What MLB players have confirmed to play with Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic?
The World Baseball Classic will feature some of the best players in the game as MLB stars step away for a special occasion.
The 2017 World Baseball Classic saw the United States claim their first win in the spring tournament, and some of the best players in MLB have decided to try and deliver again against the likes of Japan, Venezuela or runner-ups at the last edition, Puerto Rico. MLB teams will allow some of their stars to take a few days off from 2023 spring training to play a part at a special event that will see some players pull on their national colors for the first time. These are some of the reported star hitters and pitchers that will be part of the US team next year.
The best player in the world - bar his two-way Angels’ teammate Shohei Ohtani - has said that he plans to play in the 2023 World Baseball Classic but his availability remains up in the air given his injuries. Trout missed half of the 2021 season with a severe calf strain but he recovered and was on MVP pace this year until injuries struck again. He is currently suffering back spasms and the prognosis is unclear, so it is far from assured that the 2023 World Baseball Classic is on the cards for the star outfielder. If he plays, Trout will be the team’s captain.
The Phillies catcher is one of the latest additions to the future Team USA roster. A three time All-Star who’s in good form again this season, with a 121 OPS+, Realmuto is one of the best backstoppers in baseball and will give the US an edge with his batting and pitchcalling.
The star third baseman from the Cardinals will feature as a great infield bat and defender who can anchor the team’s defense and add another fearsome hitter to the lineup. His addition just makes the team look more and more like an All-Star team.
Arenado’s first baseman teammate, Goldschmidt may win his first MVP this season at age 34 given his 26 HRs and 191 OPS+ so far and he will provide another great hitter for team USA’s lineup next spring. He was part of the 2017 championship team and knows what’s needed to succeed again.
The presumptive starting shortstop for Team USA signed a big contract with the Red Sox during the offseason and is starting to show that he is worth what he is paid.
There will be more additions to the roster after the MLB season ends and players can assess their situations. The team is still in need of pitchers, such as Marcus Stroman, who played in 2017 and was named the MVP of the tournament, an award that had been won by the likes of Ichiro Suzuki in previous editions.
When does the tournament start and where is it played?
The 2023 tournament will stick to the same format with four pools of five teams that will each play the opening round at different locations around the world. Team USA will play at home, in Arizona, with Mexico, Colombia and Canada in the same pool. The two best teams from that group will qualify for the knock-out rounds in Miami, where the US may have to face a team full of major leaguers such as Puerto Rico or Venezuela in the quarterfinals with world number-one ranked Japan possibly waiting for them in the final on March 21.