During a special on MLB Network on Thursday, the rosters were revealed for all 20 teams participating in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. While the purpose of the tournament is to feature the game’s best players, it just feels like rosters are stacked this year. We will see the best of the best from the major leagues here in the U.S., but there are also players from the top international leagues in the tournament.
With so much talent participating in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, who has the best roster? Here is our ranking of the five best rosters for this year’s tournament.
5. Puerto Rico
Do you want to see a team hit for power? Keep an eye on Puerto Rico’s batting lineup with Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez, Jose Miranda, MJ Melendez and Eddie Rosario. While the team’s starting pitchers could get knocked around, they have a solid bullpen with Duane Underwood Jr., Emilio Pagan and Alexis Diaz. They could make some noise in the tournament.
Venezuela is going to be able to hit. It may not be for power, but they are going to answer Billy Beane’s question of “can they get on base” from Moneyball with a giant yes. Jose Altuve and Luis Arraez have won three batting titles between them, and the lineup will also have the veteran presence of Miguel Cabrera and Salvador Perez. Their pitching rotation has largely struggled in the MLB, but that doesn’t mean they don't have upside with guys like Pablo Lopez and Jesus Luzardo.
3. United States
The lineup for the United States could be argued as the best in the entire tournament. Where they lack is the pitching staff. Not only will teams have the most information about the American pitchers, but they will likely be facing hitters they predominantly have never seen. It is going to be a tough test for the U.S. to come out with a win, even if they are the nation hosting the tournament.
Japan may have the best pitching staff in the tournament. Shohei Ohtani, Yu Darvish and Shosei Togo create a difficult matchup no matter what lineup they will go against. If you haven’t heard of Togo, he is a back-to-back All-Star in the NPB and is expected to be the next big-name player posted from that league. This will also be a great opportunity for Boston Red Sox fans to get a look at Masataka Yoshida.
1. Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic has a tough test ahead of them. Winning the tournament? No, no, I am referring to the tough test of setting a lineup from the sheer amount of talent they have on the roster. Their bench is going to be made up of players that are better than other teams’ starters. Not to mention that they are sporting the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner in Sandy Alcantara. Top to bottom, whether it comes to the hitters or the pitching staff, they will have an advantage in every game they play in the tournament.