Duque Hebbert might have been the best story of the World Baseball Classic, but Team Nicaragua will have to go through qualifying to get back to the World Baseball Classic in 2026. (Photo by Rob Tringali/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Four nations will have to qualify for the next World Baseball Classic in 2026 after not advancing out of pool play during the 2023 tournament.
Nicaragua, Colombia, Chinese Taipei, and China are the four nations that will have to qualify for the 2026 World Baseball Classic. The qualifiers of the next World Baseball Classic will be during the 2025 international baseball calendar year. All four nations that did not qualify for the 2026 World Baseball Classic received 242 points for the World Baseball Rankings during the 2023 event.
China is now ranked 23rd in the World Baseball Softball Confederation’s World Baseball Rankings after going winless in Pool B at the Tokyo Dome against Korea, Japan, Australia, and the Czech Republic. China rose seven spots from the previous ranking as they received 242 points for appearing in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. China has played in all five World Baseball Classics but now will have to develop talent to remain competitive in senior international tournaments.
Chinese Taipei did not qualify for the 2026 World Baseball Classic finishing tied at 2-2 with the four nations in Pool A: the Netherlands, Italy, Cuba and Panama. Because of the Total Quality Balance tiebreaker, Chinese Taipei finished last in Pool A and has to qualify for the 2026 WBC. Chinese Taipei is now ranked fourth in the world after being previously ranked second and receiving 242 points in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
Chinese Taipei has a good amount of talent in the Chinese Professional Baseball League, based in Taiwan, that can play in international age group events. Chinese Taipei will play in the Premier 12 tournament in November 2024, and can potentially earn enough points to push them higher in the ranking if they place high during the event.
Nicaragua went 0-4 during Pool D of the 2023 World Baseball Classic after qualifying for the WBC for the first time last October, beating Brazil to enter the 20-nation field. Nicaragua is ranked 17th in the WBSC rankings, and have a total of 1,334 points after the tournament.
Nicaragua will build its talent from the country’s two main leagues, the Campeonato German Pomares Ordonez, which is operated in the spring and summer, and the Liga De Beisbol Profesional Nacional winter league. Nicaragua’s next major international event is the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games in June 2023 in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Colombia went 1-3 during Pool C of the 2023 World Baseball Classic in their second appearance in the tournament they did not qualify after losing to Great Britain, Canada and the United States in Phoenix. Colombia lowered their ranking from 11 to 15 in the World Baseball Softball Confederation rankings and received a total of 1,826 points.
Colombia has been developing players well over the past decade, with top prospects playing in Major League Baseball organizations and the Liga Profesional De Beisbol Colombiano winter circuit winning the 2022 Caribbean Series.