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Examining Rockies' World Baseball Classic Past and Present

Looking back on how Rockies have fared in the two previous World Baseball Classics and looking ahead to who will play in the tournament in 2013

Carlos Gonzalez, holding a Venezuelan flag during festivities at the 2012 MLB All-Star Game, will represent his home country along with teammates Jhoulys Chacin and Ramon Hernandez at the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Carlos Gonzalez, holding a Venezuelan flag during festivities at the 2012 MLB All-Star Game, will represent his home country along with teammates Jhoulys Chacin and Ramon Hernandez at the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Dilip Vishwanat

With the final rosters announced for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, it is interesting to take a look at how Rockies players, both present and past, fared in the first two editions of the tournament at the MLB seasons that followed.

2006 World Baseball Classic:

2006 Rockies participants: RHP Byung-hyun Kim (South Korea), RHP Sunny Kim (South Korea), LHP Jeff Francis (Canada), RHP David Cortes (Mexico), C Miguel Ojeda (Mexico), LHP Brian Fuentes (United States), OF Matt Holliday (United States), RHP Manuel Corpas (Panama)

2013 Rockies participants: LHP Jeff Francis (Canada), LHP Jorge de la Rosa (Mexico),Coach Marcel Lachemann (United States), C Ramon Hernandez (Venezuela), RHP Rafael Betancourt (Venezuela)

Other notable Rockies participants: Coach Larry Walker (Canada), RHP Rodrigo Lopez (Mexico), 3B Vinny Castilla (Mexico), LHP Huston Street (United States), IF Ronnie Belliard (Dominican Republic), RHP Julian Tavarez (Dominican Republic), OF Willy Taveras (Dominican Republic), IF Marco Scutaro (Venezuela),

The 2006 Rockies sent eight players to the World Baseball Classic, six of them pitchers. Among the most notable was Jeff Francis with Canada. Francis started Canada's final game of the WBC against Mexico, allowing six earned runs in just 1 1/3 innings of work in a game the Canadians lost, 9-1. However, Francis went on to have a breakout season for the Rockies in '06, going 13-11 with a career-best 4.16 ERA while logging 199 innings.

Pitchers Byung-hyun Kim and Sunny Kim represented the Rockies on a South Korean squad that lost in the semifinals to Japan. Byung-hyun Kim pitched 4 2/3 innings in four relief appearances, three of them scoreless, and struck out 7. He went on to compile a 5.57 ERA in 27 starts with the Rockies in 2006. Sunny Kim started South Korea's 3-2 win over Japan in Pool A play, but pitched just seven innings for Colorado the following season.

The only starting position player the Rockies sent to the 2006 WBC was left fielder Matt Holliday. Holliday got only six at bats for the USA, going hitless. He then went on to make his first all-star appearance in 2006, hitting .326/.387/.586 with 34 home runs and 114 runs batted in.

Other notable Rockies-related performances in the 2006 WBC included Jorge de la Rosa and Rafael Betancourt combining to pitch five scoreless innings and a 38-year-old Vinny Castilla going 7-for-24 for Mexico before making his final appearances as a Rockie toward the end of the 2006 season.

2009 World Baseball Classic:

2009 Rockies participants: LHP Adam Bright* (Australia), RHP Jason Grilli (Italy), C Chris Iannetta (United States), RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (Dominican Republic), RHP Manuel Corpas (Panama)

* Played for AA Tulsa in 2009

2013 Rockies participants: RHP Adam Ottavino (Italy), Coach Marcel Lachemann (United States), C Ramon Hernandez (Venezuela), RHP Manuel Corpas (Panama)

Other notable Rockies participants: Manager Vinny Castilla (Mexico), RHP Rodrigo Lopez (Mexico), Coach Larry Walker (Canada), RHP Jeremy Guthrie (United States), RHP LaTroy Hawkins (United States), RHP Matt Lindstrom (United States), Coach Andres Galarraga (Venezuela), C Henry Blanco (Venezuela), IF Melvin Mora (Venezuela), IF Marco Scutaro (Venezuela), RHP Julian Tavarez (Dominican Republic), OF Willy Taveras (Dominican Republic),

The Rockies had much less of a presence at the World Baseball Classic in 2009, sending just four active major leaguers and one minor leaguer to the tournament.

The most prominent of the Rockies representatives at the 2009 WBC was pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez started the Dominican Republic's elimination game against the Netherlands, striking out 10 in four scoreless innings. However, the Dominicans lost the game, 2-1, in 11 innings. Jimenez went on to post a 15-12 record for the Rockies in 2009 with a 3.47 ERA striking out 198 in 218 innings. He also started Games 1 and 4 of the 2009 NLDS against the Phillies.

The Rockies also sent a catcher to the WBC for the second time. Chris Iannetta had a great tournament for the United States, going 6-for-13 with four walks, a home run and six runs batted in. He played 93 games for the Rockies in 2006, hitting 15 home runs and posting an .804 OPS.

Perhaps the club's most significant contribution to the '09 World Baseball Classic came in the dugout, with three former Blake Street Bombers in coaching roles. Vinny Castilla managed the Mexican team to a 2-4 record, while Larry Walker and Andres Galarraga serving as hitting coaches for Canada and Venezuela, respectively.

2013 World Baseball Classic:

2013 Rockies participants: RHP David Kandilas* (Australia), RHP Jhoulys Chacin (Venezuela), C Ramon Hernandez (Venezuela), OF Carlos Gonzalez (Venezuela), Coach Marcel Lachemann (United States)

* Played for Low-A Asheville in 2012

Other notable Rockies participants: RHP Rodrigo Lopez (Mexico), RHP Jason Grilli (Italy), LHP Jeremy Affeldt (United States), IF Marco Scutaro (Venezuela), Coach Larry Walker (Canada), Coach Andres Galarraga (Venezuela)

The Rockies will only be represented by major league players with Venezuela for the third edition of the World Baseball Classic. Three current or former Rockies will be participating in their third straight WBC, catcher Ramon Hernandez, first base coach Marcel Lachemann and former outfielder Larry Walker, who has been Canada's hitting coach in all three Classics to date.

Meanwhile, Carlos Gonzalez and Jhoulys Chacin each will make their first WBC appearance for a likely potent Venezuelan team that shares Pool C with the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Spain.

David Kandilas will also be the second straight Rockies minor leaguer to represent Australia.

It is perhaps notable that several Rockies, particularly Francis, Holliday and Jimenez, had breakout seasons after participating in the World Baseball Classic. Can Chacin follow in their footsteps? Can Gonzalez repeat Iannetta's standout performance in '09? We'll all find out in March.

Kandilas' Australian team opens its tournament at 9:30 p.m. Mountain time next Friday against Chinese Taipei, and Venezuela starts Pool C play at 4:30 p.m. MT on March 7 against the Dominican Republic.