Guessing the Team Australia WBC Roster
Tim Atherton did well in the All Star game and has earned a spot in the WBC
By Nathan Smith/Oz MLB
So the Team Australia roster for the World Baseball Classic is due to be released later this week. We have already seen the rosters for some other countries released, with some impressive players being selected. I thought I might turn my mind to who we could expect to see in the green and gold. I took a good look at the roster for the ’09 WBC, as well as the ‘Australia Series’ against the Sydney Blue Sox, and the ABL All Star Game from 2012.
Under the World Baseball Classic official rules, each country must name a 28 man roster, with 13/14 pitchers and at least two catchers. I’ve used these guidelines for my guesses below.
I have also made some assumptions about who will be unavailable for the tournament. Given their reasonably unstable roster positions, I think it is unlikely we will see Josh Spence, Liam Hendriks, Rich Thompson and Travis Blackley. I recognize that Luke Hughes is in a similar predicament, but I also recall reading somewhere (which I can’t now remember) that he’d committed to play. As for Grant Balfour, I would be very (pleasantly) surprised if he played – he usually works real hard through Spring Training, and I think the WBC would not suit his preferred build up.
With that in mind, here we go:
Tim Atherton (23): rock solid ABL season so far, showed dependability in the All Star game.
Adam Bright (28): was there in ’09, and is having a pretty tidy ABL season.
John Hussey (26): quietly putting together a solid year for the Aces – 2.10 ERA and WHIP under 1.20 in his last ten games – last three as a starter.
Steve Kent (24) : was named in the ABL All Star squad, has 20 strikeouts and just 2 walks in 14 innings of work in the ABL so far this year
Dan McGrath (18): played in the ABL All Star game, one of our younger pitching prospects, they will take him as a development opportunity
Paul Mildren (28): not having his best ABL season, but he is a stalwart of Aussie pitching – was there in ’06 and ’09 – he must be there again
Peter Moylan (34): played for Australia in ’06, he is fit and looking for a gig in 2013 – great opportunity for him to impress and to help out the national team
Chris Oxspring (35): was named to the provisional squad in ’09 but did not feature in the tournament. Surely he has to be one of the first selections – he has been dominant in the ABL for three years. His stuff might not be as sharp as it once was, but he is getting results.
Kyle Perkins (21): like McGrath, one of our pitching prospects. Was very effective in the ABL All Star Game, great opportunity for him.
Ryan Rowland-Smith (29): one of our more experienced pitchers who has demonstrated his intent to play in the WBC by appearing in the ABL All Star game. A walk up start.
Dushan Ruzic (31): was named in the ABL All Star game, also named in the ’09 WBC provisional squad. Gives some pitching variety, and can play a number of roles, including eating up some innings if needed.
Warwick Saupold (23): solid year in the minors last year, and putting up great numbers in the ABL.
Ryan Searle (23): had a great year last year, finishing in AAA and is building a strong season for the Bandits this year
Brad Thomas (35): I’m a little unsure about Thomas, he has been at times unreliable in the ABL – but he does have experience pitching in Asia, which I think is a big plus for the pool games
Brendan Wise (27): having another great year in the ABL and played in the ’09 tournament.
Another intriguing option would be to take Tim Kennelly, who could give some versatility with both the bat and ball.
Allan de San Miguel (24): he’s been the best Aussie catcher in the ABL for a while now and I think he has earnt his spot in this squad as the starting backstop
Matt Kennelly (23): had a good year at AA last year, and has been very consistent in recent years for the Heat
Ryan Battaglia (20): there’s a good chance we will take a young catcher along- Ryan was selected in the All Star game, so could get a start here.
James Beresford (23): posted solid numbers in his first year of AA in 2012 and has taken no time at all to have an impact in the ABL in 2013 – hitting .333 in his first 8 games. He’s got to be the starting shortstop
Brad Harman (27): major league experience, played in the ’09 tournament – he’s the logical starting second baseman
Justin Huber (30): really not having his best year in the ABL, and did not find great success at the WBC last time round – but he has a lot of experience and performed in the ABL All Star game.
Luke Hughes (28): assuming he is healthy, he will be there. I think he will share time with Harman at 2B, or will play 3B or DH
Stefan Welch (24): like Beresford he put up good numbers in his first year of AA last year. Will play 1B/3B
Corey Adamson (20): this kid is tearing it up in the ABL and was on the roster for the All Star Game. We will need to take some youth to develop for the future
Elliot Biddle (24): putting up good numbers in the ABL and made his debut for Team Australia in the All Star game
Mitch Dening (24): got some game time in the ’09 WBC and sitting on a .338 average in the ABL this year with a power resurgence
Trent Oeltjen (29): incredibly experienced – must be a walk up start.
Chris Snelling (31): looks to have made an ABL comeback just to prepare for the WBC – an on base percentage machine, he leads the league in walks (24 in just 22 games) and is has a .469 OBP.
Ps: Erasmus, Brooks, Campbell, Williams and Kandilas should also be considered. ABD Editors