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Daily Notes: A WBC Status Update of Reasonable Quality

Table of Contents
Today’s edition of the Daily Notes has no table of contents, it appears.

A WBC Status Update of Reasonable Quality
Following weekend play, the first round of this year’s World Baseball Classic is complete, having produced eight qualifiers, as follow: Cuba, Japan, the Netherlands, and Taipei (from Pools A and B), and the Dominican Republic, Italy, Puerto Rico, and the United States (from Pools C and D).

Second-round play has progressed considerably among the first four teams (called Pool 1), and begins for the second four (called Pool 2) on Tuesday afternoon.

What follows is a record of the Classic thus far.

In the first round, each team plays the other three teams in its pool once. The two teams with the highest winning percentages — or, in case of a three-way tie, the two teams that qualify via this set of tie-breaking rules — advance to Round Two.

The eight qualifiers from the first round progress to Round Two. Pool 1 features the four qualifiers from first-round Pools A and B; Pool 2, from Pools B and C. Both Pool 1 and 2 are played as a four-team double-elimination tournament. The top two teams in each qualify for the four-team final round.

Here is the bracket for Pool 1 of second-round play — from which Japan and the Netherlands have qualified for the four-team final — copy-and-pasted from Wikipedia, but then cropped and colored differently to suggest nothing of the sort. (Click on the bracket to embiggen.)

Pool 1

And here is the bracket for Pool 2, scheduled to begin on Tuesday (click to embiggen):

Pool 2

Here is a slightly absurd, but not entirely usesless, leaderboard of the top-10 hitting performances of the World Baseball Classic so far. SCOUT+ an offensive measure calculated with regressed home-run, walk, and strikeout rates, where 100 is average and above 100 is above average.

Player Team Pos PA xHR% xBB% xK% SCOUT+
Alfredo Despaigne CUB OF 18 2.7% 9.5% 16.6% 114
Adrian Gonzalez MEX 1B 13 2.0% 11.7% 17.2% 112
Hanley Ramirez DOM SS 13 2.0% 10.7% 16.6% 110
Frederich Cepeda CUB OF 21 2.0% 10.9% 16.9% 109
David Wright USA 3B 14 2.0% 10.2% 16.5% 109
Carlos Santana DOM C 13 2.0% 11.2% 18.6% 108
Yoshio Itoi JPN OF 21 2.0% 9.9% 16.3% 108
Takashi Toritani JPN IF 14 2.0% 10.7% 17.8% 108
Curt Smith NED 1B 19 2.0% 10.5% 17.9% 107
Yongkyu Lee KOR OF 12 1.7% 10.8% 16.7% 106

And here are the top-10 pitching performances thus far — in this case by SCOUT-, a metric calculated with regressed strikeout and walk rates where 100 is average and below 100 is above average.

Player Team G GS IP TBF xK% xBB% SCOUT-
Kenta Maeda JPN 2 2 10.0 33 23.6% 8.6% 83
Masahiro Tanaka JPN 3 1 6.0 28 20.8% 8.5% 90
Tadashi Settsu JPN 2 0 5.1 20 20.4% 8.6% 91
Seunghwan Oh KOR 3 0 2.2 8 20.5% 8.8% 92
Oscar Nakaoshi BRA 2 1 5.1 22 20.2% 8.6% 92
Danny Betancourt CUB 2 2 10.2 39 20.2% 8.9% 92
Pedro Strop DOM 2 0 2.2 8 19.1% 8.8% 95
Samuel Deduno DOM 1 1 4.0 16 18.9% 8.7% 95
Tiago Da Silva ITA 1 0 3.1 15 19.0% 8.9% 96
Raciel Iglesias CUB 4 0 4.2 19 19.2% 9.2% 96

Notable Performance: Japan’s Kenta Maeda
Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda has made two starts for Japan during the Classic, pitched 10.0 innings, faced ca. 33 batters, and struck out 15 (or, 45.5%) of them. Maeda, who turns 25 in April, has pitched for Hiroshima over his five-year NPB career, having posted strikeout and walk rates of 19.5% and 5.2%, respectively, while recording a 2.47 ERA in 940.2 innings.

Below is footage of (at least a portion of) his repertoire, from his recent start against the Netherlands, during which he struck out 9 of 16 batters faced.

First, a fastball at 93 mph to Dutch outfielder Kalian Sams:

Maeda Hard FA SS

Next, a slider to catcher Dashenko Ricardo:

Maeda SL SS

And, finally, a slow-ish curveball to third baseman (and top Boston prospect) Xander Bogaerts:

Maeda CU SS

The Classic is available on the MLB Network — and streaming online for customers of Bright House, DIRECTV, and Time Warner Cable. Spanish coverage (relevant to many of the games in Pools C and D) is available on ESPN Deportes.

Furthermore, MLBAM has released a dedicated app for the WBC, as well, which includes Gameday coverage and video highlights.

Here are the games scheduled between now and Tuesday morning (all times ET):

06:00 AM Netherlands vs. Japan (2nd Rd, Pool 1)