2023 World Baseball Classic Predictions

After a six-year hiatus, the World Baseball Classic is back. Rosters are stacked with elite talent from around the world, and the excitement and stakes seem higher than ever. It’s all building toward a tournament that should be quite entertaining.

But which team will hoist the championship trophy March 21 in Miami? The Sporting News baseball experts predict which teams will battle to be the last one standing.

2023 World Baseball Classic predictions

2023 World Baseball Classic Predictions – Ryan Fagan, national MLB writer

Semi-final 1: USA over Japan

Semi-final 2: Dominican Republic over Korea

Championship: Dominican Republic over USA

MVP: Sandy Alcantara

Thoughts: It’s the moments along the way that I’m most excited for, and the absolutely loaded rosters of these four teams should provide plenty of moments. Everyone seems focused on the Dominican Republic lineup, with stars like Julio Rodriguez, Manny Machado, Rafael Devers and Juan Soto (holy wow, batmen), but I just can’t get past the equally stacked pitching staff. Having all those dominant relievers seems like a perfect recipe for success in a preseason tournament with pitch counts and an emphasis on protecting pitchers’ health. And, yeah, having a Cy Young winner like Sandy Alcantara as the kicker, potentially facing that loaded USA lineup in the title game? That’s the good stuff.

Who will I regret not picking to make the semifinals? Probably Venezuela. Maybe Italy, a potential surprise team. I mean, the Italian team is led by Vinnie Pasquantino, the Royals’ budding charismatic star who has the nickname Italian Breakfast. C’mon, that’s like a perfect Hollywood script for a WBC movie, right? Mexico has a damn good roster, with better pitching than you might think. The Netherlands always plays well. And Puerto Rico might not have its best WBC roster of all-time, but that’s still a star-studded cast.

2023 World Baseball Classic Predictions – Jason Foster, senior MLB editor

Semi-final 1: USA over Cuba

Semi-final 2: Japan over Dominican Republic

Championship: USA over Japan

MVP: Mike Trout

Thoughts: These rosters are loaded and it seems like there are several legitimate title contenders in the field. This is the most talent ever assembled for this tournament, and there are so many intriguing potential matchups — perhaps most notably Shohei Ohtani vs. Mike Trout in the title game.

On paper, the D.R. looks like it could dominate the world, literally. But Team USA’s super-roster should prove just as formidable and march the stars and stripes to a second championship. Or none of that will happen because baseball is weird and unexpected things happen all the time, which is why we watch. Dark horse prediction: Cuba ends up a surprise contender. 

As I wrote earlier this week, regardless of how it turns out, this will be the year when the WBC finally becomes a truly big deal.

2023 World Baseball Classic Predictions – Elliott Pohnl, managing editor

Semi-final 1: Dominican Republic over Korea

Semi-final 2: Japan over Puerto Rico

Championship: Dominican Republic over Japan

MVP: Julio Rodriguez

Thoughts: Korea brings a decent lineup and a very solid pitching staff into the WBC, but the Dominican Republic has a lineup that is just incredibly stacked. With Manny Machado, Juan Soto, Rafael Devers and Julio Rodriguez leading the way, the D.R. will storm into the championship game. I like Puerto Rico to beat the USA to get to the semis thanks to great defense and what is probably the strongest set of arms in the WBC. 

Normally pitching and defense goes a long way in a tournament like this, but the Japan lineup is flush with power. Japan will advance to the final in thrilling fashion thanks to a Lars Nootbaar home run. Power versus power, stars versus stars. Talk about a perfect ending to what will be a great tournament. Baseball fans will find themselves wishing the championship was best-of-seven. Specific prediction: Julio Rodriguez has a moment in Miami, hitting two homers to help the Dominican Republic win it all.

