The World Baseball Classic is well underway. We’re past the group stages of the global baseball event that takes place every four years. So far it’s the United States and Japan that are the favorites to win the tournament. That’s thanks to Puerto Rico ousting the Dominican Republic, whose team was stacked with the likes of Juan Soto, Julio Rodriguez, and Manny Machado.
We’ll take a look at what things look like for Team USA and we’ll give a full odds breakdown of the remaining teams.
Team USA to This Point
The United States went 3-1 in pool play to advance to the quarterfinals. They had wins over Great Britain, Canada, and Colombia. Their lone loss came to Mexico. The US has a stacked lineup this tournament. It features Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, and Trea Turner among others. Trout has led the way so far, going 5 for 12 with five walks and a home run.
If there’s any weakness in this US team it’s in their pitching staff. Clayton Kershaw was originally supposed to be part of the group but he backed out last month. Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn are the team’s top 2 starters. Both guys did fare well in the games they started but that will need to continue.
It will likely be Wainwright who gets the start in the quarterfinal matchup against Venezuela. The game will take place on March 18th, at 7 PM EST from Miami, Florida.
Big Upset Mixes Things Up
The favorite entering the tournament, the Dominican Republic, was upset by Puerto Rico and knocked out of the World Baseball Classic. The upset came as a shock to many people around the baseball world. Puerto Rico won the game, 5-2, to advance to the quarterfinals where they will take on Mexico.
The loss put the Dominican Republic at 2-2 for the tournament. They also dropped their first game, a 5-1 loss to Venezuela. The loss means there will be a new favorite in the World Baseball Classic.
Japan Starts 5-0, Moves to Semis
Japan has yet to lose a game after topping Italy 9-3 to advance to the semi-finals. Japan is led by two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani is 2-0 on the mound, going 8 ⅔ with two earned and 10 strikeouts. Ohtani’s opponent’s batting average is .161. The Angels star has also done a lot of damage in the batter’s box. He’s gone 7 for 16 with a home run and has also walked eight times.
St Louis Cardinals outfielder Lars Nootbar has had a great tournament as well. He’s gone 7 for 19 and has an on-base percentage of .500. The Boston Red Sox’s recent signing, Masataka Yoshida has also chipped in. Yoshida has gone 5 for 16 with a home run. Expect to see him roaming the outfield a lot at Fenway this year.
There’s been a number of guys that have stepped up in Japan’s lineup but it’s Ohtani that has been the main guy. If the US and Japan win out, expect to see the Japanese flamethrower on the mound to take on the US lineup.
Odds to Win the 2023 World Baseball Classic, Courtesy of DraftKings
Japan leads the way in the odds to win the 2023 World Baseball Classic. It’s worth noting that the odds are skewed by a couple of teams being in the semis while the rest remain in the quarterfinals. At the moment, the US is just behind Japan in the odds table.
Venezuela has the third-best odds to win the tournament. They are led by Ronald Acuna, Jose Altuve, and Salvador Perez. Their top arm is Texas Rangers lefty Martin Perez but they have a few big-league starters in their rotation. Perez is expected to start in his team’s quarterfinal matchup against the US.
Puerto Rico has the fifth-best odds to win the tournament. They got to this point thanks to a huge upset over the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately, Puerto Rico got some bad news following the game. Their closer, Edwin Diaz, hurt his knee in the celebration and had to get carried off the field. The team will now turn its attention to its quarterfinal matchup against Mexico, which will take place tomorrow in Miami.