Saturday, December 9, 2023

Batting Around: Who’s your pick to win the 2023 World Baseball Classic?

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Throughout spring training the CBS Sports MLB experts will bring you a weekly Batting Around roundtable breaking down pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we discussed MLB’s new rules. This week we’re going to pick a World Baseball Classic winner.

Who will win the World Baseball Classic?

Dayn Perry: I’m going to say Dominican Republic. Even after the loss of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to injury, I think they have the strongest offense, and while I don’t love their rotation depth after Alcantara I still think it’s stronger than the U.S. crop of starters. Japan and their potentially dominant rotation bears consideration, but I’ll lean D.R. on the strength of their lineup.

Matt Snyder: I took Japan on the Early Edge and since then, the Dominican Republic has lost Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., so I’m stronger in my conviction. One of the things I love the most about Japan is the floor is so high due to having basically no weakness. There’s a strong rotation, bullpen and lineup, sure, but there are also great defensive catchers who work well with the pitching staff, great baserunning, great defense and basically anything else. The star power of Shohei Ohtani, Yu Darvish, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Roki Sasaki,  Munetaka Murakami and Kazuma Okamoto is obviously a big plus, but this team fills in every gap. 

R.J. Anderson: I’ll also go with Japan, for the same reasons as Snyder. They have a ridiculous rotation, and I don’t find myself questioning their offense the way I do with the pitching staffs of the United States and Dominican Republic.

Mike Axisa: I picked Japan earlier this week and I’m going to stick with them. My sleeper is Mexico. They have four good to great starters (Patrick Sandoval, Julio Urías, José Urquidy, Taijuan Walker), a few sneaky-good bullpen options (Luis Cessa, Giovanny Gallegos, JoJo Romero), and a solid lineup (Randy Arozarena, Joey Meneses, Rowdy Tellez, Luis Urías). I could see that team making a deep run this WBC.

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