Pool D is set to be the “pool of death” in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. This group includes a number of very talented national teams, but only two can advanced past pool play. Here’s how we think Pool D will shake out in Miami, Florida.
Related: Projecting Pool C of the 2023 World Baseball Classic
Pool D of the 2023 WBC
Pool D features three teams — the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela — that could not only advance out to the group, but win it all this month. That’s not say that Israel and Nicaragua will be pushovers. Both countries do feature Major League talent. Nicaragua’s roster includes hard-throwing righty Jonathan Loaisaiga and reliever Erasmo Ramirez. Ian Kinsler‘s Israel, on the other hand, will trot out a roster that includes OF Joc Pederson and MLB relievers Adam Kolarek and Richard Bleieir.
Those two countries, though, are heavy underdogs against the three powers in the “Pool of Death.”
Team Venezuela will bring a loaded lineup to Miami. Star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. will be joined alongside legendary infielder Miguel Cabrera, Andres Gimenez, Jose Altuve, and Eduard Escobar, among others. Venezuela’s pitching staff is quite strong, with LHP Martin Perez and RHP Pablo Lopez among the starters that are a part of this team.
2017 WBC runner-up Puerto Rico won’t have Carlos Correa, but it will have the dynamic duo of Javier Baez and Francisco Lindor. Puerto Rico is set to have a strong lineup, but it will need its starters to be on the top of their game. This includes Blue Jays RHP Jose Berrios, who struggled mightily in 2022.
Then, there’s the Dominican Republic. Team Dominican Republic’s lineup took a hit when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. bowed out due to a knee issue. We still don’t whether Juan Soto will be available to start the tournament, but even if the 24-year-old star won’t be available, the DR boasts a loaded group. Julio Rodriguez, Teoscar Hernandez, Manny Machado, Rafael Devers, and Sandy Alcantara are part of a Dominican Republic team that may very well be the favorite this year.
It’s tough to pick the two teams that will advance from this group, but we’ll go with the Dominican Republic (D1) and Venezuela (D2).