, 2012

Sam Evans: With more international talent than ever before, this year’s World Baseball Classic should be the best one in the short history of the tournament. The qualifying tournaments feature countries that wouldn’t strike you as baseball factories, but the talent is surprisingly impressive. Earlier, I previewed the qualifier group one, with this being the second group qualifier.

This round is scheduled to take place from September 20th to September 24th in Regensburg, Germany. The games will all be played at Armin-Wolf Baseball Arena. Regensburg, which is located where the Danube and Regen rivers come together, has a population of just under 150,000 people. Single-game tickets for this tournament will cost 15 to 75 euros. Personally, that seems like a lot to me, but I guess Germany should be able to charge more when they are hosting this kind of talent.

Armin-Wolf Arena is the premier baseball stadium in Germany. It has a seating capacity of 10,000 people, and when the local German team plays, they consistently draw around 3,000 fans per game. Don’t expect all of these games to be played in a sold-out arena. However, at the 2009 Baseball World Cup, 10,000 fans filled the stadium when Germany played. Armin-Wolf is a beautiful stadium that rivals any ballpark in Europe.

Germany: Germany has a big advantage over other teams in this round due to their home-field advantage. I’d be pretty surprised if any player on the Germany roster had yet to play at Armin-Wolf.  The Germany roster will be led by the talented nineteen year old outfielder in the Minnesota system Max Kepler and Cincinnati first baseman prospect Donald Lutz. Kepler, who has played in the Appy League for the past two seasons, is very raw but some consider him a five-tool prospect. Germany has a strong chance to come out of this tournament on top.

Canada: Unfortunately, the majority of the talent from Canada is currently in the majors. By having the WBC qualifiers in late-September, we won’t get to see players such as Joey Votto, Russell Martin, Phillippe Aumont, and Justin Morneau don a Canada jersey in Germany. Instead, Canada will likely rely on prospects such as Tim Smith, Andrew Albers, Kyle Lotzkar, and James Paxton. Paxton could be dominant, but I imagine the Mariners would get very angry if he pitches too much. Canada has much more talent than any team in the tournament, but due to the scheduling, advancing from this qualifying round won’t be that easy for the True North.

Czech Republic: There are almost forty baseball teams from the Czech Republic. However, they have not yet gained enough of a baseball reputation for me to know one player on their roster. What I do know is that the Czech Republic team lost to Chinese Taipei, the Korea Republic, and Nicaragua in 2010. In that same year, they defeated Hong Kong and Thailand. The Czechs should be considered a longshot to win a game at this tournament.

Great Britain: Michael Roth had one of the most dominant college pitching careers that we’ve ever seen. At South Carolina, Roth led the Gamecocks to two national championships and had a career 1.91 ERA. Roth, who’s mother hails from Great Britain, will only be allowed to make one outing in this round, with a 65 pitch-count limit according to John Manuel of Baseball America. Despite his fantastic college career, Roth was still drafted no earlier than the ninth round by the Dodgers. He doesn’t profile as a future major league starting pitcher, but Roth might continue to prove his doubters wrong.

Greg Hendrix, a pitcher drafted in the 2006 MLB amateur draft by the Dodgers, will be on the Great Britain roster for the WBC. Also, former Giants minor leaguer Aaron Hornostaj, who played for a team in Germany this year, will start for Great Britain. Great Britain should be pleased if they finish in the top half of this qualifying round.

This should be a great qualifying tournament, and I imagine that German baseball fans are super excited to host these teams. If I had to choose an early favorite, I’d have a hard time going with someone other than Team Canada. However, the German team has a legitimate chance to steal this round.

(* The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com *)

***Today’s feature was prepared by Sam Evans, Baseball Writer.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Sam on Twitter. (@RJA206)***

 

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About samevans87

I love writing, talking, watching, and playing baseball. I am a baseball writer for MLB Reports and Fish Stripes. "No game in the world is as tidy and dramatically neat as baseball, with cause and effect, crime and punishment, motive and result, so cleanly defined." -Paul Gallic

Posted on September 5, 2012, in World Baseball Classic and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Pretty good article… GO DOMINICAN REPUBLIC!!

  2. theres this pitcher chris reed from london. He was on the mlb futures world team roster. He sounds like a stud

  1. Pingback: ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Chapman, Hamilton, WBC, Billy Corgan and Neiko Johnson « MLB reports

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