Arizona will be the host site for Pool C of the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Five teams — Canada, Columbia, Great Britain, Mexico, and defending champion USA — will look to advance to the quarterfinals out of this group. So, how do each of the five shake out? Let’s take a look.
Pool C in the 2023 WBC
It’s hard to talk about Pool C without mentioning the potential talent that could have been at Chase Field this month. Team USA won’t have Bryce Harper (elbow), Nestor Cortes (hamstring), or Clayton Kershaw for the event. Team Great Britain lost arguably its top star, Jazz Chisholm Jr., after Miami moved him to the outfield for 2023. And for Canada, it won’t have 1B/OF Josh Naylor and Nick Pivetta (illness) for this WBC.
It’s fair to say, though, that the U.S. are the least-affected group — for obvious reasons. Team USA owns a deep group sans those aforementioned names. Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, and and Mookie Betts are set to form a very strong lineup. And on the pitching side of things, Lance Lynn, Brady Singer, and Adam Wainwright will look to lead the U.S. to a second straight WBC crown.
The U.S. isn’t a lock, but the Americans are the heavy favorites to win the group.
As far as the rest of the pool goes, let’s start with Great Britain. Great Britain will feature some intriguing names, highlighted by Mariners prospect Harry Ford and Trayce Thompson. But, the U.K.’s chances of moving past Pool C are not high.
Canada will bring back slugger Freddie Freeman, Tyler O’Neill and a plethora of long-time veterans of the Canadian national team. It won’t be easy, but the Canadians do have the talent to make a sleeper run in Pool C.
Columbia took a hit when LHP José Quintana bowed out of the WBC due to a rib stress fracture. Quintana was set to be the ace for the Columbian pitching staff. We’ll see if a solid lineup led by Gio Urshela, Harold Ramirez, and A’s prospect Jordan Diaz can offset that loss.
Lastly, Team Mexico was also dealt a blow when 2022 All-Star Alejandro Kirk pulled out of the WBC. But with Austin Barnes on the roster, Mexico should be fine. Team Mexico boasts a very strong pitching staff, with two strong lefties in Julio Urias and Patrick Sandoval and new Phillies right-hander Taijuan Walker. Offensively, 20-20 man Randy Arozarena will be joined by Rowdy Tellez, Alex Verdugo, and Isaac Paredes.
Our picks to advance in Pool C are the USA (C1) and Mexico (C2).