Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
There are a handful of teams that I could see winning the World Baseball Classic, in part because there are a lot of talented teams out there, and in part because with so few games being played, much will be left up to luck with a single game determining who advances and who is finished. That being said, I'm going to pick the good 'ol USA to come out victorious this time around. With Jake Peavy and Roy Oswalt leading the way for the staff, and outstanding hitters like Dustin Pedroia and David Wright, I like the USA's chances of triumphing over other challengers like the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. One darkhorse to watch will be Cuba, who doesn't have many MLB-known players, but is a team full of talent that has the added benefit of playing together much of the calendar year.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
Without a thorough analysis of the rosters, I think we'll see either the Dominican Republic or Venezuela come through and win the crown this spring. Both will be largely contingent on whether teams allow some of their top pitchers to show up for the tournament, but there's enough talent on both of these rosters to easily win this thing. Cuba will always have a chance as well, simply because they don't have the same restrictions as some other teams, and they have some very talented ball players. With a motivated Pedro Martinez trying to pitch his way to a 2009 contract, and a team loaded with top end offensive talent, I really think this will fall to the Dominican Republic in the coming weeks.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I'll take Venezuela to win the World Baseball Classic. I like their starting pitching depth, and they have a nice 1-2 punch in Felix Hernandez and Carlos Zambrano to lead the rotation. The offense should put runs on the board with the Tigers' trio of Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen, as well as Bobby Abreu and several other veterans that dot the roster. They should have no problems being one of two teams (the U.S. should be the other) to qualify out of pool play. The next round will be tough, as they'll have to likely have to contend with the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, and those will be some very spirited battles, but I think they'll have just enough pitching and offense to get by.
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