On Thursday night, the official World Baseball Classic rosters were released. The event was supposed to take place in 2021 but was canceled because of the Covid pandemic. The last World Baseball Classic took place six years ago in 2017 when the United States took home the championship.
In this tournament, the Philadelphia Phillies have eight players representing their countries. So, let’s go pool by pool to see what Phillies you can catch in the tournament.
In Pool A, the Five teams include Chinese Taipei, Netherlands, Cuba, Italy, and Panama.
Chinese Taipei has very little major-league talent and no Philadelphia Phillies.
The Netherlands does not have any current Phillies, however, Didi Gregorius is on the roster. The team is highlighted by Major League talents like Kenley Jansen, Andrelton Simmons, Jonathan Schoop, and Xander Bogaerts. Andruw Jones will serve as a bench coach.
Cuba does not have any Phillies either. The big names on the team are Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert Jr., and Yoenis Cespedes.
Team Italy has arguably the most major league talent in Pool A, yet still no Phillies. The team is managed by Hall of Famer Mike Piazza. Big-name major Leaguers include Andrew Pallante, David Fletcher, Nicky Lopez, and Vinnie Paquantino. Matt Harvey also is on the team.
Team Panama has a small amount of MLB players. Pablo Espino, Christian Bethancourt, and former Met Ruben Tejada.
This pool will likely see Netherlands and Italy advance, though the WBC has seen bigger upsets before.
In Pool B, the Five teams include Japan, Korea, Australia, China, and Czech Republic.
Japan is viewed by some as the favorite to win the entire tournament. This is of course because they have the best baseball player on the planet, Shohei Ohtani. Other major league talent includes Yu Darvish, Seiya Suzuki, Lars Nootbar, and Masataka Yoshida.
Korea has no Phillies, but the team is headlined by infielders Tommy Edmand and Ha-Seong Kim.
Team Australia and Team China currently has no Major League players on their roster.
Czech Republic has no current Major League players, however, Eric Sogard, who last played for the Cubs in 2021 is on the team.
This Pool will most likely see Japan and Korea advance.
Pool C is where the tournament gets very interesting. The teams include the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Canada, and Great Britain.
In pool C, we finally see some Phillies headlining the rosters.
The United States roster is absolutely stacked. Phillies on the roster includes J.T. Realmuto, Trea Turner, and Kyle Schwarber. Realmuto will split time with Will Smith and Kyle Higashioka behind the dish. Trea Turner will share the middle infield with Tim Anderson, Jeff McNeil or Bobby Witt Jr. Schwarber will likely come off the bench for the USA because of the immense amount of talented outfielders on the roster which include Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Kyle Tucker, and Cedric Mullens. At the corner infield positions, the USA has Nolan Arenado and 2022 N.L. MVP Paul Goldschmidt, both from the Cardinals. The pitching is a big question mark for the team.
Team Mexico has new Phillies pitcher Taijuan Walker in the rotation. The rotation also includes Julio Urias, Patrick Sandoval, and Jose Urquidy. More major league talent on the roster is found in the position players. At catcher, they have Alejandro Kirk and Austin Barnes. The infield group includes Joey Meneses, Rowdy Tellez, and Luis Urias. The outfield group is also filled with MLB players. Rays star Randy Arozarena headlines the group that also includes Alex Verdugo, Alek Thomas, and Jarren Duran.
Team Colombia has Jose Quintana at the top of their rotation. Former Phillie Jorge Alfaro is an option behind the plate. Other Major Leaguers on the roster are Elias Diaz, Gio Urshela, and Harold Ramirez.
Canada is headlined by Dodgers star Freddie Freeman. Former Phillies pitcher Nick Pivetta will pitch for the team along with Cal Quantrill and Matt Brash. Major League position players include Bo Naylor, Abraham Toro, and Tyler O’Neill.
Great Britain is led by Trayce Thompson. They do not have much Major League talent, however, former Phillies pitcher Vance Worley is on the team.
Expect this pool to be a two-team race between USA and Mexico. Canada and Colombia also could make some noise.
Pool D is what some are referring to as the pool of death. This pool has arguably the most talent. The teams include Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Israel, and Nicaragua.
Puerto Rico is managed by future hall of famer Yadier Molina. The pitching is the strong suit of this team. Major League pitchers include the Diaz brothers, Jorge Lopez, Jose Berrios, and Marcus Stroman. The catching position looks like the 2022 Astros room. Martin Maldonado and Christian Vazquez lead the group. Major League infielders include Enrique (Kike) Hernandez, Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez, and Jose Miranda. The outfield includes 2021 postseason hero Eddie Rosario.
Venezuela has two Phillies left handed pitchers. Ranger Suarez and Jose Alvarado will be big contributors for the team. Other Major League pitchers include Eduardo Rodriguez, German Marquez, Jesus Luzardo, Luis Garcia, Martin Perez, and Pablo Lopez. All three catchers are MLB players. Salvador Perez, Robinson Chirinos, and Omar Narvaez will be behind the dish. The infield is one of the impressive position groups in the entire tournament. Players include Andres Gimenez, Eduardo Escobar, Eugenio Suarez, Gleyber Torres, Jose Altuve, Luis Arraez, Luis Rengifo, and Miguel Rojas. The outfield includes Ronald Acuna Jr., David Peralta, and Anthony Santander. Before he plays his final Major League season, Miguel Cabrera will DH for Venezuela.
The Dominican Republic includes one current Phillie and three former ones. Gregory Soto will pitch for the team. Hector Neris, Luis Garcia, and Jean Segura will also contribute. This team is also a title favorite. Top pitchers include Sandy Alcantara, Christian Javier, Bryan Abreu, and Rafael Montero. The infield includes many stars. To name a few, Vlad Guerrero Jr., Manny Machado, Rafael Devers, Jeremy Pena, Wander Franco, Willy Adames, and Ketel Marte. The outfield includes Juan Soto, Julio Rodriguez, Eloy Jimenez, and Teoscar Hernandez.
Garrett Stubbs will catch for Team Israel. The team is managed by Ian Kinsler and will be led by slugger Joc Pederson.
On Nicaragua, the best player will be Jonathan Loaisiga from the Yankees.
It is very likely the tournament champion comes from Pool D.
Overall, the Phillies have Eight players competing in the tournament from six different countries. Four are in Pool C and Four are in Pool D.
The teams with the best chance to win the tournament are Japan, Mexico, the USA, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic. All six of these teams are filled with some of the best players in the world.
The tournament kicks off on March 7th with Cuba vs Netherlands and concludes with the championship game on March 22nd.