World Baseball Classic Preview: Team Mexico
Teams continue to prepare themselves for the upcoming World Baseball Classic which starts on March 6th. Some teams are more complete than others, such as Team Mexico whose roster is nearly ready to go.
With Edgar Gonzalez at the helm once again, Team Mexico will look to improve their fortune in the World Baseball Classic. They’ve played in all three Classics, finishing sixth, eighth, and 11th in 2006, 2009, and 2013 respectively. Here’s what Gonzalez’s squad is looking like so far.
Jamie Garcia; The Reynosa native will be playing in his first Classic. Garcia has dealt with injuries throughout his career, but when healthy he has shown that he can sit atop a team’s rotation. He will do just that for Mexico, coming off a year where he threw the second most innings in his career. After spending the first eight seasons of his career with the Cardinals, Garcia was traded to the Braves this offseason.
2016 Season Statistics (St. Louis Cardinals): 171.2 IP, 10-13, 150 K, 4.67 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
Miguel Gonzalez; Born in Tepatitlan de Morelos, Gonzalez will be representing his home country in March. Gonzalez bounced around in the minors before making the big league team with the Orioles in 2012. Since then he has posted a respectable 44-41 record with a 3.80 ERA.
2016 Season Statistics (Chicago White Sox): 135 IP, 5-8, 95 K, 3.73 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
Oliver Perez; The 35-year-old veteran is returning for his fourth Classic after representing Mexico in the first three. In 11 innings across the three Classics, Perez has given up seven runs, 14 hits, and has struck out 11. Since debuting in 2002, Perez has played for seven different organizations, currently pitching for the Washington Nationals.[Milkins]
2016 Season Statistics (Washington Nationals): 40 IP, 2-3, 46 K, 4.95 ERA, 1.45 WHIP
Roberto Osuna; At just 21-years-old, the breakout star will be leading the bullpen for his country. Osuna was born in Juan Jose Rios, and currently he closes games for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was the first player born in 1995 to play Major League Baseball and is the youngest pitcher to reach 50 saves, which he did in September of last season.
2016 Season Statistics (Toronto Blue Jays): 74 IP, 4-3, 36 S, 82 K, 2.68 ERA, 0.93 WHIP
Sergio Romo; The 33-year-old played for Mexico in 2013’s Classic and will be reprising his bullpen role for the 2017 squad. Romo hasn’t been as dominant as he was in 2013, but has been an important piece of the Giants’ bullpen every season. He’ll likely act as the setup man for Mexico, as he does in San Francisco.
2016 Season Statistics (San Francisco Giants): 30.2 IP, 1-0, 33 K, 2.64 ERA, 1.08 WHIP
Joakim Soria; The two-time All-Star was born in Monclova and will be representing his country for the second time. In the 2009 Classic, he pitched two scoreless innings, striking out two. His days as a 30+ save closer may be over, but his 203 career saves and 2.76 career ERA should be a huge boost to Mexico’s veteran-filled bullpen.
2016 Season Statistics (Kansas City Royals): 66.2 IP, 5-8, 68 K, 4.05 ERA, 1.46 WHIP
Fernando Salas; The Huatabampo native will hope to add a WBC gold medal to go along with his 2011 World Series ring. He pitched in the 2013 Classic as well, giving up one run and striking out two in two innings pitched. After being traded to the Mets last season Salas put together one of the best streaks in his career, giving up just four runs in 17.1 innings pitched.
2016 Season Statistics (Los Angeles Angels/New York Mets): 73.2 IP, 3-7, 64 K, 3.91 ERA, 1.11 WHIP
Carlos Torres; After a career year in 2016 with the Brewers, Torres hopes to carry his success into the WBC. The 34-year-old hasn’t pitched in a Classic before but has plenty of major league experience. Over the course of his eight-year career, Torres has pitched for four teams.[Kenny2]
2016 Season Statistics (Milwaukee Brewers): 82.1 IP, 3-3, 78 K, 2.73 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
Adrian Gonzalez; Gonzo is the guy for Mexico. He was born in the US, but has represented Mexico in every Classic so far. A-Gon is a five-time All-Star and has two Silver Sluggers and four Gold Gloves. The 34-year-old has collected 12 hits, three homers, and 12 RBI over 45 at-bats in the three Classics. He will undoubtedly be a leader for Mexico when the tournament begins.
2016 Season Statistics (Los Angeles Dodgers): .285 AVG, 18 HR, 90 RBI, 69 R
Danny Espinosa; He’ll be playing in his first Classic, taking the second base job for Mexico. Espinosa was traded to the Angels this offseason, where he will have a chance to retake his second base position which he lost with the Nationals. He put up a career-high 24 homers for the Nats in 2016.
2016 Season Statistics (Washington Nationals): .209 AVG, 24 HR, 72 RBI, 66 R
Luis Cruz; The Navojoa native has spent the last three seasons in Japan, but also has five seasons of MLB service time under his belt. Cruz played for Mexico in the 2006 and 2013 Classics. He only had one at-bat in 2006 but collected three hits and three RBI in 2013.
2016 Season Statistics (Yomiuri Giants): .252 AVG, 11 HR, 37 RBI
Brandon Laird; Like Cruz, Laird has experience in both the MLB and NPB. He has spent the last two seasons in Japan with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, where his power has been impressive. He hit 34 homers in 2015 and led the Pacific League with 39 in 2016. He earned the Japan Series Most Valuable Player Award last season.
2016 Season Statistics (Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters): .263 AVG, 39 HR* 97 RBI, 71 R (*Led the Pacific League)
Japhet Amador; The only player without any MLB experience, Amador will likely be a big part of Mexico’s offense. Amador was born in Mulege and has played in the Mexican League and the NPB. He was named MVP of the Mexican League in 2015 after hitting 41 homers. Amador spent the 2016 season with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the NPB.
2016 Season Statistics (Rakuten Golden Eagles): .258 AVG, 9 HR, 19 RBI, 15 R
Khris Davis; The 29-year-old slugger is coming off a career year in which he hit 42 homers for the Athletics. Davis’ mom was born in Mexico, which is why he’ll be representing the team in this year’s Classic. His power bat will slot in the middle of the order for Mexico and should provide some serious pop for the team.
2016 Season Statistics (Oakland Athletics): .249 AVG, 42 HR, 102 RBI, 85 R
Mexico does not have an easy shot at making the second round in this year’s Classic as they will have to pass through Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Italy in Pool D. Their quest for a gold begins on Thursday, March 9th against Italy at Estadio Charros de Jalisco.