2023 World Baseball Classic: Everything You Need To Know


Mar 6, 2023

With Spring Training in full swing, baseball season has officially arrived in America. However, this year, fans of the sport won’t have to wait till the MLB season starts to get meaningful baseball. The long-awaited World Baseball Classic is upon us.

The fifth installment of the tournament takes place after being postponed twice due to the pandemic. It was last held in 2017 when the United States won its first-ever Classic. Set to play from March 8th – 21st, the WBC will feature some of the best players in the sport, as multiple big names from Major League Baseball are participating.

Odds to win the World Classic:
  • Dominican Republic (+210)
  • USA (+260)
  • Japan (+280)
  • Venezuela (+1300)
  • Korea (+1300)
  • Mexico (+1800)

There will be 20 teams participating in this year’s edition instead of the usual 16. This makes it the biggest WBC in history. The 16 teams participating in 2017 were invited again, and the remaining spots were filled through qualifiers. 

The teams were split into four pools depending on their world rankings and geographic locations. Each pool will compete in a round-robin style tournament, with each team playing the other once in their group. The top two countries from each pool then proceed to the Quarter-Finals, and the tournament continues from there.

Who’s Playing At The 2023 World Baseball Classic?

Pool A: Chinese Taipei, Netherlands, Cuba, Italy, Panama

Pool B: Japan, Korea, Australia, China, Czech Republic

Pool C: United States, Mexico, Colombia, Canada, Great Britain

Pool D: Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Israel, Nicaragua

As mentioned before, some of the biggest stars in the world will be in attendance for the Classic. Japan (+280) will have Shohei Ohtani and Yu Darvish. Puerto Rico (+2400) will have Edwin Diaz and Marcus Stroman. USA (+260) is ridiculously stacked, boasting Mookie Betts, Pete Alonso, Mike Trout, and many more MLB stars.

However, the most exciting roster is found with the favorites of the WBC, the Dominican Republic (+210). Julio Rodriguez, Juan Soto, and Jose Ramirez will feature for DR in this tournament.

The official rosters for each nation can be found here.

Where Will The WBC Be Played?

The coolest part about the Classic is how it truly reaches every corner of the planet. Not only does it include teams from all over the world, but the first round is always played in four different locations:

  • Pool A will take place in Taichung, Taiwan
  • Pool B will take place in Tokyo, Japan
  • Pool C will take place in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Pool D will take place in Miami, Florida

Quarter Finals will be held in Tokyo (Pools A and B) and Miami (Pools C and D). Both the Semi-Finals and the Championship game will be held in Miami.

When Will Each Round Be Played?

The World Baseball Classic officially starts on March 8th, 2023.

Pools A and B will play from March 8th-13th, while Pools C and D will play from the 11th-15th. The Quarter Finals will be held between March 15th-18th, and the Semi-Finals are scheduled for March 19th-20th. The Championship game will be played on the 21st.

Incentives And Accolades

A big reason why the World Baseball Classic was created, to begin with, was to help grow the sport globally. It has very much succeeded in doing so, as baseball is played professionally in more countries now than ever before.

The prize pool for this year’s edition is the highest it’s ever been at $14.4 million. Each team receives $300,000 for attending and gets further bonuses for each round progressed. The champion can walk away with as much as $3 million.

However, prize money is not the only incentive to do well at the tournament. A WBC MVP will be named, and an All–WBC Team will be decided after the Championship.

Best Bets

All Odds Courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook

Dominican Republic To Win (+210) 

This DR team is absolutely terrifying and has one of the best offenses at the WBC. Take them to win their second WBC Title.

Their young squad has a point to prove, and they are bringing one of the best rosters ever assembled on the international stage. Manny Machado, Jeremy Pena, Julio Rodriguez, Juan Soto, Jose Ramirez, and Sandy Alcantara…do I need to continue?

Puerto Rico To Qualify From Group D (+105)

Second place in Group D will be a fight between Puerto Rico and Venezuela, who both have impressive rosters. I have to back experience in this situation, so I’m taking Puerto Rico to qualify at +105.

Puerto Rico was the runner-up of the two most recent Classics, and although weaker than before, they can be confident in continuing their good form in international competitions. With MLB players such as Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor, and Marcus Stroman, the team should have enough quality to get into the knockout rounds. 

Italy To Qualify From Group A (+125)

Italy is sneaky good in this tournament and has the potential to reach deep into the knockout rounds. Take them to qualify from the weakest pool of the bunch at +125.

Managed by former big leaguer Mike Piazza, the squad has much experience on the big stages. If their pitching can hold up, the team should be able to qualify easily.

Thumbnail photo via Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

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