Published On: Fri, Aug 26th, 2016

WBC pools: U.S., Dominican Republic paired in heavyweight group

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The pools for the 2017 World Baseball Classic were revealed Thursday ahead of the fourth edition of the international tournament, which will take place next March.

The top 16 teams in the world will compete on two different continents before converging for the semifinal and finals in the United States. The championship game will take place at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on March 20 and 22.

Here’s a breakdown of each pool and some notable players who are expected to feature in the tournament:

Pool A

Team WBC App. Best Finish
Japan 4th Gold  (2006/2009)
Australia 4th Round 1
China 4th Round 1
Cuba 4th Silver (2009)

Two-time champion Japan headlines the group, though it’ll likely be challenged for top spot by one-time silver medalist Cuba. Led by Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Japanese won both the 2006 and 2009 tournament and finished third in 2013. Cuba took home silver in the inaugural WBC, losing to Japan 10-6 in the championship game.

Venue: Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan (Capacity: 46,000)

Notable major leaguers:

Australia: Liam Hendriks, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Peter Moylan
China: None
Cuba: Jose Abreu, Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Fernandez
Japan: Kenta Maeda, Masahiro Tanaka, Yu Darvish

Pool B

Team WBC App. Best Finish
Chinese Taipei 4th Round 2 (2013)
South Korea 4th Silver (2009)
Netherlands 4th 4th (2013)
TBD (Qualifying Winner)

South Korea is the only team in the group to have medaled before, claiming bronze in 2006 and silver in 2009. The Netherlands, which has several players from the Dutch Caribbean island Curacao representing it, finished a surprising fourth in 2013. The final team in the group will be one of Pakistan, Brazil, Great Britain, and Israel, all of which will play a qualifying round in September in New York.

Venue: Gocheok Sky Dome, Seoul, South Korea (Capacity: 17,000)

Notable major leaguers:

Chinese Taipei: None
Netherlands: Didi Gregorius, Jonathan Schoop, Xander Bogaerts
South Korea: Byung Ho Park, Dae-ho Lee, Hyun Soo Kim

Pool C

Team WBC App. Best Finish
Canada 4th Round 1
Colombia 1st
Dominican Republic 4th Gold (2013)
United States 4th 4th (2009)

Arguably the “group of death,” Team Canada will need plenty to go its way should it wish to qualify for the semifinals in a group with heavyweights the Dominican Republic and United States. After failing to medal in either of the first two tournaments, the Dominican team won gold in 2013. The Americans, surprisingly, have never medaled. Their best finish came in 2009 when they finished fourth.

Venue: Marlins Park, Miami, United States (Capacity 36,742)

Notable major leaguers

Canada: Joey Votto, Russell Martin, Jameson Taillon
Colombia: William Cuevas, Dilson Herrera
Dominican Republic: Robinson Cano, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista
United States: Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper

Pool D

Team WBC App. Best Finish
Italy 4th Round 2 (2013)
Mexico 4th Round 2 (2006/2009)
Puerto Rico 4th Silver (2013)
Venezuela 4th Bronze (2009)

Puerto Rico is coming off a strong showing in 2013 when it finished second to the Dominican Republic, losing 3-0 in the final. The Puerto Ricans will likely be challenged by Venezuela for the No. 1 seed in the group, though both the Italians and Mexicans have second-round appearances on their resumes.

Venue: Estadio Charros de Jalisco, Guadalajara, Mexico (Capacity 8,000)

Notable major leaguers

Italy: Anthony Rizzo, Jason Grilli
Mexico: Adrian Gonzalez, Roberto Osuna, Julio Urias
Puerto Rico: Carlos Correa, Yadier Molina, Carlos Beltran
Venezuela: Jose Altuve, Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Gonzalez

Second Round

Venue: Tokyo Dome

Pool E
Winner Pool A
Runner-up Pool A
Winner Pool B
Runner-up Pool B

Venue: Petco Park, San Diego (Capacity 40,162)

Pool F
Winner Pool C
Runner-up Pool C
Winner Pool D
Runner-up Pool D

Championship Round

Venue: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles (Capacity 56,000)

Semifinal 1: Winner Pool F vs. Runner-up Pool E
Semifinal 2: Winner Pool E vs. Runner-up Pool F

Championship: Winner Semifinal 1 vs. Winner Semifinal 2

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