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Daily Notes: Semi-Adequate Preview of Weekend WBC Games

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

A Semi-Adequate Preview of the Weekend’s WBC Games
Pools A and B of this year’s edition of the World Baseball Classic begin this weekend in Japan and Taiwan, respectively. While much of the first weekend’s action will be taking place during that time of the night during which the present author, at least, is “very unconscious,” the prospect of real-live baseball is attractive.

That being the case, he has produced the following, i.e. a Semi-Adequate Preview of the Weekend’s WBC Games.


Participants
As noted above, this weekend’s collection of games includes only teams from Pools A and B — with the competition’s other two groups to commence play on Thursday.

Here are the eight teams scheduled to compete this weekend and those teams’ most notable players (with considerable help from Experts on the Internet).

Pool: A (Fukuoka, Japan)
Nation: Brazil
Notable Players: No fewer than nine member of affiliated baseball, including White Sox right-hander Andre Rienzo (ranked seventh among that team’s prospects by Marc Hulet), 27-year-old Royals outfielder Paulo Orlando (who’s regarded by Steamer as something slightly better than replacement level, actually), and nearly 23-year-old Tampa Bay third baseman Leonardo Reginatto (who posted a 1:1 BB:K in ca. 13 plate appearance during qualifying).

Pool: A (Fukuoka, Japan)
Nation: China
Notable Players: American-born Ray Chang (who plays in the Twins system and accounted for nine of China’s 21 total bases offensively in the 2009 WBC), 30-year-old left-hander Tao Bu (who, according to Gabriel Fidler of Baseball de World, is the team’s top pitcher and performed well in another recent national tournament), and 33-year-old left-hander Jiangang Lu (who posted a 2:1 K:BB in 5.1 innings in the 2009 WBC, leading China to its lone win).

Pool: A (Fukuoka, Japan)
Nation: Cuba
Notable Players: Outfielder Alfredo Despaigne (who broke Yoenis Cespedes‘ home-run record in the Cuban domestic league), first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu (who also broke Cespedes’ record, just less hard than Despaigne), outfielder Alexei Bell (who has also held the home-run record in the past), and 22-year-old shortstop Barbaro Arrebarruena (a talented defender, according to Baseball America’s John Manuel).

Pool: A (Fukuoka, Japan)
Nation: Japan
Notable Players: Basically every best player from the Japanese domestic league, including catcher Shinnosuke Abe (whose translated line, per Oliver, compares favorably with many top major leaguers’), plus pitchers Atsushi Nomi, Toshiya Sugiuchi, Kenta Maeda, and Masahiro Tanaka — who finished first, second, third, and fourth, respectively, in total strikeouts in the most recent NPB season. According to expert on such matters Patrick Newman, both Tanaka and outfielder Yoshio Itoi are rumored to be posted following this season.

Pool: B (Taichung, Taiwan)
Nation: Australia
Notable Players: Former Seattle outfield prospect Chris Snelling, former Boston quasi-prospect (and also an outfielder) Mitch Dening, right-handers Steve Kent and Chris Oxspring, and left-hander Matthew Williams — all five of whom finished among the recently completed Australian Baseball League’s regressed leaders.

Pool: B (Taichung, Taiwan)
Nation: Chinese Taipei
Notable Players: Likely shortstop Ngayaw Ake (frequently listed as Chih-Sheng Lin), first base/DH-type Yi-Chuan Lin, and outfielder Szu-Chi Chou — the first two of whom our Bradley Woodrum has considered of late in these very same electronic pages (and the third of whom he appears likely to consider soon). Also: Chien-Ming Wang and Hong-Chih Kuo, who have — both of them — been effective major leaguers when healthy.

Pool: B (Taichung, Taiwan)
Nation: Netherlands
Notable Players: The young and talented shortstop triumvirate of Xander Bogaerts (Boston), Jonathan Schoop (Baltimore), and Andrelton Simmons (Atlanta) — plus veteran major-league outfielders Wladimir Balentien, Roger Bernadina, and Andruw Jones.

Pool: B (Taichung, Taiwan)
Nation: Korea
Notable Players: Probable DH Seung-Yuop Lee (who is the record-holder among Asian domestic leagues for home runs in a season, with 56, and hit five home runs in seven games during the inaugural 2006 tournament), first baseman Taekyun Kim (who posted an 8:3 BB:K, with three homes runs, in 29 ABs at the 2009 Classic), and 30-year-old Dae Ho Lee (who was impressive with Japan’s Orix club this past season, according to MLB.com’s Debby Wu).


Schedule of Games
Here, stolen shamelessly and without shame from the official site of the World Baseball Classic, is this weekend’s schedule of games (ET):

Friday
11:30 PM Australia @ Chinese Taipei (Pool B)

Saturday
05:00 AM Japan @ Brazil (Pool A)
06:30 AM Korea @ Netherlands (Pool B)
10:30 PM Cuba @ Brazil (Pool A)

Sunday
01:30 AM Netherlands @ Chinese Taipei (Pool B)
05:00 AM China @ Japan (Pool A)


Broadcast Information
The Series is available, it appears, exclusively on MLB Network. Furthermore, MLBAM has released a dedicated app for the WBC, as well, which includes Gameday coverage and video highlights. Unfortunately, so far as the author can tell, no actual live video streams appear to be available.


Action Footage: Masahiro Tanaka
Pitching between injuries, right-hander (and now 24-year-old) Masahiro Tanaka posted a 169:19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 173.0 innings for Rakuten — and is a likely candidate to be posted following the upcoming season.

Below is video of him — set, for everyone’s benefit, to “What I Like About You” by The Romantic. Note that 150 km/h is roughly 92 mph, 140 km/h is roughly 87 mph, and 130 km/h is 81-82 mph.