Recently, the MLB Network decided to re-air Team USA’s playoff games in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
This run for Team USA was none other than impressive. The team headlined by All-Stars such as Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew McCutchen, Nolan Arenado, Buster Posey and more, led the team to a World Baseball Classic Championship against Team Puerto Rico in Dodger Stadium.
With this begin said, the question I bring up is who will be on the 2021 Team USA roster? Let’s take a dive into the projected defense and pitching staff for Team USA.
In 2017, the man behind the plate for Team USA was potential Hall-of-Famer Buster Posey. Buster Posey’s strongest days are behind him and I believe we will see a new face starting on the 2021 roster; J.T Realmuto.
Realmuto is the best all-around catcher in Major League Baseball and he is a lock to be be a starter for Team USA in the next World Baseball Classic.
Third Base and Shortstop
On the 2017 Team USA roster, the left side of the infield was the combination of Nolan Arenado and Brandon Crawford. You can pencil in Arenado to stay right where he is and most likely hitting cleanup for Team USA in 2021.
On the other hand, the shortstop reigns once held by Brandon Crawford will be passed on to a player who was the backup behind Crawford; Alex Bregman. Bregman’s quick hands and electric bat can certainly help Team USA repeat in 2021.
Second Base and First Base
On the other side of the diamond, new faces will appear at second and first base for Team USA. It’s time for fresh gloves to take over Eric Hosmer and Ian Kinsler’s spots.
At first base, no doubt the electric and young Pete Alonso of the New York Mets will take over. At second base, I believe the New York Yankees, hold the 2021 second baseman starter in DJ LeMahieu. The top five voted MVP last season will certainly produce a quality at bat every time he steps into the box for Team USA.
Team USA’s 2017 outfield roster consisted of Adam Jones, Andrew McCutchen, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich. Stanton and Yelich will most definitely be on the 2021 roster for Team USA.
Other candidates for the outfield position will include Mike Trout, Aaron Judge and Whit Merrifield and Mookie Betts. When Staton placed as adesignated hitter, Aaron Judge will step up defensively and play the outfield. Without debate, this 2021 Team USA outfield depth chart is something special to watch for fans.
Starting / Relief Pitchers
On the 2017 pitching staff, besides Marcus Stroman, the pitching staff was not the sharpest.
Though, the potential pitching rotation for Team USA in 2021 is filled with superstars.
Gerrit Cole, whom recently signed the largest contract in Major League Baseball history for a pitcher with the New York Yankees. Jacob deGrom, a back to back CY Young winner. Stephen Strasburg, a World Series MVP. Justin Verlander, two time CY Young Winner. To round it out, the man who ultimaely led Team USA to victory in their championship game in 2017, Marcus Stroman.
Up and down this rotation is talent, and a nightmare for opposing hitters.
In relief, if all works out, Team USA will have a lethal combination of Josh Hader, Brad Hand, Will Harris, Will Smith and Kirby Yates. Any of these relief pitchers would be the best on their teams but to have them on THE SAME team…man that’s scary!
Team USA’s 2021 projected roster is something special. The potential for them to repeat is certainly looking like a very possible outcome. We’ll just have to wait and see.