2023 World Baseball Classic Predictions – Edward Sutelan, content producer

Semi-final 1: Dominican Republic over the Netherlands

Semi-final 2: Japan over USA

Championship: Japan over Dominican Republic

MVP: Munetaka Murakami

Thoughts: Global baseball fans are about to realize just how deep Japan’s roster really is. Yu Darvish would be the ace for most teams, but he’s likely third in Japan behind Roki Sasaki and Shohei Ohtani. And while Ohtani is the big bat in the lineup, watch out for dynamic, power-hitting infielders Tetsuto Yamada and Munetaka Murakami to help make this one of the most explosive offenses in the WBC.

The USA will put together a strong effort in trying to repeat, however, with a deep lineup that features three MVP winners and has speed, defense and power, but facing Japan in the semis is a difficult draw. The Dominican Republic should give Japan a tough run in the championship, particularly with its stacked lineup and loaded bullpen, but the loss of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. looms large in a field where every star matters.

2023 World Baseball Classic Predictions – Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is an island country in the Caribbean that is populated by people of mixed European and African origins. It has a rich cultural history and is a popular tourist destination. It also features a free-trade zone that has replaced its dependence on sugar, coffee and other exports.

The DR was a major winner in the 2013 World Baseball Classic and has the potential to return as a heavy favorite this year. Their starting rotation is stacked and their bullpen has some of the best arms in the game today, which should help them escape pool play to reach the championship round.

Their hitters feature some of the most powerful in the game, including Juan Soto and Julio Rodriguez in the outfield; Manny Machado, Wander Franco, Rafael Devers and Jeremy Pena in the infield; and Sandy Alcantara on the mound. They also have a solid lineup of relievers that includes Roansy Contreras, Johnny Cueto and Framber Valdez.

While the DR has the strongest starting rotation in the WBC, they don’t have the most depth in the middle of their rotation. That may not matter much if they can get through pool play and make a deep run.

There is one big question about the DR’s pitching staff, however: How will they handle the long ball? That will likely be a huge challenge, as many of their opponents are known for slugging in tournament ball.

That said, if the DR can avoid getting hit, they should be able to make a deep run in 2023. They have a strong lineup and a great coaching staff.

They’ll also have a good chance of making a deep run in Pool D, which will be the toughest group in the tournament. Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Israel are all stacked teams that could give the DR a run for its money.

If the DR does escape pool play, then they’ll have a chance to beat out both Puerto Rico and Venezuela to take home the WBC title. If the DR can do that, it will become the first team to win the World Baseball Classic more than once.

2023 World Baseball Classic Predictions – Japan

Japan has been a dominating force in the World Baseball Classic since it first appeared in 2006. They have won the tournament two times (2006 and 2009) and reached the semifinals twice (2013 and 2017).

The 2023 WBC features all 16 teams from the previous year and four new ones. The Czech Republic, Great Britain and Nicaragua are making their debuts while Panama will return after missing out on two WBCs.

As the world’s only island nation, Japan is home to some amazing landscapes and natural environments. There are volcanic peaks, such as Mount Fuji, a world-famous destination for viewing snowfall, and beautiful underwater landscapes in which you can snorkel or take glass-bottom boat rides across reefs teeming with fish.

There is also a long history of cultural exchange and cooperation between the country and other countries. A major event, the Cherry Blossom Festival, draws thousands of people every spring to see blooming trees and other floral displays.

Japanese culture is very unique, and it can be found in many forms. One of the most common is drum-beating and trumpet-playing during games. But it can also be seen in the way that fans wear masks when they cheer for their favorite team.

The World Baseball Classic will happen in a number of locations, including Taiwan and Japan. Each team will play two warmup games before competing in the competition. Pool A games will be played in Taichung, Taiwan, while Pool B matches will be held at Tokyo Dome.

This year’s field features some of the best players in the world, including a pair of MLB superstars from Los Angeles: Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. The two-way star is a two-time 2021 AL MVP who will pitch and DH for Japan, while Trout is a three-time MVP and the captain of Team USA.

With such a strong lineup, it’s no surprise that Japan is one of the favorites to win this year’s tournament. Their roster includes a World Series-caliber rotation, led by the two-way star Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels, as well as current and future MLB aces Yu Darvish and Seiya Suzuki.

