Graphic courtesy of MLB.com
MICHAEL TERZAKIS | SPORTS REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Overtime, or “OT,” is an opinion column series where the Collegian takes national sports headlines and gives them a Butler-centric angle.
The World Baseball Classic is set to return in 2023, with the tournament set to take place from March 9 through March 23. Baseball fans around the world are eagerly anticipating this event, as the wait for the WBC was prolonged from four years to six years due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as MLB lockout complications.
The WBC is an international baseball tournament that originated in 2006. This year’s tournament features 20 different countries that are split into five different divisions, with the top two teams from each division advancing to the tournament after pool play. The second round will consist of two groups of four teams each, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the semifinals. The semifinals and finals will be single-game elimination.
The WBC will be held in Japan, Taiwan and the United States, with the semifinals and finals taking place in Miami, Florida. There is no shortage of talent in this year’s tournament as many MLB players will be taking their talents to their homeland and fighting for a championship.
Here are three teams that have a strong chance to win the WBC.
Photo courtesy of Mike Blake/Reuters.
C Gary Sanchez
1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
2B Jose Ramirez
SS Jeremy Peña
3B Manny Machado
LF Eloy Jimenez
CF Julio Rodriguez
RF Juan Soto
DH Rafael Devers
The Dominican Republic is the favorite to win the World Baseball Classic according to BetUS, and there is a good reason for that. From top to bottom, there is not a single weakness on this roster, as this team has 11 MLB All-Stars from the 2022 season. The DR also has the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner in Sandy Alcantara, AL Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez holding things down in center field and the World Series MVP in Jeremy Pena at shortstop. But what stands out the most from any other team is their pitching. Every single pitcher in their starting rotation threw over 145 innings and posted an ERA under three during the 2022 regular season.
Junior sports media major T.J Morin believes this is one of the best teams to ever enter the WBC.
“I think [from] top to bottom, you can definitely make that argument,” Morin said. “You look at one through nine and they have so many sluggers, on top of that, they have the best pitching in the tournament, and it’s not even close.”
If the DR can have those four guys pitch six innings, they can then turn to Seranthony Dominguez, Gregory Soto and Emmanuel Clase for nine outs, imposing a nightmare for the other team. This team is by far the most well-rounded and has to be the pick to win it all.
Graphic courtesy of MLB.com.
C J.T. Realmuto
1B Paul Goldschmidt
2B Jeff McNeil
3B Nolan Arenado
SS Trea Turner
LF Kyle Tucker
CF Mike Trout
RF Mookie Betts
DH Pete Alonso
SP Merrill Kelly
SP Lance Lynn
SP Adam Wainwright
SP Miles Mikolas
RP David Bednar
RP Adam Ottavino
CP Devin Williams
The United States is looking to repeat as WBC champions and bring a stacked lineup in order to do so. This roster has 13 MLB All-Stars from last season, the most out of any country competing. Team USA is looking to put up crooked numbers on the scoreboard, with some of the best faces in the game such as Mike Trout, Mookie Betts and Paul Goldschmidt in their lineup.
Junior strategic communications major Nathan Barney is really looking forward to watching Team U.S.A compete.
“Seeing these guys who compete against each other in Major League Baseball team up and try and win for the country is something special,” Barney said. “I really think this lineup is one of the best lineups that the U.S. has ever put forth.”
While this lineup is indisputably stacked, the pitching creates a cause for concern. Every starting pitcher for Team USA is on the wrong side of 30 and is past their prime. Lance Lynn is coming off an injury-plagued season, Adam Wainwright is 40 years old and Merrill Kelly has only had one solid season. While the back end of the bullpen with David Bednar and Devin Williams is strong, they might have trouble getting to those late innings with a lead. Even with questionable pitching, this is a stacked roster that has a legitimate chance to reclaim the throne in 2023.
Photo courtesy of Luis Gutierrez/AP.
C Salvador Perez
1B Luis Arraez
2B Jose Altuve
SS Andres Gimenez
3B Eugenio Suarez
LF David Peralta
CF Ronald Acuña Jr.
RF Anthony Santander
DH Miguel Cabrera
There is not a more underlooked team in the WBC than Venezuela. While they are not a popular dark horse pick, Venezuela’s roster, top to bottom, is one of the most complete rosters in this year’s tournament.
Junior economics major Ryan Sperry sees this team potentially going far in the tournament.
“I think this team is the third-best roster,” Sperry said. “They have a tough path, but they have some underlooked star power.”
Their lineup has no shortage of stars, with perennial All-Stars such as Jose Altuve, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Luis Arraez. While their pitching is a little spotty, they do have quality young arms that are coming off good MLB seasons in 2022. If there is a team that can play spoiler to the U.S. and the Dominican Republic, it is Venezuela.
The return of the World Baseball Classic is a major event in the world of baseball. Fans around the world will be glued to their television for the next two weeks, as the best players in the world will be competing for international glory. With 20 different countries looking to bring a trophy home, this looks to be an unforgettable event.