By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
World Baseball Network’s Matthew Tallarini has ranked all 20 teams in the World Baseball Classic. Today, we look at the bottom five teams in his power rankings.
20. China – Manager Dean Treanor will have a tough task playing in Pool B of the World Baseball Classic in Tokyo against Japan, Korea, Czech Republic, and Australia. Starting pitcher Alan Carter from the Los Angeles Angels organizationwill be a key factor for China during the World Baseball Classic. Infielder Ray Chang, who has played in three World Baseball Classics, has been working with the MLB Development Center in China to help develop talent in the country. China will have an uphill battle facing good competition during the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
WBC Site: Pool B, Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan
WBSC Ranking: 30
March 9 – vs. Japan – 5 a.m. EST – Fox Sports 1
March 9 – Czech Republic – 10 p.m. EST – Tubi
March 10 – Australia – 10 p.m. EST – Fox Sports 2
March 13 – Korea – 6 a.m. EST – Fox Sports 2
19. Great Britain – Manager Drew Spencer will take his team to Phoenix for Pool C of the 2023 World Baseball Classic, where they’ll be playing against Colombia, Mexico, the United States, and Canada during the opening round. Great Britain qualified last September in Regensburg, Germany, beating Spain 10-9 to enter the 20-team tournament field. Starting catcher Harry Ford, out of the Seattle Mariners organization, will be a key player to watch during the tournament. Ford batted .455 in the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers in 11 at-bats. In three games he had five hits, three home runs, and eight RBI.
WBC Site: Pool C Chase Field Phoenix, Arizona
WBSC Ranking: 22
March 11 – vs. United States – 10 p.m. EST – Fox
March 12 – vs. Canada – 3 p.m. EST – Fox Sports 1
March 13 – vs. Colombia – 3 p.m. EST – Fox Sports 2
March 14 – vs. Mexico – 10 p.m. EST – Fox Sports 1
18. Czech Republic – Manager Pavel Chadim has been on a quest to prove to the baseball world that the Czech Republic belongs on the map. The Czech Republic qualified for their first World Baseball Classic back in September in Regensburg, Germany, beating Spain 3-1 to earn a spot in the 20-team tournament field. Eleven-year major league veteran Eric Sogard will be a key bat for the Czech’s offense during Pool C of the World Baseball Classic, where they’ll be going up against powerhouse Japan, Korea, Australia and China. The Czech Republic team has players who play professionally in the Czech Extra Liga run by their baseball federation while carrying jobs outside of baseball. Catcher Martin Cervenka played in the New York Mets organization in their minor league system during the 2021 season at the Triple-A level with Syracuse. Cervenka played in 72 games with 214 plate appearances he batted .280 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs. The Czech Republic will have a tough task qualifying out of the pool round but could possibly win two games and not have to qualify for the next World Baseball Classic in 2026.
WBC Site: Pool B Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan
WBSC Ranking: 15
March 9 – vs. China – 10 p.m. EST – Tubi
March 11 – vs. Japan – 5 a.m. EST – Fox Sports 1
March 11 – vs. Korea – 10 p.m. EST – Fox Sports 1
March 12 – vs. Australia – 11 p.m. EST – Fox Sports 2
17. Australia – Manager Dave Nilsson will have to adjust to a tough set of teams during Pool B in Tokyo of the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Australia will have to go up against Japan, Korea, the Czech Republic and China in order to qualify for the quarterfinals of the World Baseball Classic. Australia will carry high affiliate players that are with major league organizations, current free agent professionals, and players from their Australia Baseball League which runs during the winter. Outfielder Aaron Whitefield will be a big spark for Australia’s offense. Whitefield is currently a free agent and could earn a roster spot to a major league organization if he can prove to major league baseball scouts during the World Baseball Classic on how he handles under pressure in big situations. Whitefield played five games last year for the Los Angeles Angels on May 8 before he was sent down just a few days after. Australia’s biggest concern will be with all around pitching during the tournament and how they adjust with number one Japan and top ranked Korea in Pool B.
WBC Site: Pool B Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan
WBSC Ranking: 10
March 8 – vs. Korea – 10 p.m. EST – Fox Sports 1
March 10 – vs. China – 10 p.m. EST – Fox Sports 2
March 12 – vs. Japan – 6 a.m. EST – Fox Sports 1
March 12 – vs. Czech Republic – 11 p.m. EST – Fox Sports 2
16. Nicaragua – Manager Sandor Guido will have much to prove leading a long-time baseball country that is appearing in its first World Baseball Classic. Nicaragua qualified for the World Baseball Classic in Panama City, Panama during October, beating Brazil 3-1 to capture a spot in the 20-team field. Nicaragua will have players from their Campeonato German Pomares summer league, Nicaragua’s Liga De Beisbol Profesional Nacional winter league, high minor league players, independent league players, and several Major League Baseball players on their roster for the 2023 World Baseball Classic. New York Yankees relief pitcher and potential closer Jonathan Loaisiga will be a key arm for Nicaragua during Pool D in Miami. The offense will be the biggest question outside of all-around pitching for Nicaragua. Players such as starting catcher Melvin Novoa and Cheslor Cuthbert can be big contributors to the Nicaraguan offense during the pool round.
WBC Site: Pool D Loan Depot Park Miami, Florida
WBSC Ranking: 17
March 11 – vs. Puerto Rico – Noon EST – Fox Sports 2
March 12 – vs. Israel – Noon EST – Fox Sports 2
March 13 – vs. Dominican Republic – Noon EST – Fox Sports 2
March 14 – vs. Venezuela – Noon EST – Fox Sports 2
Tomorrow, we’ll look at the power rankings from No. 15 to No. 11 as the 2023 World Baseball Classic draws closer.