Spring Training Week 2 and WBC
As another fun filled week of spring training 2017 goes by, the beginning of a big event is marked this week, the start of the 4th ever World Baseball Classic.
For those who don't know, the WBC, as it's referred to, takes the top 14 countries national teams and puts them in a tournament. The way the games work is the first round is a round robbin, and the remaining rounds are a bracket style. There are 4 pools of 4 teams in the first round, pools A - D, and in each pool the top 2 teams advance. Some players playing in the WBC this year are Jose Altuve and Miguel Cabrera for team Venezuela; Buster Posey and Paul Goldshmidt for team USA; and Freddie Freeman and Justin Morneau for team Canada.
Through the first week of the tournament, pool A has been decided, but that's it. Team Israel took the top seed in the first pool, with the Netherlands taking second. Finally for pool A, South Korea will be moving on to the losers bracket, winning the third seed and moving on to the losers bracket. Chinese Taipei has been eliminated.
In pool B, a few games have been played, with Japan leading the pack with a 2-0, which is good enough for them to move on to the second round, with Cuba and Australia close behind in the second seed. Pools C and D will start tonight and Friday.
Before playing in the WBC a few teams decided to have scrimmage games with major league clubs, and those teams [the WBC teams] include team USA, Canada, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and team Mexico. These games were mainly for fun and practice, but if the actual games are as good as the scrimmages, this will be a fun tournament to watch throughout.
In spring training news, Red Sox LHP David Price has been shut down for a few days, and will go see a doctor for a second opinion on his elbow, which was giving him trouble early in the spring. This caused him to miss his first appearance. Met's RHP Noah Syndergaard continues to get better, and it's shown by Terry Collins giving Syndergaard the opening day nod for the Mets. This is followed up by the solid spring from the flame throwing right hander, and as the Mets rotation begins to shape up for opening day, it's becoming more and more talented. Finally in other Met's news, outfielder Tim Tebow made his spring debut with the Mets, going 0-3 with a HBP and an RBI on a double play ball.
2 of the most exciting players from the week have been Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, and Rangers second baseman Jurickson Profar. Sanchez finally found his swing. After hitting 20 homer runs in just 53 games, Yankee fans will look for Sanchez to be a cornerstone of the Yankees younger lineup. The other player Jurickson Profar, is playing for the Netherlands in the WBC. Profar hit an astounding .545 in the first round, helping his team to advance in the classic. The switch hitter was a force at the plate in pool A games, and did all of this out of position, playing center field instead of second base.
That's it for week 2 of this elongated spring training this year. Many spring training games can be found on MLB Network for your viewing pleasure and MLB Network is also the home of the WBC, so you can cheer your favorite team on from there. Any additional information about the WBC can be found on MLB.com including schedules, rosters, and merchandise. I hope everyone has a great week and I hope you enjoy the WBC this year!