After a six-year wait, the 2023 World Baseball Classic is set to commence on March 7 in the United States. Twenty teams across four pools will look to try and win it all, but only one will do so. We have our picks, so let’s go through our predictions for the entire tournament, from pool play to the final in Miami.
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- Pool A: Netherlands (A1) and Italy (A2)
- Pool B: Japan (B1) and Korea (B2)
- Pool C: USA (C1) and Mexico (C2)
- Pool D: Dominican Republic (D1) and Venezuela (D2)
We feel fairly confident that the Netherlands, Japan, USA, and the Dominican Republic will make it out of pool play. Then, things get a little complex.
We picked Italy to advance in Pool A past Cuba. Cuba does have some good talent like Luis Robert, Yoan Moncada, and Andy Ibanez. But, Mike Piazza‘s Italy and its collection of young hitters like Vinnie Pasquantino. David Fletcher, Sal Frelick and an unheralded pitching staff that includes hard-throwing Stephen Woods and crafty right Matt Festa can surprise.
Aside from Italy, Korea should glide into the quarters, as should Mexico. Pool D is the toughest to gauge, but we think Venezuela’s pitching puts that group ahead of Puerto Rico.
- Netherlands (A1) def. Korea (B2)
- Japan (B1) def. Italy (A2)
- Dominican Republic (D1) def. Mexico (C2)
- Venezuela (D2) def. USA (C1)
Japan and the Dominican Republic should advance to the semifinals in Miami without much of a problem. However, we do have one notable upset projected. Venezuela’s offense is poised to take advantage of a U.S. team that doesn’t boast as strong of a pitching staff, as compared to when the Americans won in 2017.
- Dominican Republic def. Netherlands
- Japan def. Venezuela
In the final four, we predict that the Dominican Republic returns to the final for the first time in ten years. Meanwhile, Japan has a clear shot to return to the WBC final for the first time since 2009.
- Dominican Republic def. Japan
In the final, we think that the Dominican Republic, led by Manny Machado and Julio Rodriguez, will come out on top. But, we won’t know for sure until the games take place.