2023 World Baseball Classic Predictions – Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has reached the World Baseball Classic championship game in back-to-back editions and is now looking to repeat in 2023. It has a talented lineup that includes longtime standouts Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez, as well as a slew of other MLB talent, including Edwin Diaz.

The DR’s squad is loaded with premium defenders, dangerous base stealers, prodigious sluggers and a deep cast of proven power arms that makes it the prohibitive favorite to win the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Despite a tough pool that features Dominican Republic and Venezuela, Puerto Rico has a chance to make it all the way.

A strong catching unit led by Martin Maldonado and Christian Vazquez, along with up-and-comer MJ Melendez, gives the Puerto Ricans a nice mix of veteran experience and mash potential in the WBC. Combined with the team’s manager, former Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, this is a sneaky-good unit that could have some success in Miami.

Cuba has a strong and balanced lineup that features free agent Yoenis Cespedes and former MLB players Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada, among others. The former is an All-Star with a record of 79 hits in his first three World Baseball Classics, while the latter holds a tournament record for home runs with 7.

This team will have to work hard to get to the semifinals, but it has plenty of talent and will be tough to beat. The biggest issue could be if the starting rotation is strong enough, especially after losing Carlos Correa to the Twins and Jose Miranda to injury.

But if they can find their best pitchers, the DR has a solid chance to reach the finals. A lot will depend on how hitters react to the pitching staff, and whether or not the DR’s bullpen is able to handle the workload.

While the USA has been a dominant force in the World Baseball Classic, it hasn’t always come away with the title. That will change in 2023, as the USA’s roster is arguably its best in years.

The USA’s roster has a ton of talent and pizazz, but it is also pretty top-heavy compared to its 2017 squad. It has one of the strongest bullpens in the World Baseball Classic, with Edwin Diaz, Alexis and Jorge Diaz and Jovani Moran all capable of shutting down any offense. The rest of the team is a mix of MLB players and prospects that should be able to play their part in bringing the US back to the World Baseball Classic finals.

2023 World Baseball Classic Predictions – United States

Team USA is the defending champions, and they’ve assembled one of the strongest rosters in the tournament. Superstars Mike Trout, Trea Turner, Mookie Betts and Nolan Arenado are all on the squad, along with a staff led by former MLB manager Mark DeRosa.

The 2023 World Baseball Classic is scheduled to start March 8. It will feature 67 MLB All-Stars and 186 players on 40-man rosters, and will take place in Japan, Taiwan, Miami and Phoenix.

Teams are split into four pools of five, and the top two teams in each pool advance to the quarterfinals, semis and championship games. The championship game will be played in Miami on March 21, which will be broadcast live on Fox, FS1, FS2, FOX Deportes and Tubi.

A lot of the stars on Team USA’s final roster are veterans, and they’ll need to show up in big games. But it also has a strong lineup, including Trout for the first time and Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Mookie Betts and J.T. Taylor, and a bullpen that can close out games in the middle innings.

It’s a team that reminds us of the Kansas City Royals in 2015, with aggressive hitters and flashy defense. And it has a rotation that should be strong, though it’s hard to tell how much it will rely on St. Louis Cardinals veterans Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas.

There aren’t many other big-name stars on the team, but there is a lot of depth. Brady Singer is a starter to watch out for, and he was one of the better 2022 rotations, with a 3.20 ERA and 2.27 FIP in 231 innings.

Other notable players on the team include Merrill Kelly, who has made it to MLB’s All-Star Game in each of the past three seasons, and a group of talented youngsters who are expected to step up as young prospects. Some of these are already in the MLB, while others are fresh out of college or have just completed their professional careers.

Puerto Rico, the losing finalists in the last two editions of the WBC, looks to go one better in 2023 and win its first title. Its roster features a host of MLB players, ranging from 22-year-old infielder Jarryd Dale to 41-year-old veteran pitcher Oliver Perez.

Source From:https://www.sportingnews.com/us/mlb/news/2023-world-baseball-classic-predictions-sporting-news-picks-champion-mvp/znc5uik5ewwnd3tmgvyd59sa
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