Can't wait to represent Team USA in the WBC!!!!! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
— Alex Bregman (@ABREG_1) January 13, 2017
With this announcement, he becomes the sixth Astros player so far that will represent their country in the World Baseball Classic. Other committed players include:
- Jose Altuve (Venezuela)
- Carlos Correa (Puerto Rico)
- Carlos Beltran (Puerto Rico)
- Nori Aoki (Japan)
- Luke Gregerson (United States)
While the Astros must be proud that their players are talented enough to be given this opportunity, they should be concerned with the quantity and quality of players that will be competing.
The Astros should be worried by the lack of repetitions the players will get together before the season begins. The chemistry between Correa and Altuve should not be at risk because they have spent almost two years turning double plays together. Potential problems could be with players who are unfamiliar with each other.
Bregman played less than 50 games with the Astros and could certainly benefit from getting the repetitions at third base, a position that is still relatively new to him.
Beltran, while no longer a viable option in the outfield, could be a valuable asset in teaching the young players who will be in the big league camp. Aoki could use the time in Spring Training to establish a rapport with the other outfielders. It would help avoid miscommunications once the season starts.
Although Gregerson is entering his third season with the Astros, it will be his first with Brian McCann behind the plate. The less time they spend together could result in confusion on what pitch to throw and when.
The concerns listed above are only minor. They are professionals and should be able to get up to speed despite the limited time they have. The biggest concern the Astros should have is the health of their players.
Spring Training is a time to get out all the kinks while not overexerting. The World Baseball Classic is not. It is a tournament that decides a world champion and the players treat it as such. Teams cannot block a player from competing in the tournament unless they are rehabbing an injury. So, they must let their players go and hope they do not sustain an injury that could jeopardize their season.
An elbow injury or a pulled hamstring can happen at any time, but what could the Astros do if a brawl broke out, like one did in 2013?
The Astros should be excited that some of their young players will be getting experience playing in high-intensity, pressure packed situations. However, they should also be crossing their fingers that all of their players return to Spring Training unscathed.
Dillon Healy is a Staff Writer for Outside Pitch MLB. You can follow him on Twitter here.