Team USA boasts some of the MLB's most prominent names - including Mike Trout and Mookie Betts - and have the third best odds to win the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
All 16 teams that participated in the 2017 edition of the WBC - which Team USA won - will participate in the 2023 tournament, plus four additional spots obtained through qualification.
Here we take a look at how the defending champion Americans stack up against the competition this spring.
|What||World Baseball Classic|
|Where||Japan, Taiwan and United States|
|When||March 8th - March 21st 2023|
|How to watch||Fox Sports, MLB Network|
|Odds||Dominican Republic +200, Japan +250, USA +275, Puerto Rico +900, Venezuela +1200|
The Americans are the current champions and have a roster full of superstars.
Led by captain Mike Trout, the USA roster will have manager Mark DeRosa at the helm and feature 21 All-Stars, including three former MVPs in Trout, Mookie Betts, and Paul Goldschmidt.
Trout turned down the opportunity to play in 2017, but was determined to play in this one and his appearance has had a domino effect on other superstars to play in the tournament.
"The whole reason I signed up: trying to win this thing. There is nothing else. Anything else is failure," Trout told MLB.com. "This means a lot, I missed out four years ago, watched the guys and I’m super excited."
Three-time All-Star and a two-time Gold-Glove winner J.T. Realmuto (Phillies) is the star catcher out of a batch of three. The other two catchers are Kyle Higashioka (Yankees) and Will Smith (Dodgers). All three are first-time participants for the USA in the tournament.
Nolan Arenado and Goldschmidt are back for more after anchoring the infield for the 2017 championship-winning side. They are joined by Pete Alonso (Mets), Trea Turner (Phillies) and Tim Anderson (White Sox).
Jeff McNeil (Mets) joins Betts (Dodgers), Cedric Mullins (Baltimore Orioles), Kyle Schwarber (Phillies), Trout and Kyle Tucker (Houston Astros) in a hugely talented outfield.
The Team USA pitching staff was dealt a blow this week when Clayton Kershaw pulled out due to unspecified reasons. Kershaw's opt-out comes a week after Nestor Cortes (Yankees) pulled out of the tournament after picking up a hamstring injury.
Pitchers Kyle Freeland (Rockies) and Nick Martinez (Padres) replace Kershaw and Cortes on the U.S. roster.
Other established pitchers like Lance Lynn (White Sox) and Adam Wainwright (Cardinals) on the roster will be joined by big league up-and-comers in Brady Singer (Royals), Devin Williams (Brewers) and David Bednar (Pirates).
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Team USA won the World Baseball Classic for the first time in 2017, defeating Puerto Rico in the final.
Their other most impressive appearance came in 2009, when they lost to Japan in the semi-finals. In the other two editions of the tournament, USA reached the quarter-finals in 2006 and 2013.
Japan won the inaugural edition in 2006 and backed that up with another victory in 2009, beating South Korea in the final.
Despite being overwhelming favourites for this tournament, the Dominican Republic have only won the tournament once and that came in 2013, beating Puerto Rico in the final (who have now lost back-to-back WBC finals).
The tournament kicks off on Wednesday, March 8th with Cuba playing Netherlands at the Taichung Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan. Team USA don’t play their first game until March 11th against Great Britain at Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona.
The rest of Pool C’s games for the USA are against, Mexico, Canada, and Colombia, all of which will be played at Chase Field.
Team USA is expected to win their group and advance to the second round, where they would play the Pool D runner-up - likely to be either Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic.
All of the nations will play at least a couple of exhibition matches against MLB teams prior to the tournament starting.
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