WBCQ Projected Rosters: Nicaragua

By Alex Ayala

[Ed. Note] Our first projected World Baseball Classic Qualifiers roster is for Nicaragua, a team that recently announced its long-list (linked below), which is the master roster submitted to the World Baseball Classic to show the potential pool of players. Nicaragua will compete in Pool 1 against Brazil, France, Germany, Pakistan, and South Africa. It also received a first-round bye after finishing second in Qualifier 2 in 2017, meaning it needs only two wins to advance to the 2021 World Baseball Classic.

Although Ayala first published his projected roster in January 2019, he predicted both young minor leaguers and Liga de Béisbol Professional Nacional (LBPN, the Nicaraguan National League) players with incredible foresight. Since then, Wilton Lopez has absented himself to “rest and focus on his water park” [link] (!) and Everth Cabrera also declined a position. Otherwise, only the bench and bullpen have significant changes. In fact, In fact, his list was mirrored closely by La Prensa [link], the Nicaragua paper with the most active baseball coverage. We turn things over now to Ayala, complete with his original comments.

Here is the potential WBC team for Nicaragua. Assuming the team receives all their players, you’ll see plenty of current MLB players. This is a team mixed with plenty of former and current minor leaguers with some playing in higher leagues. Definitely competitive enough to hold their own against tougher competition thanks to their pitching depth, Hitting might be a problem though. Can definitely beat some of the weaker teams in the main tournament. Could see them like upstart Colombia if managed right. In the qualifiers, if put in a tough pool, they can still win it, it just won’t be as easy.

  • The team is a favorite to qualify for the main tournament [if] everything clicks.
  • Strong enough to potentially win first round of main tournament and advance to the second round.

Rotation

Position
Player
Team
Current/Peak
SP
Erasmo Ramírez
Mets
Majors
SP
JC Ramírez
Free Agent
Majors
SP
Jonathan Loaisiga
Yankees
Majors
SP
Wilton López
Free Agent
Former ML
SP
Roniel Raudes
Red Sox
High-A
SP
Leo Crawford
Dodgers
Double-A

 Bullpen

Position
Player
Team
Current/Peak
SP/RP
Carlos Teller
Durango
Mexican Baseball League
SP/RP
Dilmer Mejía
Braves
High-A
RP
Diomar Lopez
Reds
High-A
RP
Kevin Gadea
LBPN
Full-Season A
RP
Jairo Beras
Rangers
Double-A
RP
Fidencio Flores
Free Agent
GCL
RP
Jorge Bucardo
LBPN
Triple-A
RP
Randy Pondler
Blue Jays
Double-A
RP
Nelson Leon
Mets
Full-Season A
SP/RP
Osmán Gutierrez
Free Agent
Full Season
SP
Nixson Munoz
Red Sox
DSL
RP
Carlos Gonzalez
Free Agent
Double-A
RP
Jhonny Polanco
Free Agent
Double-A
RP
Berman Espinoza
Free Agent
VSL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheslor Cuthbert, Copyright @BeisbolNic.

Line-Up

Position
Player
Team
Current/Peak
CF
Ismael Munguía
Giants
Full-Season A
DH
Everth Cabrera
Los Mochis
MLB
SS
Álex Blandino
Reds
MLB
3B
Cheslor Cuthbert
White Sox
MLB
DH
Wuillians Vasquez
LBPN
Full-Season A
1B
Ofilio Castro
LBPN
Double-A
2B
Elmer Reyes
LBPN
Triple-A
C
Melvin Novoa
Rangers
High-A
LF
Jilton Calderon
Never Signed
Caribbean Series
LF
Renato Morales
Free Agent
High-A
RF
Dwight Britton
Never Signed

Bench

Position Player Team Current/Peak
C
Janior Montes
Never Signed
C
Rodolfo Bone
Giants
AZL
C/INF
Edgard Montiel
Citta (IBL)
DSL
INF
Omar Obregon
Free Agent
High-A
INF
Brandon Leyton
Diamondbacks
Full-Season A
OF
Isaac Benard
Florence
Low-A
OF
Gean Rigby
Free Agent
DSL
INF
Ronald Garth
Free Agent
High-A

Team training at the National Stadium, Copyright @selebeisbolnic.

Strength: Pitching, particularly the starting rotation.
Man, that’s a great starting three to have. If they have those starters in the qualifiers I put them as favorites to win a spot in the main tournament. If this team makes it to the main tournament, the SP alone would help them keep games close with first-tier teams like DR and PR. With a rotation like that, there is probably a good chance this team might not get regulated back to the qualifier if they face one of the weaker teams like Italy, Australia, or Cuba and win.

Bullpen is hit or miss. They definitely have pieces to hold the lead or keep a game close, especially since two starting pitchers will probably be in the bullpen. With those SP there, they could do tandem starting, especially with the pitching limits in the first round of the WBC. Only four pitchers are currently in the [high] minors [and] everybody else either never pitched past full season before being released.

In other words, the former minor leaguers in the bullpen would really need to have strong performances if they are used in the main tournament. In the qualifiers, the bullpen can probably hold their own and be solid if things go well.

Weakness: Hitting
Besides Cheslor Cuthbert and Álex Blandino, they really don’t have much to offer. Their hitters can probably be good enough in the qualifiers but if this team makes it to the main tournament, I believe their hitters will have a hard time against more advanced pitching.

There are two players in the Mexican League who can probably hold their own, but besides Everth Cabera who played in the Majors, Elmer Reyes never hit MLB pitching before (though he does have minor league experience going as high as Triple-A and is [a career .317 hitter] in Mexico). Nearly everyone else either was never signed or was released, never making it past Double-A, aside from two current minor league players.

Our series continues tomorrow with Panamá.

Articles in this series:
Introduction [Link]
Pakistan [Link]
Panama [Link]

About Gabriel Fidler

Extra Innings UK covers baseball around the world, focussing on the sport at the national team level, with features on prominent players, scouting reports, and occasional breaking news. We are fully credentialled by MLB and have covered the World Baseball Classic, continental championships, and the U.S. minor leagues.
This entry was posted in Central America, Nicaragua, Tournaments, World Baseball Classic Qualifiers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.