It’s the fifth edition of the World Baseball Classic and some of the game’s best are battling it out for a shot at global bragging rights — not to mention a decent payday.
It’s international baseball at its best, and this year’s installment is proving to be a major hit.
We’re talking big bat flips, a perfect game, the mercy rule, one shocking strikeout, and don’t even get us started on Great Britain’s jerseys. It’s the halfway point of the WBC, and there is certainly no shortage of drama on the diamond.
Two years late due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2023 World Baseball Classic centers around 20 teams, each competing for national pride, not to mention a slice of $14.4 million in prize money.
Currently, teams are competing in pool play at four host cities —Taichung, Taiwan; Tokyo, Japan; Phoenix, Arizona and Miami, Florida — but soon all eyes will shift to knockout rounds and ultimately the championship on March 21 in Miami.
Let’s have a look at what’s up for grabs at the World Baseball Classic as the field begins to narrow.
Prize Money Breakdown
Players participating in this edition of the World Baseball Classic can expect a guaranteed paycheck — one that gets bigger by the round.
The compensation is all part of a $14.4 million prize pool that rewards teams not only for success but also simply for showing up.
For starters, all 20 teams receive $300,000 for qualifying.
Each team that wins one of the four pools can collect an additional $300,000, while teams that advance to the quarterfinals earn $400,000, followed by $500,000 for semifinalists.
Teams that make the finals will earn $500,000, while the winner of the championship game gets $1 million.
The winning team will presumably walk away with $3 million, which after being split with the home federation, translates into a roughly $50,000 payday for each player on a 30-man roster.
And don’t forget about the coveted silver trophy. In addition to the money, each player on the winning team gets to hoist baseball’s equivalent to the World Cup.
Who’s Playing in the 2023 World Baseball Classic?
We’ve got quite the competitive field featuring baseball’s best and a few of the aforementioned average joes.
Team USA is once again stacked and will be looking to defend its 2017 WBC title. We’re talking about a lineup loaded with major leaguers like Mookie Betts, Pete Alonso, Mike Trout, and much more.
In Pool D, a talented team from Puerto Rico made WBC history with an eight-inning perfect game against Israel. The feat, which was the first WBC perfect game ever, was achieved by four pitchers — anchored by an exceptional pitching performance from José De León of the Cincinnati Reds.
And then of course there’s the team from the Czech Republic, whose roster features one former major leaguer (Eric Sogard), some minor league and college players, and a remaining squad made up of mostly men with normal day jobs.
And these players and teams just scratch the surface of the stories playing out in the WBC.
From the cinderella stories involving a Nicaraguan pitcher who signed a deal with the Detroit Tigers after striking out three major leaguers in his first affiliated pro ball game, to the rare tale of a Great Britain pitcher who absolutely owns Mike Trout at the plate, there’s a lot going on in the global games.
So who’s going to win the whole damn thing? Let’s have a look at what oddsmakers have to say.
2023 World Baseball Classic Odds
In addition to how teams perform in pool play, it appears the global competition’s history has a lot to do with what oddsmakers think will happen.
For example, the top three teams in terms of future odds to win the WBC are all past champions — Japan (which won in 2006 and 2009), Team USA (which won in 2017), and the Dominican Republic (which claimed the crown in 2013).
And the team with the longest odds to win the WBC? The gents from Great Britain.
Dominican Republic +390
Puerto Rico +2400
Great Britain +100000
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