This week, we come to you in the middle of March Madness to deliver you the Crash Bag. In this week’s edition, we actually talk mostly about baseball with discussions about actual players and their performance. That’s how you know baseball season is nearly upon us. In the spirit of the first question here, I have to put in a plug for the World Baseball Classic. If you’re not watching yet, fix that post haste. While Spring Training baseball brings its own simple joys, the WBC is real, competitive baseball. I’ll admit that I never watched it until this year, but, now that I have, I’m absolutely hooked. If you like the World Cup, the Olympics, or any other sort of international athletic competition, the World Baseball Classic is for you. This has been a public service announcement.
@Matt_Winkelman: MLB says they are replacing the WBC with a US only tournament between states, what state wins?
The primary contenders aren’t surprising: Texas, Florida, and California. For the purposes of a tournament, I’ll throw in a 4th team as a dark horse: North Carolina. Let’s look at their lineups, top-3 starting pitchers, and top bullpen arms:
|Catcher||Travis d’Arnaud||Mike Zunino||Cameron Rupp||Minor Leaguer|
|1B||Freddie Freeman||Anthony Rizzo||Brandon Belt||Ryan Zimmerman|
|2B||D.J. LaMahieu||Daniel Murphy||Anthony Rendon||Brandon Phillips|
|3B||Nolan Arenado||Josh Donaldson||Matt Carpenter||Kyle Seager|
|SS||Troy Tulowitzki||Manny Machado||Trevor Story||Corey Seager|
|OF||Christian Yelich||Trea Turner||Charlie Blackmon||Wil Myers|
|OF||Giancarlo Stanton||Ian Desmond||Randall Grichuk||Cameron Maybin|
|OF||Adam Jones||Keon Broxton||Hunter Pence||Dustin Ackley|
|SP||Kyle Hendricks||Chris Sale||Clayton Kershaw||Madison Bumgarner|
|SP||Stephen Strasburg||Zack Greinke||Noah Syndergaard||Chris Archer|
|SP||Gerrit Cole||Jacob deGrom||Scott Kazmir||Alex Wood|
|RP||Jake McGee||Cody Allen||Tyler Thornburg||Carter Capps|
|RP||Addison Reed||Wade Davis||Brandon Finnegan||Seth Maness|
|RP||Zach Britton||Sam Dyson||A.J. Ramos||Bobby Parnell|
For North Carolina to win, they would rely heavily on Madison Bumgarner post-season magic and the performances of the Seager brothers. They don’t have the depth, though, to reliably be able to overcome any poor performances from their stars.