The World Baseball Softball Confederation announced the 12 nations that qualified for the 2024 WBSC Premier 12. (Graphic Courtesy of WBSC)
By Julian Guilarte
World Baseball Network
The World Baseball Softball Confederation announced the 12 teams that qualified for the 2024 WBSC Premier 12 tournament.
The latest World Baseball Rankings were released on December 18 by the WBSC.
WBSC President Riccardo Fracarri also commented on the Premier 12 in the press release of the rankings on the governing body of the sports website.
“Congratulations to the top 12 teams in the world for qualifying for the Premier 12,” said WBSC president Ricardo Fracarri in a press release. “We’ve had two memorable editions of the WBSC’s flagship event and we’re looking forward to another hugely successful tournament next year, with the best of international baseball captivating fans all around the world.”
World No. 1 Japan, No. 2 Mexico, No. 3 United States, No. 4 South Korea, No. 5 Chinese Taipei, No. 6 Venezuela, No. 7 Netherlands, No. 8 Cuba, No. 9 Dominican Republic, No. 10 Panama, No. 11 Australia, and No. 12 Puerto Rico have qualified for the 2024 WBSC Premier 12, which will start on November 10.
Japan won the 2023 World Baseball Classic and the 2023 Asian Baseball Championship, and also won the gold medal in the 2021 Olympics, their first Olympic gold medal in baseball.
Mexico, ranked second, lost to Japan in the semifinals at the WBC and medaled at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games, winning the gold with the best overall record after having the championship game against Cuba was rained out. The 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games was the first time that Mexico won gold at an international senior event. Mexico beat Panama at the 2023 Pan American Games in the bronze medal game 10-2 in Cerrillos, Chile, on October 28.
The United States is ranked third and lost to Japan in the finals of the WBC.
World No. 4 South Korea went 2-2 at the WBC and didn’t advance out of Pool B. South Korea won the Asian Games in October at the Shaoxing Baseball and Softball Sports Culture Center in Hangzhou, China, and beat No. 5 Chinese Taipei 2-0 in the gold medal game.
Venezuela is ranked sixth and lost to the United States in the quarterfinals of the WBC.
The Netherlands is ranked seventh and went 2-2 at the WBC, failing to advance out of Pool A.
Cuba is ranked eighth and lost to the USA in the semifinals at the WBC.
The Dominican Republic, ranked ninth, went 2-2 in the WBC and didn’t advance out of Pool D.
Panama is ranked 10th and went 2-2 in the WBC, failing to advance out of Pool A. This will be Panama’s first appearance in the Premier 12.
World No. 11 Australia lost to Cuba in the quarterfinals of the WBC.
Puerto Rico, ranked 12th, lost in the quarterfinals to Mexico in the WBC.
The Premier 12 was originally scheduled for November 2023 and was moved to 2024 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, which caused multiple major events to be rescheduled. The World Baseball Classic, the Olympics and the Premier 12 cannot be held in the same year.
“The timing of the announcement of the Premier 12 teams is in line with the same timing as per the previous edition in 2019. Since there will be very little change to the WBSC/KONAMI Men’s Baseball World Ranking between now and the end of the year… the WBSC made the announcement today to give clarity and confirmation ahead of the holiday break to the participating teams as well as for fans and media organizations around the world,” WBSC media and communications director Richard Baker told World Baseball Network via email, noting that the top 12 teams in the ranking cannot change between now and December 31.
This will be the third WBSC Premier 12 tournament. South Korea won the inagural Premier 12 in 2015 and Japan won in 2019.
The 2024 WBSC Premier 12 will take place from Nov. 10-24, 2024, with the Tokyo Dome hosting the Super Round and medal games.
The Super Round will be from November 21-23 at the Tokyo Dome followed by the bronze and gold medal game on November 24.
The teams will be split into two groups and play in a round-robin format, with the top two finishers in each group advancing to the Super Round. The top two teams in the Super Round will play in the gold medal game, and third- and fourth-place teams in the Super Round will play in the bronze medal game.
Group A will be held in the WBSC Americas sector at a location to be determined from November 10-14.
Group B will be played at the Nagoya Dome, home of the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball on November 13, and in Taipei City, Taiwan from November 14-18.
The WBSC will announce where the Premier 12 tournament games will be streamed on their social media pages during the upcoming months.