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We evaluate Team Italy and their opponents in the World Baseball Classic.

We evaluate Team Italy and their opponents in the World Baseball Classic.

Most likely the most talented pool in the whole tournament, Pool D hosts teams like Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Mexico and Italy. Italy is the clear underdog after looking at the other rosters that include some major-league players, such as Jose Altuve, Miguel Cabrera, Alcides Escobar, Freddy Galvis, Carlos Gonzalez, Felix Hernandez, Ender Inciarte, Salvador Perez and Hector Rondon. That's just Team Venezuela!! The competition is fierce this year and Team Italy, will have their work cut out for them.

Key Players 

Chris Colabello: The former Toronto Blue Jays' outfielder has shown good contact up the middle and is very consistent, not only with base hits but also with the long ball, which could make him a good fit for the four-spot in the lineup. On defense he shows good decision making a long with the range could make for the ideal corner outfielder for Team Italy.

Francisco Cervelli: The Pittsurgh Pirates' starting catcher and one of the more well rounded catchers in the league is the Venezuela native. He is a good pitch caller with a very strong arm and, along with his throw downs to bases, it will make it hard for teams to run on him. Offensively, he shows amazing contact to all sides of the field, which would make it hard for teams to shift on him.

Gavin Cecchini: Possibly a future member of the New York Mets' infield, Cecchini has a lot of potential to become a big player one day. At the plate, Cecchini has a good batter's eye with one of the more level swings out there. He also has good contact that can be deadly if a mistake pitch is made.

Underrated Players

Daniel Descalso: The Arizona Diamonbacks' infielder ihas the most upside out of all the "underrated players" listed here. Like Cecchini, Desclaso has a very level swing, but he is more of an extra base hitter. His ability to pull the ball almost every at bat and with his speed is what allows him to get all the extra base hits.

Brandon Nimmo: Drafted by the New York Mets in 2011, Nimmo is an outfielder that has good range, along with the playmaking ability that can lock him up in the team's starting outfield. At the plate, Nimmo is one of the more patient batters on the team with a very good eye, as he doesn't expand the zone.

Mario Chiarini: An Italian baseball player in Rimini, Italy, Chiarini projects to take the right field job for Team Italy. He has great range in right field, along with a pretty good arm. Chiarini is also a good Italian bat to have in the lineup, hitting .302/.405/.460 in 17 games (that stats were provided in) this past season in Italy.

Roster

Pitchers: Filippo Crepaldi, Tiago Da Silva, Frank De Julio, Mike Demark, Jose Escalona, Nick Fanti, Frailyn Florian, Sam Gaviglio, Tommy Layne, Luis Lugo, Allesandro Maestri, A.J. Morris, Trey Nielsen, Orlando Oberto Jr, Luca Panerati, Jordan Romano, Carlos Teran, Pat Venditte

Catchers: Francisco Cervelli, Marco Sabbatani

Infielders: Drew Butera, Gavin Cecchini, Daniel Descalso, Alex Liddi, Andrew Maggie, Rob Segedin, Allesandro Vaglio

Outfielders: John Andreoli, Mario Chiarini, Chris Colabello, Sebastiano Poma

Expectations 

After analyzing the rest of the pool, Team Italy definitely has to play at the top of their game, if they want to make it anywhere in this tournament. It's possible that we see them give Mexico a good run in their first game. After that, it is hard to say if they can make it past Venezuela or Puerto Rico. Team Italy could really surprise everyone (again) and might be able to squeeze past the dreaded Puerto Rico infield, the balanced Venezuela roster and the extreme ground ball pitching of Mexico. 


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