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A deeper look at Canada’s World Baseball Classic infielders

Written on February 12, 2013 at 11:03, by headtothenet

HTTN continues it’s in-depth series on the WBC roster

-by David Kloepfer

Are you excited to see your motley collection of Canucks take on the Italians, Mexicans, and U.S. of A-ers? I know I am. Mostly.

Last week we delved deep-ish into Team Canada’s pitching staff. This week it’s the infield. We start behind the plate.

Russell Martin C (b. Feb. 15, 1983 in East York, Ont.)

After spouting some crap about wanting to play shortstop, Martin came to the conclusion — completely on his own of course — that he’s best suited to play the position he’s been playing regularly for the last ten years. Unbelievable.

The last time Martin played short was in 2002 when he was 19, and it was for one game with the Dodgers’ rookie-ball affiliate in the Gulf Coast League. Right, what team Canada needs is a creaky-kneed catcher stumbling around in the 6 spot. Thanks for the help, Russell.

Chris Robinson C (b. May 12, 1984 in London, Ont.)

Robinson was initially drafted in the 30th round of the 2002 draft by the New York Mets but declined the offer to attend the University of Illinois and play for the Fighting Illini (think “Indians” or “Braves” or some similarly insulting name). He reentered the draft in 2005 and was taken 90th overall by the Tigers.

Robinson is a veteran of international baseball, having been on the roster for the 2003 and 2009 World Cup teams, the 2011 Pan American Games team (3G, 3 for 13), and the 2006 World Baseball Classic (1 for 1) team.

Jimmy Van Ostrand 1B (b. Aug. 7, 1984 in Vancouver, B.C.)

Van Ostrand, also part of the 2011 Pan American Gold medal team, played a significant role in helping Canada qualify for the 2013 WBC by going 7 for 13 with 4 home runs.

Van Ostrand is on the AA Harrisburg Senators’ (Nationals affiliate) 2013 roster as an outfielder. With Morneau — and hopefully Votto — on the team, there’s not much chance Van Ostrand will appear at first, but you might see him in the outfield.

By the way, if you’re ever extraordinarily bored, you can watch the qualifying games for the 2013 World Baseball Classic in their entirety on the WBC website.

Justin Morneau 1B (b. May 15, 1981 in New Westminster, B.C.)

Morneau put together a decent 2012 season after missing the second half of 2010 with a concussion and most of 2011 with a collection of other injuries.

His 134 games played last year was his most since 2009, and while 47 XBH (19 HR) and a .267 BA are respectable, Morneau is a shadow of the man he once was.

He’ll be 32 this year, so there’s still time for him to put together a few more all-star calibre seasons. Hopefully he’ll kick off 2013 with a strong run for Team Canada.

Pete Orr 2B (b. June 8, 1979 in Richmond Hill, Ont.)

Orr hit .315 with a .772 OPS in 35 games with the Phillies last year. He earned my annual salary in about 3 at bats.

Here’s a video of Pete Orr getting tangled up with five giant sausages:

That’s the famous Milwaukee Brewer’s Sausage Race you just witnessed. A nod to the Brewers is in order for respecting the cultural diversity of tubed meat products: Mexican, Italian, Polish, Austro-Bavarian, and good ol’ fashion ‘merican sausages all have a place in Milwaukee.

Orr himself is no stranger to run-ins with pork-based mascots. The AAA Philadelphia affiliate Lehigh Valley IronPigs employ Diggity (the hot-) Dog, Chris P. Bacon, and Hambone, a succulent looking bone-in hamsteak, as their mid-inning entertainment.

Cale Iorg SS (b. Sept. 6, 1985 in Toronto, Ont.)

Cale Iorg can’t hit.

Iorg, son of former Blue Jay Garth, was a highly regarded Tigers prospect in 2007 (ranked 3rd in their organization by Baseball America that year) but he hasn’t translated that perceived talent into success at the plate.

Since 2007, his batting average has been in steady decline, reaching a vomity .157 with the AAA Mud Hens last year, which cost him his gig as their starting shortstop.

How great are MiLB team names, by the way?

Jonathan Malo SS (b. Sept. 29, 1983 in Joliette, Que.)

Malo played in the Can-Am Independant League last year for the Quebec Capitales, which might have been nice for him because he’s from Quebec, or absolutely terrible because it’s the Can-Am Independant League and nobody cares about it.

Malo was drafted 1,197th in the 2002 MLB draft by the New York Mets. He was also on the 2011 Pan American Games team. He played well in that tournament as the starting shortstop, going 5 for 15, but Iorg wasn’t on the roster. It’ll be interesting to see who gets the starting job.

Taylor Green (b. Nov. 2, 1986 in Comox, B.C.)

In 58 games with the Brewers last year, Green posted a .184/.265/.340 slash-line.

A B.C. native, Green played for the Parksville Royals of the B.C. Premier Baseball league winning the Tyler Phillips Award for outstanding first-year player at 16.

Green ripped up AAA in 2011, posting a .997 OPS and hitting 22 bombs, and was looking like a serious prospect to play third for the Milwaukee Brewers according to some reports. Then the Brewers signed Aramis Ramirez.

Brett Lawrie 3B (b. Jan. 18, 1990 in Langley, B.C.)

If you’re a Jays fan, it’s easy to forget Lawrie turned 23 only a month ago. His name has been front and centre to the organization’s marketing strategy since he was acquired for Shaun Marcum in December 2010.

His debut call-up with the Jays in 2011 was impressive, and he put together a decent 2012 campaign considering it was his first full season and he was only 22.

Also, if you’re a Jays fan, you’ll know he plays baseball like he rented his body from Budget on somebody else’s credit card.

Hopefully Lawrie does some impressive shit for Team Canada in this tournament so we’ll have something to cheer about — because they sure aren’t winning anything — but more importantly, he better not run directly through a wall or smash himself over the head with a bat after a bad plate appearance thus ruining the Jays’ depth chart for the season.


Team Canada’s outfield, hopefully something about Joey Votto, and reports on Jays spring training.