Table of Contents
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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.)
And here is the bracket for Pool 2, scheduled to begin on Tuesday (click to embiggen):
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.
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.
|Tiago Da Silva||ITA||1||0||3.1||15||19.0%||8.9%||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:
Next, a slider to catcher Dashenko Ricardo:
And, finally, a slow-ish curveball to third baseman (and top Boston prospect) Xander Bogaerts:
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)