The World Baseball Classic rosters will be announced on Thursday, Feb. 9. For team-by-team reaction, you’ve come to the right place.
The WBC starts in a few weeks, with the Netherlands and Cuba playing at 11 p.m. ET on March 7. From there, each pool of teams will play against one another, with the winner and runner-up of said groups advancing to an eight-team tournament.
The entire format is explained thoroughly here.
As for the rosters themselves, they will be full of some of the best players Major League Baseball has to offer, as well as internationally-renowned stars. However, some players have chosen to sit out the World Baseball Classic out of injury fear, which is warranted. The tournament will take place just weeks prior to Opening Day of the MLB season.
We’ll start with Pool A, which includes Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Italy, Netherlands and Panama.
Chinese Taipei World Baseball Classic roster
Teng Kai-wei, a minor-league pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, could be the only MLB representative on the Chinese Taipei roster, which makes this group a relative unknown. However, as we’ve seen in past tournaments, Major League Baseball representation is by no means a prerequisite for a deep WBC run.
Cuba World Baseball Classic roster
A pair of Chicago White Sox — Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada — are both eligible for the Cuban team in the World Baseball Classic. This will undoubtedly give fans on the South Side something else to root for during the tournament. Robert and Moncada have had mixed results so far in their MLB careers, but some success leading in to Opening Day could provide the duo with the confidence they need to grow as young players.
Italy World Baseball Classic roster
Coached by none other than Mike Piazza himself, the former Mets great has a tough task cut out for him with this bunch. Brandon Nimmo, David Fletcher, Vinnie Pasquantino, Max Stassi and more were all eligible for the roster per WBC rules. Now whether they choose to play in the first place with the MLB season on the horizon remains to be seen. Nonetheless, they are in one of the weaker groups, so a run to the quarterfinals shouldn’t be counted out.
Netherlands World Baseball Classic roster
The Dutch side is headlined by Xander Bogaerts, who signed a huge contract with the San Diego Padres this offseason. Bogaerts has been committed to The Netherlands roster for quite some time now, and should hit in the middle of their lineup. Jurickson Profar, Andrelton Simmons, Didi Gregorius and Pedro Strop are other names fans might recognize, should they choose to play.
Panama World Baseball Classic roster
It’s going to be a tough ask for Panama in terms of talent to advance out of pool play. There isn’t a player on the Panamanian roster for the World Baseball Classic who is currently signed with an MLB team. There are a couple of recognizable names like Ruben Tejada and Randall Delgado that baseball fans will be familiar with, but they will be spirited, without question.